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!<br />

!!! !<br />


!<br />

<strong>CLOCK</strong>WISE<br />



E ROUSER: Alison Clockwise Cat<br />

Ross<br />

RAD-ASS REVIEWER: Cindy Hochman<br />


Bella<br />

RESIDENT VERSIFIER: Felino Soriano<br />



EDITOR’S<br />


Making the Democrats Green With Envy<br />

(AKA Why I Loathe Hillary and Support Jill<br />

Stein (AKA Where I Alienate Many Clockwise Cat<br />

Readers (So Be It) ) )<br />

"The story starts with genocide,<br />

slavery, those terrorized;<br />

Families, cultures torn apart,<br />

this ugly truth only the start.<br />

And it's a white washed pact,<br />

the founding act,<br />

revolution or contract?<br />

To subjugate, to torture, to abuse,<br />

for the few."<br />

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

Ball Fest, held at the legendary music venue, the Masquerade, which is being forced to<br />

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

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

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

complement the thrust of my rant.<br />

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

ultimately intertwined, even if their connotations are subtly distinctive. And we have the<br />

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<br />

the audacious authoritarianism of the GOP, bringing it more to the center, so that then the<br />

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

some time.<br />

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

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

visionary that he was, was totalitarian in his institution of the Japanese interment camps.<br />

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

mass incarceration of blacks.<br />

"Lock up mass incarcerate,<br />

the new Jim Crow, the new slave trade;<br />

If Doctor King were here today,<br />

he'd fight for much more than a dream."<br />

Clinton enacted legislation that made it far easier to target black criminals, fulfilling the<br />

wet dreams of bigoted Republicans everywhere. According to Michelle Alexander,<br />

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

Bill Clinton actually "presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison<br />

inmates of any president in American history."<br />

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

drug of blacks, than for powder cocaine, the preferred drug of whites, as well as<br />

unabashedly signing a $30 billion crime bill that engendered new capital crimes, urged<br />

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

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

United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Prison admissions for<br />

drug offenses reached a level in 2000 for African Americans more than 26 times the level<br />

in 1983."<br />

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,"<br />

anyone?).<br />

Furthermore, even though mainstream history tells a different, distorted story,<br />

unemployment rates for African Americans was actually quite high during the Clinton<br />

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

picture of the true statistics.<br />

"We live in a fabled world,<br />

where the poor and the weak,<br />

are pawns for profit's sake."<br />

Clinton also oversaw a mass dismantling of the federal welfare system, and again, Hillary<br />

was a vocal backer of this disastrous program. Indeed, Clinton cut public welfare<br />

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

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

passed"?<br />

"And you should go sign up,<br />

join the fight,<br />

the rich sleep while you kill tonight;<br />

Love thy enemy as thyself,<br />

as you carpet bomb him to hell."<br />

And Hillary Clinton's transgressions don't stop at her brash bolstering of her husband's<br />

policies. As Secretary of State, Hillary promoted a foreign policy program that was<br />

devastating for countries like Honduras, where a far-right government reigns, and Libya,<br />

where Hillary aggressively backed a regime-coup in which Gaddafi was overthrown.<br />

Both scenarios have led to dire consequences for the people of those countries. Ukraine<br />

and Syria suffered similar tragic fates under Secretary Clinton's vile influence.<br />

"We live in a fabled world,<br />

a corpocratic killing field;<br />

where fascist profits are a lock”<br />

Furthermore, Secretary Clinton lobbied relentlessly for mega-corporations like<br />

ExxonMobil, GE, Wal-Mart, Boeing, who then oh-so-coincidentally poured money into<br />

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<br />

Brothers.<br />

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

Clintons who actually opened my eyes to how scammy and shammy the Democratic<br />

Party was and is.<br />

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

support, and that the Green Party does. The Green Party is what the Democrats are<br />

supposed to be: Progressively for the people, not for profiteering.<br />

Not to mention that nauseatingly, the Democratic National Convention was rigged<br />

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

only was massive vote fraud perpetuated during the primaries by the Democrats in places<br />

like California and New York (and many other states), but a disinformation campaign<br />

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

DNC.<br />

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

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

make a fabulous president: she's smart, she's gutsy, and most importantly, she's a genuine<br />

PROGRESSIVE, the real deal, not some fake-bacon imitation corporation-coddling<br />

pseudo-progressive slimebucket.<br />

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

in denial like the whiny Democrats they are) to vote for Hillary strategically to defeat<br />

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

Her abhorrent record is splattered all over the internet for any naysaying nincompoop to<br />

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

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

Even more abhorrent are Democrats who try to bully and shame Jill Stein supporters into<br />

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

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<br />

Jill Stein is a vote for Trump."<br />

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

fault the stupid idiotic electoral college gets in the way of a true democratic election<br />

process. If Dem supporters want someone to scapegoat, blame the Democrats and<br />

Republicans for maintaining the electoral college system, which schemes to suppress<br />

third party candidates. No other western power is this ridiculously regressive when it<br />

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

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

that BOTH parties strategize to maintain.<br />

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

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

to the Democrats to run candidates that people trust, so as to gain favor with the<br />

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

with solid reason. The latest fiasco of blatantly shoving that great galvanizer, Bernie<br />

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

going on within their once-cherished party.<br />

“We live in a fabled world<br />

We live in a fabled world,<br />

These times can break you,<br />

these times can leave you,<br />

torn apart.”<br />

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

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

voting for her. Such tactics on the part of Democratic supporters are pathetic.<br />

Besides, ultimately the vitriol toward Jill Stein supporters is massively misplaced. The<br />

hostility should be directed toward the Democrats for running an absolute sham of a<br />

campaign, for corporatizing the hell out of their party, and running the worst possible<br />

candidate against Trump. The pugnacious attitudes should be funneled toward the<br />

stubborn and rigid electoral college, whose existence is enthusiastically nurtured by both<br />

Democrats and Republicans. The righteous indignation should be flung toward everyone<br />

in politics EXCEPT the Green Party, who has a right to exist, a right to challenge the<br />

dastardly duopoly, and who has the purest progressive platform this side of UtopiaLand.<br />

Suck on that, suckaz.

Garden of Rain (Le Jardin de Pluie) by Mike<br />

Maggio<br />

"#$%&'!())*%+!!,$-./01!2.#%%+!!3456+!!!<br />

78(9:!;5>>>6+!!!<br />

Reviewed by Marianne Szlyk<br />

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

!<br />

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

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

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

rummage[s] through abandoned bric-a-brac” to hunger to homelessness to wartime to<br />

political dissidence. The narrative reflects his engagement with politics and<br />

multiculturalism, developing concerns raised in his earlier chapbook Oranges from<br />

Palestine (1996) and his satirical novel The Wizard and the White House (2014).<br />

Beginning at home as the speaker searches through old photographs, the journey soon<br />

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

However, more importantly for this collection, it initiates a search for intimacy as<br />

Maggio attempts to engage with the photographs, a homeless man, a woman who feeds<br />

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

across the wasteland/to a wayfaring tree.”<br />

Many of the works in this collection rework the topic of intimacy, starting with the<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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<br />

summer day.” This poem contains an intriguing interlude of formatting worthy of e.e.<br />

cummings, in which syllables drift down the page.<br />

“Brownies” reintroduces Maggio’s social concerns as the woman whose overtures the<br />

speaker rejects is poor, perhaps disabled, and, ultimately, homeless. Years later,<br />

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

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

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

warm, scented bath or a gooey chocolate caramel sundae. Instead, the search continues<br />

in fits and starts, encompassing both proximity and distance and lasting the entire length<br />

of the book.<br />

The search for intimacy continues through all three sections of Garden of Rain. The first,<br />

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

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

personal section as the poems’ speakers negotiate the dance of intimacy with unnamed<br />

partners. The second, Shadow, is more concrete, bringing the reader to specific locations<br />

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

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

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

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

the Garden, transforms the search yet again. This section returns the speaker to the<br />

journey that began with “I’ve Forgotten Who I Am”’s narrative.<br />

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

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

This meditation on a woman completes the journey begun with the collection’s first poem<br />

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

intriguingly designed piece, the speaker is alone with this woman at the end of his<br />

journey, yet they also commune with nature, with not only the early morning birds but<br />

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

poem, turning details and phrases into refrains and conveying the couple’s closeness and<br />

unwillingness to part.<br />

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

worth reading. He uses detail judiciously, avoiding what may seem random or limiting<br />

while still grounding poems in worlds that we can comprehend. Furthermore, these<br />

worlds contain politics, religion, and social concerns as well as the search for intimacy,<br />

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

intimacy is an important thread in this collection, binding together geographically<br />

dispersed experiences to create a compelling narrative of a poet during the prime of his<br />


The Charter School Swindle – Selling<br />

Segregation to Blacks and Latinos<br />

!<br />

"#!$%&'(&)!*+!$,)-&.!!<br />

Segregation now! Higher suspension rates for black students! Lower quality schools for Latinos!<br />

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

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

advocates – or they could be.<br />

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

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

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

but it has been a civil rights failure.”<br />

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

see the poor quality of what’s being offered.<br />

Because charter schools DO increase segregation. They DO suspend children of color at higher<br />

rates than traditional public schools. And they DO achieve academic outcomes for their students<br />

that are generally either comparable to traditional public schools or – in many cases – much<br />

worse.<br />

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

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

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<br />

outcome, themselves, for their own children!?<br />

After Bloody Sunday, Freedom Rides, bus boycotts and countless other battles, a portion of<br />

minority people today somehow want more segregation!?<br />

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

traditional civil rights organizations that until yesterday opposed school privatization. Meanwhile<br />

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

undeniable that large minority populations still oppose their school systems being charterized.<br />

It’s especially troubling for civil rights advocates because black and brown charter supporters<br />

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

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

of our public school system.<br />

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

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

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

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

for them: Fast food, miracle cures and charter schools.<br />

They’ve marketed corporate McSchools as if these were mostly charitable institutions founded<br />

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

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

disappears. Student services are reduced below that offered at comparable neighborhood public<br />

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

buys the glossy full-color advertisement without bothering about the small print.<br />

One thing corporate education reformers have over advocates of traditional public schools is their<br />

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

movement. They talk about having high expectations for children of color. They talk about<br />

closing the achievement gap. They talk about understanding the needs of minority children.<br />

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

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

wrong answers and kicking them out if they don’t perform.<br />

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

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

achievement gap – economically and culturally biased high stakes testing, shoddy and<br />

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

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

not enjoying the ride.<br />

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

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

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

committed teacher trainees.)<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a lesser degree.<br />

We have allowed traditional public schools to be largely segregated based on parental income.<br />

We have schools for poor kids and schools for rich kids. Thus, we have schools for black kids and<br />

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

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

if the teachers are failing, the principals are failing, the democratic process, itself, is failing. In<br />

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

resources that our nation’s children need.<br />

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

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<br />

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

mandates and pretend that tells the whole story.<br />

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

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

are today determine how things will be tomorrow.<br />

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

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

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

color who want to move into white neighborhoods. Moreover, white homeowners are often<br />

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

and white neighborhoods.<br />

In organizing our public schools we could try to overcome these differences, but instead we<br />

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

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

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

schools for their progeny.<br />

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

the choice between an obviously under-resourced public school or a glossy new charter school<br />

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

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

another lie and a more pernicious one for several reasons.<br />

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

weaken the already stumbling traditional public schools by siphoning off their dwindling funding.<br />

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

that are responsible for eroding public schools in the first place.<br />

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

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

quality education. They have more resources and less flexibility to take away those resources.<br />

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

population, they offer the chance for people of similar economic backgrounds but diverse cultures<br />

to join together in common cause.

Dividing people makes them weaker politically. When people band together, they have power.<br />

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

charter schools – they destroy communities and rob neighborhoods of the collective power that is<br />

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

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

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

any urban district taken over by the state.<br />

They’ll tell you straight out how privatized education is cultural sabotage. They’ll tell you how<br />

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

is to fight for our system of public schools.<br />

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

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

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

recognize their truth – that the struggle for civil rights is ongoing.<br />

Because we can’t win the fight against privatization without them. And they can’t win the fight<br />

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

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

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

We need communities of color. We need our black and brown brothers and sisters. Because only<br />

together shall we all overcome this madness.<br />

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from Stephen Singer at<br />


More than Marble By Kathrine Yets<br />

He says your body<br />

was chiseled from marble,<br />

but you know better.<br />

You won’t crack so easy.<br />

You aren’t one of The Three Graces.<br />

Euphrosyne isn’t you.<br />

But to him you’re imprisoned within<br />

limestone skin.<br />

He says to you<br />

while he fucks you in the mirror,<br />

Look, you are beautiful,<br />

and pulls your hair tie out.<br />

He don’t know what the mirror<br />

doesn’t show.<br />

He don’t know.<br />

You know your lips<br />

ain’t just for kissing.<br />

Your hands do more than touch.<br />

There’s a Muse inside that body<br />

holdin’ a chisel.<br />

!<br />

/0%(1.!2,1:!"&?1./@#!A#?%!$/B#%!/@!(.))*C/#$-D!E7+!81#!F).*%!&%!&!@/G1?!%1/C?!<br />

$/H.&./&@!F1)!1/-#%!H#1/@-!1#.!-#%*!.#&-/@G!&@-!F./?/@G!I)#?.'+!J#.!F).*!1&%!<br />


TWO POEMS by Jeff Bagato<br />

Egg Raid on Midtown<br />

flying too low<br />

over the proverbial<br />

henhouse in a biplane—<br />

raising cluck<br />

clucking of orgasmic<br />

panic—<br />

a TV-type impulse<br />

overtakes pilot cocker<br />

spaniel, a hound<br />

much known for his derring<br />

do, & his doo wop<br />

doo wop<br />

doo<br />

wop, cause<br />

of course<br />

he also sings<br />

& dances—<br />

now back to swooping<br />

down so low, an easy<br />

target as hens<br />

pelt him with rotten<br />

eggs his soft paws<br />

catch nice ‘n’ easy<br />

‘til he has several dozen—<br />

foul arsenal<br />

begging<br />

for a drop,<br />

which comes up quick<br />

in the first national bank he sees—<br />

an edifice of miming<br />

need, sessile<br />

in its own stink<br />

like cocking his leg on a<br />

holy hydrant he<br />

lets go all eggs at

splat<br />

least<br />

once: splat<br />

splat<br />

splat splat splat<br />

splat,<br />

times ten, at<br />

outgassing<br />

sulphur like an army of demon<br />

turds in a desert storm,<br />

translucent goo & yellow<br />

muck<br />

oozes across<br />

massive sheets of<br />

glass & tired faces<br />

of hungry<br />

unknowns<br />

watching their liberation fade<br />

as just another illusion of<br />

melting<br />

windows<br />

& walls<br />

Just to Be a Hobo<br />

just to be a<br />

hobo,<br />

I need<br />

no other<br />

poetry<br />

a thick sycamore gnarled in winter,<br />

giant knot holes, galls &<br />

scabs proving<br />

something<br />

against the sky<br />

or with the sky,<br />

because who

can fathom<br />

the will of trees<br />

let alone the lady in plaid<br />

pajama pants & thick glasses<br />

throwing peanuts to squirrels<br />

the creator, the god,<br />

the medium—the dimension<br />

above all others,<br />

a breeze becomes<br />

an ocean;<br />

the universe is just<br />

a rock<br />

piled with other rocks,<br />

filling some dark shithole<br />

in time—<br />

time the master,<br />

subsuming all,<br />

ordering mass &<br />

gravity & the laws<br />

of motion—<br />

the conqueror, the devourer<br />

come down to earth<br />

as Death with a pendulum<br />

striking like a scythe,<br />

& the hobo<br />

trips or ducks<br />

or wrangles another smoke,<br />

another heel up’n<br />

quick<br />

to the asteroids,<br />

to the stars<br />

to Venus,<br />

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

of his poetry has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Chiron Review, Shattered Wig Review, and local<br />

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

Latest Headlines. He has also published several novels, including The Toothpick Fairy and<br />

Computing Angels. Jeff has recently started blogging about his writing and publishing at<br />


Do touchy touchy apologies gratify us?<br />

By Gerard Sarnat<br />

I shared a stale cot with a Russian in Yalta.<br />

Caught in the clouds of her badminton net,<br />

tiring of tetchy metrosexy Buddhist sweat,<br />

this yutz considered throwing in the towel<br />

until he was met with less tasty discomfort<br />

of a forearm shiver which comeuppance<br />

originates from a sage Jew who growled,<br />

G-d gave you rustics no right to punch wives.<br />

Author bio: Gerard Sarnat is the author of four critically-acclaimed collections:<br />

HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012),<br />

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

seventy magazines, including Gargoyle and Lowestoft Chronicle, and featured in Songs<br />

of Eretz Poetry Review, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems, LEVELER, tNY,<br />

StepAway, Bywords and Floor Plan. For Huffington Post and other reviews, reading<br />

dates, publications, interviews and more, visit Gerard Sarnat.com. Go to Amazon to find<br />

Gerry’s books plus Editorial and Customer Reviews. Harvard and Stanford educated,<br />

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

a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since<br />

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

He’s Crazy Everybody<br />

Said<br />

By Andrea Wyatt<br />

He’s crazy everybody said<br />

But I loved your talk, faster and faster and faster, your<br />

fluttering Benzedrine eyes, not able to settle,<br />

never settling on anything,<br />

your eyes flitting from side to side like moths, like flies on meat;<br />

He’s crazy everybody said<br />

But I loved how you spoke French, fast, smoky, your French accent,<br />

like Belmondo, or Godard,<br />

even though you were from Westminster, Maryland;<br />

I loved that you were in Paris in ’68,<br />

your thin shoulders moving up and down<br />

accentuating your babble, babble, babble,<br />

as you described the French police, the battles in the streets,<br />

smoke from your gauloises bleus filling up our basement room,<br />

you couldn’t stay in bed more than an hour or two,<br />

even sleeping, you twitched like a hound<br />

dreaming of a hunt, your hands were cold and you never wanted to eat<br />

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

that you made with bathroom tap water;<br />

He’s crazy everybody said<br />

but they never heard you recite poetry,<br />

declaim poetry in English and French, in your, yes, filthy beret, cracked black sunglasses<br />

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

they never heard you rant about failure and loss of nerve,<br />

about grief and how it never ends, about Les Fleurs du mal and Le Bateau ivre,<br />

about Jean Genet, who Simone de Beauvoir called<br />

her thug of genius and suddenly the Bennies or whatever it was wore off<br />

and it was almost dawn and you slumped against me<br />

and I slid down quietly so you would not wake<br />

and I held you in my arms and buried my face<br />

in your grimy, tousled hair and slept.<br />

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

Selected Poems by Larry Eigner, Collected Poems by Max Douglas, and The Brooklyn<br />

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

is the associate editor of By&By poetry journa.

Two poems by Eva Skrande<br />

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

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

Writing from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared in Clockwise Cat,<br />

Prick of the Spindle, Cortland Review, the American Poetry Review, American Voice,<br />

Iowa Review, Ploughshares, and the Alaska Quarterly, among others. Her first book, My<br />

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

chapbook, the Gates of the Somnambulist was published by Jeanne Duval Editions. She<br />

lives in Houston, Texas.<br />


Once a stone was my home<br />

like a small earth or language.<br />

There was an emerald for the sea,<br />

valleys for songs, and summer<br />

for prayer. Two birds<br />

evened out my shoulders.<br />

Two butterflies were all I knew<br />

of wisdom. The darkness<br />

was a bouquet of shadows<br />

lit up now and then by stars<br />

who loved beggars and refugees.<br />

In the center, a small fire<br />

led old flowers home. All their hopes<br />

rested on one little fire<br />

trying to make up for the sins<br />

of its cousins: angry boats,<br />

thorn-filled dreams,<br />

all exits into fire.<br />


To scatter the seeds of destiny<br />

in the land of refugees, beside the opening of tents<br />

To forgive the history that tries to lessen us--<br />

bills and debts and the hunger of poor boats--

eneath the eaves of luminous Mondays<br />

Wherever the once-extinct play the piano<br />

alongside the archaeology of mornings<br />

O gospels that are the envy of wind<br />

circling the lips of asphodels<br />

O soliloquies succumbing to the knees of dusk<br />

daffodils whose voices move the moon<br />

toward the dancers on your light-swept brow<br />

and the eternity that effervesces there<br />

to the tune of a thousand roses<br />

breathing your name.

An Animated Sojourn (Movie Review)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

The animated feature, "The Boy and the World" is a flamboyantly kaleidoscopic trip<br />

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

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

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

understanding of the world around him. The movie does not shy from highlighting the<br />

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

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

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

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

the most balanced element in the production; wending its way through the narrative is a<br />

minimalistic soundtrack of one very linear flute tune that evokes the music native to<br />

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

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

The Divine Comedy (for Donald Trump)<br />

by Patricia Carragon<br />

You wear many masks,<br />

sit like a flag-waving jester—<br />

throw tacos and spitballs<br />

as we act out our lives.<br />

We’re your deplorable jokers,<br />

alt-right Confederates,<br />

gun-happy rapists,<br />

Mother Earth wife-beaters.<br />

We repeat our mistakes—<br />

use different methods<br />

to kill off each candidate.<br />

As the wreaking ball<br />

crosses the stage,<br />

you and your punch line<br />

can’t find the exit.<br />

Author bio: Patricia Carragon’s recent publications include The Avocet, Bear Creek<br />

Haiku, Clockwise Cat, First Literary Review-East, Panoply, poeticdiversity, The Yellow<br />

Chair Review, among others. She is the author of Journey to the Center of My<br />

Mind (Rogue Scholars Press, 2005) and Urban Haiku and More (Fierce Grace Press,<br />

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

Shes an executive Editor for Home Planet News Online.

TWO collages By Oscar Varona<br />

Le Pig

Irrigacion<br />

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

transgressive narrative styles and little conventional, he published his first book of stories,<br />

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

various international journals: The New Yinzer, (USA, 2009), Mondo Kronheca<br />

Literature (Argentina, 2009), Metazen, (Canada, 2010), Ascent Aspirations, (USA, 2014),<br />

Argonautas (Spain, 2014) and Groenlandia (Spain, 2009 and 2010). Coordinator and editor of<br />

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

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

his work here http://oscarvarona.com/

the mariner<br />

by Daniel Thompson<br />

half moon pendant<br />

swinging below its everpresent<br />

morning star, one unit of light<br />

glittering atop each wave<br />

throws a net across its face,<br />

spinning yarns as long as<br />

ocean currents, hauled in<br />

dripping with fish<br />

sweat of brine<br />

interrogation mark<br />

casting doubt over ocean sway<br />

everywhere a way in<br />

ten o’clock gradient climbing towards<br />

zenith peak midnight resisting<br />

the whole tug of seasons and tides<br />

all shorelines are like

seashells are alike, sun says<br />

‘nothing that is known to man is unknown to me,<br />

no foreign land’.<br />

soul oil lighting the way<br />

catching sleep between the swells<br />

keeping one eye open for land<br />

while the continents move farther apart.<br />

Usually one can say<br />

that the land stays in the same place<br />

but for him, an island of a man<br />

it’s not always that way.<br />

Out of a desultory nod<br />

the tide deposits him somewhere<br />

along the new shoreline<br />

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

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

writing. Exploring themes and images more freely and naturally than the conventions of<br />

fiction generally allow, letting form and language guide the content rather than the<br />

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

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

Tongues of Fire reading series and has written several books, all currently seeking<br />


High Noon, Texan Badlands.<br />

By John Doyle<br />

The whole town<br />

edges to one side,<br />

blistered light squeezing its frigid day.<br />

In silent depths of space<br />

wind tickles gorse,<br />

where killers sharpen knives, tutoring runaway boys<br />

eyeballing their own ghosts,<br />

running home to ma with teary-eyed tales;<br />

tales to tell that made hair stand up -<br />

filling time wheat specters took<br />

to make dust-embalmed shadows. We must<br />

find a moment's rest from the sun,<br />

denim jacket drifter,<br />

boy who peers around to<br />

spin the roulette wheel once more,<br />

the tin-coffin beans<br />

slashed open,<br />

the frying pan, and coyotes afoot<br />

Author bio: John Doyle is a gastronaut and astronaut, venture capitalist, tennis coach,<br />

international commodities broker, and collector of northern hemisphere wines, with a<br />

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

detective agency in 1952, and now has branches across the globe including new offices in<br />

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

world champion bullshitter 5 years consecutively.

Through a Glass DARKLY By Gary Beck<br />

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C).!7!$/@G#.#-!?))!$)@G!<br />

/@!?1#!I&$&0#!)C!I$#&%M.#%!<br />

/@-M$G/@G!O'%#$C!<br />

/@!F).$-$'!&II#?/?#%D!<br />

F1/$#!?1#!I#)I$#!)C!O'!$&@-!<br />

%MCC#.#-!/@!%/$#@0#!<br />

#Q0#%%#%!)C!?1#/.!O&%?#.%!<br />

F&$$)F/@G!/@!$MQM.'D!<br />

&%!O)%?!)C!?1#O!1M@G#.!<br />

?1#!G))-%!&@-!%#.B/0#%!<br />

?1#'!@#B#.!F/$$!I)%%#%%+!<br />

!<br />

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

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

poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue<br />

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

Displays (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Perceptions, Tremors and Perturbations<br />

will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look).<br />

Resonance (Dreaming Big Press). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press)<br />

Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). Call to<br />

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

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

published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere,<br />

Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and<br />

essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York<br />


Twelve Dreams for Carl:!A Play-Poem!<br />

By Derek Owens<br />

Scene 1<br />

ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE WORLD (played by third graders) stand in a meadow<br />

making grazing noises.<br />

Enter UNDULATING GREAT HORNED SNAKE MACHINE suspended by wires,<br />

flicking ANIMALS with its tongues. ANIMALS do exaggerated death scenes, don ghost<br />

sheets.<br />

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

THE WORLD crawl out from under him casting off ghost robes while punching fists into<br />

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

Scene 2<br />

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

on hippie costumes and do fake African dances. MILKY WAY descends (contraption of<br />

wire, cloth strips, marshmallows, pipe cleaners). Balcony collapses, kids falling to<br />

mattresses below, crying and whatnot. VEGETABLE ANGELS arrive and harass kids<br />

back to health with GOOD DEEDS.<br />

Scene 3<br />

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


inflate to the size of Thanksgiving Day parade balloons with crudely painted scary faces<br />

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

Scene 4<br />

Enter FAMOUSE MOUSE holding placards out of sync with his soliloquy. Midway<br />

through his rant WORMS SNAKES AND FISHES played by mothers in black-light body<br />

paint surround MOUSE.<br />

Animated cartoon of FAMOUS MOUSE projected onto a sheet hung on the wall. The<br />

hole in his side expands into a tunnel that WORMS SNAKES AND FISHES drive<br />

through in their little cars.<br />

Painted mothers amorously wrestle FAMOUS MOUSE to floor and conduct their<br />

business. From the melee MOUSE rises transformed into A SUIT and launches into a<br />

song mourning the absence of tails.

Scene 5<br />

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

DREAMER unfurls in silk banners overhead.<br />

Members of the audience retrieve cards taped under their seats and follow the<br />

instructions, yelling "focus! focus!" with mock impatience. Stagehands and technicians<br />

circulate throughout the auditorium pretending to fix things.<br />

The landscape is revealed to be a DROP OF WATER viewed through a microscope.<br />

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

Twigs and string fall out of their pajamas catching in the hair of those below.<br />

Scene 6<br />

Spotlight on BAD BOY in the clock tower, squatting like a gargoyle, leering into the<br />

square below at tourists relaxing around the fountain.<br />

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

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

passersby on their faces.<br />

Each struck tourist morphs into a WEREWOLF, changing behavior accordingly. BAD<br />

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

of the fountain, laughs back.<br />

Scene 7<br />

Late night hijinks down by the reservoir: TEENAGERS, played by themselves, acting out<br />

illicit operations.<br />

From the woods stumbles DRUNKEN QUEEN, robes hanging in shreds due to attacks<br />

by wild beasts. She walks into the water, drowns herself, emerges renewed, strolling<br />

around pods of TEENAGERS who are too preoccupied with the mechanics of their<br />

couplings to notice her. In her wake snow begins to fall.<br />

Scene 8<br />

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

time, culminating in "log roll competition": couples locked in embrace pushed down<br />

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

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

moat.<br />

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

taming them and bringing stability back to the community.

Scene 9<br />

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

lawn chairs sink into the chalky effluent and DREAMER and company descend into hell.<br />

On the way down they pass tableaux by turns marvelous and ghastly.<br />

Once in hell CHILDREN (played by themselves and dressed as tulips) taunt DREAMER<br />

shamelessly.<br />

Scene 10<br />

The audience is woken by THE DREAM OF THE DREAMER, a mirrored disco ball of<br />

colossal proportions releasing vapors of questionable content.<br />

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

balloon weighted with shrunken heads and carrying ASSASSIN floats down to<br />

DREAMER. ASSASSIN cuts DREAMER'S throat releasing red ribbons. Switches places<br />

with DREAMER, cuts loose the heads, and DREAMER rises into the clouds. ASSASSIN<br />

rows away.<br />

Scene 11<br />

Inside THE DREAM OF THE DREAMER: PESTILENCE, in opaline veils, dances in a<br />

ballet studio in front of a wall mirror, her reflection played by DREAMER.<br />

The dance turns salacious: birds emerge from DREAMER'S skin, covering her<br />

completely until DREAMER is all bird.<br />

Scene 12<br />

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

the stage, mingling with and eventually obliterating THE FIRMAMENT (played by third<br />

graders, faces peering through holes cut in black backdrop).<br />

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

FIRMAMENT, tumbles out and sinks into DREAMER'S belly. Flutes and whistles etc.,<br />

bottle rockets, curtain.<br />

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

directs the Institute for Writing Studies. Information on his artwork, writing, and teaching<br />

can be found at derekowens.net.


!"##$%& BY NELLY SANCHEZ<br />

ARTIST STATEMENT: Surrealism inspires me because this movement smashed the<br />

rules of classical art and looked past the mundane to dreams and the unconscious. The<br />

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

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

deform those images, that perfection, to create my own world. Beneath the superficiality,<br />

dreams grow wild.”<br />

Derrie!re la vitre

Julie Can’t Ruin the Coathangers (Music Reviews of Julie<br />

Ruin and the Coathangers)<br />

by Alison Ross<br />

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

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

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

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

lackluster, and a pale mimicry of the smashing debut, live the songs rang vivid.<br />

Too, the visual of the band performing the songs provided dynamic resonance. Suddenly,<br />

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

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

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

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

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

patriarchal straitjacket, invigorating an audience hungry for aggressive anti-misogynist<br />


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

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

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

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

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

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

heavy mood, Hannah also displays an aching vulnerability on a track paying homage to<br />

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

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

Julie Ruin essential listening.<br />

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

memory atrophy is more and more my reality). But I have always found<br />

nosebleeds inexplicably intriguing; there's some sort of perverse allure about<br />

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

also seems kinda cool.<br />

The Coathangers have also always been kind of "wrongly cool." They are<br />

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

say? Sassy, savvy contradictions are far more appealing than homogenous<br />

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

tenure, coalesces all of their colliding contrasts into a tight, neat package. In<br />

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

After all, the Coathangers are at their zig-zaggy zenith when they are slightly<br />

sloppy. Of course, "Nosebleed Weekend" was obviously produced with the<br />

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

edges - that sonic equivalent of hole-riddled denim cut-offs - have been<br />

trimmed back a bit, and the sound tailored toward listeners who might<br />

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

sensibility.<br />

Granted, that's oxymoronic, because punk is meant to be rough and<br />

jagged. Too, the shrieky-girl vocals have been muted, and the voices<br />

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

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

screeches that pinch eardrums and yet manage to evoke tough and tender<br />

tween giddiness.<br />

Again, it's that collusion of incongruities that make the Coathangers who<br />

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

THEM, with slow burners, and intense screeds, and even their signature<br />

savage silliness on display via "Squeaki Tikki," replete with piercing dog toy<br />

accompaniment.<br />

Indeed, the last album, "Larceny and Lace," had taken the menacing side of<br />

the band so far that I had wondered whether the Dada-esque playfulness<br />

would ever return. Thankfully, it has, proving that the Coathangers will<br />

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


BRAINWASH By Lindsay McLeod<br />

A surgical sneeze against<br />

these outrageous borders<br />

of plastic apathy, a<br />

staggering helicopter course<br />

about the invisible helmet<br />

of my congested clone.<br />

And though the blade prevails<br />

in dancing repair of my<br />

patchwork hypocrisy, it<br />

reveals no tailored baby<br />

surfacing in moonlight<br />

but a punishing mass of<br />

struggling shrink wrapped<br />

malevolent exes<br />

in a mumbling trolley.<br />

The following man emerges<br />

anew in anxious envy to find<br />

with cemented certainty<br />

that a poor story deplores<br />

a mobile dream.<br />

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

prizes and awards and stuff for poetry and short fiction and published his first coauthored<br />

poetry collection, My Almost Heart, in 2015. He currently writes on the sandy<br />

Southern edge of the world, where he watches the sea and the sky wrestle for supremacy<br />

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

Forgive Me Mr. Trump<br />

By Sergio Ortiz<br />

/ I will not shake your hand<br />

you are not my friend / I<br />

cannot welcome you / no one from your party<br />

is welcomed / .<br />

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

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

I have my hammer. I have tears. I have a backbone.<br />

The only thing / I am giving you / is my<br />

disapproval. I’ll turn my back<br />

and walk away now.<br />

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

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

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

nominee. His poems have been published in over four hundred journals and<br />


Book Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest<br />

By Beverley Catlett<br />

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

you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.<br />

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

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

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

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

run by the mercilessly tyrannical Nurse Ratched and a crew of obedient coworkers who<br />

together medicate, electrocute, and lobotomize their patients into oblivion. More<br />

importantly, it’s a story about freedom, friendship, democracy, and the restoration of the<br />

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

original microcosmic rendering of American society as the iconoclastic novelist<br />

understood it, Kesey lampoons the irony of life in a country founded upon freedom<br />

wherein free speech and democracy seemed increasingly ineffectual and obsolete. The<br />

ward becomes the dark yet unforgettably original setting for a tale of otherwise<br />

illimitable symbolic proportions. Kesey’s message is as defiant and boundless as is the<br />

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

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

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

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

Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the most dysfunctional, sublimely beautiful<br />

tragedies of modern American literature.<br />

Randall McMurphy is a notorious, gambling conman who feigns insanity to avert<br />

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

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<br />

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

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

hero of epic proportions, and is arguably the most selfless, touchingly compassionate,<br />

charismatically lovable character of his literary era. The moral ambiguity of his past is as<br />

disposable within the larger context of the novel as are our initial prejudices and<br />

inclinations to distrust our paranoid, seemingly delusional narrator along with the rest of<br />

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

trivial crimes or abnormalities and have since been effectively brainwashed to believe<br />

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

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

The novel is an emotional rollercoaster; though it gives its readers considerable<br />

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

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

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

to rob him of a beautiful mind. The redemption of euthanasia bestowed upon a vegetative<br />

McMurphy by his mentee and hard-earned friend barely seems to suffice for the<br />

redemption McMurphy has bestowed upon his ward and upon his readership. Cuckoo’s<br />

Nest will make you laugh; it will make you cry. It will inspire and enrage you.<br />

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

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

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

we can aspire and relate, who we wish we knew and could laugh with, who we wish we<br />

could bring to life. McMurphy is immortalized and his death is hardly terminal – perhaps<br />

it is the truncation of the ineffable beauty his life provides that makes the novel’s<br />

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

gives us into that beauty – that dysfunctional, indescribable beauty - for any price.<br />

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

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

makes McMurphy all the more deserving of the worship he commands. One Flew Over<br />

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

that everyone needs to hear.<br />

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

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

BA Honors in English and the Andrew Nelson Lytle Prize for Excellence in English and<br />

Southern Studies. She is an incoming first year English MA student in Georgetown<br />

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

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

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

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

the madman as a prophetic figure, a harbinger of truth to an environment permeated by<br />

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

Catch-22, and in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as in the theories of<br />


Then a Switch by Dennis Wheeler<br />

!<br />

Then a switch is thrown<br />

all the lights go dark and the dull<br />

roar turns to an ocean of noise<br />

and you ride the waves<br />

dancing on, and your feet hurt but you don't feel it.<br />

because this is the moment and this moment<br />

is<br />

always the same<br />

But lighters turned to LED's and the magic's gone out of the world.<br />

can't light no j with an iphone.<br />

it’s all incense and fog machines and fakery and damn it<br />

nothing is the same at all.<br />

Where’s Lemmy? Ziggy? Or Scotty Weiland?<br />

Lucille is cryin’ for her man, and<br />

I saw a ghost at a corner in Winslow, Arizona.<br />

I'd make a sandwich sign sayin'<br />

The gods are dead. The gods are dead.<br />

the gods are dead....<br />

can't light no j with an iphone.<br />

maybe there's an app for that.<br />

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

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

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

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

much of his work comes from his experiences.<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />


ARTWORk BY Unitas Quick<br />

Candy Rush<br />

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


POWER MADE US SWOON, by Brynn Saito<br />

(Red Hen Press, 2016)<br />

ISBN: 978-1-59709-991-2<br />

Reviewer: Cindy Hochman<br />

What works is singing<br />

from the cave of the self<br />

—“Stone on Watch at Dawn,” Brynn Saito<br />

Poet Brynn Saito employs a powerful strategy for coming to grips with some of<br />

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

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

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

earth is a traffic of broken hearts.” Woman Warrior wanders intermittently through these<br />

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

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

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

her initial bravado, Woman Warrior’s biggest strength is her vulnerability—and, for<br />

Saito, there’s a bravery in that.<br />

No History<br />

No history of suicide or insomnia<br />

in my family Histories<br />

of bottles fermenting blues<br />

No history of oil or industry<br />

in my family<br />

History of luck and guns<br />

in my family scribbled in dust<br />

Body-as-country Country-as-promise<br />


a-promise<br />

a-promise. I begin like an agent<br />

to get it all down<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

there is just so much happy rewriting a poet can do, and just so much trauma a woman<br />

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

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

road; a drunk driver overturning a van and hitting Grandmother, “shattering her face<br />

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

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

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

imagination spirits her<br />

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

like quilt patches across my chest and weave them strategically around my body for<br />

warmth … the new testament telling me I’m fine.”<br />

Intergenerational<br />

Woman Warrior is thinking about justice.<br />

The moon out<br />

and climbing the sky<br />

reminding her of the slow light of progress …<br />

river of women—women loving men<br />

men loving bottled love<br />

love like a cradle of needles—<br />

mending, mending, mending.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

be that strong,” while acknowledging that “Camp made Dad unpredictable.”<br />

Displorations in the Desert

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

Historic Site—my mother, my father, and I …<br />

In Manzanar, from 1942–1945, the U.S. Government incarcerated approximately<br />

10,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry.<br />

541 babies were born during the wartime incarceration.<br />

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

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

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

she cannot deny what has preceded her. By the final poems, “Woman<br />

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

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

associated with it), and it is clear that the power that makes Saito swoon is endurance and<br />

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

way out with words” craves silence.<br />

W.W. On How To Be Free<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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;<br />

majoring in Critical Theory and Social Justice, Tim is passionate about finding the<br />

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

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

of CTSJ: Journal of Undergraduate Research, Tim has published three volumes of CTSJ-<br />

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

Sonic Girl (Book Review) by Alison Ross<br />

!<br />

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

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

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

the details Gordon chooses to focus on, especially early on, are sometimes unexpected,<br />

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

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

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

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

band, and dissect the dissolution of her legendary marriage with frontman Thurston<br />

Moore.<br />

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

albums of Sonic Youth - the milieu in which they were created, and the mindsets which<br />

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

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

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

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

exactly comfortable doing so. Who could blame her?<br />

Sonic Youth, of course, is known for its charming collage of cacophonous forces - its<br />

disparate sonic clashes that somehow coalesce into an euphonious, if noisy, whole.<br />

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

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

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

the singer whose shocking lapses sundered everything.

Invest In Children!(SATIRE) !<br />

!<br />

By Martin H. Levninson<br />

Many Americans believe the job of educating children should be shifted to<br />

the private sector to save money and to provide better instruction to children. A<br />

number of localities have already begun to move in this direction and scores of<br />

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

privatization and for those interested in getting in on this racket here are a few<br />

ideas on the subject.<br />

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

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

anybody who has attended school. This will provide a hiring pool of nearly<br />

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

with a pulse.<br />

In terms of salary, I suggest using the following formula: add the number of<br />

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

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

result will be a negative integer, which means your employees will have to pay<br />

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

cents an hour above the federal minimum wage and if they still complain look for<br />

other people. (Consider recruiting illegal aliens. There are lots of Illegals who<br />

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

offering.)<br />

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

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

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.<br />

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

clean the school as part of their stipend.<br />

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

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

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

cafeteria. Have the students and teachers eat in the classrooms. This will provide<br />

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

lunchroom aides.<br />

To save on textbook costs, instruct students to download free educational<br />

material on the Internet when they go home each night. If parents insist their<br />

children receive textbooks do not buy new ones. Purchase them used at<br />

Amazon.com.<br />

As far as student transportation, ask the parents to bring their kids to<br />

school. In cases where this is not possible have bicycles available for transport and<br />

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

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

biking is such great exercise you won’t need phys. ed. instructors.<br />

Your students will probably have to take standardized tests and your<br />

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

ensure everyone’s chances of succeeding, order the teachers to teach to the tests<br />

and it they are allowed to grade the exams instruct them to change incorrect<br />

answers to correct ones to make sure the scores are high. Tell your educators that<br />

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

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

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

the education biz. If that happens do not despair. Your students can always go<br />

back to the public schools and your teachers, if you hired the group I suggested,<br />

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

You tried to make a buck off the kids, you tried to rip off your staff, and you tried<br />

to scam the system. The robber barons of the nineteenth century would have<br />

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

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

make money. For instance, privatizing the military. I know a great place where<br />

you can buy secondhand weapons and ammunition for a song.<br />

Author bio: Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book<br />

Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He<br />

has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He<br />

holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.


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Two poems by Saira Viola<br />

Anonymous Masses in the Guise of King Dada<br />

I am the book jacket of the automatic<br />

The starling quip of the unconscious<br />

The phonetic parlance of sound<br />

The bobbing tail of Rapunzel the squirrel<br />

The breath of a million workers without labour<br />

A Kubin nightmare<br />

The crowbar to convention<br />

A top hat and flysheet<br />

A sonnet of anarchy<br />

A red roar<br />

An underground skyscraper<br />

Blue mittens<br />

A single , feeble street urchin<br />

A bombtastic blitz of claws teeth and tongue<br />

A half smoked cigarette<br />

A broken pen<br />

An unfinished jigsaw<br />

A neo Bolshevik<br />

The egg of an eagle<br />

Agrippa’s magic<br />

The bones of Caspar, Melchoir and Balthazar<br />

A painted echo<br />

A pink cockatoo<br />

A collage of indifference<br />

Jacque Vache’s goblet of wine<br />

A dance of solidarity<br />

Breton’s hiss<br />

Soupault’s shirt sleeves<br />

Max’s antizymic pictopic<br />

Man Ray’s star<br />

A stuffed dummy in a shopping cart<br />

An old potato on a lavatory chain<br />

A breakfast canvas of weed and marmalade<br />

25 cans of packaged crap<br />

Duchamp’s piss pot<br />

The side slap of rebellion is the garden gnome,<br />

the oppressive chintz of poodle thrones ,<br />

open purses and closed set minds<br />

buy rebel souls dime , after dime , after dime

Bedroom Killing<br />

He woke up in a green sweat<br />

by his side a girl and a gimp mask<br />

she had strawberry crush curls kissing the pillow<br />

and flutter boo lashes fanning<br />

her soft, porcelain face<br />

his mind strangled by intimacy<br />

purple melancholy drowning the room<br />

and satan's veil pickling his tongue<br />

he flipped her on her side<br />

cold sleeted<br />

her back ridged<br />

with vermillion hand prints<br />

sock puppet blue<br />

his ashy tears<br />

roil her anesthetised form<br />

yesterday’s sweetness<br />

has become today’s fetor<br />

a magnum opus of squalid glory.<br />

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

scatterscript . Widely published on both sides of the Atlantic. Viola's work focuses on<br />

the lives of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the collaterally damaged, and the rebel<br />

spirits who glitter the cosmos. Publications include: International Times, Dissident Voice,<br />

Tuck, Underground Books, Gonzo Today , The Poetry Times, Artvilla, The Canon<br />

Mouth, Dead Snakes, BecauseEileen, Red Fez, Public Reading Rooms, Stop the War<br />

Coalition, Boy Sl Push, In Between Hangovers, The Kitchen Poet ,Zarph, Literary<br />


The Perpetual DECLINE of Western<br />

Civilization<br />

and the<br />

Ascendency of PUNK-Dystopia<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

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

founded on genocide and slavery, and to this day perpetuates a program of imperialistic bullying,<br />

so one cannot very easily make a rational argument for the purity of the country.<br />

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

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

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

relatively new and novel approach.<br />

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

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

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

raging response.<br />

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

dissertation, "The Decline of Western Civilization." Punk was the canary in the coalmine, the<br />

cacophonous tirade that ranted against an unscrupulous establishment and foreshadowed further<br />

adversity.<br />

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

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

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

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

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<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

whose nascent nihilism is sharply undercut by their adorable youth.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

watching to witness the meandering mumblings and inept cooking of Ozzy Osbourne.)<br />

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

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

a sadistic sociopolitical landscape where poverty had become pervasive and the beatific-seeming<br />

family unit had devolved into a child-abusing entity.<br />

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

Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton had colluded to erode the rights of the people and quash the<br />

few democratic ideals that had managed to pierce through to an otherwise quasi-democratic<br />

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

capture the disconcerting phenomenon.<br />

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

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<br />

societal outcasts.<br />

Unlike in the first "Decline," which focuses mainly on the music and somewhat tangentially on<br />

the fans, the third "Decline" focuses largely on the plight of the "gutter punks," while the music<br />

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

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

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

street swagger are squishy sweet souls.<br />

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

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

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

for the opposite reason. Spheeris is expected to merely continue her thread of showcasing<br />

emerging, somewhat disturbing bands, but she doesn't. Halfway through shooting, she realized<br />

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

in the distressing conditions of those who populated the surrounding scene. Perhaps fans of the<br />

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

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

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

job.<br />

The economic situation in the United States has surely decayed since the last "Decline" was<br />

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

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

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

general, thanks to unaffordable housing, lack of jobs, defunding of mental health and drug rehab<br />

programs, and so on.<br />

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

homeless youth; she has produced one of the most compellingly compassionate documentaries<br />

ever made, one that shames anyone who has ever callously dismissed homeless kids as mere<br />

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

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

solidarity with her subjects.


BY Lily Tierney<br />

She acquired knowledge<br />

that led to understanding.<br />

Nothing made sense<br />

visuals constantly changed<br />

their form and direction.<br />

A solid bled into a liquid<br />

blood was everywhere<br />

this was a sign of life<br />

on a planet without<br />

dimensions bending light<br />

into our psyche.<br />

Nothing was real.<br />

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

of Crow, Calvary Cross, and Harbinger Asylum.

Two POEMS<br />

By Chani Zwibel<br />

ZEST<br />

Dear Chief Deity,<br />

It is 1989.<br />

Ziggurats go up. Youths who are not yet old wail.<br />

(I am five. I have Go-Dog-Go.)<br />

The birth rate equals the death rate.<br />

A gentle breeze at the highest point<br />

Burns to the touch.<br />

(Its flower, yuppie, is just as relevant!)<br />

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

dusk. Do not yowl.<br />

The clown keeps a roller-bearing root, and also tends a domesticated ox.<br />

In this clime, you can’t be too careful.<br />

Zombies zigzag through zigzag papers and get zonked with enthusiasm.<br />

They love the Sauce.<br />

What is Sauce?<br />

Yummy, perhaps, but without zip or ginger.<br />

It’s 1989.<br />

Taste the dark stripes of the horse.<br />

Energy, pep, guaranteed.<br />

I hear rejoicing.<br />

Yours truly,<br />

Deity Airship<br />

An abortion. An abstinence.<br />

Constellations circle the belt.<br />

At this angularity, the dirigible<br />

Has no breath.<br />

Zeus has no zip code.


My coworker has drawn<br />

A little doodle man<br />

Reading a little doodle newspaper<br />

Placed just so<br />

In the empty business card holder<br />

So he looks like a tiny, two dimensional being<br />

Sitting on a bench<br />

Waiting for a bus.<br />

A slow day, no customers,<br />

My bored hands shift<br />

The paper figure to the keyboard.<br />

The newspaper reader<br />

Squats,<br />

His right foot on Power<br />

His left on Wake Up<br />

His hidden, paper genitals swing over Sleep.<br />

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

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

who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta,<br />

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

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

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

Dear Nuts<br />

By Edwin L. Young, PhD<br />

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

establishment over beers with friends. To the more activist minded who think they may<br />

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

complex, their political collaborators, and their unwitting cadre of academic<br />

foot soldiers.<br />

I am just poking a little fun with a little irony since, however small your protestations<br />

may be and however insignificant they may seem to you, you sound eminently sane to<br />

me. I have the deepest reverence for people who dare look for the truth, who have the<br />

willingness and strength to think, and, above all, who dare to say their piece in whatever<br />

forum they choose.<br />

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

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

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

harnesses of their disciplines, and explore within the confines of the small arenas of their<br />

disciplines, but they do not use their imagination as they think; they do not examine their<br />

hypotheses, theories, or the conventions of their academic domain. Academic freedom is<br />

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

department that awards them grants or academic journal review boards who check for<br />

adherence to the narrowly acceptable research trend du jour or for political correctness.<br />

They do not examine their domain from levels of perspectives that outsiders might take.<br />

They are like the justice system that is so bound by precedent that they cannot<br />

incorporate the findings and perspectives of science or the implications of the radically<br />

changed contexts and crises of the modern world.

As such, philosophers, scientists, those in the justice system, and other professionals have<br />

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

devoid of significance for the non-professional world are the results of the practice of<br />

their occupations. They would never in a million years think that the manner in which<br />

they are practicing their professions and their disciplines in effect means that they are<br />

actually functioning as enablers of those corrupt corporate, military, and political<br />

destroyers and exploiters of the rest of the world’s population and the earth.<br />

<br />

In a documentary about Robert Oppenheimer, he is confronted by an FBI interrogator<br />

who questions him because Oppenheimer had loosely associated with an anti nuclear<br />

bomb organization. Horrors! Oppenheimer was virtually speechless listening to the<br />

babbling ethical madness of the super patriot FBI man. That was during the McCarthy<br />

era. Remember "Good Night and Good Luck" (2005 with George Clooney and David<br />

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

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

Do we walk out and merely share our yeahs and boos with our companions?<br />

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

last words. They join with the philosophers, scientists, and academics and professionals<br />

of all stripes as lemmings leading the rest of world in a violent rush over the cliffs of<br />

devastating insanity of power. The movie industry smoothes the path for the masses to<br />

follow over the cliff by presenting violence in such a seductive way and by promoting<br />

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

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

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

together, are perfect stooges for the military-industrial complex.<br />

I could go on bellowing from my cyber soapbox albeit to the selective deafness of the<br />

mindlessly meandering sheep occupying the churches, universities, halls of justice and<br />

government, and treadmills and wastelands of the corporate world but, now, I may seem<br />

like the one who is "Nuts"!<br />

Well, they say when you think everyone else is crazy, it may be you who are nuts! What<br />

a convenient way to silence lonely voices of the self-doubting whistle-blowers.

Proposed Homelessness<br />

Solution (Letter to<br />

Reps/Polemic)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

Dear Representative Lewis, Senator Vincent Fort, and Councilman<br />

Kwanza Hall,<br />

I have been a homeless advocate for 20-plus years. I have never experienced<br />

homelessness myself, nor am I likely to. At the same time, I am mindful of the fact that<br />

any one of us could conceivably become homeless.<br />

My passion for advocating for homeless people grows out of a strong sense of social<br />

justice, and a nagging conscience.<br />

I am reaching out to you three because I feel a kinship with you all in this way:<br />

Representative John Lewis, for your indefatigable support for civil rights, past and<br />

present; Senator Vincent Fort, for your brave efforts on behalf of poor people; and<br />

Councilman Kwanza Hall, for your admirable sponsorship of the people living in the<br />

Boulevard projects, with your Year of Boulevard initiative.<br />

I have recently been reading about Salt Lake City's and Utah's virtual erasure of chronic<br />

homelessness through a housing subsidy program:<br />

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/04/17/the-surprisinglysimple-way-utah-solved-chronic-homelessness-and-saved-millions/<br />

The way that we deal with homelessness in Atlanta is abysmal, as I hope you will agree.<br />

As you know, the main causes of homelessness include a lack of jobs and of well-paying<br />

jobs, a dearth of affordable housing, and poorly-funded mental health and addiction rehab<br />

programs. Other contributors to homelessness include being war veterans, being victims<br />

of domestic abuse, having untreated disabilities, and having criminal records.<br />

Through no fault of their own (owing to the aforementioned causes), people fall into<br />

homelessness, and instead of helping them, the city shames them. Atlanta does not have<br />

plentiful or adequate shelters to assist the staggering amount of homeless in the city. And<br />

then when, because of this lack of shelter, homeless people - many elderly, most of them<br />

black - congregate in parks and sleep under bridges, the city brutally evicts them, often<br />

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<br />

have?<br />

It seems to me we could implement something close to what Salt Lake City has done.<br />

As the above linked article points out, chronically homeless people are the most<br />

challenging to re-assimilate into society. They use the most public resources, end up<br />

frequently in jail, and are often hospitalized.<br />

But if, as in Utah (where the governor is considered conservative), Atlanta establishes a<br />

house for each chronically homeless person, then offers each person counseling services,<br />

they might better be able to re-absorb into society. And it certainly would save costs for<br />

the city in the long run.<br />

Imagine battling the freezing cold or suffocating in the staggering heat on a daily basis.<br />

Imagine having to urinate and defecate outside, in public view - or urinate or defecate on<br />

yourself. Imagine being on the verge of starvation constantly. Imagine being denigrated<br />

and belittled by a callous public - all because our city, which has enough wealth to deal<br />

with the problem, refuses to.<br />

A city that deals humanely with homelessness attracts tourism and business and evolves<br />

into a world-class city - not one that is mocked, but rather one that is a model for other<br />

cities. One that is a beacon of compassion for all its citizens.<br />

For the homeless in Atlanta are citizens of Atlanta. WE are the homeless, and they are<br />

us.<br />

Homelessness is one of the great scourges of our time, and can be eradicated or at the<br />

very least, humanely handled so that all people have access to their natural civil rights.<br />

Is the City of Atlanta willing to look into this idea, or at the very least, propose long-term<br />

solutions, ones that are more durable and meaningful than simply building more shelters?<br />

I am willing to do what I can with this, but I am not in public office - I am an advocate,<br />

clamoring for change.<br />

I look forward to hearing from you.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

Alison Ross



MIX OF<br />



By Nathaniel S. Rounds<br />


At the end of Dynamometer, Rounds writes:<br />

“If we assume that your mind is made up of toxic substances that stagnate inside a soft<br />

skull, then you cannot recognize nor demonstrate common courtesy. In short: You are<br />

completely bereft of character. Nevertheless, you’ll forget all about it once you snooze in<br />

front of the television tonight with a big bowl of pretzels on your lap.”<br />

This, I do believe, encapsulates Nathaniel Rounds’ philosophy of poetry: Cut to the core<br />

of things using outrageous humor and outlandish insights. Disorient people, but also<br />

ground them in the here and now – and always compel them not only to see the absurdity<br />

of life, but to touch it, and taste it as well.<br />

--Alison Ross, Editor and Publisher of Clockwise Cat<br />

Editor’s note: Please peruse and order this book from either Fowlpox Press<br />

(fowlpoxpress.yolasite.com) or Clockwise Cat (www.clockwisecat.com)<br />

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Artist bio: Irene Koronas is the author of 7 collections of poetry and collaborative<br />

writing including heshe egregore (with Daniel Y. Harris, Éditions du Cygne, 2016),<br />

Turtle Grass (Muddy River Books, 2014), Emily Dickinson (Propaganda Press, 2010) and<br />

Self Portrait Drawn From Many (Ibbetson Street Press, 2007). Some of her poetry,<br />

experimental writing and visual arts have been published in Clarion, Counterexample<br />

Poetics, Divine Dirt, E·ratio, experiential-experimental-literature, Lynx, Lummox,<br />

Of\with, Pop Art, Right Hand Pointing, Presa, The Seventh Quarry Magazine,<br />

Spreadhead, Stride and Unblog. She has exhibited her visual art at the Tokyo Art<br />

Museum Japan, the Henri IV Gallery, the Ponce Art Gallery, Gallery at Bentley College<br />

and the M & M Gallery. She is the Managing Editor of X-Peri, http://xperi.blogspot.com/.



AUTHOR BIO: A Pushcart nominee, Lana Bella is an author<br />

of two chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016) and<br />

Adagio (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), has had poetry and fiction<br />

featured with over 270 journals, 2River, California Quarterly, Chiron<br />

Review, Columbia Journal, Poetry Salzburg Review, San Pedro River<br />

Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, The Writing Disorder, Third<br />

Wednesday, Tipton Poetry Journal, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere, among<br />

others. She resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam,<br />

where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps. She can be<br />

contacted at: https://www.facebook.com/Lana-Bella-789916711141831/<br />

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lana Bella’s poetry struck my sensibilities in a most<br />

urgent way. Her poems are luxuriously lyrical, mingling nature symbolism<br />

with tantalizing eros. She has a gift for weaving tangible imagery into the<br />

most eloquent phrasing. Her words ache with nostalgia, but in the most<br />

sublime way, erasing the stark pain and replacing it with swooning<br />

melancholy. !<br />

!<br />


Dear Suki: Caffè Roberto Cavalli, Italy,<br />

July 13th, to be so easy in your body,<br />

the rose-chill Negroni careened its way<br />

tempering everything but me. There<br />

was an ache and stirring of skin pressed<br />

into the orchestra of summertide's light<br />

coat; the evening was warming up, finely<br />

veined gold on your blossom mouth<br />

chasing the neatly dressed vermouth. I<br />

emerged from your fingers' caress fluent<br />

in spices, and gin and orange slice on<br />

the rocks; breaths digested the balms of<br />

budding fig and cherry like sublimity<br />

professed. Muffled traffic moved with ease<br />

between wisps of gossips everywhere<br />

and around us, while your gaze flecked

with the wildflowers of my heart's tangles,<br />

casting free old relics which would become<br />

any shape the slick-bitten night desired.<br />


as long and drawn as anchor<br />

released to axle-line,<br />

your gangly form escaped<br />

the whispering ash,<br />

flickered smooth and lean<br />

along the lip of the sea--<br />

aqua satin eyes held mystics<br />

in foam, fingers pulled on<br />

weight of secret things,<br />

confident in the strength of<br />

your wrists as they held sharp<br />

on a measure of embrace--<br />

this knowing, sculled instinct,<br />

withheld a moment longer,<br />

until at last, you turned red<br />

immersed in your grit of<br />

wanderlust--and in the distant,<br />

autumn wisteria festooned<br />

with fog, scoured the ocean for<br />

an erstwhile equivalent of self--<br />


The blond is not smiling.<br />

Her slender hands<br />

snake down my sides like<br />

two pale-throated pelicans<br />

sweeping the landscape<br />

of fidelity. Her penscript<br />

a curious river returns<br />

over the spine in an atonal<br />

symphony palpating on<br />

telegraph line. But I cannot<br />

turn back, for only<br />

daring souls build trust<br />

on barrier islands, whereas<br />

I grow weak and sail away<br />

remembering the caresses

I'd failed to hold in<br />

the choreography of her<br />

hidden curves and tartness<br />

near. Now, she is a moving<br />

target, a concentric point<br />

of red, tracing the crescent<br />

of my iced blue veins<br />

with her danse macabre.<br />


Dear Suki: Eluwene Place, Maui,<br />

I felt your weight slumped gently<br />

on the mat floor, stitching grease<br />

to cello-soft airfoil of lost requiem.<br />

From this distance, the low beam<br />

of kerosene lamp moved garments<br />

of viola Bach's Prelude and moon<br />

hewing at curious angles, tectonic<br />

plates of the briny hung on tumid<br />

waves. Fingers pinched in sweat<br />

and ached the length of ghostly air<br />

with manic shadows hugging my<br />

chest, offering nothing but stirring<br />

of something ravenous without. Yet,<br />

I lingered, caught on the irritants of<br />

memory, bobbing, weaving, hurling<br />

in economy of lines for the deep red<br />

crinoline of your form, in quiescent<br />

tense so otherworldly from still wind.<br />


Her paradisiacal past<br />

bored into<br />

my desperation<br />

as grades of gunshots<br />

carved my chest,<br />

crowning me<br />

with its freight<br />

of brackish molds.<br />

Granite eyes studied me<br />

like the storm<br />

that crushed<br />

the rock-ribbed walls

of a mountain,<br />

that coaxed my sky to rain.<br />


Mercurial as a lullaby revealed in<br />

a patch of raw, all at once<br />

you couldn't find me, eyes hurled<br />

into the majestic space of empty,<br />

fingers yawned through agitation of<br />

night like a serpentine army.<br />

This sensation of being the only ghost<br />

in our house tossed me about<br />

like a bevy of weeds in storm,<br />

paper-boats in tempest, unforgiving<br />

as the cold brethren sea.<br />

So of course I was moved to sway<br />

to the strokes of your loneliness,<br />

drawing the pales of a hand against<br />

a lock of onyx hair, kindled with<br />

faint dusting of metronome's spindly<br />

stems, so light barely a flutter was<br />

stirred on your chiffon sleeve.<br />

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

for the rest of June,<br />

he has convinced that<br />

rainbow was what<br />

gave me the idea to knit<br />

psychedelic ribbons<br />

on tight sweaters, and<br />

with the tips of his fingers,<br />

he traced the spirals<br />

of roses in the twinkles of<br />

their brilliant red, thick<br />

with briers of summer<br />

peals, before long,<br />

I watched him sniffed<br />

the myriad blooms,<br />

gnawed off a stem<br />

in despair--


Beyond the Spell of the Senses

!<br />

The Metallurgist's Bioluminescent Mirror<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />


.%,?%!2,13!Bill Wolak is a poet, photographer, and collage artist. He has<br />

just published his twelfth book of poetry entitled Love Opens the Hands<br />

with Nirala Press. His collages have been published in over a hundred<br />

magazines including: The Annual, Peculiar Mormyrid, Danse Macabre,<br />

Dirty Chai, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Lost Coast Review, Mad<br />

Swirl, Otis Nebula, and Horror Sleaze Trash. Recently, he was a featured<br />

poet at The Mihai Eminescu International Poetry Festival in Craiova,<br />

Romania. Mr. Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson<br />

University in New Jersey.<br />

Artist’s Statement:<br />

Collage undresses the darkness with a mirror’s secret undertow. It’s a dance<br />

done on burning kites while dreaming at the speed of light. Expectant as<br />

nakedness, collage is a door that surfaces in the shipwreck of your<br />

sleep. It’s a caress with the irresistible softness of a slipknot in a velvet<br />

blindfold. At its best, like poetry, collage is a moan just beyond delirium.<br />

I make collages out of all kinds of materials. Most are made out of paper<br />

engravings. Many collages are digitally generated or enhanced.

Poetry by Peter Davidson<br />

Author bio: PT Davidson is originally from New Zealand, although he has spent the past 25<br />

years livingabroad in Japan, the UK, Turkey and the UAE. His poetry has appeared in Otoliths,<br />

BlazeVOX, streetcake, After the Pause, Sein und Werden, Futures Trading, Snorkel, Clockwise<br />

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<br />

scene, although the book, The Women of the Beats (which I reviewed in a past issue -<br />

look it up), did wonders to rectify that. But for women to be marginalized in the<br />

Surrealist scene is unconscionable, since Surrealism was founded as a revolt against the<br />

tyranny of war and extreme societal orthodoxy. Literary political revolts should logically<br />

and exuberantly embrace women's voices, not relegate them to secondary status, or<br />

exclude them altogether.<br />

To counter the popular narrative that the Surrealists have marginalized female<br />

contributions, however, Penelope Rosemont, editor of Surrealist Women: An<br />

International Anthology, and herself a part of the modern-day Surrealist scene, pushes the<br />

thesis that the original Surrealists, as well current Surrealists, unlike most literary<br />

movements, have actually vaunted women's voices. To prove her point, Rosemont's book<br />

features 98 prominent female Surrealists from around the world (Peru, Switzerland,<br />

Egypt, France, Iran, and the United States are just a few of the variegated countries<br />

represented), and details the ways in which women have copiously contributed to the<br />

movement - through publications, exhibitions, salon participation, and so forth. Each<br />

feature also showcases samples of Surrealist women's poetry, polemics, scholarly articles,<br />

essay excerpts, visuals - or a combination thereof.

It's a startling document of just how integral women were - and are - to the Surrealist<br />

revolt, and how subversive it was (and is) that women were and are at the forefront of the<br />

movement. Rosemont convincingly makes the case that it is not the Surrealist movement<br />

itself that has excluded women - it has been subsequent anthologies about the Surrealists<br />

that have squeezed them out, making it seem as though the movement as a whole is<br />

misogynist.<br />

Just some of the revelations from this titanic tome (at 516 pages, which encompasses a<br />

juicy and extensive bibliography) range from better-knowns such as Denise Levy, Nadja,<br />

Joyce Mansour, Frida Kahlo, and Toyen, to lesser-knowns such as Anneliese Hager,<br />

Haifa Zangana, Nancy Joyce Peters, Blanca Varela, Eva Sulzer. These are authors whose<br />

work not only merits deeper delving, but who should be just as frequently and<br />

aggressively celebrated and quoted as their male counterparts.<br />

Indeed, here are just a few savory quotes from the essays and poems within:<br />

"Surrealism most emphatically does not signify unreality, or a denial of the real, or a<br />

refusal to accept reality. In insists, rather, on more reality, a higher reality." (Penelope<br />

Rosemont)<br />

"What made Surrealism different is that more and more women kept joining it, expanding<br />

it, and changing it, and that the men in it changed too (or dropped out)." (Penelope<br />

Rosemont)<br />

"One rainy day, a little mushroom emerged and immediately took himself to be an<br />

umbrella" (Laurence Iche)<br />

"I am in the rain, with black writing. I am in the night with strange hands" (Sonia Sekula)<br />

"I was sitting in my room. A butterfly comes in through the open window and lights on<br />

the wall opposite me. Its wings are painted with a nocturnal landscape: flanked by two<br />

ridges of hillsides, covered by those broad virgin Alaskan forests, a solitary road plunges<br />

into the distance; there's a single deserted house near a crossroads whose signpost wears<br />

only the motto: Life for Rent." (Eva Sulzer)<br />

"Out of the stony jungle grows a cold order - blossoms and decays. Its blue ashes blanket<br />

the streets. I stand and wait - the city rolls by but the blue lies immobile and stares at me.<br />

Does it speak to me? I listen in vain but hesitate simply to climb across it." (Anneliese<br />

Hager)<br />

"Always familiar, for me surrealism is life itself. Why? Because true life has nothing to<br />

do with what has insidiously been sanctioned by the repressive powers of mortality,<br />

religion, and law. Powers whose end is nothing less than the enslavement of the majority<br />

for the profit of a minority of impostors animated by terrorism of all kinds: churches,<br />

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<br />

capacity to be and to desire without moral or physical constraint through unlimited<br />

exercise of the imagination." (Marianne Von Hirtum)<br />

"The hand of the wind's own lover caresses the face of the absent one." (Alejandra<br />

Piznarik)<br />

"I will tell you with flowers (why not?)/I will tell you here or elsewhere/I will tell you<br />

that elsewhere or here/I will tell you that the key wants to go home" (Isabel Meyrelles)<br />

"Say it/and peel off that gray iguana skin mask/Say it/and clean out your cockpit of<br />

intoxicated spiders/Say it/and leave it splattered on mortuary of a moon" (Jayne Cortez)<br />

It enrages me, and should enrage anyone who cares about gender equilibrium in literary<br />

and artistic representation, that anthologies centering on Surrealism have often criminally<br />

excluded such vibrant voices of the verse and visual arts. We have Rosemont to profusely<br />

thank for painstakingly proving that we females are the original gangstas of Surrealism.<br />

For the impetus of wild imaginings surely began - and persists - with women.

REVIEW)<br />


by Alison Ross<br />

I will be brutally honest: I love being a woman, but hate being bloody. Every month, the<br />

sticky sanguine liquid pours forth relentlessly, and unless I want to squish around in a<br />

pool of crimson goo, I must stem the mad red tide with manmade plugs. This means<br />

walking around with a cotton phallus stuck up my vagina for several days; it's not as<br />

pleasant as it sounds, though it could be worse. And of course, there are the attendant<br />

cramps, bloating, and psychotic mood vacillations, but hey - we're veering off course.<br />

The point is, I do not find periods fun. I am not ashamed of them by any means, but this<br />

mandatory monthly molting of the uterine lining is messy and inconvenient, not to<br />

mention pricy. How many boxes of tampons and pads, how many ruined pair of<br />

underwear, how many washings of stained clothing, how many bottles of Motrin, how<br />

many rolls of toilet paper, how many Kleenex, can one girl go through and still be able to<br />

afford a place to live? It boggles the brain.<br />

Somehow, Jenuine Poetess, in her tome, Bloodstories: A Cycle of 28 Poems, is able to<br />

make the menses monster less, well, monstrous. Indeed, she uses the menstrual event as a<br />

jumping off point to narrate tales of injustice, and as a metaphor and motif for our shared<br />

stories of suffering. Bloodshed is our common thread; history is littered with the corpses<br />

of the oppressed, and such horrors persist to this day. Jenuine Poetess wants us to hear<br />

these stories, as many of them involve females, and she wants us to reflect in particular<br />

on the female experience.<br />

This is not to say that the all the poems are true narratives; some are more meditative,<br />

and not all relate explicitly to oppression. Some, even, have a delightful simplicity, at<br />

least in style, as in, [womanhood]: "Instead/of a/brave beautiful beginning/it/was the

terrifying/end/of the remnants/of her innocence."<br />

This haunting tone wends its way through most of the pieces; rarely are we given space to<br />

breathe (and with good reason). Suicide ("it was the first time I felt anything in so long"),<br />

endless violence ("This poem cannot stop bullets/this page will not shield a bomb blast"),<br />

mistreatment of black youth ('I will never know/the kind of fear/that is deep in the bones<br />

of my Black kindred"), educational brainwashing ("they are unteaching our children/with<br />

hollowed out imposters") - these are just some of the themes deftly, compassionately,<br />

indignantly explored in "Bloodstories."<br />

But there is levity: The more intriguing verses relate to the author's love of writing, her<br />

wonder at having a period and being female, and sometimes, twining the two. [vandall]<br />

manages this fusion well: "It is an endless wonder/what confessions poets murmur/in the<br />

deeps of night/...blood oaths and bloodstories seeping into sheets/...Poetry was<br />

here./scrawled on the walls of our wombs."<br />

Or, how about [born], where Poetess writes: "Poetry hemorrhages from my gaping<br />

flesh/...the eviscerated substance of my thrashing and thriving."<br />

If this cycle of 28 poems has a centerpiece - and a few pieces do compete for that title - it<br />

should be [lifeblood], where Poetess yearns for warm communion with other women: "I<br />

long for the old/rituals of sabbatical/of sisters gathering every 28 days/...giving and<br />

receiving bloodstories/affirming womanhood/cycling together/...in<br />

sacred/blood/ceremonies."<br />

As I enjoy these last years of uterine bloodletting (peri-menopause at least bestows the<br />

gift of erratic periods), I feel more validated in my bloodsuffering than I have ever felt.<br />

Nearly 50 years of being a woman, and about 37 years of menustration frustration, and<br />

yet only now do I feel a certain blood-bond with my fellow female travelers. Thank you,<br />

Jenuine Poetess.<br />

Bloodstories, though, is for everyone who cares about injustice: "it is a collective wail/a<br />

chorus of voices." Of course, it is specifically an homage to women, because: "it is our<br />

howling outrage/a ghostly/ghastly/rasping/...we/the creators/life makers/originators of all<br />

things/belonging no where/owning nothing/save two:/our blood/and/our truth."<br />

Bloodstories yield bloodtruths, indeed.

Art by Michael St. Germain

Author bio: St. Germain is wary of logic in art. His studio practice<br />

alternates between orchestrating controlled accidents and piling up<br />

material to bury the past. Like a happy-go-lucky fool, he goes<br />

wherever his intuition leads.

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