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WISE<br />

C<br />

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CloCKwiSE cAt/<br />

IssUE thiRTy-SiX<br />

Dedicated to the<br />

of<br />


!<br />

!!!!!!!<br />

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

!<br />

is dedicated to an AmeriKKKa flailing toward the final death throes of<br />

democracy. The pieces herein were not necessarily sculpted with that vividly<br />

in mind, but the editor is ever-vigilant of the fact that Donald J. Trump’s<br />

“election” to the presidency is the last nail in the coffin of what was always a<br />

mostly faux-democracy/demockery to begin with. Sure, we practice some<br />

democratic ideals, but the US has never been as equitable and just as the<br />

pernicious propaganda would have you believe. Don’t believe the hype, as<br />

Flava Flav so astutely warns us. Trump and his corrupt cronies represent the<br />

impending death of thousands if not millions of innocent people to corporate<br />

fascism. We repudiate this nihilistic vision of things and will work toward<br />

dismantling dystopia at every turn, through our words and deeds. Art is a sly<br />

and potent tool of subversion; use it with fierce ebullience against the<br />

xenophobes/homophobes/bigots and misogynists!












Three Cheers for the DEATH of<br />

Democracy! Thanks,<br />

Democrats!<br />

On November 8th, 2016, a catastrophe occurred: Donald Trump swooped in on a tornado of<br />

discontent and was elected 45th president of the United States. And, it seems, he was legitimately<br />

elected, although certainly voter suppression did happen, in the sense that swing states like<br />

Pennsylvania and North Carolina reportedly had far fewer polling places than previously<br />

(gerrymandering, anyone?), apparent hacking occurred in swing states like Michigan and<br />

Wisconsin, and so on. Too, Trump won the electoral college, a dubious win at best, and not the<br />

popular vote. Hillary claimed that - though by a margin too thin for comfort. Hillary should have<br />

won against Trump in a landslide, not by a mere three million votes.<br />

This rant is not going to delve too far into the travesties of voter suppression and the absurd<br />

anachronisms of the electoral college, however. Everyone with an intellectual pulse knows that<br />

those are issues of grave concern. What's not as apparent to even the smartest of cookies, though,<br />

is how the Democratic Party is largely to blame for Trump's victory. To that end, five brilliant<br />

articles by revered political journalists guide this episode of <strong>Cat</strong>atonically Speaking, which I<br />

excerpt extensively and annotate with my own commentary. I do this because these editorials<br />

sharply deconstruct the matter in a manner that surpasses my talents and knowledge. I read<br />

political analysis so that I may gain insights and reinforce my own articulated ideas and<br />

unarticulated suspicions, but I would never lay claim to being a political analyst myself. On the<br />

contrary, I am a rabid ranter who seeks to extract the truth from righteous sources.<br />

From Naomi Klein:<br />

"They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They<br />

will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent<br />

candidates...But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we<br />

now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – [is] fully embodied by Hillary<br />

Clinton and her machine. A hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of<br />

deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined<br />

precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net<br />

that used to make these losses less frightening."<br />

Sure, damning (and likely fraudulent) FBI accusations, voter suppression, and white supremacy<br />

all conspired, among other things, to sway voters toward Donald Trump or candidates other than<br />

Hillary. And sure, the Bernie or Busters, and third party votes also played a part in "stealing"<br />

votes from Hillary. But we must put this latter point into clearer perspective. Hillary was never<br />

entitled to votes to begin with. No one is entitled to votes - they must earn them. And if Hillary<br />

did not earn the trust of voters who defected toward Bernie, a far more palatable candidate than

Hillary, and one that was dirtily disenfranchised by the Democratic party itself, or who voted<br />

third party - or simply stayed home - then that cannot be the fault of the voters. It can only be the<br />

fault of the candidate herself.<br />

From Cornell West:<br />

"White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the<br />

economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same<br />

citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and<br />

who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China<br />

in the process...This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought<br />

neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the<br />

arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and<br />

protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy."<br />

To be bitterly blunt, Trump is a fascist freak, and there is no way around this fact. My own<br />

mother calls him an "orange anus." He is odious and incompetent. He's beyond embarrassing, far<br />

more buffoonish and pernicious than Bush. He stokes hate crimes while stoking his own<br />

aggrandized ego. President Comacho from “Idiocracy” has more substance and charm than<br />

Trump.<br />

Which is why it's so confounding that the Democrats did not go full-force in countering Trump's<br />

egregious excesses. He COULD have been easy to beat - and Bernie Sanders would have done so,<br />

if he'd maintained the same compelling campaign as he did in the primaries - but the DNC chose<br />

to run a sinister establishment candidate who pandered to the middle right and in the process<br />

offered no real opposition.<br />

From Cornell West:<br />

"For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and<br />

working people ... Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to<br />

ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and<br />

facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad."<br />

Initially, Obama was a refreshing step up from that clownish fascist, George W. Bush, to be sure.<br />

He was articulate, handsome, dignified, presidential. Everything that Bush was not. And he<br />

propagated a muted progressivism palatable to the masses. The problem is, most of his modestly<br />

progressive ideals have been eclipsed by his catering to neocon “values.” He's droned the hell out<br />

of seven Muslim-majority countries - SEVEN - and coddled Wall Street, cheating millions out of<br />

livable wages - or any wages at all. He's fervidly embraced privatization of public schools and<br />

even brought Black Lives Matter activists literally to tears through a callous dismissal of their<br />

vibrantly valid concerns (mass incarceration, police brutality, declining mobility, etc.) On the<br />

surface, Obama is everything we want in a president, but dig deeper - into the facts of his policies<br />

and achievements, that is - and you will see that he differs only in very subtle ways from the<br />

Republicans. Obama, like Clinton before him, is the very embodiment of neoliberalism, which<br />

neatly sets the stage for neofascism to take hold.

From Tom Frank, The Guardian:<br />

"The woman we were constantly assured was the best-qualified candidate of all time has lost to<br />

the least qualified candidate of all time. Yes, she has an impressive resume; yes, she worked hard<br />

on the campaign trail. But she was exactly the wrong candidate for this angry, populist moment.<br />

An insider when the country was screaming for an outsider. A technocrat who offered fine-tuning<br />

when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine ... [But] there was Bernie<br />

Sanders, an inspiring and largely scandal-free figure. [He] would probably have beaten<br />

Trump. And so Democratic leaders made Hillary their candidate even though they knew about<br />

her closeness to the banks, her fondness for war, and her unique vulnerability on the trade issue."<br />

Bernie Sanders galvanized millions by appealing to their sense of humanity. He refused corporate<br />

contributions and rallied for the people by making genuinely progressive promises. Did he, in the<br />

end, shill for Hillary, and not even appear to really mind that he was defrauded of the Democratic<br />

nomination by the dastardly DNC? Why yes, yes he did, on both counts. And true, he isn't as<br />

purely progressive as, say, The Green Party - he supports the evil entity that is the Israeli<br />

government, for one. But for a while there, it seemed as though we were all about to Feel the<br />

Bern, and it was looking hopeful that a Bernie/Trump match-up could not only make for<br />

endlessly entertaining SNL mockery, but also that Bernie was The Guy to beat the fake-tanned<br />

fascist. But the DNC made SURE that the war hawk, and Wall Street's beloved BFF - she who<br />

differed the least from the Republicans - was the nominee. And they did this to their own<br />

detriment, and to the detriment of most Americans.<br />

From "Did Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Voters Cost Hillary Clinton The Election?":<br />

“Now that Donald Trump is president-elect, despondent Hillary Clinton supporters need someone<br />

to blame. Of course, they could blame the Democratic Party for willfully tipping the scales in<br />

favor of ensuring the nomination of a candidate who is a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable,<br />

scandal-plagued candidate... They could blame the fact that Clinton only won 65 percent of<br />

Latino voters—despite running against a candidate who has threatened mass deportation of<br />

undocumented immigrants whom he described as "rapists" and "criminals," and who promised to<br />

build a Mexican-financed wall on our Southern border. At least 27 percent of Latinos voted<br />

for...Trump! There were other voter problems Clinton ran into, which likely dwarf any effect<br />

third party voters had on denying her the presidency (not least of which because it's ridiculous to<br />

assume third party voters would automatically go to Clinton). But self-reflection is hard and<br />

blaming the deliberately marginalized voices of third party voters by the Democratic and<br />

Republican parties is easier.”<br />

This article is perhaps the most solidly spot-on. The Democrats will continue to blame everyone<br />

but themselves for their pathetic losses. The Democrats cannot even rally Latinos to their cause,<br />

even in the face of being crassly slandered with untrue epithets and menacingly threatened with<br />

deportation. Could this maybe POSSIBLY reflect the fact that the Democrats offered no concrete<br />

reason to vote for them, given the Obama administration’s embrace of the shameful ICE<br />

(Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which operates private prisons that treat undocumented<br />

immigrants in the cruelest fashion?<br />

The Democrats and their bullying minions will always find reason to blame the Green Party,<br />

despite how the Green Party actually advocates for their rights (unlike the corporate, corrupt<br />

Dems), and despite how a true democracy entails incubation and fostering of third, fourth, and<br />

fifth parties. Look at European democracies for proof. I would say that the Democrats lack

facility for self-reflection, but I think a truer statement would be that they are just fine in only<br />

offering the façade of being a foil to the Republicans. The fact of the matter is, they offer a few<br />

conciliatory gestures toward progressives to lure them into supporting their mostly neoliberal<br />

programs, which fall right in line with Republican mandates.<br />

From: "Is This the Death of the Democratic Party? The Death of the Liberal Media? And<br />

by the Way, Bernie Would Have Won":<br />

“There have always been two narratives about this election. One predicted what actually<br />

happened in the end, while the other missed the boat completely. Narrative 1. Bernie Sanders<br />

represents the unachievable in American politics. Hillary Clinton is the candidate of experience<br />

and realism. Donald Trump is a temporary phenomenon, feeding on passions and resentments.<br />

The election is about the cultural values of tolerance, openness and identity, therefore we must<br />

support Hillary. Anyone who doesn’t support Hillary must be suspected of harboring racist and<br />

misogynist feelings themselves. Narrative 2. Bernie Sanders is offering necessary correctives, at<br />

the most minimal level, to the excesses of the neoliberal economy of the past 40 years. Clinton<br />

represents the essence of said neoliberalism, embodying its worst practices, from trade to<br />

immigration. Donald Trump has tapped into real economic anxiety among those who have lost<br />

under neoliberal globalization. This election is about returning equal economic rights to all<br />

citizens. Only Bernie Sanders has the winning message for this explosive situation.<br />

Those who believed in Narrative 2 - which included a vanishingly small proportion of<br />

intellectuals - got it right at every turn. Trump won, Hillary lost, and we are in for a very bad<br />

time. Essentially, those who chose Hillary over Bernie during the primaries, when we had a<br />

clear choice, voted for Trump, since Bernie was always the stronger candidate against<br />

Trump. The polls consistently proved it. Given a clear progressive choice in the primaries,<br />

the Democratic Party establishment went for the failed neoliberal candidate of war,<br />

inequality and injustice. At the moment, the entire party stands discredited. The philosophy<br />

of catering to upwardly mobile professionals, exploiting immigrants in the neoliberal setup<br />

while simultaneously expounding their virtues, and constructing a façade of moral<br />

righteousness while ignoring the existence of poor people of any color, stands discredited.”<br />

Mic drop. Curtain slams shut. Fuck Trump, and fuck the Democrats. GREEN PARTY, or<br />


!<br />

Madeline<br />

By Natalie Crick<br />

Madeline,<br />

She was born<br />

In summertime, with<br />

Rainbow smoke pouring out from her mouth<br />

Like journeys in the sky.<br />

Doves danced in her hair.<br />

Who would know<br />

What was to happen next?<br />

She lived in a chapel<br />

Of glass walls<br />

And God was like<br />

A beautiful deviant to her, a brother maybe.<br />

Madeline. Oh, how I will miss you!<br />

What is life all about?<br />

It is like upsetting all of your best friends and<br />

Turning around<br />

And around<br />

And around<br />

Until<br />

BLACK<br />

Blood, it pumps through her veins.<br />

Her heart is white jelly.<br />

Madeline, when she was born<br />

She died inside herself.<br />

Sssshhhh, everything is quiet now.<br />

Author bio: Natalie Crick, from Newcastle in the UK, has found delight in writing all of<br />

her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is influenced<br />

by melancholic confessional Women's poetry. Her poetry has been published in a range<br />

of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne's Thread,<br />

Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013.

TWO pOeMs<br />

By Matt Alexander<br />

Author bio: Matt Alexander is a scientist and writer in Philadelphia. When struck by<br />

insight, he shouts “Bazinga!”,not “Eureka!”, although he has nothing against Archimedes<br />

and is in fact himself an avid bath-taker. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in<br />

Maudlin House, After the Pause, and Five2One Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at<br />

@thenamesmatta.<br />

Eructation<br />

Stop belching? If only it were so<br />

Easy to chew your food<br />

Thirty-two times before swallowing<br />

Aerates it more than your average<br />

Person would never listen to my prodigious digestion<br />

Borborygmus; no I’m not farting<br />

Or consuming media mixed by a food processor.<br />

Cooking at home is both healthier and cheaper<br />

But watch out for the soil foods<br />

Exercise too<br />

Is now the pastime of the capitalizers<br />

Because have you seen the price of a Crossfit class?<br />

Can you believe how fat some people are?<br />

Slobs, uncouth like a visible bra strap<br />

Uncultured like yogurt fired in a kiln<br />

Flatulating, flailing like a fish in our economy<br />

Trickling like blue rain drops down my Uber’s window<br />

As it does on the plains of Kansas<br />

Which is not a bad gig but offers no protections either<br />

With all my equally-loved tax dollars going<br />

To the you-know-who-s<br />

Burping with their Double Big Gulps<br />

Jasper says you should have to pass a test before you can vote<br />

Why We Run<br />

“There’s a naked man in that window”<br />

Said the howling dog and it was true<br />

The man was changing as we all<br />

Are and the dog was that man’s<br />

Best friend but the canine had amnesia<br />

Which is a sickness of your mind

In which you hear all possible<br />

Projections of the past so none is true and<br />

All our minds have it to some extent<br />

The man had no other friends as<br />

None of us do to some extent<br />

(Except those select few with dogs)<br />

So the man came to the window and said<br />

“Here Fido” and the dog was frightened<br />

Who was this man who knew his name?<br />

And ran as far away as he could which was<br />

Quite far because he had no idea who the man<br />

His master was and how could any of us know<br />

Who we are sleeping with or learning from<br />

That’s why we run<br />

Some would say were born to<br />

How could I have known; you couldn’t<br />

Either so that’s why we ran blindly into<br />

The street and were crushed by trucks

My Love Has Gone to Voicemail<br />

(SATIRE)<br />

!<br />

By Jon Wesick<br />

Finally, a smart, self-assured woman who seemed interested in me! Wet met at the gym<br />

as I was starting my work out on the weight machines and she was finishing hers. She<br />

was a tall, blonde wildlife biologist who told me about her trip to Australia and in a<br />

throaty voice described Sydney’s topless beaches. I called her that very night.<br />

“This is Susan. Leave a message after the beep.”<br />

I responded in my best radio DJ voice and then waited for days. Nothing. When I called<br />

back again and again, it was always the same – self-conscious pulse, unsteady palms, my<br />

dry-throated anticipation at the first ring, and the slow-motion rejection of that recorded<br />

message.<br />

After more tries I decided I would date her answering machine instead. It made sense.<br />

We’d already spent more time talking with than I had with Susan. The night before our<br />

date I only slept a few hours. At the office the next day I fantasized about removing her<br />

battery cover and then slowly undoing the Philips head screws to reveal the holy of<br />

holies, her circuit board. Oh the thought of those womanly transistors, capacitors, and<br />

diodes took my breath away.<br />

Somehow, despite my distraction, I made it through the work day. Then at 6:00 I drove to<br />

the restaurant. As I searched for a parking spot on the narrow streets, doubts assailed me.<br />

Would she be a boxy unit that resembled a Soviet refrigerator or even worse only a<br />

disembodied voice residing in an electronics rack at Verizon headquarters? My<br />

underarms began to exude that vegetable-soup smell I get when I’m nervous. I wished I’d<br />

brought some deodorant and a clean shirt.<br />

When I arrived and saw her sitting atop the clean, white tablecloth, I realized that I’d<br />

worried for nothing. She was beautiful – a slim model with graceful lines, rounded<br />

corners, and healthy brushed-aluminum skin. Most of all, her clean, user-friendly LCD<br />

display set me immediately at ease.<br />

After I ordered Lobster Florentine for me and a cobb salad for her, we got to know each<br />

other. Although I find it hard to talk to answering machines, her nonjudgmental manner<br />

loosened my tongue. I related my dreams and fears. I even confessed my most intimate<br />

sexual fantasies. Unlike so many women she didn’t monopolize the conversation with<br />

complaints about competitive female coworkers and dastardly ex boyfriends. When I<br />

asked if she would go home with me, she didn’t say no.

Being a gentleman, I won’t describe the details of our lovemaking except to say that<br />

although stiff and cold at first she warmed to my touch and soon proved extraordinary.<br />

Now that she’s moved in, I’m enjoying the rich, emotional life, I’d thought only belonged<br />

to others. No more hours of work broken up by an empty apartment, lonely meals, and<br />

bad TV. Now, whenever I feel the need for human contact, I reach out and hear, “This is<br />

Susan. Leave a message after the beep.”<br />

Author bio: Author of the poetry collection Words of Power Dances of Freedom, host of<br />

the Gelato Poetry Series, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has<br />

published more almost a hundred short stories in journals such as The Berkeley Fiction<br />

Review, Clockwise <strong>Cat</strong>, Space and Time, Zahir, Tales of the Talisman, Blazing<br />

Adventures, and Metal Scratches. One was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Jon has a<br />

Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts.

The Death of Quetzal Blanco<br />

By Tracy Thomas<br />

For Deus Ex Machina<br />

Can you give us a hand? We have this lost civilization to unearth. We have this<br />

candlelight to rescue from an uncertain fate. Hanging from the trees the apples are so<br />

shiny and black down under the ice of the lake. The songs they’re made of would like to<br />

take us faraway. This conversation you’re having with god-knows-who, it’s just a breeze<br />

blowing through the stockyards of our mind. You have birds sleeping in your trees. You<br />

can’t be that bad. There’s Cro-Magnon Man and Neanderthal Man and the man atop the<br />

horse in the square all green with verdigris. Can you give us a hand? We have these<br />

songbirds to devour. We have these beavers to send into space. When they come back<br />

they’ll be muscle men kicking sand on wimps on the beach. There’s no need to get all<br />

rattled. These holes through your hands and feet, they could be a good thing.<br />

Verdigris Man has joined the Foreign Legion. He wants to see morning mists<br />

among the cinnamon trees. He wants to see where choucroute comes from. I want to see<br />

ants carry away a civilization. If you can read this you’re already viewing earth from the<br />

vantage of a symphony. Your phone is ringing. It’s just the wind playing some broken<br />

reeds in the winter shallows. We’re on fire in this dump truck. Our ashes are bound for<br />

nowhere good. Our ashes will fertilize black apples growing on the bottom of some<br />

Russian lake. There’s fish down here that want to eat your houseboat. I’d shake your<br />

hand but mine’s doodling voodoo. This horizon you’re admiring has gnawed its foot off<br />

to get out of the trap. Your phone’s ringing. The birds sleeping in your trees, they let the<br />

devil pet them.<br />

Have you ever been lost in the rain? The rain on lily pads? The rain on black<br />

apples? The rain on the far side of forever? The rain on Verdigris Man? He’s playing<br />

pinochle. There’s nothing like pinochle in the rain. I’d shake your hand but I’m blessing<br />

this rabid fox. They say the god from the machine will wreck your story. What if the god<br />

from the machine is your story? Here take this ball and run that way. Mind the quicksand.<br />

Your four year old is sharpening her incisors on my forearm. Can you give us a hand?<br />

We have these tombs to desecrate. I swear I have knowledge to impart. Maybe it’s from<br />

the same god-knows-who you’ve been talking to.<br />

Verdigis Man has come loose from the pedestal. He’s catching the redeye to<br />

heartbreak pie. He’s got a critical meeting with the god from the machine. He’s catching<br />

the redeye to salamander sky. I’m under that sky with an umbrella of wolves. I’m<br />

practicing speaking the language of rust. Many of its syllables once held things together.<br />

Can you give us a hand? We have these warthogs to fertilize. Verdigris Man is visiting all<br />

the capitals of the world. No matter where he goes he invariably winds up for sale at a<br />

swap meet. He wants to be in a snow globe with all the capitals of the world. The sun sets<br />

differently in all the capitals of the world, sometimes in the east, sometimes in the west,<br />

sometimes chased by bullies down a dead end alley, another time with lace stockings

hiding in the wilds of the Balkans, sometimes dressed in Versace with sewage on its<br />

shoes, sometimes in a mush of gray flowers where millipedes live. Sometimes it doesn’t<br />

matter that there’s a sunset because you’re just beautiful anyway.<br />

If I were beautiful like you, I’d live like it’s always sunset and cable cars would<br />

always wait for me, cable cars of green travertine, even if there’s never been a cable car<br />

in my city. Exotic birds like the one’s you see in National Geographic and in aviaries<br />

would whirl around me, quetzals, lyre birds, golden pheasants, birds of paradise, cocks of<br />

the rock, a rainbow of trogons and fly catchers. They’d be my language that everyone can<br />

understand. I’d bathe in blue cream with little boats of sandalwood and patchouli. I’d pay<br />

with a currency of glances. I’d live in a white shipwreck on the banks of the Oise. These<br />

lines would be more than a circus of fuchsias; they’d be geckos in the wassail bowl;<br />

they’d be diamond marmalade. They’d be bare feet and lavender. If I made a fire, it<br />

would murmur the depths of all dances because fire’s witnessed them all. In the snow<br />

globe we’re living in, it’s always snowing at twilight.<br />

This hand you’ve given us, it’s been sipping pineapple schnapps. It’s been fooling<br />

with black water and the muffins of the dead. It pulled the rip cord. This hand you’ve<br />

given us keeps turning the pages. There’s nothing on those pages but places to hide ashes.<br />

There’s nothing on those pages but the revenants of shattered things. This hand you’ve<br />

given us, it’s shredding cabbages with a violin; it’s a spray of transparent roses. Let’s call<br />

it, water garden on the moon; let’s call it, ten broken songs for the everyday. Let’s call it<br />

the badlands of saints. The God from the Machine is watching the hand. Now he’s<br />

dissolving the hand in aqua regia to transmute it into old fashioned Christmas candy,<br />

electric madrigals, into dew on sleeping birds. He’s a blue collar god. He’s a god with<br />

calluses. He’s a working man’s god. He’s everygod. He wants to be a god on a pedestal.<br />

He wants to live in some paradise and drink nectar and ambrosia. He wants to be one of<br />

those gods that eat offerings at the crossroads. But he’s the Deus Ex Machina. He’ll fix<br />

your dead end. He’ll give you back your happy ending. He’s the God from the Machine.<br />

He’ll drop the boom on you.<br />

Author bio: Tracy Thomas has lived his entire life in the vastness of the American West;<br />

Colorado, Wyoming, California and finally Arizona, basically a non-stop Frederic<br />

Remington painting. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Journal and<br />

Bombay Gin. Since his plans for graduate school have fallen through he’s<br />

currently searching for a cave in the Sonoran Desert where he’s hoping to begin<br />

experiencing St. Anthony-style visions.

Artwork by PD Lyons<br />

Artist bio: PD Lyons was born and raised in the USA. He has been traveling and living<br />

abroad since 1998, and is now residing in Ireland. He received The Mattatuck College<br />

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry. His two books of poetry include Searches<br />

For Magic, and Caribu & Sister Stones: Selected Poems, published by Lapwing Press,<br />

Belfast. A third book, Myths Of Multiplicity, was published by Erbacce press, Liverpool,<br />

as part of the 2014 Erbacce International Annual Prize The work of PD Lyons has also<br />

appeared in many magazines and e-zine/blogs throughout the world, including The<br />

SHoP, Books Ireland, Irish American Post, Boyne Berries, Virtual Writer, Slipstream,<br />

West 47 Galway Arts. He was recently selected to participate in the Human Rights<br />

Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, in a University of London publication<br />

titled ‘In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights’. He blogs at:<br />


Scorpion Night

Bad Flowers and Graveyard Dirt<br />

(for Patti Smith)<br />

By Tanaka Mhishi<br />

Momma grew bad flowers<br />

outta her butt cheeks<br />

tak-a-tak rhythm<br />

running a train track<br />

though cotton panties.<br />

She found me in the street<br />

the way Albertine found her<br />

the way Jean Genet found her<br />

the whole bastard ancestry<br />

of rock star poets going back<br />

to God herself<br />

and now God is shucking oysters at the deli,<br />

watching sweat hiss down salt arms<br />

until it evaporates<br />

halfway to the ground.<br />

Momma I've got a belly full of poems<br />

and a demon on my back, and all<br />

the demons come with backups;<br />

show them a cruciform and they'll reboot.<br />

Momma they raped me by the station.<br />

Momma they chained me to the earth.<br />

Momma my body doesn't fit like it used to.<br />

and<br />

I went to sleep at night thinking I would die

and<br />

I went to sleep at night hoping I would die<br />

and<br />

I went to sleep at night, woke up in Père Lachaise<br />

breathing bone dust.<br />

Momma where were you in the night?<br />

Where was your holy voice<br />

and your wrists that look like mine?<br />

Where were your wings when I needed them?<br />

Momma I have seen the face of God<br />

and she is awkward<br />

Boy elbows. White shirt.<br />

Sainted urchin. Car crash alchemist.<br />

Momma thank you.<br />

You taught me rough<br />

and weird<br />

and urgent<br />

Momma thank you.<br />

Thank you.<br />

Amen.<br />

Editor’s note: This poem originally appeared at Voicemail Poems, Winter 2015.<br />

Author bio: Tanaka Mhishi is a poet, playwright and performer who lives in London,<br />

England. His work has previously appeared in such publications as Rogue Agent<br />

Journal and Words Dance- for full details visit tanakamhishi.co.uk.

Authenticity & Other<br />

Bona Fide<br />

Synthetics<br />

By RL Black<br />

A polyester man carried a basket of plastic produce through the self<br />

checkout at an all night grocery store. A nylon woman waiting in the next<br />

lane over watched him as he carefully scanned and bagged his items. The<br />

self-checkout lane was usually empty. It’s like a bird with two heads. The<br />

nylon woman never uses the self checkout, but she listens when that bird<br />

sings, and now she thinks the bird isn’t singing, it’s weeping, and it sounds a<br />

lot like the beep, beep, beeping the register kept making when the polyester<br />

man waved his artificial apples like they were the real thing.<br />

Author bio: RL Black is EIC of two online journals, and her own writing<br />

has been published across the web and in print. She tweets @rlblackauthor.

cross hatch<br />

by !"#$%&'#<br />

!<br />

adjudication, roots spiral violent ) desecration!<br />

form nails, simple irony!<br />

feet – unwood end calluses !<br />

these nude heels!<br />

press in !<br />

stead – soil, groans in abominable !<br />

relish!<br />

! swaths loins!<br />

simmer, a shimmer spinner — in!<br />

! god we trust!<br />

! ! through cranium fissures!<br />

! eyes brim bright – no other!<br />

silver air-flipped ( deconstructive. Dime<br />

!<br />

red ! ! ! ! ! ! ! end!<br />

!<br />

it leaks, it strains, it fails!<br />

clock!<br />

wise motion!<br />

!<br />

it retains it!<br />

to bend!<br />

into a fall<br />

wicked<br />

fierce (in !<br />

desiring !<br />

to live!<br />

!<br />

in<br />

desire)!<br />

im purity!

in it!<br />

body!<br />

wordless<br />

!<br />

seas !<br />

smoky red!<br />

red (in it !<br />

in it)!<br />

ruby bled.!<br />

Author bio: JR Vork is a connoisseur of empty space and minimalism.

My Mother's Decision<br />

By Jeri THompson<br />

Combing gray shag carpet<br />

through her toes, she drags her feet to the coffee,<br />

cigarette in hand. She greets another day<br />

with yesterday’s mascara sliding down her face,<br />

and the far-away gaze of the dead.<br />

Coffee and a cigarette. Time to get up,<br />

get out of bed, get dressed and get ready - one more day. She breathes deeply<br />

the blaze-back sulfurous sizzle that shifts the weight of her world.<br />

Sunrise/sunset. Day-in/day-out. Day-after-day-after-day.<br />

Racing to place. Racing to finish.<br />

There was nothing to look forward to as she tunneled<br />

through her future. Restful weekends were what her co-workers had.<br />

Her Saturdays and Sundays were booked in advance –<br />

rounding-up children to help wash, scrub, dust, change bedding while<br />

cooking only what her alcoholic-couch-humping-husband wanted,<br />

while fetching his beers.<br />

She lived a life sentence unbound by chains or cages.<br />

I prefer to remember my mom the way she was<br />

after work (paid) and work (house). We three would watch TV<br />

together on the couch, in the security of the 1970s middle class glow.<br />

There was serenity in that room. Then father’s car pulled<br />

into the driveway. My brother and I ran to our rooms, closed our doors.<br />

We left her alone, in the dark room, with the TV still aglow.<br />

Before she became a widow, she picked up her own bottle<br />

and continued to drink her way into a second husband.<br />

They had similar tastes for cheap bourbon and chain-smoking.<br />

My mother’s life was scripted from the moment she fell for my father;<br />

pregnant before marriage, shaming her family.<br />

That single choice buried her long before the cancer<br />

overtook her in the final stretch of the race<br />

Author bio: JT lives in a Coastal community in So. Cal. She loves riding a Trikke on the<br />

beach trail.Nominated for a Pushcart Prize a few years back. You can find her work in<br />

Mas Tequila Review, Chiron Review, Yellow Chair Review and Rat's Ass among others.

Author bio: PT Davidson is originally from New Zealand, although he has spent the past<br />

25 years livingabroad in Japan, the UK, Turkey and the UAE. His poetry has appeared in<br />

Otoliths, BlazeVOX, streetcake, After the Pause, Sein und Werden, Futures Trading,<br />

Snorkel, Clockwise <strong>Cat</strong>, Tip of the Knife, foam:e and Your One Phone Call.

History Smudgings<br />

By Devin Taylor<br />

Gaius Julius Caesar lived<br />

once upon a rhyme<br />

on a bready diet of canned pico<br />

de gallo and fennel seed<br />

crackers; the bags under his eyes<br />

were brim filled with watercolor<br />

drippings. An infinite supply<br />

of handmade macaroni paintings<br />

could not mend his broken<br />

heart; he died as he lived.<br />

Centuries later, landscapers tread<br />

where he once trod, and face full frontal<br />

the floral dilemma of their procession.<br />

To landscape or not to landscape?<br />

—the rhododendron conundrum.<br />

And soon enough, within the bosom<br />

of the Colosseum’s basin, a crop of<br />

a flock of skyscrapers bloomssomed,<br />

and we dubbed it Fifth Avenue!<br />

Meanwhile, back at the ranch,<br />

the pines of Rome sprout<br />

coniferous mustaches,<br />

and don togas and tunics<br />

and deciduous lisps while<br />

gossiping the fate of the forest:<br />

—How's the weather, Woody?<br />

—Quite upwardish, actually:<br />

Upchucked from his tall tower,<br />

Toting a bad comb-over and coonskin cap,<br />

A forecast predicting ethnic cleansing arrived,<br />

Piggybacking upon a mallard down the brook<br />

Just over the rainbow which countrymen<br />

Call the “Rubicon.” We must prepare

Harvest festivities posthates! Let no<br />

Block-of-wood be without casket<br />

Or cork of Baccunysus's finest, for<br />

This absurd drought has finally ended,<br />

And we can now wash away<br />

The dryclean stains of dirty history:<br />

No more shall Carthaginian ashes<br />

Dust our unleaded aguapipes,<br />

Like undissolved Tang residue;<br />

No more shall undocumented Barbarians<br />

Scale our Great Walls of Hadrian's.<br />

Let the Kool Aid of the past flow<br />

Through the sewered veins of the future<br />

And make great again this fair skewered nation!<br />

Trump Le Monday!<br />

From province to provincial,<br />

a trend emerges: No self-respecting aqueduct<br />

is seen without adjacent bottles of Dawn<br />

dish soap! News travels fast of the next<br />

big utopia, a cornucopia of suds free of filth.<br />

Misbegotten bubbles, blowing in the wind<br />

like Monsanto seeds, would have you believe<br />

otherwise. The general consensus of these<br />

expatriates: Expunge every sponge from<br />

the universe, and then some; it will get you nowhere<br />

regardless. Elbow-deep in the oily<br />

past, I cannot help but agree.<br />

Author bio: Devin Taylor studies English and Creative Writing at<br />

Washington College. His work can be found in The Poeming Pigeon, In<br />

Between Hangovers, The Lake (UK), and Silicon Heart Zine. He has<br />

forthcoming publications in Gargoyle, Five 2 One, MUSH/MUM, Pure<br />

Slush, and BLYNKT. He plays bass and electric kazoo for the DC area band<br />

Knuckleberry Finn.


VERSUS<br />


!<br />

CD REVIEW By Alison Ross<br />

!<br />

Adam Ant once said that there were no fresh ideas, but that the way he<br />

"clashed" different things together was novel. I think that is a discerning<br />

assessment of the discrepancy between perceived innovation and genuine<br />

novelty: Nothing new under the sun, except how disparate ideas are<br />

juxtaposed and sculpted into a coherent whole.<br />

I would say that Big Grams' EP most assuredly falls within the purview of<br />

this perspective: The collective, made up of OutKast rapper Big Boi and<br />

New York dream-pop duo Phantogram, cultivate writhing rhythms that<br />

collide with jarring cadences and tangle up with southern-fried raps. There<br />

are guest stars on the EP as well, such as Skrillex (bouncing away on the<br />

fluffy, freak-funk of “Drum Machine”) and Killer Mike, whose unfortunate<br />

feature is a misguided melange of misogynistic lyrics and bland beats.<br />

!<br />

!<br />


But otherwise, Big Grams far outpaces Phantogram's newest LP as far as<br />

sonic inventiveness. Three, the only Phantogram I own, is a largely<br />

lackluster affair, zealously mixing styles and sounds in an effort to entice,<br />

but ultimately to leaden effect. There is one standout song, the searing single<br />

"You Don't Get Me High Anymore," which swoons and swirls like<br />

psychedelic disco. Other than that, the album is sterile. Give me the hiphop/electro-pop<br />

clashing mash-up of Big Grams any day.<br />

!<br />

!<br />


Trumpus: A Christmas Tale<br />

By Heidi Hough<br />

ONCE UPON A TIME, in a land not nearly far enough away, there was a malevolent red<br />

Christmas ball of a fairy godfather.<br />

Trumpus was his name.<br />

“Godfather, godfather!” screeched a group of small-of-heart but big-of-mouth peach<br />

creatures who wore red-brimmed hats. “Give me back my country!”<br />

The red Christmas-ball man cackled maniacally. “It will be great again!” Trumpus boomed.<br />

The small but many screeched in pleasure.<br />

*<br />

“Mother,” asked a small African-American girl in South Carolina, because it was statistically<br />

unlikely she would have the pleasure of saying “Father,” “Mother, what made America<br />

great?” She had seen the news and the headlines.<br />

And Mother could not answer because the small-heart, big-mouth peach throng were saying<br />

“God” and “themselves,” and she did not want her daughter to have to think about how it was<br />

actually on the backs of her ancestors, before bed.<br />

*<br />

“We’ll get ‘em out!” hooted the Trumpus and the peach horde hollered.

*<br />

“Grandmother,” asked a young boy in Los Angeles, of Guatemalan descent. Grandmother<br />

handed him his backpack. His statistically-probable parents were already hard at minimumwage<br />

work. “Now that Trumpus is The Most Bigly Fairy Godfather will we have to leave our<br />

home? Like the Mexicans?”<br />

Grandmother sighed, because she knew the peach creatures did not know the difference or<br />

care that she and her Mexican neighbors were American citizens. She said in Spanish,<br />

because she loved her language and wanted her grandson to too, “No se. Posible.” **<br />

“Grab her by the pussy!” crowed Trumpus, like a big, orange rooster who got out of a cage<br />

that should have stayed locked. “Cock a doodle doo!”<br />

*<br />

The orange horde did not look surprised that Fairy Godfather Trumpus the red Christmas ball<br />

was suddenly a rooster, but then, they did not become surprised if he became a beanstalk or<br />

Michael Corleone, because Trumpus also wore a red hat and was making them offers they<br />

couldn’t refuse.<br />

“Daddy’s?” asked a tiny set of twins in Wisconsin, who loved cat videos and were eerily<br />

gifted at navigating parental controls on YouTube. “Why would Trumpus want to hurt a<br />

pussy? And why are all those ladies in swimming suits standing around a pumpkin?”<br />

*<br />

One dad dad face-palmed while the other dad hit pause. One of the twins was a girl, which<br />

meant she might think walking in high heels and swimming suits made her pretty, and one of<br />

them was a boy, who might grow up to think it was okay to talk about ladies in swimming<br />

suits that way. Never mind how unrealistic it was to be a talking red Christmas ball.<br />

*<br />

That night all the parents tucked their children in and told them a fairy tale where, even when<br />

things seemed lost, like little children in a dark wood, those same children stuck together and<br />

when the spell ended at four-years-later midnight, they realized it had been just another big,<br />

bad story, with a new chapter on the next page.<br />

And it was still possible it all ended happily ever after.<br />

**Potential good news for small Guatemalan boy! Trumpus has announced he likes<br />

Mexicans who are good Americans. It is hoped the peach horde reads good news.<br />

Author bio: Heidi Hough is an MA candidate in creative writing at Dartmouth College in<br />

New Hampshire. She has written for various publications including The Los Angeles Times<br />

and Huffington Post. Her last name is pronounced 'huff' not 'ho,' and her memoir about a<br />

cultish upbringing is forthcoming. More writing can be found at at heidihough.com .

Photography by JR Vork<br />

JR Vork writes: “The photo was taken at Discovery Green in downtown<br />

Houston when they had an angel sculpture exhibit. I was trying to capture<br />

its clean lines. Later on, the edits were done after reading Dante's Inferno<br />

for a poetry class; the red really brought out a different perspective.”<br />

Artist bio: JR Vork is a connoisseur of empty space and minimalism.


SATIRE<br />

Author bio: Author of the poetry collection Words of Power Dances of Freedom, host of<br />

the Gelato Poetry Series, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has<br />

published more almost a hundred short stories in journals such as The Berkeley Fiction<br />

Review, Clockwise <strong>Cat</strong>, Space and Time, Zahir, Tales of the Talisman, Blazing<br />

Adventures, and Metal Scratches. One was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Jon has a<br />

Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts.<br />


Do you enjoy fine dining but worry about what it will do to your weight? Then come to<br />

Clark’s Mixed Martial Arts Buffet where you can work off that 16-oz. prime rib in a lifeor-death<br />

struggle against a trained mixed martial arts fighter.<br />

Start out with our all-you-can-eat, soup-and-salad bar. You’ll need that energy when you<br />

go three rounds against Rick “Mad Dog” Slaughter to win a chance to advance to entrees.<br />

At Clark’s MMA Buffet we feature ham, chicken, turkey, our famous prime rib, and a<br />

realistic venue to test your martial skill. At Clark’s MMA Buffet you can experience joint<br />

locks, eye gouges, and finger jabs to the throat all while working up an appetite for our<br />

delicious side dishes. And if you win three matches in a row, we don’t give you some<br />

silly trophy. We give you cheesecake!<br />

At Clark’s MMA Buffet paramedics are standing by so you don’t have to miss dinner by<br />

going to the emergency room. We’re open from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM every day. That’s<br />

Clark’s MMA Buffet, where a bone fracture means your meal is free!


July’s tragedy in France shows that it’s time to get serious<br />

about ending truck violence. Each year motor vehicles kill<br />

as many Americans as firearms yet the automobile industry<br />

continues selling SUVs and pickup trucks to a gullible<br />

public. As a longtime car owner, I can honestly say that no<br />

civilian needs to drive anything larger than a Prius. That’s<br />

why I’m urging you to tell your legislators to stand up to<br />

the AAA and pass the Gasoline Bill.<br />

The Gasoline Bill is a common-sense measure that will<br />

keep gasoline and diesel fuel out of the hands of criminals<br />

and terrorists. It imposes a ten-day waiting period on all<br />

fuel sales and restricts them to authorized purchasers who<br />

have been fingerprinted and had their identities stored in a<br />

government database. The Gasoline Bill also limits sales to<br />

three gallons.<br />

If we act now, we can end truck violence. And if you still<br />

want to drive a truck, join the Army!

Acceptance paraded gaily<br />

By Andrew C. Brown<br />

It is the colour of flesh<br />

I lick tenderly exploring tasting testing teasing ravishingly responding wriggling and<br />

writhing excited with anticipation voraciously you baptise with an exploding tsunami of<br />

arrival staining my sheet that is flecked with this shade<br />

opening similarly sunlit curtains<br />

seeking sanctuary welcoming warmth of serenity feeling stuttering belonging released of<br />

shackled decades’ tantric zenith shattered satiates me your peak reaches crescendo your<br />

breath grabbing your lipped colour is now your cheeked hue<br />

hope is coerced from fate<br />

racing for life raising funds to seek a cure for our ills I support my daughter as she walks<br />

and runs the yards and miles<br />

though family ties are not always seen to be in this<br />

disaster strewn contact is never deliberate and is always given unconditionally<br />

it is still the colour of friendship and passion<br />

in its midst not a worry grateful for their loyalty curating my insincerity through unsure<br />

liaisons always aligning attempting searching for perfection<br />

within blancmange<br />

wobbling colour of childish fun swaying seductively then splattered and splayed spoonful<br />

fed and savoured and<br />

as a cartoon character<br />

chasing elusive acceptance of clattering and chattering commotion and fuss a figure of<br />

fun figuratively pointed at and speculated upon detecting Englishness it is as<br />

summer breezed elephants begging receipt<br />

when wafting buds of spray watering children share toys and buzz of laughter while<br />

adults choose tickets monotonously addictively aspiring to win maybe a pot of jam or a<br />

goldfish on a bike?<br />

it is acceptance paraded gaily<br />

certainness marched together uniform crew cut and long there is no model but an<br />

individual searching for acceptance and equality am I up to my definition as I savour<br />

assimilate accept and thrill you within the shimmering Palermo colour of our merging<br />


It is the colour of flesh opening similarly sunlit curtains hope is coerced from fate though<br />

family ties are not always seen to be in this it is still the colour of friendship and passion<br />

within blancmange as a cartoon character summer breezed elephants begging receipt it<br />

is acceptance paraded gaily.<br />

Author bio: Andrew performs spoken word as The Grandad from Knowle West, an<br />

estate in South Bristol that has the dubious distinction of being among the worst hundred<br />

areas of the UK. He is an ex-prisoner, a recovering addict and winner of a community<br />

regeneration award and also a Koerstler Award when he was serving his time. His poems<br />

have been accepted for publication in both the UK and the US, he recently had an<br />

invitation to read his accepted poem, Tidying up after Helen at the launch of<br />

Incandescent Mind in Long Beach and Orange County...he has had to turn down this kind<br />

invitation due to him not being allowed entry to the States because of his criminal<br />

record...and he would not be able to afford the fare.

DON JUAN by Nelly Sanchez<br />

Artist bio: For around ten years, Nelly Sanchez has been making cut-outs. She has been<br />

published in journals such as Sonic Boom, Sein und Werden, Le Pan des Muses. She has<br />

also participated in exhibitions: in 2012 in Paris, in 2014 in Italy and France, and in 2016<br />

in Paris She also has illustrated writings like La Falaise était nue (Bernard Baritaud),<br />

Venus in fur (Sader-Masoch). Her artwork can be seen at www.nellysanchez.fr/.


By Michael Lee Johnson<br />

Author bio: Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He<br />

is a Canadian and US citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer,<br />

amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. He has been<br />

published in more than 880 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry<br />

sites. His website is http://poetryman.mysite.com/. Michael is the author of The Lost<br />

American: From Exile to Freedom, and several chapbooks of poetry, including From<br />

Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago<br />

Poems. He also has over 92 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015.<br />

Iranian Poetry Lady<br />

The first time I saw your face, cosmetic images, dust, dirt, determination<br />

fell across your exiled face. Coal smoke lifted with your simple words and short poems.<br />

Your meaning drawn across a black board of past, rainbows, future<br />

fragment, still in the shadows.<br />

Muhammad, Jesus twins, only one forms a hallo alone.<br />

One screams love, drips candle wax, lights life, shakes, love.<br />

I encrust your history in the Ginkgo tree, deliverance.<br />

I wrap in the branches the whispers in your ears a new beginning.<br />

I am the landscape of your future walk soft peddle on green grass.<br />

I will take you there. I am your poet, your lead, freedom clouds move over then on.<br />

I review no spelling, grammar errors; I lick your envelope, finish, stamp place on.<br />

Down with age I may go, but I offer this set of wings I purchased at a thrift store.<br />

I release you in south wind, storms, and warm in spring, monarch butterflies.<br />

Your name scribbles in gold script.<br />

Night, mysteries, follow handle, your own.<br />

Flight of the Eagle<br />

From the dawn, dusty skies<br />

comes the time when<br />

the eagle flieswithout<br />

thought,<br />

without aid of wind,<br />

like a kite detached without string,<br />

the eagle in flight leaves no traces,<br />

no trails, no roadwaysnever<br />

a feather drops<br />

out of the sky

Perfect Pruning Shears By Linda Leedy Schneider<br />

I am the bright blue Iris that blooms by her<br />

back door. I am as precious as the black tulip<br />

that is rooted in her heart.<br />

Five paper wrapped messages wait on my stalk.<br />

They will open sequentially in this garden<br />

of symmetry. Scatter yellow truth again.<br />

Everyday she comes with golden shears<br />

prunes away the less than pretty,<br />

daffodils withered and wasted<br />

naked tulip stalks<br />

peonies whose heavy heads<br />

have sagged to the soil.<br />

In this garden of symmetry security sameness<br />

every flower must be<br />

the picture on the seed packet.<br />

We flowers think she should--<br />

Let us be!<br />

Tall as the cosmos,<br />

free as the one eyed daisy,<br />

rambling like the rose.<br />

She could climb the cherry tree<br />

live in the shifting clouds of beginnings.<br />

Let humming birds nest in her hair.<br />

Be washed by rain until<br />

the golden scissors<br />

grow green.<br />

Author bio: Linda Leedy Schneider, winner of the 2012 Contemporary American Poetry<br />

Prize, is a political activist, poetry and writing mentor and psychotherapist in private<br />

practice. Linda facilitates workshops including The International Women's Writing<br />

Guild's Annual Summer Conference which will be held July 7-14, 2017 at Muhlenberg<br />

College, in Allentown, PA and The Manhattan Writing Workshop which she founded and<br />

has led since 2008. Linda has written six collections of poetry including Some Days:<br />

Poetry of a Psychotherapist (Plain View Press)


Book Review by ALISON ROSS<br />

The music of The Cure has haunted my dreams and nightmares since 1985, when I<br />

discovered it a bit fortuitously at a record store in a Texas college town, where I grew up.<br />

Up until that point, I had been enamored of arena rock, mainly, and so The Cure's mad<br />

hatter sensibilities were a revelation to me. Once The Cure infiltrated my existence, my<br />

persona morphed into something altogether more cerebral, and yet whimsical: I began to<br />

inhabit that pesky, precious paradox that The Cure practically invented.<br />

Laurence (Lol) Tolhurst was a founding member of my beloved band, and while he no<br />

longer plays in The Cure - having been kicked out in 1989 - he has written a brave and<br />

beautiful book drawing on his experiences in the group, and his life beyond. And what a<br />

tumultuous life he has had, both in the band and out, navigating alcoholism, failed<br />

marriages, the death of a daughter, and the fracturing of friendships.<br />

In the end, of course, he finds redemption and his life takes on the shimmering tones of a<br />

sunrise in California, his adopted home.<br />

Of course, the story starts in the 70s amid the suffocating fog of the lead-grey town of<br />

Crawley, a dreary London suburb. The post-war milieu is oppressively dull, seemingly<br />

deliberately designed to stultify the masses.<br />

But feisty teenagers Lol, Robert Smith and Michael Dempsey were having none of it.<br />

They sought refuge in music and proceeded to work on sculpting a new sound from the<br />

still-smoldering ashes of punk, one that was as much a reaction against their environment<br />

as punk and yet that had an airier, less aggressive vibe. (Granted, The Cure "signature"<br />

sound later evolved into a melange of styles, but suffice it to say that The Cure's early<br />

work was very much responsible for molding the post-punk template.)

Not that you will find much in-depth discussion of the sonic side of The Cure - and that's<br />

okay. Lol's book is not meant to delve deeply into that topic. The title alone hints toward<br />

more personal concerns, and that is exactly what Lol sets out to do: Write a memoir.<br />

As such, often his book reads like private diary entries that we are somehow privvy to -<br />

which also somewhat embarrasses us. Should we be getting this far into Lol's headspace?<br />

He spills his soul to us, hardcore Cure fans, and we listen, keenly, because we were there<br />

too, at least in spirit. We grew up listening to the Cure, intently, and their sound, their<br />

lyrics, and their look shaped who we were, and who we became. We crave a meaningful<br />

understanding about what went into making this band whose influence on modern music<br />

and culture has been seismic, to say the least.<br />

Cured gives us an intimate glimpse into the beginnings of the band, and the shifts that<br />

took place in order to cement The Cure's place in rock history. And it gives us an intimate<br />

glimpse into how being part of a band from a young age, in collusion with inhabiting a<br />

failed family in a soulless suburb, can wreak havoc on someone's internal equanimity.<br />

For hardcore Cure fans, Cured is a tear-jerker, because Lol is a cherished past member,<br />

he of the curly mop and boyishly forlorn face, serving up his talents as both drummer and<br />

keyboardist, helping to define The Cure's enticing groove.<br />

But Cured also doubles as a story of hope and redemption: one man's tortured flailing<br />

through dark, dank tunnels toward eventual daylight. For that reason alone, even casual<br />

Cure fans will find much to devour.<br />

The only "issue" I had with the book is that I felt Lol was almost too deferential toward<br />

Robert Smith. I too love Robert Smith, but he's not without flaw, and certainly Robert,<br />

with his own penchant for drink and drugs, helped "enable" some of Lol's problems with<br />

alcohol?<br />

But then, Robert was Lol's childhood best friend, and as Lol makes explicitly clear<br />

throughout the book, it's important to let go of resentments to find full happiness.<br />

Wallowing in hostilities will only corrode one's health. As Robert himself intones, "I<br />

must fight this sickness; find a cure."<br />



For Jeff Morgan<br />

By Alicia COLE<br />

There's the strangest beat on the street<br />

when the Crescent City Boogaloo Beasts<br />

come to town: wild cats, wild dogs, wild<br />

emus; wild, man, just wild. Wild men also.<br />

Are the women also wild? Howling!<br />

It's Frenchmen when the drums kick up,<br />

when the last drummer kicks down and<br />

the crowd is left sobbing. The woman<br />

at the bar is tearing her dress.<br />

There's coffee stains on her legs, like<br />

she woke up cumming java -- wide awake<br />

and needing one last jolt. I tell her, "Baby,<br />

it's just cumming down, off the caffeine.<br />

There's another drink. One last rolick<br />

for the road. It'll take you to your other<br />

Wonderland." So I leave her at the bar,<br />

and let some other gentle escort her home.<br />

I'm looking for someone in the corner.<br />

It's the Crescent City Boogaloo when<br />

everything has stopped, everything<br />

is waiting to go, everything is being<br />

cleaned up for tomorrow. Everyone,<br />

just about everyone, is leaving to go home.<br />

I'd like one last cigarette. I'd like one last<br />

emu. I'd like one last dog, but just for<br />

walking. I already have a cat.<br />

There are beasts in this town. And they<br />

are snarling and growling. And howling<br />

and yipping. And sniffing the wind.<br />

There's no one other than me

lighting that one last cigarette. But<br />

this is poetry. You always have<br />

to light your own cigarette. Especially<br />

when you're still riding the Boogaloo<br />

and looking for someone in the far left corner,<br />

who, while he may light your smoke,<br />

was never given the task of lighting your<br />

artwork, not really, not truly. Inspiration<br />

isn't the same as having the Boogaloo inside.<br />

Author bio: Alicia Cole is emerging from a year of transience and homelessness.<br />

Thankfully, she is still writing. You can find her at www.facebook.com/AliciaColewriter<br />

and on Goodreads.

Kill Switch<br />

By John Grey<br />

I would kill in a kind of deliverance,<br />

a love-in-response when I feel urged to utterance,<br />

and draining of the bloody water<br />

extracts a victim, clubs it, takes it –<br />

the standing deaths a-strange-land, these Chinatown<br />

counters, aisles, between the man's fingers,<br />

but the one who killed it, strikes, these American strikes,<br />

devour the world, would devour the universe<br />

to sing its praises if it could.<br />

I would kill. I would kill my way in human terms,<br />

in the water, that liquid violence for killing, I would kill,<br />

my reading a kind of killing, my killing<br />

a diminishment, a noise of nerve and pulse,<br />

I would kill everything<br />

not just this targets before me<br />

but meat, the way that butcher did it,<br />

the deaths close to home, kitchen deaths,<br />

those lives gutted, now twitching on the scales,<br />

the tottering deaths in the streets,<br />

the world that would kill this race,<br />

three hundred million worth of dumb,<br />

on the cutting board, to the sink, guts it,<br />

drops it into the searing pan,<br />

utters it, urges insanity on the body of the world,<br />

is urged to think: What is it in me will not let me kill?<br />

What is it in me would dearly love to see it?<br />

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

published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big<br />

Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and<br />

Spoon River Poetry Review.


By Eric Cline<br />

insert<br />

a videoclip<br />

of a boy playing with dolls.<br />

hold up now—<br />

no.<br />

i will not<br />

slow down. read a story<br />

about a child,<br />

whose genitals were mutilated at birth,<br />

that got raised as a girl, yet<br />

felt like a boy, yet<br />

felt like nothing<br />

could save them from what they were<br />

molded into.<br />

those children died<br />

by their own hands<br />

guided<br />

by everyone else’s hands.<br />

children. plural. it’s happened<br />

more than once.<br />

i’m boycotting Target—<br />

shut the fuck up. just shut the fuck up.<br />

progress doesn’t happen quickly, you have<br />

to wait, be patient...<br />

tell that to the queers<br />

whose hands flung the bricks<br />

that broke down millions of closet doors.<br />

tell it to the very real<br />

mad scientists, the straight scientists<br />

who still debate<br />

the natural explanation<br />

behind our natures. tell them:

progress takes time. don’t rush to make a decision<br />

about the meaning of other lives<br />

without first examining<br />

what makes your own<br />

clock tick.<br />

Author bio: Eric Cline is a gay male poet who lives in Dumfries, Virginia and serves as<br />

a staff writer for Yellow Chair Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in<br />

The Commonline Journal, Rat's Ass Review, Crab Fat Magazine, After the Pause, and<br />


ART by St. Germain<br />

Artist bio: St.Germain is wary of logic in art. His studio practice alternates<br />

between orchestrating controlled accidents and piling up material to bury the<br />

past. Like a happy-go-lucky fool, he goes wherever his intuition leads.


27/10/19 45p<br />


By Maximilian Bowden<br />

Late last night the earth unraveled,<br />

revealing itself to be flat.<br />

Scientists were alarmed, saying<br />

‘we do not, as yet, know much’<br />

and declining to comment further.<br />

It is understood that whole crews<br />

and entire container-ships<br />

have plunged into the endless abyss.<br />

The unraveling was sudden.<br />

No rescue was ever attempted.<br />

Many of the sailors chose sea<br />

over the novel depths ahead,<br />

in a predictable fashion.<br />

The ramifications are still<br />

unknown.<br />

There is no contact outside of<br />

our atmosphere, satellites flung<br />

towards empty space. Astronauts<br />

are unresponsive, feared long dead.<br />

Economists estimated<br />

Multibillion damages.<br />

Readers booked on cross-continent<br />

flights are urged to go online to<br />

their airline’s website and log in.<br />

New terms and conditions want ticks<br />

&<br />

subject-to-change fees may have changed.<br />

The National Star has promised<br />

your understanding, dear readers.<br />

We have given our word.

This is not an easy time for<br />

anyone.<br />

As existing social structures<br />

break down, we predict hardship, sad<br />

glares, religious fervor and zeal.<br />

In precautions against damnation<br />

all theatres, bars and cinemas<br />

are closing ‘til further notice.<br />

Some armies are amassing on<br />

high ground to defend from rapture<br />

while researchers develop pills.<br />

At these times we must listen to<br />

instructions broadcast, 8am,<br />

from local government ministers,<br />

designed to ease the transition<br />

to a new, flatter, world.<br />

Our live feed will give updates on<br />

the impending revelation,<br />

alongside articles about<br />

our favourite Edge getaways,<br />

and ‘A Scrap of Hope to Cling to’:<br />

post-unraveling short stories<br />

from all your favourite authors.<br />

Author bio: Maximilian Bowden is studying literature at the University of Essex. He has<br />

had work published on the Humans and Nature blog and will feature in the September<br />

issue of Ink in Thirds.

(place holder)<br />

by Mark Noack<br />

the spectators crunch popcorn<br />

men & women colored in Crayola flesh<br />

now the lights are off<br />

the correct placement of words & images<br />

women crawl under expectations<br />

the rats move in<br />

there are books movies the news<br />

we are provided opinions<br />

& meaning?<br />

whose words?<br />

i pretend that you exist<br />

a particular person in a particular space<br />

days occur daily<br />

i write you into this stanza<br />

i begin the process of revision<br />

ah you’ve arrived in the language<br />

i imitate conversation<br />

long silent dialogues<br />

you are delineated through exposition<br />

my ubiquitous fingerprints<br />

you are looking for alternatives<br />

am i a boy or a girl?<br />

i am outlined in chalk<br />

blushing gums bleeding<br />

you validate my smile<br />

words spill out of an open wound<br />

a tongue plunges into your throat<br />

the boy beside you drools<br />

a seagull stalking a bag of Doritos<br />

you spit out a fingernail<br />

another voice<br />

the tongue drops prepositions<br />

pronouns<br />

demands a verb<br />

you chew your hair<br />

your mother takes the gun<br />

i cower behind a phrase<br />

i don’t want to bore you<br />

the answer is over there

ehind all that mute applause<br />

a comfortable coffin<br />

the consolation prize<br />

bodies stop bleeding<br />

(control-alt-delete) reset<br />

my small mind idling<br />

scene five: kitchen conversation<br />

instant coffee in small glass globes<br />

i appreciate the adulation<br />

i press the virtual button<br />

somebody will arrive to mollify me<br />

Author bio: Mark Noack is a network administrator & former chef from Maine, with an<br />

interest in poetry of the postmodern period & of the late 20th century with a particular<br />

focus on LANGUAGE, Oulipo & their derivatives. Recent writing has been primarily<br />

based on various "engines," or structured formulas or processes, with some randomness<br />

thrown in, to produce unexpected language. He recently had a piece published in The<br />

Found Poetry Review's "Bowietry" issue. Read more at<br />


Postcard #5 by Bob Heman

Truth Bomb: Democrats Need to Embrace<br />

Progressivism or Else Move Out of the Way<br />

By Steven Singer<br />

Democrats, liberals and progressives of every stripe - you’re not going to want to hear<br />

this, but hear it you must.<br />

We’ve gone around for too long thinking we’ve got all the answers, but obviously we<br />

don’t.<br />

Hillary Clinton lost. Donald Trump won. There’s something seriously wrong with what<br />

we’ve been doing to get that kind of result.<br />

There are some hard truths we’ve got to understand, that we’ve got to learn from.<br />

Hearing them may be painful. Many of us will fight against it. But we can’t keep fooling<br />

ourselves anymore. All that “hope” and “change” we’ve been waiting for - it has to start<br />

with us, first.<br />

We’re stuck in a loop and we’ve got to break ourselves out of it. And the only way to get<br />

there is to break the track wide open.<br />

It’s time to stop mourning.<br />

Trump is President-elect.

Yeah, that sucks. Hard.<br />

He’s going to protect us by enacting policies to hurt brown people. He’s going to make it<br />

harder to get healthcare. He’s going to trample the Constitution. He’s going to offer up<br />

our schools to private companies to do with as they please in secret using our tax dollars.<br />

He’s going to legitimize white nationalism and embolden racists, bigots, sexist,<br />

xenophobes, homophobes and every kind of hate group imaginable. He’s going to hand<br />

out tax cuts to his megarich campaign contributors and tax us with the loss of government<br />

services. He’s going to use the office as an opportunity to enrich himself and his<br />

billionaire buddies and then go on social media and tweet about how he’s fighting for<br />

working people.<br />

I don’t like it any better than you. But it’s time to face it.<br />

Sure, Clinton won the popular vote. Sure, there’s a recount going on in Michigan,<br />

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. I’d love for it to overturn Trump’s victory. But I have zero<br />

confidence that it will. And I refuse to let it blind me to the urgent need for change.<br />

The first thing we have to do is own up to one essential thing: Hillary Clinton was a bad<br />

candidate.<br />

The people were crying out for a populist champion. We had one in Bernie Sanders. He<br />

would have destroyed Trump, but we blew it.<br />

I’m not going to rehash it all again, but there’s no way you can honestly say the<br />

Democratic primary process was fair. Party leaders were clearly in the bag for Clinton.<br />

They ignored her negatives and what their constituency were trying to tell them.<br />

This loss belongs squarely on the shoulders of establishment Democrats. It’s not the fault<br />

of the electorate. It was the party’s job to convince people to vote for their candidate.<br />

They didn’t do that. Instead they told people who to vote for - or more accurately who<br />

NOT to vote for. It was clearly a losing strategy. It lost us the Presidency, Congress and<br />

the Supreme Court. Own it.<br />

Next we have to acknowledge that this problem is not new. The Democrats haven’t been<br />

what they were or what they could be for a long time.<br />

Since at least President Bill Clinton, many Democrats have traded in their progressive<br />

principles for neoliberal ones. They have sold out their concern for social justice, labor<br />

and equity in favor of slavish devotion to the same market-driven principles that used to<br />

characterize the other side.

Bill Clinton approved NAFTA. He deregulated Wall Street paving the way for the<br />

economic implosion. He expanded the failing war on drugs, increased the use of the death<br />

penalty, used the Lincoln bedroom as a fundraising condo, ignored the genocide in<br />

Rwanda while escalating conflicts abroad in Russia and the middle east. He dramatically<br />

and unfairly increased the prison population. He pushed poor families off welfare and<br />

into permanent minimum wage jobs. And when people had clearly had enough of it and<br />

wanted a change, we gave them Al Gore a.k.a. Bill Clinton part 2.<br />

THAT’S why an idiot like George W. Bush won in 2000. It wasn’t because of Green<br />

Party challenger Ralph Nader. It was because people were sick of the Democrats not<br />

being real progressives.<br />

But we clearly didn’t learn that lesson, because we did the same damn thing in 2016.<br />

President Barrack Obama is just as neoliberal as Bill. He gets credit for bringing back 16<br />

million jobs lost under Bush. But we haven’t forgotten that they’re mostly minimum<br />

wage jobs. He gets credit for reducing unemployment to only 4.7%. But we haven’t<br />

forgotten that nearly 50 million Americans aren’t included in those statistics because they<br />

haven’t been able to find a job in two years and have given up even looking for one.<br />

Obama rolled back legal protections that used to stop the government from spying on<br />

civilians, that used to stop the military from being used as a police force against civilians,

that used to stop the military from assassinating U.S. citizens, that used to protect<br />

whisteblowers, that guaranteed free speech everywhere in the country not just in<br />

designated “free speech zones.” Not only did he fail to close Guantanamo Bay, his<br />

administration opened new black sites inside the U.S. to torture citizens.<br />

Obama continued the endless wars in the middle east. Sure, he had fewer boots on the<br />

ground, but infinite drone strikes are still a continuation of Bush’s counterproductive and<br />

unethical War on Terror.<br />

And when it comes to our schools, Obama continued the same corporate education<br />

reform policies of Bush - even increasing them. He pushed for more standardized testing,<br />

more Common Core, more privatization, more attacks on unions, more hiring unqualified<br />

Teach for America temps instead of authentic educators.<br />

Voters clearly wanted a change. We wanted a real progressive champion who would roll<br />

back these neoliberal policies. Instead we got Hillary Clinton a.k.a. Obama part 2.<br />

The Democrats didn’t learn a thing from 2000. We just repeated the same damn mistake.<br />

And some of us still want to blame third party candidates like Jill Stein.<br />

It wasn’t her fault, and it wasn’t voters faults. It was the Democratic establishment that<br />

refused to listen to their constituency.<br />

So here’s the question: will we do it again? Will we let party insiders continue in the<br />

same neoliberal direction or will we change course?<br />

Re-electing Nancy Pelosi to House Democratic leadership isn’t a good sign. She<br />

represents the same failed administration. But we’ve kept her in place for another term,<br />

repeating our mistakes.<br />

Maybe we’ll make a change with U.S. Rep Keith Ellison as DNC chair. It would<br />

certainly be a good start to put a real progressive in charge of the party. What better way<br />

to challenge Trump’s anti-Muslim propaganda than by promoting the only Muslim<br />

representative in the House to the head of our movement! That’s a sure way of showing<br />

that Democrats include all peoples, creeds and religions in contrast to the Republicans<br />

insularity. But there’s no guarantee we’re going to do it, and even if we did, it would only<br />

be a start.<br />

It’s time to clean house.

We need to take back what it means to be a Democrat. We can’t have organizations<br />

funded by hedge fund managers and the wealthy elite pretending to be in our camp while<br />

espousing all the beliefs of Republicans. We can’t have Democrats for Education<br />

Reform, a group promoting the policies of George W. Bush, the economics of Milton<br />

Friedman and prescribing laws crafted by the American Legislative Exchange council.<br />

We don’t need Cory Booker going on Meet the Press to defend Mitt Romney against<br />

income inequality and then pretending to champion working people while taking in<br />

contributions from the financial sector. The brand needs to mean something again.<br />

The party needs to move in an authentic progressive direction. So we need to get rid of all<br />

the neoliberals. They can go become Republicans. All it would take is exchanging in their<br />

blue ties for red ones. They’re functional Republicans already.<br />

We’ve got leaders who can take their place. We’ve got longtime progressives like Bernie<br />

and sometime progressives like Elizabeth Warren. We’ve got younger statesmen like<br />

Nina Turner, Tulsi Gabbard, Jeff Merkley, John Fetterman, and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, to<br />

name a few. But we need new blood.<br />

Of course none of this matters if we don’t take steps to secure the validity of our elections<br />

in the first place.<br />

We need to reform our entire electoral process. Ancient and hackable voting machines,<br />

voter suppression laws and efforts, rampant gerrymandering and, yes, that stupid relic of<br />

the slave states, the Electoral College - all of it must go. We’ve got to ensure that people<br />

can vote, people do vote and it actually counts. And if something goes wrong, we need a<br />

way to double check. Recounts in close races should be standard and automatic.<br />

We’ve got to fight Citizens United and other Supreme Court rulings equating money with<br />

speech. We’ve got to run people-powered campaigns like Sanders did so our politicians<br />

aren’t so beholden to corporate and wealthy interests. We’ve got to make it easier for<br />

third parties to be part of the process, to include their candidates in debates, etc.<br />

These are some of the many challenges ahead.<br />

Sure, we have to fight Trump. But the best way to do that is to reinvent ourselves.<br />

If the Democrats aren’t willing to do that, many of us will go elsewhere. The party cannot<br />

continue to exists if it continually ignores its base. It’s not enough to give us a<br />

charismatic leader to latch onto - we need real progressive policies.

The next four years are going to be hard. Trump is going to make things very difficult for<br />

the people we love. But in a way that’s a blessing.<br />

We have a real opportunity to create an authentic resistance. People will be untied in their<br />

dissatisfaction and anger at what Trump is doing to the country. They’ll be looking for<br />

somewhere to turn, for a revolutionary movement to lead them through it.<br />

We can give them another fake insurgency as we did against Bush. Or we can learn the<br />

lessons of history.<br />

We can move forward. We can change. We can become a party of real progressives.<br />

Or if we need - we can start a new one from the ground up.<br />

Editor’s note: This article was originally published at Gadfly on The Wall Blog, and is<br />

reprinted with the author’s permission.

Word Quake by Maria A. Arana<br />

ah, sweet autopsy of your embrace<br />

herds of asteroids dress halo mother<br />

in ice stairs<br />

rain, faithful thief of emerald<br />

moss asphalt doorframe<br />

hits us<br />

where the tsunami once did<br />

lions roam the island’s scarring<br />

sobbing<br />

horses run with iron hoofs<br />

and people hide<br />

among the cardinals<br />

in the distance<br />

summer once gave mosquito planets<br />

music to defenestrate ordinary<br />

people<br />

mixing the valley<br />

with the attic<br />

of your embrace<br />

and when the fountain blinds<br />

the scent the truck driver left<br />

so others suffer<br />

poverty from<br />

bankers having them<br />

let the rope song<br />

of lovers<br />

crush the clouds lava kisses<br />

on the lips<br />

paperclips on my tongue<br />

from a tent around the avenue<br />

ah, sweet assassin birth<br />

saint rat addresses you with

satellite taxis<br />

creaking stars<br />

and shoeless people put to<br />

bed on the 33 rd Sabbath<br />

words break from the glass they filled<br />

and now the void pricks line<br />

the cactus hairs copper teeth<br />

magnetized by sex<br />

hands torment firemen<br />

sleep or angels in a diamond<br />

to look inside for the tornado<br />

Author bio: Maria A. Arana is a teacher, writer, and poet. She has published poetry in<br />

various journals. You can find her at http://rainingvoices.blogspot.com

Train TRACKS Train by Kole Allan M.<br />

1<br />

Your name<br />

the sound of John or Jane<br />

tracks upon your brain<br />

this is your name<br />

this is your name<br />

this is your name<br />

If John is Joe, or Jane, Elaine,<br />

if you had a different name,<br />

would you be the same?<br />

this is your name<br />

this is your name<br />

this is your name<br />

Bob hammers houses in Houston<br />

Were I Bob, would I be a builder?<br />

I've yet to know Cletus the theorist.<br />

2<br />

Imagine naming yourself<br />

Slower<br />

Imagine naming your<br />

self<br />

Stop<br />

Exhale<br />

Imagine your<br />

self<br />

unnamed<br />

Author bio: Kole teaches English part time at a local university in southeast Virginia<br />

though his delinquency was evident early in life when he accidentally fired his father's<br />

gun into the front door of the house. As a late teen he began writing poetry in jail for<br />

vandalizing a police car. Now a husband and father to four daughters, Kole continues to<br />

write for the joy of word frenzies and the maintenance of his sanity.



Editor’s note: When Marcia Arrieta’s poetry appeared in Felino Soriano’s journal,<br />

Of/with, I was transfixed. To me, poetry is all about imagery. Well, sure, there are other<br />

components, both tangible and intangible, that differentiate verse from prose and give it<br />

a delectable flavor and texture. But if a poem is devoid of images that compel or calm, or<br />

otherwise jar or soothe the senses, it is not good poetry - indeed, it is not poetry at all. It<br />

is pedestrian prose – or, worse, wasted words. Marcia’s poetry bristles with imagery that<br />

calms, compels - sometimes even jolts you out of your complacent version of things. Her<br />

visual collages, too, complement her word collages with their tranquilly crafted chaos.<br />

found—<br />

with a canvas under a yellow umbrella<br />

with pieces of broken glass & sand<br />

cover sewn together with red thread & remnants of blue &<br />

white gingham, newspaper, & wild green parrot feathers<br />

the star//shadow<br />

Palomino BlackWing. 602. Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed. the garden alive<br />

with pink & yellow & orange. the birds continue to feed. the heart stable.<br />

leave the shoes by the door. walk silently. we climb the primal mountain<br />

into a rainforest of light. on the other side of the world they vote for independence.<br />

whirlwinds rip currents the planets adrift threads, stars, shadows<br />

blue moon harvest moon silhouettes in autumn approach winter<br />

inside a glasshouse Frida Kahlo nurses art<br />

outside within the oaks—shields & armor<br />

meanwhile ;<br />

the abstract minus interpretation

hard edge<br />

drift across continents across lives rhapsodies tragedies roadrunners bears<br />

the harmonium subtracts tyranny<br />

drift no connection/connection oak trees olive trees Cala Deia<br />

sympathies complexities threads & yarn blankets made scarves unfinished<br />

marginal goldfish a contemplative lion old stamps passports<br />

transparent strip responsibility sculpt a message never relayed

indeterminacy<br />

she dries one turquoise sock<br />

in the garden sun<br />

(she counted grizzly bears in sequoia<br />

one summer when she was young)<br />

she washes the shells & rocks—<br />

arranges them in a reed basket<br />

(she traveled with a suitcase<br />

filled with pillows)<br />

around the art table,<br />

she reads a grammar book & pretends not to listen<br />

grey stone on deck<br />

a yellow dragon roars invention<br />

the house is a wave<br />

roots, wings<br />

Octavio Paz—A Tree Within<br />

entwined water & night<br />

the larkspurs arranged in rhyme<br />

syllables of survival

the heart of the tree<br />

shadow play sound tracery will<br />

(subfield cutthroat trout pronghorn antelope)<br />

prone to colour clouds interstice sky<br />

distant from dogma relative green leaf<br />

looking glass air the book of job<br />

the law of contrast<br />

composition relative bridge<br />

the memoir<br />

(“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”<br />

—Bukowski)<br />

is in the deference & the farm long ago<br />

orange trees & trout in the stream<br />

a field in sentient light<br />

where the reflection is a cross & a lily & a Joshua tree grows

conjecture the unknown<br />

Herzog’s Lo and Behold<br />

Young’s Fall Higher<br />

pyramids<br />

and mountains<br />

Cornell’s<br />

boxes<br />

solitude<br />

chaos<br />

complicated pieces<br />

to be arranged<br />

the ideal triumphs<br />



Youmans Grimm!<br />

(Red Hen Press)<br />

ISBN: 9781597093224<br />

Reviewer: Cindy Hochman<br />

Poetry is, inherently, full of paradox. For instance, a poet can choose to unleash a deluge<br />

of personal information in the confessional mode, or, conversely, step into the mind and<br />

body of another (persona). Becoming Lyla Dore, whose central character is a fictional<br />

silent movie star with a closetful of skeletons housed amid her red stiletto heels, falls<br />

squarely in the latter category, and Teri Youmans Grimm’s account is as ambitious and<br />

seductive as Lyla Dore herself. With poems that unfold as grandly as scenes from the<br />

acclaimed films of yesteryear, the poet offers the reader a front-row VIP seat to the<br />

juiciest kind of guilty pleasure: a world of stardust dreams, of glamour and glitz, and, of<br />

course, the lurid underpinnings that often accompany these chimerical trappings. And<br />

because this poet has fashioned such a plausible portrait of a flawed and fragile<br />

temptress, the poems move easily from the reel to the real.<br />

The Soubrette Takes Center Stage<br />

—Photoplay, May, 1921<br />

In her first major role Lyla Dore will further<br />

prove to her fans why she’s a star on the rise.<br />

Those eyes! That hair! Those gams!<br />

This ingenue was not discovered on a stool at Schwab’s Drugstore. As Minerva sprung<br />

from the head of Zeus, the mythical Lyla Dore, whose surname seems to have been<br />

culled from the engraver Gustave Doré, the illustrator of Lord Byron, and whose given<br />

name brings to mind Delilah, Samson’s downfall, was invented out of whole cloth, or

perhaps more aptly, silk and satin. She arrived fully formed, with a scarlet letter already<br />

embossed on her ample chest, the seeds of her symbolic birth and reinvention having<br />

been sown from adultery, abortion, and ashes. But first she was born, innocently enough,<br />

out of both the illusion and disillusion of magic, and a dogged and desperate attempt to<br />

recapture it.<br />

Magic Lantern<br />

Forget what you know about faded stars,<br />

about curiosities and relics.<br />

This is about magic.<br />

Back when there was such a thing,<br />

my father made a living<br />

as a lanternist. I’d go with him<br />

to the Imperial where between comedy reels<br />

he’d show glass slides of the Taj Mahal<br />

or lovers kissing in a Venetian gondola …<br />

To be in limelight is to become incandescent<br />

in the alchemy of dangerous gas and mineral, to smolder<br />

in another’s mind or heart. I would have risked setting<br />

myself on fire, if it meant the world could see me better.<br />

Children are, of course, masters of make-believe, and Lyla’s imagination was doubly<br />

indulged by the shadow puppets that her magic-making father entertained her with (I<br />

never feared the shadows cavorting / in my room—nanny-goats and vultures / jellyfish<br />

and centaurs—nor the hands / that made them. They hardly seemed / related, father’s<br />

contorted fingers, a witch / riding a broom, a bear on a swing). Interestingly, the shape<br />

that becomes most emblazoned in her mind is a snake, giving rise to the recurring Snake<br />

Man, with all its implications of shedding skins and original sin, who appears as her guru,<br />

guide, and manager (Your name doesn’t suit you. One day you’ll be called something<br />

else). But was a childhood drenched in phantasm enough to pacify the reality of a peevish<br />

and vindictive mother who seemed to rue her very existence and, in fact, “grew to hate<br />

the very sight” of her? It is against this silkscreen of ambiguity that Lyla Dore begins<br />

both her descent and ascent, remaking herself not by design, but out of necessity.<br />

Mother was pregnant five times before I came along.<br />

None of them lived to see the world.<br />

It was as though she found me perverse<br />

to have made a home where none could thrive before.<br />

So, too, it is a misbegotten birth that provides the theme for the pivotal poem in Grimm’s<br />

collection, one whose Dickensian title practically tells the whole story: “I Wasn’t<br />

Pregnant, Dr. Moore Explained, Merely Late and This Procedure, While Painful, Would<br />

Resolve the Matter of Lyla Dore.” Having seduced the physician next door whose<br />

children she is tasked with caring for, a woman named Lyla Dore is born in the place and

stead of the child whose loss she would forever mourn. And when a mysterious fire<br />

breaks out in the Moore home, killing the twins, Lyla’s fate as a vixen “able to cause a<br />

saint to sin or even a saint’s mother” is sealed, for although she didn’t set the fire (it was<br />

an accident), she is branded “the incendiary girl, desire’s wayward spark.”<br />

Despite the poet’s own last name, Lyla Dore’s story does not end in “grim” fashion, as<br />

you might have thought. She does not fall down the stairs in an alcoholic stupor or<br />

overdose on pills, and not in a puddle of my own blood, not in a dismal studio apartment,<br />

not behind a perfume counter in a second-rate department store. Rather, she does what<br />

she has always done best: reinvents herself for the advent of talkies, socks away money<br />

from wise investments, and lives to remember and tell.<br />

Becoming Lyla Dore is an evocative series of first-person poems about an imaginary but<br />

enchanting vamp who makes her cinematic mark using everything but her voice—<br />

conjured by an extraordinary poet named Grimm whose dramatic fairytale is anything but<br />


The Arousal<br />

of Lightning<br />

by Bill Wolak

The Donald and I (SATIRE) By Marleen S. Barr<br />

The door opens. Trump looks up, expecting Mike Pence.<br />

But it's two orderlies in white coats collecting the ex-presidential candidate, who lost in a<br />

landslide to Hillary after spending the fall being treated at Bellevue under the provisions<br />

of the Flake Act. After all the cries of ‘Lock her up!’ it turned out he was the one who got<br />

locked up.<br />

‘Mr. Trump, it's time for your impulse-control/delusion-reduction therapy,’ one orderly<br />

says soothingly. ‘We need to go early. It would be crazy to miss the swearing-in today of<br />

Madam President’—Maureen Dowd, “Crazy About the Presidency,” New York Times,<br />

August 7, 2016, SR 1<br />

[I]t's Trump rather than Clinton who has confirmed the full triumph of the sexual<br />

revolutions. . . .<br />

If you watched ‘The Girls Next Door,’ the TV show about [Hugh] Hefner's ménage,<br />

you noticed that the Playboy mystique was emphatically not a joke in the lower<br />

middle class environs that produced his centerfolds and their most adoring fans. Like<br />

Trumpism, Hefnerian values have prospered in the blue-collar vacuum created by<br />

religion's retreat, community's unraveling.<br />

Then finally, among men who were promised pliant centerfolds and ended up single<br />

with only high-speed internet to comfort them, the men's sexual revolution has curdled<br />

into a toxic subculture, resentful of female empowerment in all its forms.<br />

This is where you find Trump's strongest (and, yes, strangest) fans. He's become the<br />

Daddy Alpha for every alpha-aspiring beta male, whose mix of moral liberation and<br />

misogyny keeps the Ring-a-Ding-Ding dream alive—Ross Douthat, “A Playboy for<br />

President,” New York Times, August 14, 2016, SR 9

Professor Sondra Lear, a feminist science fiction scholar par excellence, was grading<br />

papers in her State University of New York at Greenwich Village office when the phone<br />

rang.<br />

“Hello. Professor Lear? This is the Gold House calling.”<br />

“The Gold House? Why would the Gold House phone me?”<br />

“The Donald wishes to hire you to tutor the multitudinous young children he has<br />

fathered during the seven years he has been in office. Will you accept this offer? Your<br />

salary will be huge.”<br />

“Absolutely not. I am a feminist who recoiled when the Donald instituted polygamy in<br />

the Gold House because Melania got older. How could I approve of his marriages to<br />

twenty-five year old eastern European beauty queens? He dehumanized these women<br />

when he renamed them. The media obsessively focuses on the doings of Aelania,<br />

Belania, Celania, Delania, etc. I don’t care what color toe nail polish Xelania wears. I am<br />

active member of the Free Hillary Movement who generates feminist scholarly<br />

research. I couldn’t believe that the Republicans really did lock Hillary I’m that the<br />

F.H.M. will eventually break Hillary out of Rikers Island.”<br />

“Your decision disappoints me. Think about the children, Professor Lear. Little Count,<br />

Marquis, Chevalier, Imanka, Ikanka, Harry Winston, Cartier and all their siblings need<br />

you. Think about the twins Dauphin and Dauphine. Most of the Donald’s offspring are<br />

entering pre-school. They will be called upon to continue the Trump dynasty. Smart<br />

women still exist in the world; the kids will have to cope with them. What if<br />

extraterrestrials from a feminist separatist planet land on the Gold House lawn? You are<br />

the perfect tutor for children who have to deal with feisty female Earthlings and potential<br />

feminist extraterrestrials.”<br />

Sondra’s revolutionary nature kicked in. She reasoned that she could further F.H.M. goals<br />

by residing in the Gold House. The Donald caused all usual executive branch rules,<br />

including presidential succession dictums, to be thrown by the wayside. Presidential<br />

protocol becomes irrelevant when the president cannot act presidential. Even the very<br />

word “president” is obsolete. Russia had the Czar; Germany had the Kiser; Iran had the<br />

Shah; America has the Donald. The chief executive is now addressed as “Mr. the<br />

Donald.” At the State of the Union Address, the Sargent at Arms announces “Mr.<br />

Speaker, the the Donald of the United States.” Because Sondra was fed up with the<br />

Donald, she said yes to the Gold House.<br />

Trump Force One carried Sondra to Washington. Upon arrival in the early evening, she<br />

was whisked into a helicopter. While hovering over the Gold House Rose Garden, she<br />

saw the gigantic red, white, and blue blinking neon “TRUMP” sign positioned above the<br />

West Portico. The gold painted mansion was too gaudy for Sondra’s tastes. But nothing<br />

prepared her for the change in the interior.<br />

The Red Room, the Blue Room, and the Vermeil Room (formerly often called the Gold<br />

Room), had all been transformed into the Gold Rooms. Sondra wondered if James<br />

Bond’s nemesis Goldfinger had served as the interior decorator. Diamond encrusted<br />

doors and marble floors were general all over the Gold House. Cherub sodden bases

supported the gilded furniture. Just as Sondra was reaching for her sunglasses to shield<br />

her eyes from the light bouncing off the glitz, Head Wife Melania appeared and extended<br />

her hand.<br />

“In accordance with my duties as Head Wife to the Donald, I welcome you to the Gold<br />

House,” she said. I and my fellow wives need to expand our horizons. We have all<br />

agreed to force ourselves to read feminist theory. We appreciate your efforts to teach our<br />

children how successfully to closely encounter smart women. They will certainly need to<br />

be prepared for the possibility of feminist extraterrestrials landing on the Gold House<br />

lawn. But enough talk about the future. For the moment, I would like you to meet the<br />

Donald’s children and some of his other wives.”<br />

Two ushers opened the diamond studded golden doors. To the tune of “Hail to the<br />

Chief, a single file line of adorable children paraded in front of Sondra, bowed their<br />

heads, and walked back while still facing her. A little girl broke out of the line and threw<br />

her arms around Sondra’s knees. “Please, Dr. Sondra. Please be my teacher. I know that<br />

women exist who have careers and who don’t wear stilettos. You are the first such<br />

woman I have ever met. I want to learn how to be like you. I hate makeup.” Sondra’s<br />

heart melted. “I will enjoy getting to know you, getting to know all about you,” she said<br />

to all the assembled children.<br />

Sondra’s Gold House pedagogy was almost successful. The Donald’s wives were<br />

dutifully placing copies of articles written by Hélène Cixous, Donna Haraway, Judith<br />

Butler, and Luce Irigary in their designer handbags. True, the wives were not yet reading<br />

the articles. Sondra nonetheless viewed feminist theory texts ensconced within Gucci<br />

bags as a great leap forward. As for the children, well, they enjoyed having fiction written<br />

by Joanna Russ, Octavia E. Butler, and Marge Piercy read to them as bedtime stories.<br />

The little girl who had embraced Sondra dreamed about living on Russ’s feminist<br />

separatist planet Whileaway. She loved the fact that Whileaway denizens would not be<br />

caught dead wearing stilettos. In a defiant act to achieve normalcy, do to Sondra’s<br />

influence, she demanded to change her name from “Yourmajesty” to “Eleanor.”<br />

Sondra was busy teaching the wives and the children to the extent that she had yet to<br />

meet the Donald. This situation changed when he made an appointment to discuss her<br />

progress. She sat next to him on a gold lamé Gold Rooms couch. “Bloomberg got a third<br />

term as mayor. Even if he is richer than me and called me insane, if he can do it, I can do<br />

it. I want a third term. But my woman voter problem is worse than ever. Women don’t<br />

like the leader of the free world having a harem. I called Obama a Muslim and now I<br />

have a harem. No woman in this country, not one, will vote for me. Not with Hillary<br />

locked up and Elizabeth Warren running against me. Pocahontas will not cause Trump’s<br />

last stand. I love the feminists. I even love the potential feminist extraterrestrials. I need<br />

to ingratiate myself to women in general and feminists in particular. Do you have any<br />

ideas?” Donald said.<br />

“We can have a party.”<br />

“A party?”<br />

“Yes. We can invite feminists to the Gold House to meet your wives.”

“I know how to find Eastern European super model wives. But where am I going to<br />

round up American feminists?”<br />

“The Science Fiction Research Association is meeting in Washington next week. I can<br />

invite my colleagues as well as scholars from local universities. I will somehow<br />

accomplish mission impossible. I will enable feminists to feel comfortable with your<br />

wives.”<br />

“Feminists mixing with my wives? How can I negotiate an impossible deal like that?”<br />

“Very simple. We need to cater to the feminists.”<br />

“You mean feed them Purina Feminist Chow?”<br />

“I mean offer them a lovely gluten free vegan repast. K. D. Laing can provide the<br />

music. Your wives need to undergo sartorial metamorphosis.” Lelania and Kelania<br />

walked in wearing micro miniskirts and gold metallic bras. “Your wives can’t look like<br />

this.”<br />

Kelania bent over. Sondra “could see there was [not] . . . blood coming out of her<br />

wherever.”<br />

“One of the Donald’s wives does not have enough clothes. First rule of hosting a<br />

feminist soiree: no visible vaginas. Visible vaginas are a feminist soiree no no.”<br />

“I see your point. Make a shopping list and give it to the chief butler.”<br />

Sondra ordered enough pantsuits, Birkenstocks, and hair scrunchies for all of the<br />

wives. When the party ensued, the wives, dutifully attired in their new attire, exchanged<br />

pleasantries with the assembled feminists. Pelania, who had studied her feminist texts<br />

hard, had a moment of triumph when an assistant professor asked her to name her<br />

favorite Cixous article.<br />

“The Laugh of the Medusa,” Pelania said triumphantly. “I can see the Medusa from my<br />

house. From my bathroom to be exact. When I am taking a shower and my hair is<br />

tangled, I don’t think that it is a laughing matter.” The assistant professor did not laugh.<br />

Pelania wanted to tell Sondra that she knew the right feminist answer—and to ask for<br />

advice.<br />

“Dr. Lear, may I speak with you for a moment?” asked Pelania. “I have good news. And<br />

I have a problem.”<br />

“Certainly.”<br />

“I got a Cixous question right. I need to confide in you. I do not love the Donald. I love<br />

one of the Secret Service guys. I have been secretly meeting a secret service guy. This is<br />

really dangerous. It is hard to sneak past the head eunuchs Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and<br />

Marco Rubio. What should I do? I am already in big trouble because I told my daughter<br />

about Mrs. Roosevelt and she decided to change her name to Eleanor.” ”<br />

“Professors write academic essays. I can cause a distraction by organizing a Gold House<br />

event involving reading my latest piece on space in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. You can leave

unnoticed when the paper causes everyone to fall asleep. Excuse me. The Donald is<br />

coming this way.”<br />

“Pelania does not love you,” Sondra directly said to the Donald. “What would you do if<br />

you found out that she was having sex with a secret service agent?”<br />

“I would have her punished. I’ve made sure that all women who have abortions are<br />

punished by being tarred and feathered. I would have Pelania whipped.”<br />

“You are a barbarian.”<br />

“I really didn’t mean to say “whipped.” I said “shipped.” I will send Pelania on a nice<br />

cruise. But let’s talk about this great party. You did an amazing job in a short time. My<br />

wives are still hot in Birkenstocks,” Donald said as he held out his arms. “Shall we<br />

dance?”<br />

There was a limit for how far Sondra could go—even to benefit the F.H.M. Relying on<br />

her inner Scheherazade, she tried to talk her way into gaining time.<br />

“We do have things in common. I’m from Queens too. I grew up in Forest Hills, straight<br />

down Queens Boulevard from your childhood home in Jamaica Estates. I remember<br />

seeing your father’s Trump Pavilion sign next to the Van Wyck Expressway when I was<br />

growing up.”<br />

“Donald placed his arm around Sondra’s waist. Since all the feminists and wives were<br />

watching, she had to dance with him.<br />

“Sondra, let’s make a deal. Marry me. Become my twenty-seventh wife. Marrying a<br />

feminist professor would be huge for my re-election success. Wha da ya say?”<br />

“I say never. You know very well that Jewish women from Forest Hills do not become<br />

the twenty-seventh wife of anyone. Furthermore, fat orange haired men in their late<br />

seventies are not my type.”<br />

At that moment, Eleanor ran into the room. “Dr. Sondra come quick. A flying saucer has<br />

landed on the Gold House lawn,” she screamed.<br />

“Not to worry, Eleanor. This is a job for a super science fiction scholar.”<br />

Sondra made her way to the Gold House lawn where she closely encountered little green<br />

women walking down a flying saucer’s open gangplank. They were wearing silver<br />

pantsuits, Birkenstocks, and scrunchies. “Take us to your leader,” they said in unison.<br />

“We want to meet her.”<br />

“I have no doubt that you are feminist extraterrestrials,” Sondra confidently stated. “Let<br />

me calmly cut to the chase. Female Earthling Americans are in deep trouble precisely<br />

because our leader is a bombastic male chauvinist pig carnival barker con man whose ego<br />

is larger than the entire universe. Believe me. You do not want to be taken to him. Will<br />

you help female Earthling Americans?”<br />

“Yes,” they said in unison.

“Terrific. And not a moment too soon. Hillary, America’s rightful female leader, has<br />

been locked up. The Donald, that’s the name of our male leader I just described, is on the<br />

cusp of winning a third term. By the way, I’m Professor Sondra Lear.”<br />

One of the little green women stepped forward and extended her tentacle toward Sondra.<br />

“Nice to meet you. I’m Captain Kyra. Here we come to save the day. That means that<br />

mighty feminist extraterrestrials are on the way. Exactly what can we do for you? We<br />

have extraordinary reality altering powers.”<br />

“First thing is to break Hillary out of Rikers.”<br />

“Done,” Captain Kyra said as Hillary materialized on the lawn wearing an orange prison<br />

jumpsuit.<br />

Sondra saw Hillary and became unnerved. “No. This is not right,” she said to<br />

Kyra. “Hillary wears pantsuits, not jumpsuits. Turn her jumpsuit into a pantsuit. Make it<br />

black. Black needs to be the new orange for Hillary. Oh and she needs sun glasses”<br />

“Done.”<br />

“Perfect. Now Hillary can join the party and blend in with the other feminist attendees.”<br />

Sondra turned toward Hillary. “I’m an active F.H.M. member who could not be happier<br />

to meet you. Join the Gold House party for feminist scholars and the Donald’s wives. The<br />

sun glasses will allow you to blend in without being noticed. Have a drink. Enjoy<br />

yourself while the feminist extraterrestrials and I figure out how to ensconce you in your<br />

rightful place as President of the United States.”<br />

“I will follow your directions,” said Hillary. “Despite my wonkiness, feminist<br />

extraterrestrials are beyond my purview.” Hillary walked into the Gold House hoping that<br />

she could transform it back into the White House of yore. Sondra turned toward Kyra.<br />

“I know exactly what to do,” Sondra said. “I can accomplish my objective without<br />

feminist extraterrestrial intervention. I will simply use your presence here to my own<br />

advantage. I just need you to do one more thing, though. Kyra, please make everyone on<br />

Earth--with the exception of me and Donald--forget that the little green women landing<br />

on the Gold House lawn thing ever happened.<br />

“Done,” said Kyra. “We will be flying off now. Great to meet you Sondra.”<br />

“Likewise Kyra.”

Sondra’s plan involved allowing Trump to be Trump. She walked into the party and<br />

approached Hillary.<br />

“Hillary, please remove your sun glasses. Tell Donald that you are here and call the<br />

police.”<br />

Police entered the Gold Room. “Lock her up,” screamed Donald. “Lock crooked Hillary<br />

back up. Do you know how she got out? I’ll tell ya how. Feminist extraterrestrials got her<br />

out. That’s how. Feminist extraterrestrials landed on the Gold House lawn a few minutes<br />

ago. There were all these huge little green women. Little green women are ugly. I will<br />

build a wall around the Gold House to keep the ugly huge little green women out. They<br />

are all rapists. I didn’t have enough with the immigrant Mexicans and the Muslims. Now<br />

I have to contend with the little green women. Maybe the gun owners could do something<br />

about the little green women—and Hillary too.”<br />

In a Nano second, men in the white coats arrived in what immediately again would be<br />

called the White House. They placed Donald in a strait jacket. He ended up back in New<br />

York, in Bellevue Hospital. K.D. Laing sang “Hail to the Chief” as Hillary was sworn in<br />

as the President of the United States. The long national Trump nightmare was over.<br />

Hillary was the first of many female Presidents. Elizabeth Warren succeeded her. Amy<br />

Schumer, following in her relative Chuck Schumer’s political footsteps, in the manner of<br />

Reagan, went from show business to the White House. Due to Sondra’s influence,<br />

Eleanor Trump was by far the most effective woman president. Eleanor (called E.T.) was<br />

the first American president to visit a feminist planet. E.T. and Kyra got along famously.<br />

Eleanor gave a party for Kyra in the White House. Both women wore white pants suits,<br />

Birkenstocks—and scrunchies.<br />

Author bio: Marleen S. Barr is known for her pioneering work in feminist science fiction<br />

and teaches English at the City University of New York. She has won the Science Fiction<br />

Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction<br />

criticism. Barr is the author of Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist<br />

Theory, Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond, Feminist<br />

Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction, and Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice<br />

for Cultural Studies. Barr has edited many anthologies and co-edited the science fiction<br />

issue of PMLA. She is the author of the novels Oy Pioneer! and Oy Feminist Planets: A<br />

Fake Memoir.

iver walk<br />

by Jenean Gilstrap<br />

!<br />

i walk naked<br />

In the rivers of my realities<br />

rivers polluted<br />

with malicious motherlove<br />

stained in scarlet sin<br />

childhood dreams<br />

drowned in dastardly deeds<br />

sung to the tune of lullabies<br />

stripping innocence to the core<br />

pebbles of purulent pain<br />

line the beds<br />

my feet bleeding sorrow<br />

as I walk naked<br />

in the ruins<br />

of my realities<br />

~<br />

probing fingers<br />

of memories<br />

penetrate<br />

my broken heart<br />

working their way up<br />

from the wounded<br />

scabbard of me<br />

as i walk<br />

through the waters of despair<br />

through the darkness<br />

of those closed doors<br />

and blacker than black<br />

whispers of wickedness<br />

~<br />

farther and farther i walk<br />

from the shores of contempt<br />

into the waters deep<br />

deeper still<br />

waters now churning<br />

in waves of redemption

washing the soiled linens<br />

of my soul<br />

cleansing the chambers<br />

of my hate filled heart<br />

healing the ravaged<br />

me of me<br />

my lips savoring<br />

the liquid redemption<br />

swallowing its sweet<br />

sweet salvation<br />

as i walk<br />

in the river<br />

of my realities<br />

Author bio: Jenean Gilstrap is the author of two books of poetry, Gypsy Woman Words<br />

[2014] and Words Unspoken [2013, and is a featured poet/artist at Yareah Magazine and<br />

at Plum Tree Books. Her poetry has been widely published in numerous literary journals<br />

and she has been invited to read her work at several international poetry festivals. A<br />

number of her poems have been narrated, as well as lyrically arranged and recorded by<br />

the accomplished Aindre’ Reece-Sheerin, vocalist/musician. She resides in Shreveport,<br />

Louisiana, but divides her time between there and the East coast as she completes her<br />

third book of poetry, Willful Words.<br />

She and her work may be found at:<br />

https://www.facebook.com/jenean.gilstrap<br />

http://www.yareah.com/author/jenean-c-gilstrap/<br />

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9WQqmfDDKNkAR5A8nt9_ZA<br />

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=nav_responsive_sub_nav_edit_profile<br />




By Dr. Mel Waldman !<br />

!<br />

(on reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem-Crazy to be Alive in such a Strange World)!<br />

!<br />

A!<br />

stranger traveling through the bizarro universe!<br />

!<br />

in!<br />

search of humanity,!<br />

!<br />

I !<br />

rush through unreal days & shattered sci-fi streets;!<br />

!<br />

I!<br />

rush !<br />

!<br />

& !<br />

crash into flaming flashbacks & the furious flow !<br />

!<br />

of !<br />

gigantic waves of sprawling blinding light & a !<br />

!<br />

mammoth flood of unholy fire forcing me to see all I wish to forget!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

in the beginning…in the Neo-Genesis…that always returns against my will,!<br />

!<br />

I!<br />

relive the Days of Trauma & Transformation; I re-experience the Transmogrification!<br />

!<br />

in !<br />

split-second visions of long ago, hidden in the harrowing now,!<br />

!<br />

when!<br />

the power-elite of technology created, like Frankenstein, our monstrous machines!<br />

!<br />

that!<br />

conquered us, devoured their creators, obliterated all;!<br />

!<br />

I!<br />

remember !<br />


until!<br />

my electrified mind comes to a sudden halt in the deep of the night, shuts down, !<br />

!<br />

inside!<br />

my weary body-my soul case resting in a womb chair at the center of nowhere!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

I drift off into sweet phantasmagoria, a machine-free dreamscape where all my !<br />

!<br />

beloved deceased exist in non-existential nothingness!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

I say, “Hello, Mother, Hello, Father, Hello, all…You wouldn’t believe the way the world!<br />

!<br />

is now.”<br />

“Hello, M, we don’t understand…”!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

the Beat Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti arrives inside my exploding electrocuted brain cells!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

shouts, “Crazy to be alive in such a strange world.”!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

I sing a mind-blowing singsong melody blasting me through the cannonball !<br />

!<br />

of !<br />

inner space,!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

I listen to the crazy, cacophonous un-jazzy juxtaposition of weird words-!<br />

!<br />

our omnipotent objects of addiction we crave & love & the drug-things we’re hooked on!<br />

&!<br />

!<br />

that hook us to the World Wide Web & Virtual Reality & the Janus-faced Internet-!<br />

&!<br />

!<br />

I!<br />

hear my mutilated mind say, “Computers & cell phones, iPads & iPhones, laptops &!<br />

!!<br />

tablets, smart phones & smart watches, etcetera, etcetera.”!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

Mother says, “I don’t understand.”!<br />

!<br />

Ferlinghetti shrieks, “Crazy to be alive in such a strange world.”!

!<br />

&!<br />

I say, “Mother, Father, & all-I love you.”!<br />

!<br />

&!<br />

Mother says, in a soothing celestial whisper, like a lambent flame brushing my soul,!<br />

!<br />

“I love you. We love you. Love is what we understand.”!<br />

!<br />

Now, !<br />

I dance in this everlasting moment,!<br />

!<br />

before !<br />

awakening, !<br />

!<br />

a!<br />

stranger traveling through the bizarro universe!<br />

!<br />

in!<br />

search of humanity, !<br />

!<br />

but finding love in a beautiful place beyond!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

Author bio: Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories<br />

have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE,<br />


AUDIENCE. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books<br />









POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he<br />

was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11<br />


FAT <strong>Cat</strong>s "#!$%&'(%)!*(+,<br />

The rescued kittens<br />

Have turned to nasty cats<br />

With pregnant bellies.<br />

Nothing good can come of Fat <strong>Cat</strong>s<br />

Lounging on Lincoln's bed,<br />

Hacking up fur balls.<br />

Pissing cat piss.<br />

Nipping at toes:<br />

These are not sweet kittens<br />

Except by name<br />

As they plot cunning leaps<br />

From the banks<br />

Of the flocked velvet sofa.<br />

Claws readied for the coming.<br />

Hoping for another taste<br />

Like that mouse<br />

that had gone warm<br />

down the gullet<br />

A few moons back -<br />

Leaving nothing<br />

But a whimpering stain<br />

On the neighborhood.<br />

The cats are already crouching<br />

In towards another botched landing<br />

Punctuated by the dull thud of misplaced ambition.<br />

There will be a scramble of claws

And indignant squeals<br />

And then;<br />

Voila! The Fat <strong>Cat</strong>s steady themselves<br />

Before carefully licking the blood<br />

From their paws,<br />

Preening their glossy selves,<br />

And getting back to business<br />

Licking their swollen teats.<br />

Author bio: The author has published in Number One Magazine, Wittenberg Review,<br />

Sutured. Words, and is winner of the Read Local contest.

Swooning Over The Faint<br />

(CD Mini-review) By Alison Ross<br />

The Faint is a band I have only known by name until recently, and the only reason I am<br />

aware of them is because they are a Nebraska outfit that used to feature Conor Oberst.<br />

And anyone who knows me at all knows that Conor Oberst - and specifically, his band<br />

Bright Eyes - is among my top five favorite artists, in addition to The Cure, Tom Waits,<br />

Public Enemy, and Deerhunter. The Faint's newest collection of greatest hits has been a<br />

real revelation for me, actually, because the music seems to be a true distillation of the<br />

electro-punk ethos that I have heard a lot about, but have only experienced through these<br />

songs. Besides the Faint's dynamic sonics that articulate Kraftwerkian keys and funky,<br />

angular beats, what has me most intrigued is how the vocals that evoke the flat, dry<br />

Nebraska plains actually enhance rather than detract from the music. When listening to<br />

music of a similar kind, one expects to hear, and often does hear, vocals with a menacing<br />

tinge, or at the very least, harsh intonations. But The Faint's singer actually sounds<br />

quaintly midwestern and free of the dark theatrical pretensions that might otherwise<br />

embellish such music. The idea that vocals which would usually be more comfortably<br />

ensconced in the unorthodox folk of, say, a Bright Eyes, can act as a charming<br />

counterbalance to frenzied dance-punk is a testament to the Faint's startling originality.<br />

Songs such as "Glass Danse," and "Agenda Suicide" give this collection a must-hear<br />


from Alchemical Nod<br />

XXXI<br />

By Mark DuCharme<br />

Any work’s 1 a complication of the conditions of its dreaming<br />

Scratch that: the complications of dreams condition all desire<br />

& The condition of any working desire conducts all accidents & births<br />

Any & nowhere above all births & the jittery body of thought<br />

The body of thought is a city, oblique & out of tune<br />

Rain, a character whose breath is silence<br />

The rain comes as swiftly as a line or fragment of the memory of the dream<br />

(All dreams are one dream)<br />

Immersion within the sound of rain<br />

Which gives way to hot<br />

Bright night<br />

& Then gives way to the memory of summer<br />

To winter’s swollen brooding<br />

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

1 When you enter a work (as writer or reader)<br />

Is there always, necessarily, resistance?<br />

To become attuned, you have to open<br />

Yourself to the work & meanings thereof<br />

Sound is part of meaning<br />

Imagery, a part of fleeing—<br />

The light & speed of it— all a part<br />

Of song’s fugitive trace

§<br />

Brood enveloping songs inside the tissues of the body<br />

Bleed inside stars’ layers<br />

Let need envelop need<br />

Let tunes be broken<br />

Emblazoned on the pages which rain makes<br />

When stars are lost<br />

Author bio: Mark DuCharme is the author, most recently, of The<br />

Unfinished: Books I-VI (BlazeVOX, 2013). Other volumes of his<br />

poetry include Answer (2011) and The Sensory Cabinet (2007), also<br />

from BlazeVOX, as well as Infinity Subsections (Meeting Eyes<br />

Bindery, 2004) and Cosmopolitan Tremble (Pavement Saw,<br />

2002). Counter Fluencies 1-20 is forthcoming as an issue of the print<br />

journal The Lune. His work appears in recent or forthcoming<br />

anthologies, including Water, Water Everywhere: Paean to a<br />

Vanishing Resource (Baksun Books & Arts, 2014), Litscapes:<br />

Collected US Writings (Steerage Press, 2015), and Poets for Living<br />

Waters: An International Response to the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf<br />

of Mexico (forthcoming from BlazeVOX). His work has also appeared<br />

in numerous journals, among them Big Bridge, Bombay Gin,<br />

Colorado Review, Mantis, New American Writing, OR, Pallaksch<br />

Pallaksch, Shiny, Talisman, and Vanitas. He lives in Boulder,<br />



Restless<br />

In a still night<br />

No moon softening<br />

Sharp stars<br />

No cloud drapery.<br />

Against this midnight<br />

The night mares move<br />

Sharing colour with the darkness.<br />

What cannot find them is found by them,<br />

There are no ways secret:<br />

Spiraling stars leave every sky familiar,<br />

Foraging herds by trails of green weeds<br />

Breach every underwater sanctuary.<br />

The night mares<br />

Sleep standing up;<br />

Contain any stallion,<br />

Give birth in the middle of any weather,<br />

Can knock bones, eyes, or internal organs out of any creature.<br />

Simply by their passing<br />

Men have been sucked breathless.<br />

The night mares

Know where dragons come from,<br />

And who, mothered by seas and singing desert sands,<br />

The twin birthed are.<br />

In languages that the thunder knows,<br />

They answer one another.<br />

Navigating easily unbridled,<br />

No boundary deludes them.<br />

Yielding, the only response they know.<br />

How Long My Unfitting Skin, The Night<br />

she had come down from Gunnison<br />

it had been a hard ride<br />

thin air refusing to support her<br />

old shoes needing to be thrown away as soon as possible<br />

met for drinks at The Last Chance<br />

she told me brief stories<br />

life in the wilderness<br />

ways of ghosts and proud flesh<br />

we booked a room from the man who wore a star<br />

make believe log cabin<br />

steel spring mattress<br />

Jim Beam on the bed side

we smoked silent shapes up at an invisible ceiling in the dark<br />

I was happy to be there<br />

thought she was too<br />

but somewhere after moon light<br />

she had gotten up<br />

kneeling by the drifty window<br />

to whatever she prayed<br />

all i could make out was –<br />

How long my own unfitting skin the night?<br />

Editor’s note: “The Night Mares” first appeared in print in Searches For Magic Lapwing<br />

Press Belfast<br />

Author bio: PD Lyons was born and raised in the USA. He has been traveling and living<br />

abroad since 1998, and is now residing in Ireland. He received The Mattatuck College<br />

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry. His two books of poetry include Searches<br />

For Magic, and Caribu & Sister Stones: Selected Poems, published by Lapwing Press,<br />

Belfast. A third book, Myths Of Multiplicity, was published by Erbacce press, Liverpool,<br />

as part of the 2014 Erbacce International Annual Prize The work of PD Lyons has also<br />

appeared in many magazines and e-zine/blogs throughout the world, including The<br />

SHoP, Books Ireland, Irish American Post, Boyne Berries, Virtual Writer, Slipstream,<br />

West 47 Galway Arts. He was recently selected to participate in the Human Rights<br />

Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, in a University of London publication<br />

titled ‘In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights’. He blogs at:<br />


Build Kindness, Not WALLS<br />

By Lelia Shirian<br />

SATIRE<br />

Trump’s well thought out plan to “build a wall and have Mexico pay for it” has<br />

been highly praised by politicians and common people alike. Local high school student<br />

Felipe Rodriguez, for example, urges politicians to “recognize the fact that this wall will<br />

help illegal Hispanic immigrants,” like himself, as much as it will legal citizens.<br />

Rodriguez went on to explain that the mass deportation will “give immigrants the<br />

motivation they need to get in touch with their roots” by allowing them the opportunity to<br />

return to their home countries. “And the best part is,” Rodriguez continues, “airfare is<br />

taken care of!” This is a sentiment commonly held among Trump supporters today<br />

including well known figures in US politics like former teen pop sensation, Aaron Carter,<br />

and prominent race relations expert, David Duke.<br />

It may seem radical, but, the truth is, we don’t have to spend hard-earned all-<br />

American dollars to deport millions of immigrants.<br />

There is another way.<br />

According to Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health,<br />

Education, Labor and Pensions, “teen sex is the answer to all of our prayers.” In short,<br />

Alexander proposes that we build a cheap, homegrown American workforce comparable<br />

to that of the illegals in order to drive the “bad hombres” out of America. “The<br />

ramifications of illegal immigration can be catastrophic. Building a workforce of ablebodied<br />

American children is the only way to combat the worsening problems caused by<br />

illegal immigration,” the Senator argued. Currently, the members of the Senate<br />

Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions are collaborating on a bill that will<br />

“foster the growth of the American child workforce” in order to eliminate the problem of<br />

illegal immigration.<br />

Some critics make outlandish claims, arguing that “child labor is unethical” or<br />

“forcing minors to work is illegal.” Still, Alexander remains hopeful.<br />

The bill is a complex and delicately balanced piece of legislation, so we had some<br />

of the Senators working on it walk us through it. There are no current laws requiring that<br />

the content taught in sexual education courses in America is accurate. According to the<br />

legislators, “we must actively perpetuate this fact... the best course of action is to keep<br />

these courses exactly as they are,” the passionate Senators argued.<br />

In order to defend our country from the corrupt, immoral illegals we must<br />

effectively transfer the weight of the American economy onto the backs of small children.<br />

To that end, it is critical, according to Senator Patty Murray, that we continue teaching

abstinence-only sexual education. Murray, ranking member of the committee, told us that<br />

in many states, abstinence-only sexual education is the only type taught. It is in many of<br />

these states, she explained, that teenage pregnancy rates are the highest in the nation.<br />

“The best way to ensure the steady growth of teen pregnancy rates and enlarge the<br />

existing pool of potential child laborers is to ensure that teenagers remain just as ignorant<br />

of the uses of contraceptives as they are today,” Murray explains. Furthermore,<br />

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin points out that “comparing young, sexually active<br />

women to used gum or tape that has lost its adhesive properties has proven a most<br />

effective aphrodisiac among teens, resulting in a tremendous number of teen pregnancies<br />

and, just nine short months later, producing eligible candidates for a strong child-driven<br />

labor force.”<br />

All we have to do to eliminate the problem of illegal immigration is produce<br />

children well equipped to enter the labor-force and take their jobs. All we have to do to<br />

ensure our teens continue producing these useful children is make sure we keep our<br />

sexual education classes exactly as vague and uninformative as they are today, presenting<br />

an easy solution to the complex problem of illegal immigration, without all the hassle of<br />

building that dreary old wall<br />

Author bio: Leila Shirian is a writer published in local newspapers and online literary<br />

magazines. Inspired by this great nation's most entertaining soap opera, politics, she aims<br />

to convey her opinions on controversial topics through well intentioned humor and<br />

passive aggressive sarcasm. She currently resides in New York with her equally sassy pet<br />

puffer fish, Puff Daddy.

Knock Knock<br />

By Wayne F. Burke<br />

who's there?<br />

its a woman<br />

says she's seen me around<br />

and would like to get to know me<br />

and can she come in?<br />

I kick aside some books<br />

and clothes so that<br />

she can sit;<br />

I play a record for her<br />

on the gramophone.<br />

If I had a gramophone--<br />

If I had a record...<br />

Hello?<br />

Oh no, its the landlord.<br />

No its the landlord's brother<br />

my friend<br />

whose friendship I need<br />

like I need a hole in my head;<br />

I let him in<br />

he says he wants to inspect the light fixtures<br />

but<br />

there are none<br />

and I don't know what<br />

happened to them<br />

either.<br />

The poor guy,<br />

he begins to mutter,<br />

but hey,<br />

I can't be expected to keep track of<br />

everything<br />

can I?<br />

Author bio: Wayne F. Burke's poetry has appeared in a variety of publications. His three<br />

published poetry collections, all with Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN (2013),<br />

DICKHEAD (2015) and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES (2016). His chapbook, PADDY<br />

WAGON is scheduled for publication in 2016 by Epic Rites Press. He lives in the central<br />

Vermont area.

Two Poems<br />

By Gregory Autry Wallace<br />

Author bio: Gregory Autry Wallace is a poet, painter and collage artist. He studied<br />

English, World and Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at San Francisco State<br />

University. His poetry and collages have appeared in Athena Incognito, Atticus Review,<br />

Paper Radio and NRG. He was a poetry editor for Ink Magazine and a founding editor of<br />

Oblivion Magazine. Mr. Wallace is the author of The Girl with Seven Hands and The<br />

Return of the Cyclades.<br />

Electric “Elegy”<br />

for Carl Rakosi<br />

[Young black girls covered with stars]<br />

Because he can imagine<br />

secretions of its web<br />

subject unmakes himself<br />

he left his horse and flew several centuries<br />

passed by the idle cylinders<br />

Heaven and earth filled with flywheels<br />

china clocks tick in cold shells<br />

dismal swamp scaring the owls<br />

a still and quiet angel of knowledge<br />

Hunter penetrates fingers of his left hand<br />

and sees grave-worms crawling<br />

in the blood of dazzling fire)<br />

I start thousands of paintings<br />

stopping finally all art and all fantasy<br />

Even the princess had been forgotten<br />

geared in loose mathematics<br />

push in and I become invisible<br />

when the thing stops every power stroke<br />

is stopped with the last slow cough<br />

Antistrophe of the sea light<br />

ineffable beauty of forms<br />

hear the plectrum of angels<br />

fly and hover in Arcadia<br />

Shade of Agememnon

stopped the heavy frenzy of pistons<br />

compression leaking in a flash<br />

one following another and<br />

thoughts slide in equinox<br />

The Points at would be fur<br />

The points at would be fur<br />

now looked once of creamy<br />

very creamy barrier<br />

soft, dark nebula.<br />

again through triangle of would<br />

All his everywhere<br />

was but light carbon<br />

Barrier of spirals]<br />

Phoenix dark between everywhere<br />

Boilding within time jumble<br />

witch's body descends over<br />

dizzying hair of Isis<br />

like had been front<br />

and was see ends<br />

It that walked out of<br />

darkness of many<br />

so went the other above<br />

open ends stars above<br />

spread interior light<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />


y Thomas Piekarski<br />

Spears sticking up in peat where dead sparrows nested.<br />

Expressway frozen still. My double is your Valentino<br />

thumbing his way back to Alaska. The middle occupied<br />

by abandoned reindeer stranded on your daddy’s navel.<br />

It’s muggy tonight. My Venice, your gondola. Voltaire<br />

disguised as a motley harlequin hiding in the bushes.<br />

When walking the wide Rambla in Barcelona watch out<br />

or you may be ambushed by the ghost of Pablo Picasso.<br />

Black sandpaper sky. Neighborhood houselights sparkle.<br />

A few scraggly stars through the smog. Hoorah Uranus.<br />

And then a dry field, parched tinderbox where I watch<br />

jackrabbits morph into zebras before my bulging eyes.<br />

Tis said you felt the essence of your sentencing within<br />

those stanzas you penned, dear poet. Credit hard labor,<br />

dust wrapped in cellophane. My Brutus is your Judas.<br />

The poor ride the metro. The rich pontificate, and stall.<br />

Strolling to the chapel of love, it could be anyplace. Take<br />

this pill and chill out. If just for once go preemptive. Let’s<br />

annex music and swing on grace notes. Green Lantern will<br />

make his own way. My enlightenment is your epiphany.<br />

Magritte taut, sweats, casts a big broad smile, hard at work<br />

on a self-portrait, him wearing his typical bowler hat and<br />

black tie, smokes a J-shaped pipe. Meanwhile Rimbaud is<br />

having a ball, rides a comet tail round and round the moon.<br />

The ferry leaves in ten minutes but who cares? This tidbit<br />

of information irrelevant, and contrary to the development<br />

of one’s understanding. All for one and we equally free-fall<br />

said thunder hailing ancient Arcadia with a boatload of light.<br />

City rail cars zip past, then a freight train trundles by, both<br />

barely skirting catastrophe. My reality is your fond fantasy, so<br />

we’re even. I have blood cells and thin air to dish out, although<br />

we won’t gain satisfaction this night any more than gnomes.

Grand bedfellows my indistinguishable cadence coupled with<br />

John Philip Sousa snoozing in the heart of the sun. And the sun<br />

never rises without a prompt, an approval from you my friend,<br />

my fiend, dark paramour. Now I’ll sing my latest song for you.<br />

Author bio: Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry<br />

Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared widely in literary journals in the<br />

U.S., India, Canada, Austria, and the U.K., including Nimrod, Portland Review, Mandala<br />

Journal, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine, The<br />

Journal, and Poetry Quarterly. He has published a travel book, Best Choices In Northern<br />

California, and Time Lines, a book of poems.

Premonition<br />

By Jay Jurisich<br />

Mortadella ginseng hyssop clay<br />

she mucked in the garden raking mother's mulch<br />

blocked from talking by the mocking rocker<br />

blind gramophone bruising headwinds sway<br />

last glass seen leaving scene with chalk talker<br />

in amiable fury swept her walk away.<br />

Toluene gun control razorback<br />

the grinding efficiency of this or that wager<br />

pausing to reflect the farmer laid bare<br />

his billowing wheaties talking sweet smack<br />

digesting the dirt in furrows of care<br />

not walking not talking but for what they lack.<br />

Rootward rootbound dryroot rootbeer<br />

another salty conundrum searching for its savior<br />

into the molting soil we blindly feel<br />

pausing this planet without pulse without peer<br />

You don't need census data to reveal<br />

something's not quite right around here.<br />

Author bio: Jay Jurisich is a Berkeley, California based artist whose artwork and poetry<br />

explore the visual identity and conceptual nature of language. He is interested in whether<br />

language can be "used" in a way that is not conventionally communication, poetry, or<br />

logical, but inhabits or inspires a physical presence. W: http://www.jurisich.com/

Return of the Cyclades by Gregory Wallace<br />

Artist bio: Gregory Autry Wallace is a poet, painter and collage artist. He studied<br />

English, World and Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at San Francisco State<br />

University. His poetry and collages have appeared in Athena Incognito, Atticus Review,<br />

Paper Radio and NRG.


By Fred D. White<br />

Moonlight over Mulholland; suicides<br />

from the letter H; searchlights and busty palmists;<br />

Tarot readers with moonstones and garnets<br />

authorizing every finger; psalmists, palm trees,<br />

palm frauds; Casablanca slow fans;<br />

here’s-lookin’-at-you-faces pressed in cement;<br />

gilded goddess-heads lording over back lots;<br />

tailored suits; spike heels amid Armani thugs<br />

in smirk and four-day bristle:<br />

How could I forget thee, H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D,<br />

American obscene and my home town.<br />

Mash-it-smash-hit, sully of Pixar, war-adoring town!<br />

Your screen hallucinations<br />

and light-saber animation-amputations

have shattered me into a million permutations.<br />

Good riddance, crash-blast, flip-over<br />

bash-badass orgiastic computer animation.<br />

Take your explosion plumes and bodies<br />

slow-motion pirouetting though the air,<br />

and choke on them.<br />

I take my leave from your wired, your boors,<br />

your muddled asses, fondled into thinking they are free<br />

Author bio: Fred White’s poems have appeared most recently in The Courtship of<br />

Winds and Euphony, and is forthcoming in Allegro Poetry Journal and The Cape Rock.<br />

He lives near Sacramento, CA, with his wife and cat.

Of Bigotry and<br />

(Book Review) by Alison Ross<br />

Jayne Cortez's Coagulations is the kind of collection that, were I a savvier scribe, I<br />

would write. While I do sometimes/often covet other writers' talents, I seldom feel I<br />

could inhabit their poetic persona; they are different people with different aims in their<br />

writing. But in Jayne Cortez, I feel an aching kinship.<br />

Granted, Cortez, being African American, wrote from deeper dimensions, given her lived<br />

experience with ruthless racism. As a woman, I can relate to her musings on the evils of<br />

misogyny, but my ghostly skin hue has not routinely caused problems for me, and therein<br />

lies our separation.<br />

Where we converge, of course, is in our love for surrealist imagery transported through<br />

pulsating lines. Cortez is the poet that I aspire to, but will never, be.<br />

And I'm mostly okay with that. Cortez has much more to say, anyway. Despite having<br />

dealt with sexism throughout my life - what woman has not? - I won't say that I have<br />

been crippled by such experiences, whereas I am sure that Cortez's status as a double<br />

minority threatened to severely set her back. Clearly, she fought back with her art, and<br />

clearly, she won.<br />

Because, you see, Coagulations is a crowning collection of poetry. In these gathered<br />

verses, Cortez spills forth with sanguine sass and crimson rage the torments of enduring<br />

bestial bigotry. In one of her more straightforward poems, "There it is," she seethes:<br />

The ruling class will tell you that<br />

there is no ruling class<br />

as they organize their liberal supporters into<br />

white supremacist lynch mobs<br />

organize their children into<br />

ku klux klan gangs<br />

organize their police into<br />

killer cops...

inoculate us with hate<br />

institutionalize us with ignorance<br />

hypnotize us with a monotonous sound designed<br />

to make us evade reality and stomp our lives away<br />

Her structural repetitions lend a lyrical lilt to otherwise harsh subject matter, and this is<br />

what makes Cortez imminently readable. But where her lines become downright<br />

mesmerizing is when she injects jarring juxtapositions, as in "Tell Me":<br />

Tell me that the plutonium sludge<br />

in your corroded torso is all a dream<br />

Tell me that your penis bone is not erupting<br />

with the stench of dead ants<br />

that your navel is not the dump site<br />

of contaminated pus<br />

that the spillage from your hard ass<br />

is not a fallout of radioactive waste<br />

Tell me you're not going to peel off your skin<br />

and be a psychedelic corpse in the holy water of patriotic babble<br />

Cortez's phrasing becomes purely potent when her indignation takes on a rhetorical flair,<br />

as in "If the Drum is a Woman":<br />

why are you pounding your drum into an insane babble<br />

why are you pistol-whipping your drum at dawn<br />

why are you shooting through the head of your drum<br />

and making a drum tragedy of drums<br />

if the drum is a woman<br />

don’t abuse your drum don’t abuse your drum<br />

don’t abuse your drum<br />

Though the blood of Cortez's battles against a greed-mongering, white supremacist,<br />

woman-hating society congealed into an anger poised to sting the world with its venom,<br />

she managed to temper her fury just enough to allow it to seep into these poems<br />

throbbing with a jazz-surrealist tempo.<br />

Cortez's art is deliciously deadly.

The Holdout<br />

By Alexei Kalinchuk<br />

The zombie apocalypse went hard on all of us, but a special sliver of hardship went<br />

towards Elise Fleming. Elise Fleming, you see, prided herself on her home and garden, on<br />

hanging black and white gelatin prints of mountainscapes on her walls, on coaxing the rarest most<br />

prize-winningest flowers from the soil in her yard.<br />

She, and all of us, did-not-could-not prepare for the onslaught of the undead devouring<br />

citizens on the street, infecting the living and killing anyone they could find.<br />

Before the military counterattack and its mop-up on pockets of zombies, we all stayed as<br />

a group in the house of our beloved orderly neighbor.<br />

Barricaded in there together, in that most tasteful house for five days, we stained her<br />

floors with blood, boarded up her windows and killed four of our own who became infected.<br />

While we saved her life, albeit having to kill her zombified husband, I don’t think she<br />

ever forgave the violence committed on her home by the undead trying to break in or by the<br />

wretched defenders within her walls.<br />

With the military at last triumphant and the siege lifted, Elise Fleming did not thank<br />

anyone or even look in our direction, but instead went outside to her flowerbeds to assess the<br />

damage.<br />

*<br />

It’s been ten years since the apocalypse and there is now a vogue of survivor reunion<br />

parties.<br />

We remember those who have fallen, admire each other’s children born since, note<br />

paunches and gray hair and guzzle beers and eat nachos while discussing the apocalypse and<br />

thanking each other for never giving up.

Each year on the anniversary of the counterattack, my fellow survivors show up, but each<br />

year in our group there is one summons that goes unanswered.<br />

She lives with her new husband in a lovely house in Berne. I know this because I have<br />

researched and looking at the photos online, I note that this house is not as posh as her last one.<br />

Perhaps because I was the one who butchered her first husband, homicidal and infected,<br />

on the Spanish tile of the bathroom, or perhaps because I broke up her antiques for firewood and<br />

torches, or perhaps because I’d genuinely admired her grit and poise before that whole awful<br />

business of the apocalypse began, but something makes me feel responsible for Elise Fleming’s<br />

alienation from us.<br />

Other survivors in our group tell me to forget that spiteful woman who cared more about<br />

her house than anyone or anything, but I can no more forget her now than I could then.<br />

My last attempt at reconciliation did not go well.<br />

After winning the lottery in the year after the apocalypse- it’s been a strange time for me<br />

really-I devoted my time to thinking of how to reunite all of our original band of survivors<br />

because after being set for life materially, I could think of no higher purpose for my life than this.<br />

I decided I needed to reconcile with Elise.<br />

Having commissioned an elaborate picture frame, one of a kind and expensive, I took my<br />

private plane out to Europe to see if Elise Fleming wouldn’t accept my peace offering. I must’ve<br />

had uneasy dreams on the flight over, because I cracked the top of a molar while in my sleep, but<br />

this pain would not dissuade me from my mission.<br />

I stood on the doorstep of her house, knocking, sometimes moaning because the winter<br />

cold crept into the broken tooth and made a misery of my mouth, but I would not leave.<br />

After my arrest however, I did leave; left the country, left the picture frame with the<br />

police who did God knows what with it, left without even seeing her face.

Yet I will not delete her from my list of invitations I send out every year, and if I had her<br />

email, I would send her our survivor group’s online newsletter so she can see who is getting<br />

married, having a baby or graduating high school.<br />

I’ve learned to survive, but not how to give up.<br />

Write me back, tell me how you do it, Elise Fleming.<br />

I want to know.<br />

Or maybe that’s for the next apocalypse to teach me.<br />

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

Journal, The Bitter Oleander, Foliate Oak. He smells like fennel, sleeps on a mattress stuffed<br />

with cilantro, and eats pomegranates alone.

The Inevitable Failure of<br />

Historians of<br />

Civilizations (Polemic)<br />

by Edwin L. Young, PhD<br />

I feel quite certain about two things. First, these universal, male<br />

dominated, power structures have been present since the earliest<br />

beginnings of all civilizations. Second, not even historians of<br />

civilizations understand the arbitrariness of these evolutionary<br />

processes. They keep lauding the unbelievable cruelty of the dominant<br />

male leaders of all previous civilizations.<br />

As a result of these two universal trends throughout history, I am<br />

unwaveringly convinced that these trends will continue even as long as<br />

mass destruction weapons continue to be lethally evolved along with<br />

them.<br />

Importantly, along with that dire trend, antiquated male physiology<br />

predisposes male leaders to be monomanaically goal oriented, power<br />

superiority motivated, aggressively competitive, unempathic and<br />

insensitive to the pain of others. Simultaneously, the majority of males<br />

of lesser intelligence continue to live by group loyalty and conformity<br />

and to be incredibly easily ordered by their leaders to perform<br />

unconscionably despicable acts on their 'falsely supposed enemies.'<br />

This latter trend is also pervasive in sports; which so easily prepares<br />

them for militancy and which then is transmuted into compliance with<br />

'us versus them,' mass destruction, global conflicts.<br />

All the while, the CEO Directors of this horror drama have orchestrated<br />

their corporations so as to reap huge profits from it all. Unwittingly,<br />

the populace is complicit in corporate, unrelenting move toward<br />

devastating climate change and the distantly inevitable destruction of<br />

all life on earth.<br />

Public education, one of their invisibly conformist creating strategies,<br />

prevents the hoi polloi from ever suspecting that they are being<br />

molded to be obedient slaves of corporate profiteering and militaristic<br />

motivations and goals.

It is all a pervasively well integrated, worldwide system, dictated by<br />

about 100 of the earth's richest and (almost exclusively male) crossnational,<br />

most powerful individuals --- the "Bilderbergers."<br />

All the while the populace, the "adult and children kiddies" are kept<br />

mesmerized by the major pseudo news channels owned by the earth's<br />

largest corporations, titillating adult sitcoms, and children's' television<br />

Pablum.<br />

The populaces were well entertained by these during the US coup of<br />

most of Africa, excluding South Africa, and, so far, the also nearly<br />

excluded, is that almost impenetrable nation, China. Included in this<br />

untouchable category as well is the impotent, religion obsessed,<br />

sleeping giant India.

Postcard #7 by Bob Heman

The Shining Example (Film Review) By Alison Ross<br />

"Moonlight" is a film of confounding contradictions. It is both easy and difficult to<br />

describe - and both easy and difficult to watch. The film left me speechless, and yet<br />

hopeful. It depressed me while also uplifting me. The subject matter is grave, and it is<br />

that gravity, and the verisimilitude - the vehicle transporting that gravity - that sank my<br />

soul like a dull weight. And yet the pathos driving the movie - the vast empathy displayed<br />

toward the main character's tormenting travails - is what illuminated the edges of my own<br />

despair.<br />

Technically speaking, the movie is pristine. I cannot think of a better mode of telling the<br />

story than the brutal sparseness and starkly linear trajectory the film embraces. The film's<br />

protagonist, a poor black male gradually coming to terms with his own sexuality, is<br />

personified by a trio of stellar actors at various stages of his life. His main antagonists -<br />

his mother and a callous society - are embodied authentically to an anguishing degree.<br />

The whole movie reeks of realism, which is its staggering strength and yet the element<br />

that evokes the most disquiet.<br />

"Moonlight," indeed, situates itself in a place where pathos is filtered through a<br />

wrenching realism. It is not concerned with slushy sentimentalism, just as it is<br />

unconcerned with being icily aloof toward its troubled lead. Too, it eschews mere<br />

caricature and presents the protagonist as one whose luckless lot nonetheless renders him<br />

infinitely relatable, a fully formed character worthy of our respect, imbued with a dignity<br />

and courage normally reserved for more conventional characters. Chiron is fractured, to<br />

be sure, but has an unorthodox charisma, and as such, is more realistically realized than a<br />

stock archetype.

"Moonlight" exists somewhere at the intersection of austerity and veracity, where vivid<br />

truth is presented in a sternly minimalistic manner.<br />

This is why the film, one of the best I have seen in a long time, is simultaneously easy<br />

and difficult to watch. We want our movies about difficult topics to be digestible, and<br />

that, in itself, is oxymoronic. We crave simple storylines and simple solutions, even if the<br />

subject matter defies simplicity.<br />

But we cannot have it both ways. Difficult subject matter demands astringent, if nuanced,<br />

artistic approaches. It's the only way to validate, and hence seek answers to, complex<br />

questions.<br />

"Moonlight" shines a harsh radiance on what it is like to be poor, black, and gay. It's<br />

time, at last, that a film did just that.

The Drunkeness of Ashes!! ! ! !"#$%&&#'(&)*#<br />

!<br />

#<br />

Artist bio: Bill Wolak is a poet, photographer, and collage artist. He has just published<br />

his twelfth book of poetry entitled Love Opens the Hands with Nirala Press. His collages<br />

have been published in over a hundred magazines including: The Annual, Peculiar<br />

Mormyrid, Danse Macabre, Dirty Chai, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Lost Coast<br />

Review, Mad Swirl, Otis Nebula, and Horror Sleaze Trash. Recently, he was a featured<br />

poet at The Mihai Eminescu International Poetry Festival in Craiova, Romania. Mr.<br />

Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Professor LITANY (SATIRE)<br />

By Kane X. Faucher<br />

Profethah, when is class...where is class... what is class?????<br />

read the syllabus<br />

read<br />

read the fucking syllabus<br />

When are your office hours???<br />

the syllabus<br />

read you must<br />

What did I miss last class when is my assignment due will you hold my hand<br />

will you hold my hair when I puke will you tell me what to do and how to do<br />

it so much it is like you are doing it all can I write on this or this or<br />

this...how do i get the A++++++ and keep my scholarship and go to<br />

medical-law school but without doing too much just give me an A cuz I have<br />

lots of potential????<br />

read<br />

the<br />

syllabus<br />

what is your policy on...???

the syllabus<br />

So can I hand in my essay a bit later because...???<br />

Read. The. Syllabus. Then, read it again.<br />

Can I double-triple-quadruple space quoting Youtube how do I quote<br />

Snapchat is Fox News an academic source whaddya mean by academic<br />

source where is the library what is a library can I tweet my essay to you as I<br />

do it will you edit it as I go will you validate me like a proxy parent and be<br />

my blackhawk daddy-mummy and explain all the big words and I'm having<br />

a lot of total stress and anxiety and depression cuz my iphone won't turn on<br />

and I think I have the flu cuz of all this facebook drama in my life, my life is<br />

so busy and important I think I'm having a total pumpkin spice latte mic<br />

drop right here and right now and I dunno why i should ever learn to use<br />

apostrophe cuz I'll get a nineteen-figure job in something I dunno-what but it<br />

will be on social media with lots of emojis and everyone will love me and<br />

give me golden sparkly houses and rainbow ponies with mad stackz of billz<br />

for my BMWs as I chillax with my peeps and show off my individuality in<br />

my style tribe and can I hand the paper in next year cuz my stress and<br />

emotional diabetes??????<br />

syllabus! syllabus! syl-la-bus-s-s-s-s-s-s!

Measure of ‘Lowest Common<br />

Denominator‘ Among Americans<br />

Near Zero (SATIRE)<br />

By Gilbert Prowler<br />

The benchmark for the so-called ‘lowest common denominator’ of<br />

Americans is now close to bottoming out. “Any lower and we’ll be flat<br />

lining,” says Owen Richards, head of statistical analysis at More On, a<br />

California think tank.<br />

The term represents a measurement of the level of the least discriminating<br />

audience or consumer group. The study titled ‘Reasoning In the Population’<br />

(RIP) paints a grim picture of a growing segment of Americans.<br />

“Left to their own devices and the misinformation they get from them, many<br />

adults are regressing to a point where they have difficultly coming up with<br />

even one fact based thought.” Richards said.<br />

The study of 2,700 subjects shows the correlation of the growing use of ego<br />

driven social media, a hyper political climate and the need to fill a bloated<br />

24/7 news cycle as some of the factors responsible for the downward spiral.<br />

“To get a base line we pored over thousands of Facebook postings and<br />

Twitter feeds as well as stories in the New York Post, interviews at public<br />

urinals and Fox News. The findings were horrific. For example, the large<br />

following of YouTube egg videos and people unwrapping a box of<br />

merchandise is not an aberration."<br />

Richards also points to the popularity of Donald Trump as indicative of the<br />

decline in perception and reasoning. He cites the acceptance by Trump<br />

supporters of his string of near truths, contradictions and outright lies as<br />

examples of the lack of basic analytical thought among millions of<br />

Americans.<br />

“What we see happening is a worldview based on fiction posing as facts that<br />

seeps down to become core beliefs. Across all segments of society people

are believing what they want to if it fits into a narrative they’re comfortable<br />

with.<br />

"Unfortunately, that can result in an inability to consider any conflicting yet<br />

pertinent data. About the only thing those in our study could agree on was<br />

the alphabet, although not necessary in letter order.<br />

“I'm afraid the days of enlightenment are long over,” Richards added.<br />

Author bio: Gilbert Prowler is a freelance writer and independent filmmaker who has<br />

spent most of his life working, looking for work or running down checks. He was born in<br />

Brooklyn, New York at a time when you could use a public restroom without having to<br />

pass through security, the pornography was usually hidden in the attic by your old man<br />

and Pluto was a planet. He currently lives in California with his wife, children and a<br />

brown lawn.

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