Alison Ross: ThugETTE-in=Chief
Chani Zwibel ;Featured FEmme
Felino Soriano: Resident Poet
CindY Hochman: RAD-ASS Reviewer
Quetzal:Thugwise Cat #1
Soleil: Thugwise Cat #2
EDITOR’s SCRATCHING POST:
Clockwise Cat has been denigrated once or twice for having a rough aesthetic, and for
liberally employing memes and clip art. But I’m like, fuck those mofos, cuz memes be dope!
And as far as the “look” of CC … well, we never set out to be all sophisticated and shit. We
are, first and foremost, a zine. We doctor some imagery, use clip art and memes and
uncopyrighted art from the internet and deploy funky fonts and we are PROUD to do so.
Of course, we also solicit and publish more professionally done collages, sketchings and
paintings, and we love those artists for offering us their eye-treats to adorn our journal. And
truth be told, if we had the budget, we’d totally pay a graphic artist to prettify our pages even
further and make our magazine look slightly more refined. But we don’t want to yuppify it,
and so maybe it’s a good thing we lack funds. It’s the editorial, poetic, and artistic content,
anyway, that makes the Cat so great. We believe in an authentic, organic ambiance,
something not afraid to show its ass a bit. We own our gritty look and feel and wouldn’t have
it any other way. The traditionalists aim to homogenize everything and make the journals into
cookie-cutter condos, while we want to splatter graffiti all over the place.
The traditionalists, you see, are the authoritarians. Clockwise Cat, on the other hand, is antiauthoritarian.
We live by our own code.
Clockwise Cat, in short, is an adherent of Thug Life as philosophized by the late, great
Tupac Shakur. This is why this issue is called Thugwise Cat. We’re not being ironic hipsters
here; we love the compelling contradictions that Tupac embodied; we love him for his
rhymes, and we love him for his mind.
Thug Life is often misunderstood as being a violent criminal code, when in fact it’s the
audacious antithesis. Thug Life is living by your own code, one that is anti-authoritarian but
respectful of your own community. It’s “gangsta” in the realest way possible; not nihilistic,
but uplifting, and eschewing the stifling hierarchies that oppress. It’s recognizing the tyranny
of tradition, and the forces of regressive repression, and overturning them. That’s what the
Cat does – we proudly publish the people who subtly or overtly subvert the linguistic and
Below, I paste part of 2pac’s Codes of Thug Life. It’s worth noting that just as the Codes of
Thug Life are inherently a sense of pride in being black, the Codes of Clockwise Cat are
innately a sense of pride in being a black sheep. We don’t want to assimilate to conformist
codes like those traditionalist journals with their gentrified aesthetics and generic poetics.
We’d rather look like a vibrantly colorful thrift store than an aloof, soulless upscale
department store – and we’d rather sell goods like raging invective, scathing satire, and
progressive verse over fashion fad poetry that merges with the masses. We’re also about
respecting humanity, and Thug Life was very much so about that too. It was about
community, not hierarchy. Clockwise Cat vigorously celebrates community.
Quetzal and Soleil, our resident feisty felines, would agree. Cats live the Thug Life, after all.
Tupac’s CODES OF THUG LIFE
Thug Life is an acronym for "The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone.” The codes were
designed to give order to the rise of gang violence and drug dealing. These codes were signed by
the Bloods and Crips at a peace treaty called the Truc Picnic, in California in 1992.
5. Car jacking in our Hood is against the Code.
8. No slinging in schools.
11.The Boys in Blue don’t run nothing; we do. Control the Hood, and make it safe for squares.
12. No slinging to pregnant Sisters. That’s baby killing; that’s genocide!
14. Civilians are not a target and should be spared.
15. Harm to children will not be forgiven.
17. Senseless brutality and rape must stop.
18. Our old folks must not be abused.
19. Respect our Sisters. Respect our Brothers.
The Irrevocable Object of Desire by Greg Wallace
Artist bio: Gregory Autry Wallace is a poet, painter and collagist living in San Francisco. He
studied English, World and Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at San Francisco State
University. His poetry and collages have appeared in Athena Incognito, Black Scat Review,
BlazeVox, Danse Macabre,Clockwise Cat and Five 2 One. He was a poetry editor for Ink
Magazine and a founding editor of Oblivion Magazine. In addition, his paintings, collages and
assemblages have appeared in juried art shows.
(And sAtiRiCaL SCreeDs)
FROM THE BOWELS OF
THE COMMON CORE SIMPLIFIED
By John Alexander
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of hearing about the Common Core.
Yeah, yeah- some people are for it, some are against- and then there’s the students- “the victims”-
who have to endure it.
I mean, there was a time when going to school meant seeing your friends, memorizing a
bunch of stuff, going to gym and lunch- and being “freed” at the end of the day.
But now, the fun is all gone. Instead, the kids “search for evidence;” “piece together
arguments;” “explain calculations;” “compare similarities and differences;” “think critically”- and
that’s just the beginning.
And for what? Lift their achievement levels? Undermine local control? Overwhelm kids
with stupid word problems? Again, for what? To what end? So they can get a minimum wage
job that requires them to apply NONE of the things they’ve learned?
It does seem so, doesn’t it? So, I’ve devised a ten question “test” that will not only
eliminate the need for all that time spent in the Common Core, but will prepare those students for
the minimum wage jobs they will call a career.
And, I’ve even provided a “grading key” so that the test takers will have a good, solid
introduction by which to plan the rest of their lives (a “career planning” added bonus- for free!).
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to- “The Common Core - Simplified.”
(1) You are a cashier at Starbucks. A customer’s order rings up as $15.00.
The customer gives you two (2) five dollar bills, four (4) one dollar bills,
three (3) quarters, two (2) dimes, and five (5) pennies. How much change
should you give back to the customer?
(a) Two one dollar bills and three quarters;
(b) No change back;
(c) Two quarters and four nickels;
(d) Three dimes and two nickels;
(e) None of the above.
(2) Draw a line so as to match the city with the state, province or country they are in.
You must match them perfectly to get a point.
New York City
(3) If you are a K-Mart employee, and you hear this message- “Attention K-Mart
Shoppers!” This message means that-
(a) The store is closing;
(b) Someone left their headlights on;
(c) There is a psychotic gunman in the store;
(d) A sale is about to begin;
(e) A child is lost;
(f) None of the above;
(g) All of the above.
(4) Fahrenheit and Celsius are-
(a) Two ships that fought each other during the Civil War;
(b) The names of Apple’s and Samsung’s new cell phones;
(c) The last names of two ten-year-olds that have been offered football
scholarships to the University of Alabama;
(d) Two different ways to determine temperature;
(e) None of the above;
(f) All of the above.
(5) “The Cloud” refers to-
(a) The first song on Prince’s “Purple Rain” album;
(b) What happens to your computer screen after years of use;
(c) A weather phenomenon;
(d) A data storage system;
(e) What happens to your eyes after 9.5 hours of starring at your screen;
(f) None of the above;
(g) All of the above.
(6) “Big Lots” is-
(a) The name of a county park in Milwaukee;
(b) An exclusive suburban development, just south of Dallas;
(c) A discount chain store;
(d) The new home of the Cleveland Cavaliers;
(e) None of the above;
(f) All of the above.
(7) Buffalo Chicken Wings were first served in-
(b) Los Angeles;
(e) New York;
(f) None of the above
(8) If you are driving “a mile a minute,” how far will you have driven after one hour?
(a) Thirty miles;
(b) Sixty miles;
(c) It depends on the time zone;
(d) Nobody in their right mind drives that slow;
(e) It depends on how many stops you make;
(f) None of the above;
(g) All of the above.
(9) Who is pictured on the three dollar ($3.00) bill?
(a) John Adams;
(b) Harriet Tubman;
(c) Robert E. Lee;
(d) John F. Kennedy;
(e) Ronald Reagan;
(f) All of them- it rotates;
(g) None of the above.
(10) A Broadway play is-
(a) The last play of an NFL game;
(b) Football plays run only by the New York Jets and New York Giants;
(c) A place in Times Square where children can play;
(d) What con-artists do to get you to buy knock-off goods;
(e) A show that only rich people can afford to see;
(f) None of the above;
(g) All of the above.
THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS
Each question- if answered correctly- is worth one (1) point. For question # 2, the cities much be
matched perfectly with their respective state, province or country in order to get a point.
The correct answers are:
# 1- b
# 2- Matching a city with its state, province or country-
New York City with New York
Oklahoma City with Oklahoma
Jersey City with New Jersey
Indianapolis with Indiana
Iowa City with Iowa
Kansas City with Kansas
Mexico City with Mexico
Quebec City with Quebec
Virginia Beach with Virginia
# 3- d
# 4- d
# 5- d
# 6- c
# 7- c
# 8- b
# 9- g
# 10- e
GRADING YOUR ANSWERS & CAREER PLANNING
10/10 Find something to do so that someone can nominate you for a
MacArthur “Genius Award.”
9/10 Great score, but forget about going to Harvard. Try one of
those on-line colleges.
8/10 You’re way too smart for MacDonald’s or Burger King. Think-
7/10 No local hardware store for you. Head over to Lowe’s or Home
6/10 Pick up and cash in deposit returnable cans and bottles.
5/10 Give plasma as often as you can and make sure you get paid.
4/10 Volunteer someplace that gives you a free meal and a place to
3/10 Find out if your old school will let you back into grade one.
2/10 Go to prison so you can learn to make something.
1/10 Commit yourself at your local psychiatric hospital.
0/10 See your doctor to make sure your brain is functioning.
Author bio: After spending years in New York City, John Alexander has temporarily
relocated to the hamlet of Getzville, New York. He lives and writes there in the company
of his two favorite pets, “Bunny” and “Roma.” Most recently, John has appeared in
Danse Macabre du Jour, Clockwise Cat (3), Straightjackets Literary Magazine,
Hackwriters: The International Writers Magazine (U.K). He also co-authored the online
novel, entitled, “A Vow of Silence.” It can be found at www.avowofsilence.net
Satan’s Diabolical 10-Step
Plan for President Trump
By Moira Lynch
I read with great interest your proposal to help me defeat America and destroy the world. I must
say, I admire your drive. This, combined by your bullying self-aggrandizement and total moral
decay have proven to me that you are, indeed, the right man for the job. Congratulations.
That said, we have our work cut out for us. President Obama has chosen to ignore my bidding,
bribes and threats. Despite all this (and the fact that he’s black!) he has proven to be a strong
adversary. In fact, sources tell me he will be remembered as one of the most admired presidents
in US history. But no matter, we will triumph in the end. Hope and Change are nothing compared
to our hatred and divisiveness. For while the world may love and respect Barack Obama, they
will come to fear and cower before us!—!and as you know, Donald, that is the measure true power.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it
will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Below, I have outlined a plan for our success which was inspired by good old “Honest Abe”
himself. (If I can’t make that freedom-loving bullshit artist burn in hell, he’ll at least rue his
words.) If deployed correctly, you shall soon see the evil fruits of our labor. The genius of my
plan lies in its pure audacity and irony. For we will use the most American of institutions to turn
America against itself. Through freedom of speech and freedom of the press we will use lies to
deceive voters and sensationalism and spectacle to keep them coming back for more. Because, as
we both know, America so loves a scandal!
Here are the initial broad strokes of my diabolical plan, but feel free to improvise with your own
special brand of magnetic megalomania.
1. Stir up fear, racism and sexism in white American men who feel their privilege and power
slipping away. Launch your entry into politics by promoting a meritless rumor about the validity
of Obama’s birth certificate. The Tea Party will love this as it gives racism an almost patriotic
2. Get the backing of Evangelical Christians. Despite their alleged allegiance to you know Who,
they are a powerful and purposeful group. Best of all, we have a tremendous opportunity to use
their beliefs for our own agenda. They believe the Second Coming is at hand and have a vested
interest in promoting the end of the world. Who better than you, Donald, in the position of the
most powerful man in the world to make that happen? You’re welcome.
3. Alienate sane, sensible and morally responsible Republican party members with divisive and
bullying rhetoric. The party can be ripped apart at its roots by appealing to its most aggrieved
party members with unabashed fear and hatred.
4. Parade your made-for-reality-TV family before the public to attest to your viability as a father,
leader and worthy human being. A note here: I encourage you to say out loud all the inappropriate
thoughts you have about your oldest daughter, Ivanka. The benefits are two-fold: 1.) It affirms
your own attractiveness (because, really, could an ugly, ogre of a man father a woman so
fuckable?) and 2.) a whiff of incest always appeals to America’s prurient nature and will get you
even more media attention. Do you see the pattern here, my friend? Moral outrage gets attention
and ultimately, votes.
5. Use “America First” as a way to allay domestic fears of globalization and sow international
fears of colonization. Employ terrorist threats to demonize and dehumanize refugees and
immigrants seeking peaceful refuge in America. Back this up with threatening and insinuating
promises to neighboring countries and allies. Oh, and I’ll give you extra credit for warming up to
Vladimir Putin. He’s already on my team and I think you’ll work well together. Terrifichuman
6. On the domestic front, let’s talk about dog-whistle policies like “Law and Order” to stoke the
escalating tensions between police officers and communities of color. The greater the distrust we
can create between the people and law enforcement, the better chance we can transform civil
disobedience into civil war. Yet another example of my evil genius!—!and one I’m particularly
7. The media will make us or break us. As luck would have it, these days most people are getting
their political information from social media platforms so we can easily create fake news,
manipulate the truth and create a more angry and confused electorate. When questioned by
detractors and/or the mainstream media, simply deny any responsibility or culpability for your
words then distract them with another shocking lie.
8. Show the world you will take shit from no one. Use Twitter to promote useful fabrications and
silence or shame any who would dare express distrust or disagreement with you. And on that
note: retweet the racist and xenophobic ideologies of hate groups as much as possible. You will
see they are very faithful and dedicated followers who will promote the Trump brand with gleeful
9. Loudly label opponents, immigrants and others as criminals to gain support and distract from
the fact that you have thousands of pending lawsuits ranging from fraud to sexual assault. While I
commend you for your dirty deeds, they could be your Achilles heel. Play the offensive and you
won’t have to play the defensive.
10. Once elected, surround yourself with aids, advisors and Cabinet members as dedicated to
destruction as you. I have some people in mind already (Steve Bannon is as relentless as they
get). Oh, and if you can get a climate skeptic to head the EPA, you would be doing me a huge
favor. Fuck those tree-hugging communists. I won’t be satisfied until every polar bear has
drowned from exhaustion in tepid bathwate
That’s all for now. Once you are in office, I will be contacting you with the next steps of my
unholy plan. I look forward to your election and ascension to the highest seat of human power.
Together we will destroy the world by reminding people to Make America Hate Again.
Sincerely psyched for total destruction,
TWO SATIRICAL ADS
BY JON WESICK
CRITICAL THINKING PROGRAM AT LESSER FALLS BIBLE COLLEGE
Everybody’s enrolling in the critical thinking program at Lesser Falls Bible College.
Shouldn’t you too? Business leaders say the number one qualification they look for in
new hires is a degree in critical thinking, but don’t take their word for it. Take the word
of one of our graduates, Julio Maldacena, who got a twenty-percent raise after graduating
with a master’s degree in critical thinking. Lesser Falls Bible College has earned praise
from movie stars like Jim Carey and Jenny McCarthy. This isn’t your father’s critical
thinking program. Our program is the newest in the tri-state area.
The critical thinking program at Lesser Falls Bible College excels at academic rigor.
Professor Gil Borodino designed our program using the knowledge he gained from
completing his Ph.D. in critical thinking right here at Lesser Falls Bible College. With
tuition costing $50,000 a year, you know it has to be good.
Some people like the Better Business Bureau, college accreditation board, and attorney
general think you shouldn’t be allowed to learn critical thinking at Lesser Falls Bible
College, but who would believe a bunch of busybodies with halitosis, anyway? And
besides, no one has proved that a master’s degree in critical thinking from Lesser Falls
Bible College doesn’t lead to a fifty-percent salary increase.
You have two choices. Either you get a critical thinking degree from Lesser Falls Bible
College or you die broke, homeless, and alone.
NUKE BRIGHT TOOTHPASTE
Unlike those other radioactive toothpastes, Nuke Bright contains only the
freshest strontium-90 shipped directly from Fukushima, Japan. Strontium is
chemically similar to calcium so once inside your body it concentrates in
your tooth enamel giving you that glow-in-the-dark smile. That’s Nuke
Bright Toothpaste in drugstores everywhere.
Author bio: Author of the poetry collection Words of Power Dances of
Freedom, host of the Gelato Poetry Series, and an editor of the San Diego
Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published more almost a hundred short
stories in journals such as The Berkeley Fiction Review, Clockwise
Cat, Space and Time, Zahir, Tales of the Talisman. One was nominated for a
Pushcart Prize. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of
Buddhism and the martial arts.
SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!
By Virs Rana
It appears we currently live in a time of significant transition. Socio-political,
scientific, and spiritual strongholds are continuously confronted by interrogatory assaults
and disruptions. While status quo dynamics are struggling to hold their ground,
skepticism abounds: What are the facts? How are they derived? And for what purpose
are they promulgated? The first question deals with truth, the second with process, and
the third with motive. One cannot know the answer to the first, unless both process and
motive are understood.
For millennia past, the only one of these questions extensively solicited with answers
was the first, which was disseminated in the forms of dictates, laws, and commandments,
with little or no verification by ruling authorities. But traditions have slowly been eroded
by false gods and false prophets, posing as heads of state, religion, and science. The
masses, the rabble, the people, the common human, the collateral damage have become
too educated and too informed to continue to be sheeple. The deterioration and decay of
facades are revealing the many guises of corruption. And no matter the trappings and
glitter of image, the excrementalism of incompetence and deception are exposed not as
‘mistaken’ and ‘misspoken’, but as betrayal and lie.
Beware of words that are granted meanings to suit the situation. Legalese and doublespeak
are forms of forgery to excuse and diminish the severity and unlawfulness of
crimes. Somewhere, sometime it became unmannered to press authorities for answers.
Their position must be respected and protected at all costs, because in pressing them, we
would have to press ourselves, which would be too awkward and too painful a reckoning
for any formalized politeness. This hypocrisy is acceptable, as a buffer against truth and
duty; two words that have been given such latitudes of meaning that accountability has
been reduced to relativity in all situations, in order to dismiss those responsible for their
transgressions against the very principles they have sworn to uphold, further reducing the
word principle to quaint antiquity.
Questions are not enough. We have been taught for too many generations that we are
civilized, that we must speak and act toward one another with a modicum of respect,
which should be accorded all who participate in this perverse deception. Why? The socalled
authorities are the very corruptors of these principles of freedom. And they are
everywhere; they are pervasive. They are members of our city councils, our county
supervisors, our state representatives, our United States Congress. They are from the
executive, legislative, and judicial branches, our President of the United States. They are
our teachers, our priests, our imams, our rabbis, our pastors, our scientists. They live off
our labor, and our money, and they pass laws to prevent us from taking legal action
against them. They are shown favoritism and shielded against any consequences of their
illegal actions, where you, a simple member of the masses would be vilified and
But the authorities are merely figureheads, privileged in name and legal tender only,
due to a diluted and polluted system. In most cases, they are less intelligent than those
whom they refer to as the masses, and the rabble. Some may be glib and ingratiating to
evoke sympathy and respect, which they often get, but, in truth, they are pawns of their
own insecurity and denial. They even betray each other to sustain their untenable status.
They make you the same promises, over and over, on the same issues, the issues that
never change, because the promises are empty; but we forget, and forgive them, because
we make empty promises to ourselves, and we will not stand and deliver.
No, questions are not enough. We must raise our standards of responsibility to
ourselves and to one another. We must cultivate our self-respect and our freedom in
relationship to principles that those before us have called virtues, not in reactions to fear
and anger, which in turn, motivate the masses toward alienation and apathy: that fear and
anger used to manipulate others by force, through the threat of war and scarcity, that fear
and anger so corrosive to community and good will, only temporarily suspended in times
of tragedy, that fear and anger that have been the dominant emotional states on this planet,
far too long, which lead many to believe it’s human nature, a bit premature, since we are
still in the process of discovering what that nature is.
But we are preoccupied. So we fail to address and to sustain community action,
relinquishing this power to the maintenance of individual image and status. What you
think of you is predicated on what others think of you, within this grand deception. Those
in true service are noted for having a special calling and a special compassion that we
would like to emulate, but just don’t have the time for. After all, who are you without
participating in those worshipped values, and achieving success against all odds? Did you
ever think why there are so many odds? Are they real? Who or what creates them?
No, questions are not enough. Answers can be projected, but never understood, until
they are first lived: A revolution within? A realization that production is not about things
or statistics, but about what we need to understand, not to live life in false comfort and
security, but in the process of seeing, beyond what we’ve allowed ourselves to become
programmed to see? Mirrors often present a shadow image. What do we see, when we are
reflected in the eyes of others?
We know, but we choose not to act on that knowledge, for it would jeopardize all that
we fought to believe in that made us a believer, a self-worshipper of gods created to be
idolized, rather than in service to the Truth we refuse to acknowledge, in the birdsong,
behind the mask of our deception…
…Must give us pause…That last phrase, although poetically fit, may sound a little too
froo-froo for the more sober and fiercely linear thinkers, because oblique metaphors have
no meaning in their reality: You’re born; you (pretend to) live; then you die. Thusly, any
patronizing concern for the welfare of others ain’t worth spit, no matter your bull-chitchat
Author bio: Orphaned at birth, Virs Rana was raised by Chrysalisian Monks in the
Carpathian Mountains, where he studied ancient languages. Since leaving the monastery,
he began writing a journal and decided to share his experiences in stories. He holds a
degree as a MOG (Master of Organic Geometry)
The Donald DOLLAR by Matt Kolbet
As you surely remember from elementary school history class, George Washington, besides
harboring a loathing for cherry trees, served as the first president of the United States, thus
securing his position on the one-dollar bill. Such staid currency remains in constant use for
mocking tips to bigoted waiters (you spent all your pennies sardonically last summer at the
neighbor’s alt. right garage sale/fruit punch stand), charity to Salvation Army bell ringers, and
desperately scribbling your phone number in lumberjack-themed strip clubs. That founding father
would be most proud when Aspen told you she’d call and sort-of meant it, though she forgot later
after someone threw up their pancakes on her. Or was it Bambi? Either way, General Washington
knows something about fallen wood.
The final president of our country, Donald Trump, deserves his own currency. The revolution he
spearheaded was less about creating a new country or good governance, and he may never have
held a blade more sizable than a knife, but he cut into bookmaker’s margins, and giving people
the axe inspired his reality show before we were forced to join in. Washington spent the
Christmas of 1776 crossing the Delaware to fight the Hessians in Trenton. When Trump went to
New Jersey in 2016 he helped defeat Chris Christie. Rather than a single (which would be
incongruous with Trump’s style in marriages or bankruptcies) the Donald Dollar will actually
represent negative money, an additional debt (more in line with the current direction of the
country). When spending it, customers will demonstrate their loyalty and willingness to sacrifice
to make American something else again—you can’t be sure what, and you’re uncertain you want
to know because it would force you to reevaluate not only your relationships, but career choices,
pets (axolotls seemed cooler when the guy on the side of the road talked about them), and even
the crush you had on your elementary school history teacher, Mrs. Forrest.
Example: The Walmart you frequent most often sells a 36 pack of Coors Banquet for 24.99. The
yellow cans have become your go-to beverage now that you can’t find Schlitz there. Not
coincidentally, you triangulated the store’s prime location based on proximity to your parole
officer, divorce lawyer and favorite strip joint. When you stop in Friday night, for every Donald
Dollar you spend, you increase tidy corporate profits, which inevitably trickle down to or from
CEOs. It also gives sufficient suds so you have a good time sitting at home watching your
Best of all, for a limited time the new administration is giving out Donald Dollars for free. This is
in lieu of blood offerings, and we should be grateful. Collecting them will give you something to
do while you re-read Julio Cortázar, waiting for the axolotl to trade places with you and take over
your Twitter account to call out other salamanders from Mexico. Or perhaps kill you. Though
you won’t undergo a metamorphosis, think of it as regeneration. Find Mrs. Forrest again. Ask
her if she’s ever thought of becoming somebody’s second wife.
Author bio: Matt Kolbet teaches and writes in Oregon
DRONE DRAMA: Music for the Dead
By Cecelia Chapman, Sean Derrick, and Jeff Crouch
Description: “Drone Drama: Music for the Dead” is a video that addresses
being human in the age of the drone. The eleven chapter, seventeen minute
video, from the album by Berlin based, American composer Sean Derrick
Cooper Marquardt was filmed in 2016, and a chapter edited and submitted to an
online site each month. Chapter 11. 'If you were born without wings, do
nothing to prevent them from growing,’ submitted to Clockwise Cat, considers
change in consciousness as the path to social and cultural change. It was filmed
at the NODAPL Berkeley Indigenous Day 2016.
FULL VIDEO: https://youtu.be/yl3_PP-hXj8
CHAPTER 11: https://youtu.be/ftUz8JimfCc
“Drone Drama” was filmed on the San Francisco Peninsula, with all the
contradictions inherent in a hyper-evolving, militaristic society: income disparity,
environmental catastrophe, epic cultural upheaval. Notorious for being the evermorphing
home to military defense contracting corporations, the San Francisco
Peninsula bio-tech industry is known as Silicon Valley. Previously it was the
Vietnam War industry home base, and before that, the greatest World War II
shipbuilding industry in the world.
I used Sean’s titles and his subtle drone tracks to direct the video. Each chapter is
filmed in a specifically selected site, from orchid farm, to prison, to underneath the
dystopic San Francisco freeways, to Oracle headquarters.
Sean and I have never met in person but we collaborated on two earlier videos. I
also conferred with my ten year collaborator, Jeff Crouch in Texas, about
philosophy. I have never met Jeff in person either, so this video is very much a
collaboration across space and time. My other ten year collaborator, performer
Christa Hunter, is in Chapter 1.
“Drone Drama” just had its premiere in Cologne, Germany, and was selected for
the Italian Magmart Video Festival 10.
Artist bios: Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt is the Berlin-based American sound artist and
composer of “Drone Drama.” Sean performs throughout Europe in risk-taking performances. He
is co-founder of Hortus Conclusus Records and can be found
at https://www.facebook.com/seandcmarquardt/. Cecelia Chapman filmed and edited “Drone
Drama” and is an American visual artist living in California. She has more than eighty short new
media videos that examine how we live and think: ceceliachapman.com Her collaborators include
performers, sound artists and artists she meets online or draws from her personal life. She has
collaborated for eleven years with Jeff Crouch, a Texas internet artist, who continues to provide
philosophic and logistic inspiration and advice on scores of projects. Google him.
Nineteen Ways GLOBALLY INTEGRATED
CAPITALISM HAS FATALLY FAILED America
By Edwin L. Young, PhD
1. Democracy, especially US democracy, is a sham and a criminalist, political,
governing system as, in fact, about a dozen of the earth’s richest and most
powerful humans ultimately control who runs for offices, how campaigns are
conducted, who gets elected,, and what agendas get enforced. This globally
controlling group sets the agendas for all nations while their rulership remains
hidden, undisputed, and omnipotent.
2. Massive movement of the earth’s human populations toward complete
urbanization for the sake of becoming capitalist corporation’s exploited slave class
while those who have been forced to come to live in huge urban areas find them
turning into huge crime, poverty, and disease causing ghettos, or virtual, huge
prisons of slave encampments.
3. Justice System: Corporation Illegality Is Exempt from Prosecution
4. Business ventures fail (or die) if they do not make a profit. On the other hand,
if they persist in making a profit, many other forms of life will become diseased
and die. On the whole, if most of these businesses succeed in making profits, all
life on the planet will gradually become extinct.
5. Food Production and Delivery Systems Attract Customers to Disease Inducing
Foods Worldwide while US Health Care workers prescribe unnecessary big
corporate pharmaceutical medications and treatments that prevent the body's use
of its natural ability to fight disease and to self-heal and healthy diets are not
promoted among the poor and unwary
6. Consumer Protection laws are ineffective in combating Honest Advertising
Systems that would attack the overwhelmingly effective Major TV channels that
sell the populace on health destructive foods and practices. Illnesses related to
these corporate owned TV channels’ programs are booming in the US.
7. Water Sources Are Being Polluted and Water Delivery Systems Polluted and
Are Unavailable in Remote Regions of the World
8. Natural Resources Protection Ineffective in Stopping Exploitation of Backward
Peoples and Is Not Guarding Against Their Dwindling Supply
9. Environment Protection Is Ineffective in Guarding Against Deadly Chemicals
Polluting Earth, Air, Water, and Large Water Bodies
10. Transportation Industries Refusing to Allow Environment Friendly Alternative
Fuels while Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal are Polluting and Despoiling and centrally
and universally causing the eventual extinction of all life on earth.
11. Animal and Plant Species Protection Agencies Are Ineffective in Preventing
Extinctions and Human Unfriendly GMOs Taking Over by Huge Food Related
Corporations Who are also Running Small Organic Farmers out of Business
12. Employment Compensation to laid off workers is now becoming unavailable
to many of them. At the same time, there is a massive increase in Part-time
Workers who receive no unemployment compensation or benefits when they are
forced out of work by modernized Automation and Mechanization.
13. Public Education is controlled by State Officials and Local Wealthy Board
Members, all of whom enforce Corporate Friendly and Populace Unfriendly
Teaching Materials and Content and construct untold numbers of Public Education
Buildings and Systems while Elitist Offspring have Elitist Controlled and Elitist
Favoring Curricula. The under classes of the populace as a whole continue with
their Preschools, First through Twelve, College, Graduate, and Professional
Schools that Corporations Tailor for Mass Teaching Systems that will result in
humanity becoming divided into one superior and several inferior dominated,
exploited, and unwitting levels of tracks of slave classes.
14. Banking and Finance Systems and Zero Interest on Loans to Huge
Corporations while huge Corporations send nontaxable trillions to overseas safehavens
15. Major TV Channels provide childish, odd, and horrific Programs to US and
World Masses that Perpetuate their Infantalization (and their ignorance of US
destructive imperialistic programs) of Adults in the US and in foreign nations as
16. The Internet could and does provide alternative news and information
programs. Nevertheless, the Populace is Hooked into major TV Channels that
provide misinformation, avoid corporate unfriendly information, blackout news
about US imperialistic programs that foment civil wars in underdeveloped nations,
and independently reported stories about US arms industries selling weapons to
both sides in these fomented civil wars, US privately funds ignorant foreign troops
and US mercenary troops assassinate foreign heads of state unfriendly to or
disobedient to the US
17. During World War II, some major industrialist sent money and war related
machines to aid Hitler’s war efforts, Henry Ford was one of them. Toward the end
of World War II, the US brought renowned German scientists and engineers to the
US to work on the US space and missile programs- Werner Von Braun was
principal among them.
18. The many religions of the world keep the unknowing and ignorant of the world
pacified and preoccupied with their superstitious rituals and their other worldly
belief systems that are irrelevant to how they are being exploited and
enslaved. These religions keep the ignorant masses from becoming aware of the
coming crisis to the earth with its impending global life extinction. All the while
the elites of earth are designing and planning their escape to another, safe planet
somewhere else in our vast universe.
19. As all of these interconnected aspects and processes of our world silently and
irrevocably continue to succeed, that is to say make profits in a world where there
is no force capable of either stopping them altogether or of fundamentally altering
their essentially, globally, undetectably, and cumulatively eventuality of producing
an extinction of all life on our planet.
By Steven Singer
First they came for people of color and I said nothing. Because I am not a person of
color. Then they came for the poor and I said nothing. For I am not poor. Then they came
for our public schools and I said nothing. Because I do not send my children to public
schools. Now they’ve come for our government and who is left to speak for me?
This is a paraphrase of Martin Niemöller’s famous lines about the cowardice of German
intellectuals during Hitler’s rise to power. The fascists purged group after group while
those who could have stood against them did nothing – until it was too late.
That’s very nearly the position we find ourselves in today in relation to the Trump
administration. The neoliberal and neofascist façade has fallen away. And the naked
greed of our runaway capitalist system has been exposed for what it is.
Just this week, Trump unveiled a new government office with sweeping authority to
overhaul federal bureaucracy on the business model.
Led by the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, The White House
Office of American Innovation will be an autonomous entity enforcing the president’s
will. Described as an internal “SWAT team” of strategic consultants, and staffed with
former business executives, the office will cut down democratic rule in favor of top-down
And the excuse is the same one used to deny equity for minorities, the same one used to
dismantle protections for the poor and the same one used to unfairly label and close our
public schools – we need to run government like a business.
But government is not a business.The goal of a business is profit for the few. The goal of
government is service to the many.
In a private business only the owner or the board of directors reaps the benefits. But our
government is not supposed to be set up that way. It’s not supposed to benefit merely all
the president’s men. It’s supposed to benefit all of us – the citizens, the taxpayers, the
voters. This is exactly the model that has been used against our public schools.
We have shifted our concern away from students and parents to investors and
corporations. For almost two decades, our education policies have increasingly been to
reduce local control – especially at schools serving the poor and minorities – and give
that control to private charter school operators. We have removed the duly-elected school
boards and replaced them with appointed boards of directors. We have removed or
diminished democratic rule and replaced it with an autocracy. And all the while the
middle class has cheered.
It was a coup in plain site, and no one but parents, students, teachers and intellectuals
spoke up. Our voices were undercut or ignored. When we demanded equal treatment for
our children, we were labeled welfare queens wanting something for nothing. When we
demanded fair treatment, a safe work environment and resources for our students, we
were labeled union thugs standing in the way of progress. At every turn we were tone
policed into silence and passed over for the voices of self-proclaimed experts who knew
nothing but what they were paid to espouse.
We were told that the only measure of academic success was a standardized test score.
But no mention of the white, middle class standard our non-white, impoverished students
were being held to.
When our schools were increasingly segregated by race, class and income, we were told
that it was only fair. After all, it was based on choice – the choice of the invisible hand of
the free market. When our schools were starved of resources, we were told to do more
with less. And when our students struggled to survive malnutrition, increased violence
and the indentured servitude of their parents to an economic system that barely allowed
them to sustain themselves, we blamed them. And their teachers, because how dare
anyone actually try to help these untouchables!
We allowed this – all of it – perpetrated by Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives
and Liberals, because they’re all really just different dogs to the same masters. We
justified it all in the name of the market, in the name of economics, in the name of
business. Why should we care? It rarely affected us directly.
White, middle class folks could get by. It wasn’t OUR schools being given away to
private equity firms. It wasn’t OUR children being educated by temporary employees on
the model of the peace corps with little training and no experience.
Those were just someone else’s children. We weren’t even sure they were human. They
certainly didn’t share the same portion of humanity as we did. They were unwashed and
unfed. Even if you washed them, many of them would still have brown skin. We were
happy to have them as an underclass, as a cushion to stop us from falling further down
the social ladder.
Our kids went to either well resourced public schools with fully elected school boards
and shiny new facilities or else we sent our children to pristine private schools that
offered the best of everything for a price.
But now the chickens have come home to roost. Because this same model is being
applied to our government.
Now it is we who will lose our voices. It will be our services that are stripped away as an
unnecessary cost savings. We will lose our healthcare. We will lose our environment. It
will be our democracy suspended to make way for the more efficient means of
government – fascism and autocracy.
Who has time to listen to the people? Much easier to just decide what should be done.
And we can justify it with our business model. No more voters and representatives. Now
we will be businessmen and consumers. Nothing will stand in the way of the corporate
class enriching themselves at public expense. They will be merely providing the rest of us
with the goods and services of government, the bits that trickle down on our heads like
rain or urine.
That is what Trump is attempting. He is turning the United States into a banana republic
– even installing his relatives and children in top leadership positions. Our government
now resembles the corridors of power in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein with henchmen
Uday and Qusay in tow.
The question is this: will we allow it? Will we continue to allow it?
Will we stand for it as the administration installs Trump loyalty officers in every federal
office? Will we say nothing as nepotism and greed become the most prized attributes of
governance? Will we remain silent as our public schools continue to be raided, sacked
and burned? Because the answer to those questions is the answer to so much more. Are
we on the cusp of revolution or is history merely repeating itself?
Editor’s note: This essay is reprinted with permission from gadflyonthewall.com
Author bio: Chani Zwibel is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, a poet, wife and dogmom
who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta,
Georgia. She enjoys writing poetry after nature walks and daydreaming. Recent
Publications include Sage Woman Worlds of Faerie Issue 91(April 2017), W.I.S.H
(Walking Is Still Honest) Press March 10, 2017, Dissident Voice Feb 12, 2017, Provoke
Journal, January 2017, Mused Bella Online Literary Review Winter 2016 Vol 10 Issue 4,
Catwise Clock (Clockwise Cat) Issue 35 Winter 2016, Sage Woman Roots and Wings
Issue 89 (April 2016)
Author’s statement: I let my imagination wander, in silence, in nature, and go wherever
it takes me. So many portals to other worlds exist. They hide in the knot-holes of old
trees and whisper from dusty shelves of old libraries. Dreaming is all-important, whether
in waking or in sleep. I keep a notebook with me at all times, because inspiration often
strikes unbidden, tiny worlds shimmer in the dew drops on moss, and beckon me with
secrets to be revealed.
Editor’s note: As we told Chani Zwibel, our Issue 37 Featured Femme, these pieces
below contain “some lovely phrasing, some edgy humor, some jolting imagery.” We
were thrilled when she submitted poems to us for consideration, and immediately seized
on the opportunity to feature her. The first few pieces we enjoy for their witty glimpse
into some sort of surrealist suburbia, while the rest of the poems summon our attention
with their nuanced commentary on this, our own sordid world, as well as with their
unusual perspective on nature and enticing elements of fantasy.
on behalf of my client, it is my sad duty to inform you:
Seeking a way out,
the wayfarer flees wedlock.
A hex strikes a blow:
wench becomes werewolf.
It’s wet on the whaleboat
and wet on the wharf.
Sinking into despair,
she wears welts
as small ornaments,
bits of baleen cracking
as she breaks her corset,
by benign tumor
of glowing moon.
The Law Offices of Weasele, Foxe, and Wolfe
Attention Residents of Blue-Green Streams Neighborhood:
Without revealing names, it should be noted
Last week during a wedding reception in the park,
The chief attendant of the groom and the chief attendant of the bride
behaved unseemly, got besotted, sullied their honor,
and were found in a bestial state of frenzy behind Beta Shelter.
They couldn’t stay modest,
but snuck berry wine
behind park benches,
wearing Bermuda shorts and giggling.
We implore the community to do better.
We cannot take a besom broom to clear away such sins.
We ask you keep your revels between yourselves
and try not to be revealed in public,
or we will have to ban beverages at all events.
Between betrothals and barbeques, beware.
Twice a year we bid goodbye to charms.
The Neighborhood Committee for Highest Quality
You libertines forget:
Leviathan seeks levitation, laurel crowns are reserved for victors, and an
offense against your sovereign burns like lesions. Learn lavender can perfume a
laywoman. A leak in leather leftover lends credibility to a legislature run amuck.
Do the legwork. Apply the lesson. Avoid another level of disappointment.
I will not write to warn you again,
A Concerned Citizen
weasels are underground, waiting.
they want skin.
weasels are snorting cocaine, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair.
weasels are fucking, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood.
weasels are performing satanic initiation rites underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle.
weasels are embezzling millions from top Fortune 500 companies, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone.
weasels are keeping toddlers in cages, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone; they
weasels are snapping babies’ spines, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone; they
want marrow; they want gristle.
weasels are underground, waiting.
Mother of vultures
shrieks in my nightmares.
She’s like a machine with intentions.
Whether unusual or suspicious,
all logical connections are
behavior resolving contradictions.
Final conscience transported
is integrated with other sign systems.
Made, ruled, drilled,
maintains High Standards.
Talc can be scratched with your fingernails
Even with significant success,
emergency or safety,
still too much sun,
hours of sleep,
dreams of that wicked man
who stole my pot of herbs.
Fine, or even too coarse-grained,
but breaks across grains,
is death of fathers,
and who still hath cried.
Must I remember pebbles
cleaved from rocks?
My Other Mother Xanax will take the edge off.
crying is mechanized.
brain cells electric pods with silver seeds.
It drinks Zinc and misses most talking and laughing
buttons when in sleep-mode.
Manufacturing me made meaner
By giving me a name
Cast in metal
Enter the cooker
1/3 of a human hair
Art wars with business in my rubber-tube-guts,
Entertainment sold to a mass audience
A financial transaction, economic ties
The project paid-for
Off-putting, clumsy language of theory
Illusion Pulsating light
Continuous beam Gauge
HEALTHFOOD STORE/DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME
Dark at six o’clock and the store is full
of people trying to stave off death with kale.
It won’t save them.
No organic vegetable Christ
will rise from the compost heap,
restoring animal-cruelty free peace
upon a perfect earth;
No way to bribe the reaper
with vegan cheese.
For those of us in the know:
in the six pm of eternity,
no daylight savings
for the damned.
AFTER A RAIN
Tell me again
dusk dark rooms,
and brass door knob
collect the sound
and feel of
hollow wet throb
inside down spouts.
looking out to
wet slick stone stairs,
wet pebble path,
wet water garden bridge,
bent nail submerged.
luminescent green ivy.
In the pond
are parallel bars of gold.
Sting of thirsty mosquitoes
on my bare arm
as I walk and hear
a single bird call.
Artwork by Marcia Arrieta
Artist bio: Marcia Arrieta’s work appears in Fourteen Hills, Of/with, Wicked Alice, Moss
Trill, Eratio, Posit, Catch & Release, Melusine, Web Conjunctions, and Great Weather
for Media, among others. The author of two poetry books: archipelago
counterpoint (BlazeVOX 2015) and triskelion, tiger moth, tangram, thyme (Otoliths
2011), she edits and publishes Indefinite Space, a poetry/art journal.
The Saga of FACES and VASES
By Tracy Thomas
There’s voices in the mandolin, some sort of chatter down in the f-holes.
Now there’s a campfire and horrible mundane songs that matter to everyone
but the soup stones, the antiphonies, the pariahs outside the firelight, those
reprobates shivering in the woods with pink toadstools. Their bones have left
them. Their bones are off to see the world. Their bones are drunk in Buenos
Aires. They’re hiding in the jimson weed, crazy in the scent of moonflowers.
Their bones are playing dominoes under the ponderosas. They’re sleeping on
one leg with flamingos. The voices are telling a story they’ve chopped into
pieces. They’re rasping at the grue. There’s a trunk with my father’s broken
mandolin. I’m having a garage sale but it’s tricky getting rid of darkness. I
got this dinner triangle of bones. I got the pulcher eye. I got Latinate
adjectives, nonsensical objectives. I learned a dance in the lich gate. I’ll
bring your turtle back to life, your wishing star heartbreak turtle in the hurdy
gurdy of your head. The voices chopped the story into pieces now they’re
black dove treble clef. Now they’re Ascension Day rain. They’re the sobs of
smoldering wound. There’s voices hacked in pieces. They’re playing
It’s all about stories, if you can keep them from going into pieces;
keep them from seducing the neighbor’s daughter in the tree house. Then the
stories are looking for some sort of revenge for their mutilation. They want
the quemada, the conflagrande, the auto-da-fe freeway. Maybe eat some
folks, got them turning on a spit or they’ve got their heads together inventing
something like a song, a chant, a groan, whatever to give voice to the
nonsense or they’re getting on your nerves stirring up the goat herd, waking
you from your pastoral idyll, send you sprawling from your dithyramb, no
shoes, head on fire, burning fennel stalks waving at whoever’ll listen. I’m
sick with that voice. Now I’m butchering some stories, hacking them into
dusk persimmon calligraphy, flowered owls of smoke, fax machine abraxas.
See how deep they’ll sink. Maybe they’ll send signs back from the depths.
I’m going to slaughter some stories, stare into their entrails hanging from my
hands for a message. Maybe hang them from the rearview mirror like lucky
dice. The stories can be messy if they’re no more than bits of yourself, just
bits of you chopped into the language of the birds, bits of you hacked into
voces mysticae. Then you realize what you really have is potsherds and
The stories are gouging a hole in your face, gouging a hole in that
place the voice comes from. The stories gnaw on my father’s mandolin;
gnaw on my finger’s searching for Fur Elise, searching for the origin of
madrigals, origin of Mardi gras, of nightingales. Now the stories want a
voice of their own, so they’re cooking up a voice, stewing up a voice in the
retort, in the crucible. But what comes out isn’t right. It’s not like other
voices. It’s bathing in tongues. It’s stealing from the dead. It’s playing
bassoon on a dark beach. It’s the homunculus. It’s always looking for what’s
behind the light, maybe for where light comes from. The homunculus voice
attempts to sing but all that comes out is apotropaica, all that comes out is
bits of maenads and Heraclitus, an orchard of blue olives, all that comes out
is the Jack the Ripper small talk, the semper vivum of breath, all that comes
out is the silence of a broken mandolin. They let Prince Albert out the can
and he can really use a smoke.
Now I’m watering the lawn. When I’m done I’ll need to build an ark
or at least a chair for deep sea fishing. Then I can play mandolin while the
trout jump just to see their own smile before flopping into the mirror of the
lake. Beautiful Apotropaica is smiling at me from the terrace above and then
I skip off into the happiness of the dream. That’s one side of the story. The
one damaged in transport, the one the ants like, the one the lunatic ate with
the secret message to the gods, the one that died from cholera, the one lazing
under the black fig tree, the one delivering the shibboleth mystery-gram.
You can open it with the decoder ring you found in the bramble hedge of
lacerating death. Alas it’s just poetry on shards of pottery about the beauty,
the truth of a piece of pottery. This mandolin will tell its story one more time
by god or I’ll never make your eyes roll back into your head to the sloppy
sounds of heaven on earth.
Author bio: Tracy Thomas has lived his entire life in the vastness of the
American West; Colorado, Wyoming, California and finally Arizona,
basically a non-stop Frederic Remington painting. His poems have appeared
in The Southern Review, The Journal and Bombay Gin. Since his plans for
graduate school have fallen through he’s currently searching for a cave in
the Sonoran Desert where he’s hoping to begin experiencing St. Anthonystyle
By Sheikha A.
I have been swallowing landays,
their echoing screeching refracting
macabre. And then I chewed upon
the black waters of justice;
clandestine writings – as if it wasn’t
enough to drown under excessive
layers of humility, that the written
word needed to suffer the veil –
but the veil is no vice. Nor is it
cumbersome. Poetry has always been
the secrets of a mad mind; psychobabble
clothed in obsequiousness.
But landays do not abash. Once
the word is released, there is no fleeing –
only incarceration. But, there is glory
in the tinkering of society’s empaths –
they defend them landays with quills
made from the same trees that died
suffering their weaponry – unshed
unshelled unconfessed democracy.
Author bio: Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her
work appears in over 90 literary venues, both print and online, including
several anthologies by different presses. More about her can be accessed on
her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com
By David Mac
this temple warm air
writing amorous words
on the back of
writing on shadows and ghosts
who believes in
life is a
but when will I be
ask that and know
that you really are
By Ann Huang
You had a life
for bringing in the silver lake
of a forgotten way . . .
light and thinned and white
as the drain of poppy seeds . . .
let alone in saffron banks . . .
translucent as a gay whale . . .
and the urgent moon
under New Zealand, gin-pure, merging into the sea . . . )
And the night is many upside bowls
or its moon a glory of black lures
glued in acute-blue sky
when could you own your life?
Author bio: Ann Huang is a seasoned marketer with more than fifteen years
of experience working with the spoken and written word. As an MFA
recipient in Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Huang’s poetry
has appeared online and in print extensively. Her recent poem,
“Night Lullaby,” was a Ruth Stone Poetry Prize finalist. Huang's new poetry
collection, Delicious and Alien, is due out in 2017. Her poems follow the
surrealistic gestures that weave reality into divergent realms of perspectives
and perceptions. Visit AnnHuang.com for more poems and press releases.
[Then of forest paths diverge
by Aaron Bauer
Then of forest paths diverge and keep diverging.
There is a brief moment in everyone's life when he or she is free from strife.
there is not one word apt to describe where
these fragments dig under our skin. What
they burrow themselves into is flesh like sprouts grow out of fields. Why
they were forced to cut in we don't know, nor do we know how.
Think but this is a nothing moment, that
this beauty is a mole on your mother's breast, that
this grizzly death is the one awaiting you, that
this land is only itself when bathed in moonlight.
This man is man, and he is you.
This palpable tension . . .
This zealous lover . . .
Thou art how great . . .
Thou lucky mistresses . . .
Though a good deal warped, we will build our homes with these boards, and
through the floorboards worms will slither, and
through the house, sunlight will glimmer, and
through the walls, wind will eat your skin. It will be time
to admit the air has power over you.
Author bio: Aaron Bauer is a Pushcart-nominated poet and educator living
in Colorado. He received his MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
His work has appeared in Prism Review, Poemeleon and others. His
chapbook Colloquy of Sparrows was published Blue Lyre Press. His website
Two Poems BY ALAN BRITT
DREAMING THE BRIAR PATCH
Like Seinfeld's Kramer
hugging 42 nd Street subway tiles
in my whitey tidies.
Suddenly, a vireo, of all saints,
whistles from a nearby pine.
As I plummet
onto a bed of copper
needles in my underwear,
to miss church
next six months
so long as I read a
healthy helping of Baudelaire.
Ah, once again,
loving the briar patch!
WALKING ACROSS THE ROOM
(For Sabine Pascarelli)
Another poem in quicksand.
But poems have magic
up their sleeves: soaking verbs
in olive oil & boiling nouns
in the pantry of a late 16th century
French cottage below the Italian border.
I'm a mouse in the pantry of that cottage.
I'm the rattle of tins
filled with local basil,
rosemary, thyme, & parsley,
Italian, of course.
I'm the sickening edges
of a chocolate bar
left on the counter overnight,
& despite premonitions to the contrary
I volunteered for that bivouac,
it seemed to me,
so, I offered a chocolate bar instead.
since I didn't have an edge
to give & soaking wet
from Autumn cornfields.
A detective, who looked a lot like Poe,
in fact, I'm sure it was him lurking
beneath a Charlie Chan fedora,
behind purple azaleas,
as the Queen's procession
of silver horses
decorated with saffron bells, bells,
& bells made from skulls
plus red roses
in the side yard,
Author bio: In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture
Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets
between Ecuador and the United States. During his visit, he participated in venues all
across the country including the international literary conference sponsored by La
hermandad de las palabras 2015 in Babahoyo, Ecuador. In 2013 he served as judge for
the The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The
Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013.
His latest books include Violin Smoke (Translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and
published in Romania & Hungary (2015); Lost Among the Hours: 2015; Parabola
Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli): 2013; and Alone with the Terrible Universe: 2011. He
teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.
The Night Sky Reminds Me of a
By James Babbs
for some reason
the night sky reminds me of the old chalkboards
the teachers used when I was in school
the chalkboards were usually black
and took up most of the wall at the front of the classroom
but I do vaguely recall
seeing some green ones somewhere
the teachers wrote on the chalkboards
using pieces of chalk of course
and they used big felt erasers
to wipe away what had been written
at the end of the school day
one prized pupil got the honorable job
of cleaning the erasers
which was usually accomplished
by hitting them together
or smacking the erasers against the metal rail
which ran along the bottom of the chalkboard
where the pieces of chalk were kept
and you kept banging the erasers
until no more or most of the dust
stopped emanating from them
and it seems funny to me now
and I wonder how much chalk dust
us youngsters must have breathed into our lungs
in those lost and innocent days
all those years ago
the night sky reminds me of a chalkboard
dotted with chalk-made stars
and what about the moon
I don’t see the moon
I guess someone must have erased it
before it could be found
Author bio: James Babbs is a writer, a dreamer, a three-time loser and an all-around nice
guy who just wants to be left alone. James is the author of Disturbing The Light (2013)
& The Weight of Invisible Things (2013) and has hundreds of poems and a few short
stories scattered all over the internet.
The sound of strangers singing
By Paul Grant
All of history
Bubbles up beneath me
All the long dead,
Knock at the long hours
To be more than
I don't know
What to do with this
It is too big,
My skin feels rebel
Tingles like a fresh kill,
The blood here is not mine
It flows in new ways
Towards unexplored parts
I pace on the carpet
Try and walk it off
I want to scream
In the walls
Dance like silent amphetamines
But its 3am
And what would the neighbours think
So I pace some more
There must be someone else
Pacing the carpet
In the long hours
Thinking its too big
It's all too big,
The heartbeat of an ocean
Sailing upon a small ship.
By Simon Perchik
And this stone turns its back
the way streams even in snow
crush you under the descent
smelling from moonlight
and toward each other
though there's still some rain inside
all night flowing beneath your feet
as gravel and whispers
–with one sharp stone
you open your mouth as if she
is more thirsty than the others
and every path glows with ice
is singing that old love song
carried in your arms
clearing the way to her lips
and one by one each night
heavier, reaches up
for the darkness and go.
Author bio: Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan
Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent
collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more
information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other
Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
Dark and Stormy
By Katy Lasell
Past the graveyard on my run
I visit mother just for fun
Lie down for I am ill at ease
And fall asleep beneath the trees
Awaken in the cream moonlight creatures all around me tight their eyeless wagging clean
and clacking heavy legs in dirt are dragging drinking chatting noiseless laughing help me
mother why is father here beneath the starry altar serving drinks to all the headless
armless sapped of power something’s wrong the end is near I smell it read the stones are
clear and lichen tossed the scruffy gravel sounds the pounding of the gavel tastes the
flavor of the pomegranate sweet and final earless but the tones are spinal ask me if I’d
like a sip or father if he’d like to sit and take a load off for awhile if they had mouths
they’d surely smile if they had teeth they’d surely chew awake me from this ghost-fed
stew you cannot I am all alone and you are sick suburban home and sixty and you haven’t
asked what it feels like lying in the grass, to know.
Oh Father it was terrible. But the cocktails the ghouls were serving really hit the spot. Is
it time for another Oxycontin now?
Author bio: Katy Lasell is a fiction writer and poet based in New York.
By R. Bremner
In the psychedelic sea, Alice Long is still my favorite girlfriend, so I’m
going to wave at 200 South La Brea, where you take me for rides. The
girl with the Joey Ramone tattoo may have pretty little angel eyes, but
she dreams of dark darkness and breaks the news that is so fine to the
“in” crowd who don’t call my name when I’m feeling rubber biscuits.
When will I be your man? When you’re no good and wear swinging
blue jeans and have no action on mocking bird hill. You make me feel
like that’s not the way to Bogart me on my best days in the fraternity of
man. Mission bells rang on tomorrow’s yesterday for the wild Irish roses
who were fanatics waving their freak flag and driving Cadillacs into
Southern culture on the skids. The bullet proof lovers ate some grass
roots and bad seeds which gave them self-defeating blues and Juliette
seizures. The tremor dolls went to crown court to tell the frogman he
ain’t got no home. Vanity found that every night brings a new surprise,
so she decided that she’d better run on moving sidewalks to the
(Bill Kelly is a disc jockey at radio Station WFMU.)
Author bio: R. Bremner has evolved through metrical, Beat, surrealism,
universalism, and metrical again to his current obsession with
what happens follows logically
by Tara Roder
to be honest it’s the kind of place where moth wings beat fervently against your face.
where you call me sugar and i recoil.
judge judy is deus ex machina, dropping accusations of indolence like they’re going out
there are synonyms for usually. also wasps’ nests. a strange predilection for 50s
this lady said her sister was a female doogie howser but we didn’t really believe
her. (someone somewhere is thinking about my frame, my wrists.)
by the river i contemplate water rats and solemnly summon melanie klein to interpret the
color of cars. then the florist’s nephew arrives with a delivery—a box of hilariously
Author bio: Tara Roeder is the author of two chapbooks, Maritime and (all the things
you're not). Her work has appeared in venues including The Bombay Gin, Hobart,
Otoliths, DOGZPLOT, and MonkeyBicycle. She's an Associate Professor of Writing
Studies in New York City.
Two Poems By George Held
Author bio: George Held keeps a low profile in NYC, though his poems, stories, and
book reviews appear fairly often in print and online.
(After Robert Frost)
Three roads in a wood converged
and I took the one least trod.
Now I wonder, has that
made any fucking difference?
In the plastic customers’ lounge
at my car dealer’s, the TV blares
The Price Is Right while the sporty
woman across from me reads
a book by Donald Trump,
Xmas lights blink “Welcome,”
and refugees wait endlessly for
permission to enter the promised land.
TWO POEMS by R. Riekki
Author bio: Riekki has been a finalist for several screenplay competitions; an
abbreviated list includes the Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest, Crimson Screen Horror
Film Fest, Fantasmagorical Film Festival, The International Horror Hotel Film Festival,
Marquee Lights Competition, Terror Film Festival, Cannes Screenplay Contest, and
The Pledge of Allegiant
(Starring Shailene Woodley)
I Pledge Allegiance to my rag and the Banana Republic for
which we stand, one inflation, divisible, with Liberty University
and Justice: Tween Clothing & Fashion for Girls for all.
At a signal from the Dictator, the cleaners, in odored rank, hands
on mops, deface the floor. Another signal is given: every cleaner
gives the rag a paramilitary salute of right arm straightened and
inclined upwards with the hand open and palm down. Standing
thus, all repeat together, auf Deutsch, slowly, Trumpily, “I
Pledge allegiance to my rag and the Banana Republic for which
we stand, one inflation, divisible, with Liberty University and
Justice: Tween Clothing & Fashion for Girls for all.” At the
words “to my rag,” the right hand goes to the floor, gracefully,
palm palming Palmolive with the rag and remains in this gesture
‘till the end of suffrage, whereupon all hands with Allstate
immediately drop to their suicide.
I Look White Even Though I’m Not White But You Will
Make Me White But I’m Not 100% White Because No One
is 100% White Around Here But We Pretend That the
Quarters in Us that are Indigenous Can Be Turned into
Dollars for Silence
head like wax
kid in class saying, “if you only knew what science has done to me”
the mercy of ravens
I’ve been colonized so deeply that I can feel it in my colon
once upon a midnight false binary
I overheard the conversation where the woman was saying “the liberals made Trump by
not including poor whites, as if they’re bathed in white privilege and not bathed in
the hymns of shadows
the hers in shadows
the stagnant stag
I striped to get my way through the striped collage where I found out that college meant
but stripping me of any chance to be free of debt
the uber-Christian girl tells me she will always love Jesus more than me
the rent is eating my bones
the landlord knows he is Lord, knows he is Land (Land = Lord, Lord = Land)
the landlord knows he is Lord, knows he is Land (people - money, people - freedom)
the rent is eating my bones
the Christian pastor tells me I am a little boy
I stopped to bleed and ended up in the blood jobs with my blood wages and I’ve gotten
home several times to find blood on my clothes (non-fiction)
Nancy is pregnant—we call her preg-nancy—she says she can’t keep it—she says she
can’t lose it.
the hours of violence
the hims of violence
I underheard any conversations where in the end everything you ever owned would be
sold for the medical bills, bulls, kills
once upon a midday dreary we realized we were eating our lunch in our cubicles because
they were firing anyone who tried to breathe
I’ve been colonized so deeply that I can’t even type a ; without feeling sick to my guts
the mercy of ravens
kid in class saying “they would have killed us a hundred years ago”
heart like an ax
TWO COLLAGES By BOB HEMAN
Little Desert Flower
By Michael Lee Johnson
Out of this poem
grows a little desert flower.
it is blue sorrow
it waits for your return.
You escape so you must from me
refuge, folded, wrapped in cool spring rain leavesavoiding
July, August heat.
South wind hell-fire burns memories within you,
branded I tattoo you, leave my mark,
in rose barren fields fueled with burned and desert stubble.
Yet I wait here, a loyal believer throat raw in thirst.
I wrest thunder gods gathering ritual-prayer rain.
It is lonely here grit, tears rub my eyes without relief.
Yet I catch myself loafing away in the wind waiting fate
to whisper those tiny messages
writer of this storm welded wings,
I go unnoticed but the burned eyes of red-tailed hawk
pinch of hope, sheltered by the doves.
I tip a toast to quench your thirst,
one shot of Tequila my little, purple, desert flower.
Author bio: Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the
Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor,
publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in
Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than 915 small press
magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites. His website is:
http://poetryman.mysite.com/. Michael is the author of The Lost
American: From Exile to Freedom, several chapbooks of poetry,
including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and
Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 101 poetry videos on YouTube
as of 2015: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos . Michael
Lee Johnson was nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015 &
Best of the Net 2016. He is also the editor/publisher of anthology,
Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow.
Went Over To Poe’s Place
By Frank Grigonis
He was tipping one back
as usual, one of his tooyoung
cousins, I mean. So
in the moment he didn’t
hear me ask if he wanted a
beer. Then this singular
squeak assailed my ears,
which turned out to be a
skinny black cat pushing
open the chamber door.
“Can’t you see that I am
implored Poe, his eyes
rolling into the black
caverns of tragical affection.
But by now the black cat
was rubbing his knobby
spine against my shivering
shin, so I didn’t say a
thing but instead watched
with horror as Poe’s
cousin transformed into a
250 pound Wal-Mart
shopper fairly covered
with raven tattoos. “What
can it mean!?” I screamed
to Edvard Munch who was
busy painting something on
the sanguine’s shopper’s
ever-widening thigh. “Never
mind that!” shrieked the cat
with eyes wide like empty
saucers, “Just get me to a
shelter before he kills me
with one of those sordid
Author bio: Frank Grigonis writes poetry and fiction. He likes Rimbaud and cats,
not in that order. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By John Pursch
She lives in triplicate, necessitated by inculcated confessorial profession of fratricide,
flint lock philanthropy, and hyperbolic wherewithal, backed by sullied fracas paramours
in silly focus ferry flares. Sapped guys capsize clear-cut blueblood chorus lines in
limping lineage of post-Gallic searchlight comeuppance. Interrupted suppository rooks
name culled cockadoodle yank-off bleep-cheeky felt-up haddock after goopy clock-drip
bra lines. Oodles of concupiscent candy keep it up, up, and a sway bar, seeping sandy
band saw, suppurating myopian referees from scanty panty parity to soaking sigh in
vanity, a dove, a fluted pane.
“My queen, my dome, my pineal Glock, my hock in spiel in spigot Gott in bitter pull of
jerky water travesty above imputed claims! In surgery, my purging blahs, clods spat their
big fat ugly putrescent fateful eyes on fleas of measly old identity on precious little
specious me!” our Lady of Liposuction slobbers incontinent, buttocks in sawmill
hammock from Static Sighland to the Jerky Spore to Madhatter, Lung Island, Scuppered
Your Nuke, Conned Ectoplasmic Electorate, soaking handball planetoid to bugged
“Americon! Americon! Cod fished out of Noflounderland and Nan Stuckitinher Sound
till the geriatric cherubim canoe wobble wiggle wigwam wax within that wirehair
wigging way-way Willhe Wonkher with a winking one-eyed Tyrannosaurus Regulated
Sextant scorecard seminarian?” she conch ludes, awning ankh and honoring some
beautifully titular honey-haired honky slunk café denizen.
Only her chair or dresser drawers on floorboard footman foppish watch fob figurine of
fulminating foxtrot folksy flip-phone clones are sure for surety forlorn forgone forsooth
forelocks foreknowledge fornicating for nothing in the shaven haven of our disheveled
Now she has resettled on ball-peen paltry pantry starch in commodious promissory
quotes, remonstrated penetration, dung a dimpled sum of addenda, pudenda, appendages,
crapped intensity, influenza, humped tea clumpy flimsy flocked flop pharmaceutical
philately, smooches swollen to dimly dozen dozer doubt, depilatory doughboy snowball
numb nuts bumblebees, brand-news futile ipso noumena.
Author bio: John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. Twice nominated for Best of the Net,
his work has appeared in many literary journals. A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is
available in paperback at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/whiteskybooks. His pi-related
experimental lit-rap video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l33aUs7obVc. He’s
@johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.
THE DAY DAVID BOWIE DIED
By Kurt Kline
Gone long gone
in the tall corn like a smart rooster
a visitor out of time & that’s
the name of that tune. Nobody’s
gonna make a deal up on Hippy Hill
this afternoon & the whirlwind heaves
a heavy sigh as reaching into its bag of tricks
pulls out a mask of a mask
combing through yr hair
o haven’t we played this rubber before?
I saw them all assembling there
m o l e c u l a r p l a s t i c i t y
forming contiguous pocket of gravity
this feverish pituitary gland
optic nerve of the imagination
at 12:34 AM Friday the day
the oscilloscope started to writhe
wasn‘t ALL THAT EXPIALIDOCIOUS
on a Saturday night. Moonage daydream
in a parking lot. When you agreed
Christmas could’ve fallen within
any 24 hour period no calling
at %:00 AM which used to be
the valor we shared: “LOOK OUT
I guess this is a different California
from the one in which Zorro flourished
lazy midsummer night fanning butterfly wings
to cool the smoke of moonrattles
intrinsic luminosity in the time it takes to blink
12:58 EVEN accounting
daylight saving’s time
It’s still Christmas
WHERE YOU Are ISN’T’T?
1::00 AM now I guess the past never
happened.,.. & there’ll never be
Another midsummer night’s dream
Anyway anymore than can be believed!
Because i NEVER WRITE FROM MEMORY
But only FROM ACTUALITY
The world of hearing
sounds in one’s mind
1:34 A.M. & I love you
but you are the furthest thing from
going out of my mind. There are spots
before my eyes Time ghosts
mixed with heavier liqueur—
grillage of flame up down directionless
a future you’d rather not forget
drops you somewhere on the side
of the motorway No need for long
farewells. Meet you by the turnstyle
Jean Genie never say goodbye.
You’ll be coming back
in a little while—
or that’s not a meteorite I see tonight
zigzagging stardust across the sky.
Author bio: Kurt Cline is Associate Professor of English and World Comparative
Literature, National Taipei University of Technology. His full-length book of poetry,
Voyage to the Sun, was published by Boston Poet Press in 2008. Five 2 One Magazine
named him National Poetry Month Poet of the day, April 26, 2016. Poems and stories
have appeared in BlazeVOX; Danse Macabre; Mission at 10th; Wilderness House
Literary Review; HuesoLoco; Apocrypha and Abstractions; Black Scat; and Clockwise
Cat. Scholarly articles have appeared in Glimpse; Anthropology of Consciousness;
Concentric; Beatdom Literary Journal; and Comparative Civilizations and Cultures. Cline
is also a performance artist, theatrical magician and singer-songwriter. His album Alien
Shoe was produced by 12 Studio in 2013.
By Patrick Hurley
Author bio: Patrick Hurley wasted several years in grad school … now he’s a bartender.
He once wrote a book on Thomas Pynchon. For one year, he tricked a local paper into
reimbursing him for drinks by writing a cocktail column for them. Mostly he reads and
writes and tries to figure out how to survive without working a stupid job.
By Marie C Lecrivain
Author bio: Marie C Lecrivain is the executive editor/publisher of poeticdiversity: the
litzine of Los Angeles, a photographer, and a writer-in-residence at her apartment. Her
prose and poetry have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including:
Edgar Allen Poetry Journal, The Los Angeles Review, Nonbinary Review, The Poetry
Salzburg Review, Red Fez, Spillway, Orbis, A New Ulster, and others. She's the author of
several volumes of poetry and fiction, including Philemon's Gambit (© 2016
International Word Bank Press), which is available on Amazon.com.
Go, into the shadow. We’re all headed
down the dark path now, with eyes wide open
and hands emptied of promise. The dreaded
monsters may - or may not - deem to drop in
on your dreams, the last glimmers of a time
when all was possible, and arrogance
wore a sneering smile. In the black grime
is where we will claim the inheritance
of our true selves, through battle and harsh
truths we must embrace, along with the fact
that each of us is mired in the marsh
of shame for eschewing our kin. To act
otherwise brings about insanity.
Use this time to unite humanity.
To the Women of America
I would love to say
when the smoke has cleared
and the tears have washed
the ashes from my eyes
that it will be okay.
We can begin again
and the reward is worth
the commitment to the long game.
But I have to look at the corpse
of my ego, dashed upon the rocks
of what is now life as we know it.
I have to ask, “Where the fuck was I
and why didn't I listen
to the voice in the silence
that whispered the warning,
‘Change is the landlord
of this corner you occupy
in the universe.
Payment is due -
and you’re arrears’.”
Where do I go
when I have nothing left
when my hopes and dreams
were undercut by my hubris?
And who the fuck
am I now?
This morning, I spoke to a young woman
who’s first words were. “I feel sad…”
And with a response caught
in my throat, and with management
listening in for quality assurance
I laughed and said
“I put on my big girl pants,
so I know how you feel, “
and turned the conversation
to other matters, knowing now,
for the first time ever
I have an inkling of how she feels;
a muslim woman,
a gnostic woman,
two second class citizens
not part of the inner circle.
But I can’t let her know that
as I’m on the clock
and I’ve got to keep going.
Every woman I talk to
has the same tense tone
engendered by vocal cords
paralysed by that atavistic fear
of knowing that something
or someone is after you,
that someone might grab you
and give you a beatdown
like a cow getting poleaxed
before the slaughter.
And none of us will commit;
to congregate is unseemly,
to mention empowerment
a crime. My despair grows
by the hour, as words I used
to take pride in are now
crushed in the silence.
By 3 pm I wish - O..
I wish, for a brief second,
I’d been born a man.
What does it mean
to be a woman in America?
What has it ever meant
to try to be equal
In the land of opportunity
and greed, oppression
and pain, distraction
What does it mean
to be a young girl
watching a sea of red hats
on television, while her
mother cries for her future?
What does it mean
to be a woman
who knows nothing
except to be defined
by her ties to a man,
and who is afraid of women
who don’t willingly wear
the shackles she’s embraced?
What does it mean
for the helpers, and the doers,
the CEOS and CNAs?
What will we do
now that a long shadow
has been cast over our light?
I wish I could say
everything will be okay,
but I don’t have a line
on the future.
I no longer believe
King of Batons
By Adam Scharf
Fireworks are office buildings exploding before male clerk gets to first desk.
Burning alive, save the Picasso over the child.
You are an animal playing a role.
You don’t know when the ending is, or how cold you are,
who gave the first horse to man.
They have removed seats from airplanes, replaced them with department stores.
We shop while complaining about children who cry,
relieved because it's easier having sex in fitting rooms.
Who tamed the first horse?
Sold the first ticket.
Piled everyone into theme parks convincing us we prefer to be entertained by mice.
Pilgrims arrived from foreign countries, even from Greece where there have always been
Towers crashed by planes, tragedy on commemorative plates, we know how to make a
Before she opened the box Pandora was created to punish man, men were happy before
America was happy before Bikini Atoll, before Eve ate a fucking apple.
The ending is when she no longer needs to be kissed on the cheek,
when the doctor steals your organs out right, when you aren't given a receipt.
Women end up being what saves us.
Eve is a hero who justified America for you to sleep at night.
I can hardly wait to watch children grow up and get divorced and watch game shows,
to delegate killing so they can eat a hamburger, to wear clothes made by poor people.
Being sick is profitable because someone needs a yacht from Grandpa’s disease, this rain.
All this rain.
The flood that is happening we only buy bigger boats.
No one swimming downward searching for a drain.
Most drown, float on debris, the lifeboats are taken. Hard to build in all this water.
We hear you from the crow's nest yelling, “Drowning people are lazy!”
Aren’t they? Swimming to your boat as we speak, calling for shipwreck.
You are expecting us to tear holes at the bottom, only we’ve set fire at the top. Trickles
This flood is what saves you from burning, makes you a swimmer, come up for air.
You save the Picasso as a flotation device, I call you lazy.
You yell for drain to be pulled, an orchestra playing in rain. We’d rather drown.
Author bio: Adam Scharf was born and raised in utica NY. He now lives in orlando
Florida as a writer and professional improviser. He's at work on his first novel.
Tripsis By Timothy Adams
Fire lame like tirerubber that yearns for the moon to fall and the darkness of the night to
cover with cotton warmth the empty street patterns – pristine diodes that breath are
behind the bricks, and sculptures turn on circles beside them as he appeared
i collect wicks,
moments of wicking my hair
with sticky lemon balms,
‘mildew’ and ‘Methuselah’,
confused ancient writings,
like Cicero ingesting magic mushrooms and watching the surf off of Thessaloniki,
or early recorded masonic rites, these thousand-year ceremonies on a fuzzy metal plate,
spinning and spinning in my closet –
like the old tire marks on my walls,
and beer cans stuck to the ceilings,
every year of u.s. army playing cards in crooked stacks,
existential philosophy books partially burned in a haphazard lawn fire
crazed madcap, a diamond in the rough rust ring ringing, wrung and scraped tongue
rashly raw against muscly asphalt, the sanguine carpet of flesh looked a ghostly shell of
itself, so rouge and pastel-vibrant but no whole
with simultaneous scripts reading out themselves, out the scenes beams ballet-dance,
conquerer of limb, he ballet-flexes his way through the structures, until the wind soaks
his hair, and the waves go to cloud-dust
Author bio: Timothy is a playwright, poet & performer living and working in New
Orleans. He is interested in what can be gleamed from many different objects their
patterns - patterns but also discord and chaos and how all those concepts intersect. He
wonders sometimes if flying is pleasant birds and other winged creatures or is it
considered a chore? Investigations of this and other varieties can be found on
By Jordan A. Y. Smith
this is heart architecture
lines suggesting gestures
of dyspeptic jesters
[Chorus of heartitects]
this is heart architecture
[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]
[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]
[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]
[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]
[verse of conception through dance commands]
since the moment conceived
I was raised to believe
that peace meant keeping nothing
up your sleeve but the breeze
indebted to the ease with which
I waltz through the world
pausing between dips
and serendipitous twirls
Entered the world Eurocentric
cause what else could I be?
blind to some destiny
of ph.d. degree
but by the Mirror Stage
a new me had spawned
without me cracking any covers
of Ponty or Lacan
like a bomb, I rocked on
just as calm as the king
don’t give a damn if Fanon
bangs Manon of the Spring
so I’m not going to walk
down the streets and preach
about migrants like a
national security breach
about priests or police
as the scapegoat sorority
about the ceding of hegemony
to citizen minorities
more to me than meets the eye
I’m robots in the sky
and when Run says “dance”
I. do. not. die.
[Chorus of heartitects]
this is heart architecture
[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]
[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]
[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]
[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]
[verse of ignorance through hellfire]
with astounding powers of ignorance
stay blind to the metaphysics
amorous little visits
is it a need for apology
that keeps me in line at this clinic?
or craftsman finish in the
Foucauldian molding of limits?
(anyway) I crave these little runarounds,
keep a notebook on hand
so while you’re wasting my life
I stay in tune with the plan
the plan man follows best in the sun
to divest us of the impetus
for the vest and the gun
soon as vespers is done
then the matins begins with
that fat I spat in Latin
lapsed back into English
but I mean that’s just my opinion
a handful of dust
with fairy godfather blessings
shavings of rust
been saving this crush
for just such a flood
gate eruption gush suction
out corruption via the bucking
kama sutra hoopla
holy trinity whistling
some trippy zippity doodah
alluded to caskets
baskets full of fire
for my cherubic little choir
[Chorus of heartitects]
this is heart architecture
[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]
[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]
[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]
[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]
[verse of corpus through cosmos]
verbs curve, eyes fail
but fingers trace trails
across corporeal braille
not sorry, your grail
so holy I’m guacamole
your hips can play ships
I’m a boy with toys only
no land lubbers, rubbers
of the rabbit foot charms
a feminine so enveloping
I have to put arms
round your skeleton dressing
it’s a labor of love
for the Gods up above
when the push is for shove
thinker, teacher between
lady earth spinning and
we’re keeping her green
with an octave coupler
favelas on Babylon
beach blanket bingo
a la Funicello and Avalon
great excuse to get close
On a subatomic comet
overdosing with hope
[Chorus of Heartitects]
this is heart architecture
[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]
[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]
[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]
[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]
With the Credits:
Why should I let these people into my heart,
And take ‘em around for a tour?
So they can sit around sipping their syrupy gossip
And bitch about the décor?
Author bio: Jordan A. Y. Smith is a poet/translator/professor resident in Tokyo. His
poetic works have been published in Tokyo Poetry Journal, Genre, Random Agenda, and
elsewhere, and his translations of Japanese poetry have appeared in Poetry Review,
Connotations Press, Poetry Kanto, Tokyo Poetry Journal, etc., and in anthologies
published by New Directions and Josai University Press.
A Prayer in Jocularities
by A.S. Coomer
Hiccup, tick tock, lip locked, zipper’s stuck.
Best get the matches, the fuse’s busted.
Quick fix, get blitzed, common sense.
Ain’t a candle left in this rattrap sloth track.
Turned milk, guilt trip, auto-drip, medicinal spit cherry pits.
Flashlight’s cracked, batteries corroded decades ago.
Dust mounds, loud mouths, storm clouds.
It ain’t been this dark in years.
Foregone, bygone, rust-dusted, trash-crusted forgotten lawn,
without the slightest sight of an end to the goddamn dawn.
Fuck it, kick the bucket, lose the locket, quit the sprocket,
let’s go on to bed.
Author bio: A.S. Coomer is a native Kentuckian serving out a
purgatorial existence somewhere in the Midwest. His work has
appeared in over thirty publications. He’s got a handful of novels
that need good homes. You can find him at
www.ascoomer.wordpress.com. He also runs a “record label” for
By Zara Hanif
I would like a boyfriend
I’m not sure where you find one
Can I go to a superstore? You know, the ones
Where you can get cheap clothes and everyday groceries
I’ll go up to the customer service clerk and ask
“I’d like a boyfriend please; can you tell me which aisle?”
The clerk will wrinkle her tiny nose and say
“You need to be more specific.”
I will purse my lips and tap my cheek
Let me think, what kind, it’s so hard
Like picking the right ice cream
Too many good flavors
I’ll say, “Well,
I’d like someone who is proficiently sane,
You see, I found most of my marbles, I swear, I’m just
Missing maybe three, four, sixteen,” I’ll smile at my joke, and
Her eyes will narrow with impatience, while she gestures for me to hurry.
“Basically, he needs to carry the sanity of our relationship.”
She’ll stare at me for a bit, then say
“You need to be specific, like what will he look like?”
Looks, ah yes, society sanctioned, superficial judging and degradation
I’d like Jeff Goldblum, Daniel Radcliff, and Alan Rickman all chopped up,
And served to me in a frappe with a cherry on top, but I can’t say that ‘cause
I have no idea what that would look like, and I don’t want my decision based on
So I say
“A tall/short, thin/fat, male, oh but if it turns out to be a girl,
And if I’ve already fallen in love, I’ll probably keep her. Oh and fill-
-In-the-blank race, and bright/dark eyes, oh he must, has got to be,
She’ll stare again, and frown,
“I need something to go on here.”
I’ll smile wide, my best Cheshire cat imitation (my stripes are on the inside),
“The thing that is of the upmost importance is most certainly,
“Which is?” She’ll sound impatient, but I’ll
Know that she is really enjoying my eccentricity
“He needs half of my mine, you see, he cannot be
Too much like me, if I had too much of me I’d kill myself
But he can’t be too different, I’d lose interest immediately.
He needs the good half, the part of me I love, and I will
Have the parts of him he loves, so that together we are,
Something never lonely, but instead content.”
For the first the time in our conversation
The clerk has warm, Mediterranean blue eyes
She begins pressing buttons, and the register gets
Smokey, I hear static, and see electrical sparks flash and surge
Finally, though, the receipt shoots high into the air, and flutters
Into my hands, and the magical wisdom of the universe reads
“There’s an animal shelter down the road, so go get a cat. Get two.”
I tip my imaginary hat
To the shocked clerk trying to fix
The unraveling machine, as I stroll out
Deciding to name them ‘Cheshire’ and ‘Jeff Goldblum.’
Author bio: Zara Hanif is an Engish/Creative Writing major at Rhode Island College.
She has been published in her College's lit mag Shoreline this year as well. She is
currently dating a short/tall, thin/fat male, with dark/light skin, and is very content.
The Ghost of Plato By Greg Wallace
Artist bio: Gregory Autry Wallace is a poet, painter and collagist living in San Francisco. He
studied English, World and Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at San Francisco State
University. His poetry and collages have appeared in Athena Incognito, Black Scat Review,
BlazeVox, Danse Macabre,Clockwise Cat and Five 2 One. His paintings, collages and
assemblages have appeared in juried art shows.
By Thom Young
started with guns in their
and a nice baby's breath
that seemed to play off her
the vows said
heard by those with knives
in their eyes and a one way
when the part came to kiss
arrived with a light
they'd never known or seen
there's no love in Roswell
there's no love
in her eyes anymore.
Author bio: Thom Young is a writer from Texas. His last poetry
collection A Little Black Dress Called Madness hit #1 Poetry in
Germany. He is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and his work
appears in over a hundred literary journals.
By Marcia Arrieta
it was the day she decided to sleep in (9 am ) & crashed into the dictionary
where other people’s lives became fractions she needed to assemble into a
but the rain came & the boxes almost emptied needed to be broken down
while others still needed to be filled
arc light synchronicity
hat pins & fishing poles a pink star insulate isolate the book has gotten lost
of houses with many rooms shape shift eagles bears we board the train outer
hebrides inner stoic salvage renovation revelation the angel’s wings the
bullet holes on main street we seek shelter
Author bio: Marcia Arrieta work appears in Fourteen
Hills, Of/with, Wicked Alice, Moss Trill, Eratio, Posit, Catch & Release,
Melusine, Web Conjunctions, and Great Weather for Media, among
others. The author of two poetry books: archipelago
counterpoint (BlazeVOX 2015) and triskelion, tiger moth, tangram,
thyme (Otoliths 2011), she edits and publishes Indefinite Space, a poetry/art
jesus love me
by Jenean Gilstrap
is full of woe
or so it’s said
‘n that’s been
my cross to bear
but sometimes it seem
like i got me a twin
jesus loves me
you know them twins
the ones what live inside
the you of you
‘n this’un live
deep down inside
the me of me
like she even wear my own skin
this i know
‘n she do all them
goin’ to them bars
for a dance ‘n a drink
then i git the blame
‘n that’s a downright dirty shame
cause i ain’t neva’ even had no sloe gin
for the bible
‘n she go outside ‘n play
in the back seat’a them cadillacs
but she ain’t doin’ nothin’
them men ain’t doin’
havin’ a little fun
lookin’ for love
in all them wrong places
tells me so
sometime i can’t even tell
where she begin ‘n i end
or i end ‘n she begin
this twin’a mine
but come daylight
it come to be crystal clear
i be her and she be me
little ones to him belong
now i’ll tell you ‘bout me
i been scooped up
‘n started all over agin
can’t keep up for keepin’ down
in the devil’s den
they are weak
so i’m tryin’ to rid myself
of all them sins ‘n my evil twin
‘n i went on down
to the first baptist church
holy bible in my hand
but they told me go
‘n be born agin
but he is strong
now i didn’t wanna be borned
another single time
cause they ain’t no tellin’
what i might find
deep down inside
the me of me this time
why they might be two more twins
yes jesus loves me
so i set myself down
‘n had a little talk
just me ‘n my evil twin
‘n it seem that ole
path of the straight ‘n narrow
just ain’t our cuppa tea
so we gonna’ party till i don’t know when
yes jesus loves me
gonna go on down to the corner bar
have a little drink ‘n a dance or two
then a little backseat romance
‘n when i git done
jest like always
jesus’ll be right there
cause he love us
no matter what we done
or where we done been
the bible tells me so
where you at?
just come on back
‘n i’ll be born agin
you know what i done
‘n you know where i done been
don’t leave me now
in this devil’s den
where you at?
Author bio: Jenean Gilstrap is the author of two books of poetry, Gypsy Woman Words
 and Words Unspoken , and is a featured poet/artist at Yareah Magazine and
at Plum Tree Books. Her poetry has been widely published in numerous literary journals
and she has been invited to read her work at several international poetry festivals. A
number of her poems have been narrated, as well as lyrically arranged and recorded by
the accomplished Aindre’ Reece-Sheerin, vocalist/musician. She resides in Shreveport,
Louisiana, but divides her time between there and the East coast as she completes her
third book of poetry, Willful Word She and her work may be found at:
By Jay Jurisich
typhoid anemia jaundice carpel tunnels
busted vacant bronze busts rusted tunics
gold endive lost greek diving box
relics in satchels delivered by dogs
a fresh piece of cod
dragged over coals of lonely grease
tansy asphodel sounds good what is it
ricochet off the fortunate floor
the general indigestion of harsh stoppages
whistling freefaith lost times etcetera
rains grace our old tunnels of grease
but dont give a fig to the pineknob
smallish things smelt and smited
ribald color in all its raving gravity
a fine local analgesic your sagebrush halls
little or no chance or minimal chances of
a dog or a bird or a birddog
the hostess' handyman
went to town but there is no town
the captain sent a belated postcard to the world
humu post hamu bossd rimu poxo rummult
waded in jeans and tossed to the sea
she peeled her parsnip with care
hot coals darkness knifeminds
a bright lake of voices
appropriately exhausted I dropped into floppery
underjoyed nightshade mythdusted stars
I thought they fought well their causes losing
suburban american family room 1975
all that remains of the remains
up into skirts among boxes of old loneliness
he denies all suspicions to the contrary
sugarbelly in clown formation whispering
but I can't make out the words being made
Author bio: Jay Jurisich is a Berkeley, California based artist whose artwork and poetry explores
the visual identity and conceptual nature of language. He is interested in whether language can be
"used" in a way that is not conventionally communication, poetry, or logical, but inhabits or
inspires a physical presence. W: http://www.jurisich.com/
By Amelia Leff
Ginsberg I’ve given you nothing and now I’m all.
Ginsberg one thousand two hundred and fifty dollar credit line February 27, 2016.
I can’t lie to my own mind.
Ginsberg when will you let your hair down?
Go fuck yourself with your bald spot.
I do feel good though don’t worry.
I’ll write this poem till I’m in my wrong mind.
Ginsberg when will you be demonic?
When will you put on your pilfered halo?
When will you break through the cold soil?
When will you be worth the price of admission?
Ginsberg why is your bank empty of eggs?
Ginsberg when will you send Krishna to the Bronx?
I’m salved by your reasoned reassurances.
When can I go into the bookstore and take what I want with my B.A.?
Ginsberg it’s you and I who are filled with tectonic faults not the next guy over.
Your sutras are too little for me.
You made me want to be a tax attorney.
There must be some audit that can settle this arbitration.
Everyone’s in Bushwick I don’t think they’ll leave it’s gentrifying.
Are you being funny or is this some form of serious demonstration?
I’m trying to jump off the cliff.
I refuse to give up flying.
Ginsberg stop smoking I don’t know what I’m doing.
Ginsberg the oil barrels are falling.
I haven’t touched a screen for seconds, everyday somebody fails to go on trial for murder.
Ginsberg my loins buzz whenever I dream about the NRA.
Ginsberg I used to be a shotgun son when I was an adult and I’m sorry.
I smoke Bubba Kush every chance I get.
I pace in my room for evenings to no end and search for the caves of the unknown.
When I go to Times Square I get picked but never get pocked.
My mind is scattered there’s going to be peace.
You should have seen me shooting the breeze.
My cat thinks I’m on the brink of self-discovery.
I won’t read the Federalist Papers.
I have personal dignitaries and blasé regrets.
Ginsberg I still haven’t told you what you did to Reagan after he blew up that Russian in
I’m addressing your third eye.
Are you going to let your sexual life be run by The New Yorker?
I masturbate to The New Yorker.
I do it every week.
Its cover scoffs at me every time I take back my tortoise-shelled sexuality.
I masturbate to it in the attic of Robert F. Wagner Middle School.
It’s always telling me about Syria and 8-bit steakhouses. Politicians are jokes. Painters
are jokes. Everybody’s a joke
It occurs to me that I am Ginsberg.
I'm gazing in the mirror again.
America is falling from me.
I haven’t got a turban’s chance.
I’d better consider my identity politics.
My identity politics consist of two left feet millions of take-backs an inexhaustible
social network that goes 1400
miles an hour and twenty-five-thousand charitable foundations.
I say everything about my neo-Fate and the trillions of iotas living in my proposed
policies that stop one stamp short
of the front door.
I have raised the desperate institution of overpriced education, pop political collectives
are next to come.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a straight rich white male.
Ginsberg how can I sow the seeds in your infertile fields?
I will continue like the Clintons my pantsuits are as fitting as Hillary’s more so they’re all
Ginsberg I will buy your saxophones 10 pantsuits apiece a blue dress down on your
Ginsberg free Marshall Applewhite.
Ginsberg save The Branch Davidians.
Ginsberg Simon & Garfunkel must not die.
Ginsberg I am the Anita Hill girl.
Ginsberg when I was seven momma dragged me to the island paradise of Key Largo they
sold us parrots an
armful per feather a feather costs a seashell and the red tide was free everyone was sandstrewn
and Buffett-ed about the whole experience it was all so privileged you have no
idea how familial the vacation was in 1999 Humphrey Bogart was a real unashamed
Democrat a grand lib-hard Lauren Bacall made me hard I once saw Bertie Higgins
Everybody must have been a high-profile lawyer.
Ginsberg you don’t really want to help out.
Ginsberg it’s them bad Blacks.
Them Blacks them Blacks and them Muslims. And them Blacks.
The Black wants to eat us alive. The Black’s power mad. He wants to take our women
from out our kitchens.
His wants to grab Manhattan. His needs a White Washington Post. His wants our Apple
factories in China.
His grassroots movements running our conscience.
That too bad. Ugh. She makes Mexicans learn speak. She need cheap work Cholos. Hah.
His make us feel
like second-class natives. Help.
Ginsberg this is such a joke.
Ginsberg this is the impression I get from looking at the internet.
Ginsberg isn’t this wrong?
I just want to be myself.
It’s true we say they have value yet treat them like Jim Crow Negros, I’m white and
dissatisfied and want to
do something about it.
Ginsberg I’m putting my pale pen to the court house steps.
Author bio: Amelia Leff has work published in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal and The
Birch Gang Review. She graduated from Ohio Northern University in 2016 with a B.A. in
By Erica Olson
Artist bio: In addition to creating photo manipulation art, Erica Olson writes poetry and
prose. Her work has been featured in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu,
haikuniverse, and The Voices Project (forthcoming). Erica lives in rural Montana.
By Judith Huang
The first thing you notice about this place is the ants. Ants on the walls. Ants on the floor.
Ants on the ceiling, between the crack between the lights. Ants in the kitchen, ants in the
living room, ants in the bedroom. Ants on the flowers you pick. Ants on the cup you put
down. Ants on the soles of your slippers. Ants, reddish brown, tiny as a fullstop with
tinier feelers. Ants, in a line, bringing reinforcements. Ants. Ants. Ants. Ants. The everpresent
soldiers of rot, of decay, of furor, of the ever-looming ever-present near-ubiquity
The death of an evening, the death of a week, the death of a year of Mondays through
Sundays. The death of you, the death of me, the death of the forest, the death of the city.
Ants, hailing the fact that everything’s rotting, quickly so quickly, in the fulsome decay
of the tropical sun.
Bury your grandma, and within a minute she’s a feast, of her eyes, her ears, her nose, her
hair. Ants at her neck, ants at her throat, ants on her tongue, ants in her vagina, ants
knocking at the unlockable door of her teeth.
Ants move in and build a nest. They knock down and they build up. They are building
museums one day, and catacombs the next. They are building MRT lines, they are
building library skyscrapers, they are building roads that lead nowhere and everywhere at
once. They are building shopping mall after shopping mall after shopping mall. They are
building hipster coffee shops, they are building sky gardens, they are building infinity
pools, they are building simulated high-tech break-neck metropolises, they are building
luxury villas for the billionaires of the world to unite in the carefully constructed tax
havens of the cove. Nothing stays, not the condos, not the semi-Ds, not the bungalows,
not the HDBs, everything is one fecund, rotting, shifting, collapsing thing.
Ants, everywhere ants, they are knocking down schools, they are tunneling through
libraries, they are demolishing skyscrapers to make room for even higher towers of glass
bridged by bridges of glass, they are unearthing your ancestors to build high-rises on the
wounded exhumed lands of the dead. Oh restless land, heaving with the absolute biomass
of ants, building your carefully commissioned babies new cribs in the sky, building a sky
high fantasy eye to eye your sky wheeling by.
Ants, putting together the labels on museums, the programs for concert pianists, legato in
this era and staccato the next, determining which species of trees we will grow on the
sides of the roads in robust and cacophonous harmony.
Ants - laboring to the rhythm of the silent obese queen, issuing orders through pneumatic
pipelines. Ants on my bed, feeding the gifted with royal jelly, keeping the drones in their
amniotic sacs even as poets emerge in full chorus, on cue, in your third generation.
Ah, ants, you have crawled over my crevices, you have exhumed my graves, you have
stalked up my banana ghosts, wafting like frangipani hosts in the middle of a wet petal.
Ah, ants, what have
you done with my grandma, all you’ve left of her sweet old face is the brittle bone, the
where her nose used to be, the hole where her lips used to be, the hole where the head of
my father first emerged into this world, obliterating all love of and knowledge of history
with the hard forgetting light of life.
Ah yes, ants, tap dancing on the way to infinity on a closed loop with no possible
feedback, ants, in the musical of the life of our founder, the founder of the colony, the
founder of the party, the founder of every last drip and drop of our nether end, ants,
saying nothing original, only a soup of letters to feed as pap to the embryos that hatch
every year into batches of prepaid preconceived dots joined to dots joined to dots that are
our offspring, that are our past and our present and our future, ants after ants after ants.
Ah yes, we are ants, flying in pairs on the wings of love to an inevitable descent by the
moon of the fluorescent light, waiting for our chance to replenish the genetic stock of the
colony. We are ants, sniffing out the trail of opportunity, the chemical trail left by ants of
yore. We are ants, never resting, questing continually on our equatorial island, stretching
its form to the limits, building to the very edge of space. And when we have flown
beyond even that, a satellite fixing its gaze upon the pinpoint of our origin, may we look
back and gasp, and see on the swarming dot of our land the heaving mass of ants, ants,
Author bio: Judith Huang is a Singaporean writer, translator and editor currently living
in China. A recipient of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year Award in 2001, 2003 and 2004,
her writing has been published in journals and anthologies at home and abroad, including
Prairie Schooner, Asia Literary Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Loreli
China, Ceriph, LONTAR, Spittoon Magazine, Stylus and the Harvard Advocate. She
graduated from Harvard University in 2010, and is a member of the Signet Society of
Arts and Letters. Her online portfolio can be found at www.judithhuang.com.
By Bob Heman
from THE SERPENT VARIATIONS:
WHEN THE CARETAKER told them a joke they didn’t laugh. It was a
side of her they had never seen before. When they first saw the serpent
they thought it was just another one of her jests. They smiled when they
took the fruit. It wasn’t until after a bite or two that they understood the
joke was on them.
IN THE GARDEN ALL THE ANIMALS wore the same face. In the
garden the trees were all the same height. Each step they took left them in
the same place. The word they spoke was the same word, over and over
again. When the serpent arrived it had no head. Each of their heads in
turn became the serpent’s head. None of them fit correctly until he wore
the head of the woman. It was then she offered the other the fruit.
Author bio: Bob Heman’s collages, cut-outs and drawings have been shown in a
small two-man show at The Brooklyn Museum, in a one-man retrospective of his cutouts
[participatory cut-out multiples on paper] at BACA’s Downtown Cultural
Center, and in group shows in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. His poems and
prose poems have appeared in such diverse publications as Sentence, The Prose
Poem, Caliban, Otoliths, Kayak, Hanging Loose, Center, and Artful Dodge, and are
upcoming in New American Writing and Reaedr.
by Susan Cossette
When Men Got Their Period
When the male race awoke
From unsettling testosterone dreams
They all were menstruating,
In confused unison.
An army of hulking, hairy, clueless
Lacking hitherto unknown feminine supplies.
Suddenly, that pronoun no longer applies—
Tampons and sanitary pads
Became valued commodities
Traded on the free market.
Midol exchanges sprang up
On street corners, under scarlet tents.
Riots and stampedes ensued.
Male bodies consumed with cramps
They founded foundations—
To fund the latest scientific discoveries
To stop the pain, the clotting, and the bloating.
There were galas and telethons.
They found empathy,
In the hot pains of childbirth—
Large feet suspended in cold stirrups,
Naked, vulnerable from the waist down—
Fish on a sterile butcher blocks,
No longer thinking with their cocks.
A new world order of clarity emerged
Uncharted and myriad—
And it all began when men got their period.
Postmodern Times Square
Lurking behind black tempered glass
And cold steel beams that force their way,
To an indifferent metallic sky—
The faceless plead for their humanity,
Not the execution of their dreams
Or the strangling of fragile individuality.
Trespassing the collective bond,
The circuitry and computer screens
Hijack their will.
Binary code is the lexicon.
Just a forced, lethal stream
Of zeroes and ones
And hollow screams.
The grey robot princess
On the cracked, steaming asphault—
Electrodes still affixed to her temples,
Gossamer gown undone.
Do not judge her.
She is you.
She is all of us.
Editor’s Note: This poem originally appeared in Peggy Sue Messed Up . . . and
Author bio: Susan Cossette is the author of Peggy Sue Messed Up. . . and other
poems. By day, she is Communications Director for Voices of September 11 th , a
nonprofit that provides social work support services and programming for those
impacted by terrorism and mass violence. By night, she prowls in search of the
perfect open mic and cold glass of pinot grigio while wearing a tiara. More of her
work may be found on her website: musepalace.wordpress.com.
omgommgg omgg love
by Anna Keeler
When I talk about her my psychedelic vocabulary shrinks into minimalism,
and I find that my tongue forgets its want for warp. It tumbles and savors
those gasps between a mis-step and free fall.
I take that time to find my footing in coherence.
Because she is healthy and alive but with a polychromatic mind, the home of
harvest moons and a heart full as starfruit skin.
I sit by as she finds the hidden lupine of a jaded rainbow quartz and she
holds onto each synonym I toss her way. Threading my words onto a soft
string, she turns the most gargantuan terms into the most pure, unvarnished
And I see that she’s as holographic as she is lovely, fighting through my
polarity to keep a smile on her face.
She’s a good person. And she’s teaching me how to do that.
I let her bury my thesaurus in her back pocket.
Looking toward the continuation of breath:
X confrontations of what prophecy
By Felino A. Soriano
!if I choose to align my thinking with statistical data, and even with the language of my
physicians’ overwhelming prognosis, I will not be alive within five years
my choice is to alter the future of what grim expectations represent!
what we do
as in the ambulation coming
later within a life of varied
shades of vernacular’s
Obstacles are meant to instill fear/
combinations of needing ongoing
embraces from those that
breathe warmth into our
Numbers numb. South of
devotion exists plans to
persuade the mind
to undergo physiological
teaching isn’t necessary
I’ve been here now for several days.
as in a promise to die. Death is to Cancer’s hands as
the pastel exterior to my fading home’s
calefacient disposition. I breathe to survive near my
profound daddy, I want you to stay here forever. How/why, then, and thus, would
I lie down
near where the coldest section of my personal earth
spins toward an anti-sun: unknowing what is needed to
remain retain life in the language of fatherly
my life’s enigmatic purpose?
Purpose cannot be planned
or renamed into
a symptom of an event’s processed
is a memory
I now stack its syllables
a variant of totality’s
configuration to predict
what is already
I know now what matters:
seeing the age of my daughter multiply!
approaching annual reminders of my marriage’s
I will engage with elation
whenever the body begins to continue,
I remove myself
future. Self. Self
disease meant to multiply
into a suffocating
role of making memory
a regretful insinuation.
This is not a role I’ve
fully shown my reflection!
instead the rule of
peace within knowing solace
in partial indication
To the song hearing me!
thank you. For the piano that
solos in the name of
I will devote these
to parallel the spatial
maneuvering from the
sacred identity attaching all art, and hands!
all meaning of
language of grief
to unravel into
sounds of eventual
healing, !I will
become what my daughter
needs: her accompaniment
among the aisle awaiting
the moment her name
and attachment to my
hand will change
a form of a
will not attempt to
acclimate to the function my
Each clock shows their histories,
futures needn’t unwind yet or
less when sleep is inattentive!
I am the, or,
I plan to listen
or invent a jazz of breathing
By Nelly Sanchez
Artist bio: For around ten years, Nelly Sanchez has been making cut-outs. She has been
published in journals such as Sonic Boom, Sein und Werden, Le Pan des Muses. She has also
participed in exhibitions : in 2012, at Paris -"Femmes/Hommes. Stéréotypes à l'oeuvre", galerie
ABB (Belleville, Paris)-, in 2014 at Mestre (Italia) - "Quand saro più grande", La Casa della
Renna- and Dieppe (Seine-Maritime, France) and in 2016 at Paris "Notre part de rêve". She
also illustrated writings like La Falaise était nue (Bernard Baritaud), Venus in fur (Sader-
Masoch). Her artwork: www.nellysanchez.fr/
EN ATTENDANT MIEUX
a rhythm of healing conversations
within cracks of sound
and any surface needing to
release what the eye
cannot notice until a phase
or object identifies its
Here, I am healing.
Here is what
breathing is and
more so a reflection
of my hand’s
songs ignite purpose within what my body
is no longer steering toward
the way each
trumpet is a soul
working within contextual affirmation
each breath from which direction takes conception,
my motive is to engulf each moment with
a dialogical performance to intrigue each
shadow or smile awaiting the presence
of how beginning will never cease to discover
from what has occurred,
beyond youth and the expatriation toward my current motivation.
noticed amid these daily fears I’ve
grown from hand and cellular expansion
!movement from what is weak
loses its focus now
as I attempt to dislocate the present from what tomorrow is supposed to portend
Movement misleads me
within a certain light its
each of my tongues’ versions of speaking into an open mouth of screaming
Eyes of my child#
shape what shares my
devotion to her building language
each symmetry of
When meeting (formal, familial introduction)
dove toward a meaning
know or interpret
each subsequent meander of
hold speak understand
always leads to
the connection of father/daughter
My mood is
more of itself each
conference of crows
in the flesh
music I silence
when the piano solos without intent
as with an
in the shallow portion
of Monday’s early
Eviscerate the nausea
from each vein#
proclaim dissipation in reverberating praise.
I can hold within my
Night is chills
the airway is too stubborn and
comprehend. My pulse
in rhythm-breaths mirroring
of dialogical broken
This daytime light
is more so a focus
on finding dead
voices than hearing
the dragonfly draw
its alphabet of
the virtue of
Elongate in the
Music is a
when the tongue is of
Author bio: Felino A. Soriano’s poetry appears in CHURN, BlazeVOX, 3:AM Magazine,
The National Poetry Review, Small Po[r]tions, and elsewhere. His books of poetry
include Between these Rhythms: Bone & Ash (2016), Vocal Apparitions: New & Selected
Poems: 2012 – 2016 (2016), sparse anatomies of single antecedents (2015), Of isolated
limning (2014), Pathos|particular invocation (2013), Of language|s| the rain
speaks (2012), Intentions of Aligned Demarcations (2011), In Praise of Absolute
Interpretation (2010), Construed Implications (2009), and Among the
Interrogated (2008). His collaborative collection Quintet Dialogues: translating
introspection, which features visual art from David Allen Reed is forthcoming from
Howling Dog Press. Visit Of the poetry this jazz portends for more information.
By Sheila Murphy
Country Western Fest
Gravity was shatterproof
until I memorized my fate,
a mirror image of your roan,
rumored to comprise the perfect ride.
Someone was giving out passes
for hydration at seventy a pop,
to ready for continuance
the morning after.
I pocketed the viola clef
then joined the middle tier
here in the outdoor butterscotch
of caucuses where recitation vetoes
handbills, handouts, hand cut handsome
in favor of a finishing school
of nimbledons that just swam past
like rough riders for keeps.
Pixels are my lean-to in the feather morning
Commas outlast sleep
Our weather simplifies anticipated steps to tea
Olfactory cues revive the sage perimeter of earth
Author bio: Sheila E. Murphy composes poetry both in tranquility and fever with equal
fervor. She resides in the desert Southwest, where she writes, draws, crafts keynote
addresses about doing business with power and grace for conferences and conventions.
She is a business author and teacher, as well. She blogs at blog.worktransformed.com
Her literary and artistic information can be found at
Photos by David J. Thompson
The Zombies of Bigotry: "Get Out" Slashes
Through White Supremacy (Film Review)
By Alison Ross
There are no good white people in director Jordan Peele's social thriller "Get Out."
And that's just the way it should be.
Of course, there will be the legions of deep-in-denial detractors, those who brand the movie as
benightedly bigoted against Caucasian culture. But I ask: Is it bigoted to portray reality? I think
Sure, the white people in the movie are sinister. Does this mean that the aim of the movie is to
suggest that all white people are sinister?
Or could it be that the movie is a take-down of white supremacist culture?
That, I believe, is a distinction that should be heavily mused upon. After all, white supremacy can
be reinforced by anyone of any racial or ethnic group (Ben Carson, anyone?). Not all white
people are evil, to be sure, but the white supremacist ethos that guides political policy and societal
behavior is malevolent to the core.
"Get Out" is a devastating and savvy satirical indictment of the prevailing pathological white
supremacy that pervades all corners of society. The movie's bold metaphorical mockery of white
appropriation of black culture is so painfully pointed as to be brutally depressing. I barely found
any entertainment value in the movie, even as I could recognize objectively that it has
entertaining elements. What the movie did exceptionally well is dredge up my not-so-latent white
guilt complex and bring it to the forefront. I suspect it did this with many conscientious
I suppose it's redundant to reiterate how ingenious it was for director Peele to select the vehicle of
a horror/thriller to transport racially existential themes. In hindsight, it's an obvious, intuitive
genre to use. But it turns out that Peele had the foresight to pinpoint the horrors of white
supremacy and elaborate on them in a stylized cinematic way.
Genre gimmicks abound in “Get Out” - zombified characters, caricatured archetypes, suspenseful
plot points, carefully calculated missteps, violent crescendo, trick ending. There is a Hitchcockian
sense of suspense and tension throughout the movie, but also nods and allusions to B movies,
slasher films, 80s teen horror flicks – and yet the movie never seems cheap or derivative. Rather,
it’s an elevated and cerebral psychological horror on par with Poe. It takes the thriller genre to a
new zenith by infusing a plausible plot and refusing to showcase gratuitous gore. Rather,
aggressive actions arise organically and are legitimized by context.
All elements germane to the genre work in service to propel the plot of “Get Out” in an
imaginative, if terrifying way.
For what we are dealing with in "Get Out" is an evocation of modern-day slavery via hypnosis
and a vicious eugenics. Peele is urging us to see how all we are all subtly but forcefully
mesmerized by white supremacy and its myriad connotations and reverberations. He is laying
bare all of our preposterous "post-racial" claims and turning them inside out to reveal a seedy,
I have long wrangled with the dilemma of how American society can disentangle itself from the
dastardly web it's spun itself into regarding racial relations. And Jordan Peele's movie seems to
reinforce my fears - that we are so deeply enmeshed in the maze of racial dysfunctions that we're
better off just cutting loose from the labyrinth and starting over completely.
But how do we dismantle white supremacy? By eradicating Caucasians? Obviously that's not
possible or desirable. By further segregating the races? That’s already happening. We’ve been
regressing for quite some time, as neighborhoods and schools self-segregate along racial lines. It
would almost be justifiable if the situation did not always result in further suffering by people of
The situation is urgent. Jordan Peele's movie is a clarion call (a cacophonous clarion call, at that)
to action. His movie suggests that we should be more aware of our own deep-seeded prejudices
and the actions we and others take that might be loaded with sinister intention, even if
superficially we think we are acting from an impetus of self-awareness and benevolence.
For example, we might think that the justice system will ultimately "rehabilitate" the staggering
number of black men caught up in it, without realizing that it's the system itself that caters to a
white supremacist philosophy that deliberately thwarts black ascendancy.
Lynching is no longer necessary when you have prison cages that will stifle the soul. The KKK’s
fashion apparel is rendered anachronistic because the enforcers of Anglo authoritarianism now
wear plain clothes and operate in the light of day. Burning crosses in lawns, setting fire to
churches, devising nooses, using whips and chains– these tools of repression have been replaced
by laws that perpetuate poverty and injustice. And a society hypnotized by the system that
stymies are the unwitting servants of such putrid policies.
American society needs to "get out" of its lethal Euro-centric ideology and fight the zombies of
TENEBRAED TO HELLER: MR. LEVINSON’S HINGE
EXPANDS AND COMPLEXIFIES
Book Review By Alison Ross
Heller Levinson's philosophy of poetics is something that can only be described as
"accessibly elusive." Or is that "elusively accessible"? Either way, this paradox
encapsulates Heller's approach, which on the surface seems overly cerebral but in
actuality is intuitively ascertainable. His is a paragon of experimental verse, aloof and
excessively premised on the tenets of logos ... and yet, at its core, his Hinge Theory and
the execution thereof (via his verse) have a playful pathos. Heller may or may not agree
with this interpretation, but the way I read his poetry, there is a palpable sense of fierce
ebullience, of good old fashioned frenzied FUN.
Heller's Hinge Theory is both rigid and unhinged. Words "hinge" on other words, but
then the associations they spawn lead to an unhinged spewing of ideas, that nonetheless
circle back to the original idea. Sometimes the associations are overtly obvious ("bellyfull.
belly-ache") and sometimes they are much less explicit. As I said, you can intuitively
grasp his process, but try to lucidly explicate it - good luck.
In his latest collection, Tenebraed, Heller takes the Latin word, "tenebrae," signifying
darkness, and mutates it into a verb, then welds it to a noun or concept in order to invert
that idea's connotations and turn the entire enterprise inside out. Or something like that.
(As I said, his poetry and philosophy are accessible yet elusive, meaning that I get it, but
then I don't. As soon as I think I have it, I have to backtrack. For in order to truly know
something, you have to be able to capably explain it. In this case, it remains to be seen
whether I have done so.)
Tenebrae, in Heller's poetic universe, is the opposite of darkness, despite its original
meaning. Or, rather, it is a probing of the facets of darkness in order to irradiate:
"...exploring underbellies, hidden contours, liberating the undisclosed..." (page 13).
In Heller's conception of the world, what merits illumination most are the obscure, the
arcane, the veiled, the shadow-dwelling...
How this latest articulation of Hinge Theory works goes something like this: Words are
"imported" from other contexts, where they have already established their own legitimacy,
and they serve to embellish their new contexts. The words themselves are infused with
novel dimensions (they "Bloom from their Immersions in Additional Communities"
(page 15) ), and the new context benefits and thrives, as well. Exports, too, exist - those
are the words that "vault" from one territory to another, and become the "Subject
Scrutinized" (page 16). Mining is the final component of this multi-tiered theory, and
yet...shouldn't it be the first? Mining is what occurs when one context/application is
"consulted to enrich" the context "currently being investigated." (page 16).
This whole theory is an exercise in slyly subverting linguistic stagnation: "The
lexiconically Static is a Logos Abuser," Heller proclaims. Lexicons are intrinsically
dynamic, and lexiconic vigor relies on savvy manipulation of diction and syntax, which
in turn affects semantics. Hence, Hinge Theory.
(Honestly, I find the whole theory adorably brilliant - somewhat Dickinsonian in its
quaint but stern intellectuality, and somewhat Seussian in its whimsical erudition. It may
be a reflection of my own poetic ethos that I locate a tenor of humor in it, but I do think
deep down, Heller is also an astute scholar of the absurd.)
The poems themselves can be overwhelming for a first-time reader, situated as they are at
the far end of the experimental spectrum, with all the implications thereof of coldly cubist,
robustly rational but soullessly mechanical. But, as I have already made clear, a patient
reader will see beyond that deceptive surface, and come to bask in the wonderful
wilderness of the Levinson Vernacular. These are not mere modern hieroglyphics. This is
language re-imagined - deconstructed, re-constructed, re-deconstructed, and so forth.
But now, alas, the poems. How does one even choose which poems to zoom in on? From
one perspective, they are a big beautiful tangled mass, in need of careful unraveling. But
that's for mathematical minds. My mind is fueled more by intuition and instinct, so I will
focus on five poems that I believe are emblematic of my own (dubious?) discernment of
Hinge Theory's logos-pathos dichotomy. I won't exactly explicate them, because that's a
daunting exercise if there ever was one - and finally, an unnecessary one, a violation of
We start on page 20: "tenebraed to a Faded Aristocracy." The first part of the poem is a
paragraph that stutters in succinct spurts : "louche carom. souse soliloquy. gongs. curtains.
unravel ... blanche. bastion. bulldog." The second part of the poem, however, begins to
flow down the page, though it keeps true to its laconic core:
The humor harbored within this poem occurs in the way the lines in the first part are
minimalistic and sharply punctuated, and how they contrast on the page with the free
falling words that are also jolting for their terseness. The vacillation between abstract
language and more concrete imagery, too, creates a tense tango between the
Moving right along to page 27, we encounter "tenebraed to an Enameled Latency," in
which we have a compact capture of Hinge Theory in action. Here, "collapsed
vernaculars" exist in hives, and are recklessly "wracked." Indeed, one could say that this
piece of verse is Hinge Theory in poetic code. The "mantis of jeopardy," upon kissing an
oblong (of course), "trawls pearls of
dismissal across confiscated skies." Perhaps these pearls are the fruits of the
mining/importing/exporting process, and the skies are the origins - the territories mined -
of the pearls? The mind giddily celebrates the possible permutations and infinite
interpretations offered up in a Heller omni-verse.
"tenebraed to black," on page 38, is the ying to the previous poem's yang. Not only is it
four and a half pages long, but it furiously hurls forth, paying homage to the color black
('black is color's barometer"), with manic meditations on this misunderstood hue,
interspersing quotations from Rimbaud, Wittgenstein, Klee, wildly weaving in italicized
quasi-narratives, and splattering a stream of subconscious associations across the page
like Pollack paint, becoming just as layered and dense: "mournful melancholic cape
swaggering juju broth admissible annihilative churly warren-breasted perfume..." Black
is "infinity's gangplank," it turns out, whose "smoke cinder ash" lead to "geometric
After recovering from this frenzied romp, we retreat to the poem on page 44, which, it
must be said, offers only slight respite from the madman rantings on page 38. Here,
"tenebraed to nothing" is a trippy tribute to emptiness, "to the not that is not." It is
"cancellation's triumph," and, sadly, "it was being void of wind to wind up with." Of
course, "being and nothingness" is referenced, as it features the "ineptitude of
exactitude." Heller wonders: "does nothing have color," as if to allude back to the
previous poem scrutinized. The rest of the poem seems to ponder the substance of
(This poem was perhaps my favorite to scrutinize, as I literally laughed out loud during
certain moments, solidifying my suspicion that Heller is an astute student of the seriously
silly and the sillily serious)
Finally, we arrive toward the end of the collection, where we happen upon "Tenebraed to
encroach," which honors the variegated ways of trespassing ("succor seduce invoke
inroad penetrate insert"), ending up, ironically, in an area of "dialectic omission."
In this collection, where contexts are mined for import material which, as it become
exported, enriches new contexts, Heller Levinson has managed to embed pathos inside of
logos, twining concepts considered by dulled minds to be dualistic in nature, when in fact,
they are clearly like Russian dolls, situated inside of each other.
Someone once called Heller's verse "post poetry." I am not sure I agree with this
assessment, but I am not sure I disagree with it either. Is Heller's Hinge Theory one that
advances modern poetics, or is it a tool in transcending it? Time will tell, but one thing is
for sure right now: Heller Levinson writes compelling pieces - that is, they are tenebraed
Guarding the Small Light
Collage by Bob Heman
I'm Not A Plastic Bag
by Rachel Hope Allison
Archaia Entertainment 2016
Reviewed by John Yohe
In I'm Not A Plastic Bag, Rachel Hope Allison imagines the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,
“an accumulated concentration of floating trash between Hawaii and the California
coastline,” (!) as a living thing, a monster, hungry for more garbage, and birds, seals and
turtles. This makes for a somewhat sublime book, since the monster (and the actual
Garbage Patch) is horrifying, yet the artwork is beautiful, including pencil sketches with
I'm Not A Plastic Bag rides the line between graphic novel and children's book (the
biggest difference, I sometimes feel, being that the former uses word balloons and the
latter doesn't). I think the audience for this book is all ages—certainly the message is for
everybody—though there's a cuteness factor that makes me think it's more geared to
children. Or anyway, I'm going to give this book to my nieces. There is almost no text, no
dialogue, except for the creepy advertising excerpts that appear in the mouth of the
Garbage Patch monster, with which is tries to lure in seagulls.
I'm not really clear what happens after that, and I still don't understand the title. Like,
who is the 'I'? The monster? Meaning it's not 'just' a bag, but a whole bunch of bags? And
the story, as if it wasn't already surreal, gets more so, with (spoiler alert) a flock of
seagulls (not the band) somehow lifting the (apparently grateful?) Garbage Patch monster
up and sending it into space. So, happy ending, I guess.
Unfortunately, in the Real World, the real Garbage Patch still exists, and at the end of the
book we are offered some text, and info, about the North Pacific Garbage Patch, or The
North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, as I learned it's also called, along with other
Gyres/Garbage Patches in other oceans (again: !) Also, for example, the Top Ten Items
Found in Ocean Debris:
1. Cigarettes 32%
2. Food Wrappers/Containers 9%
3. Caps, Lids 8%
4. Cups, Plates, Forks, Knives, Spoons 6%
5. Beverage Bottles (plastic) 6%
6. Bags (plastic) 5%
7. Beverage Bottles (glass) 4%
8. Beverage Cans 4%
9. Straws/Stirrers 4%
Who'd've thought cigarettes would be up there? How do they get way in the ocean? And
fish and turtles and whales are eating all this stuff. And dying.
I Am Not A Plastic Bag also offers a 'Things You Can Do' section after the bag news, the
contents of which most of us could probably guess. Yet do we do them? Nah. But if you
did want to do something, consider volunteering for the International Coastal Cleanup
organized by the Ocean Conservancy.
Hard not to be cynically sarcastic, to create an ironic distance so as not to be too
horrified. Hard for people to care about something going on out in the ocean when we've
got plenty o' things on land to worry about, like fracking, and lead-infested city water
supplies, and a two-party system that hampers democracy, I know, but that's why a book
like this is good, is needed. All these problems are systemic, but a dead ocean means a
dead humankind, eventually.
I'm Not A Plastic Bag was created with help from the Ocean Conservancy and
JeffCorwinConnect, the company of Jeff Corwin, host of the tv show Ocean Mysteries on
ABC, and it's good to see a concerted effort, in all types of medias, to get the word out
about the ravaging of the oceans (btw: I volunteered for the Sea Shepard Conservation
Society for a while, so I'm not just writing this from the safety of a non-involved life)
Editor’s Note: For more info, especially about the International Coastal Cleanup, check
out the Ocean Conservancy website: www.keepthecoastclear.org. Rachel Hope Allison's
website: www.rachelhopeallison.com And if you're new to the Great Pacific Garbage
Patch, check out the Wikipedia page.
Author bio: Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan and lives in Oregon.
He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, runner/busboy, bike messenger,
wilderness ranger, fire lookout, as well as a teacher of writing. www.johnyohe.com
Paterson in Paterson
(Film Review) By Alison Ross
I am ashamed to admit that up until recently, I have had scant contact with
the poetry of Williams Carlos Williams. Other than the famous "plum
poem," as I call it (whose real title is "This is Just to Say"), I have barely
known Williams' verse. But since seeing the movie "Paterson," that has
changed. I have become enamored of his imagistic, plain-spoken style. Just
as Williams' poetry focuses on common people and quotidian activities, and
is rife with imagery that soulfully saturates the senses, so too does
"Paterson" celebrate the mundane elements of the average person's life, and
revels in landscapes, colors and textures to provide sensory stimulation. And,
of course, "Paterson" equally commemorates the written word, with its
protagonist, also bearing the name Paterson, driving buses to make a living
but writing poetry to live passionately.
The poems, naturally, are in the vein of Williams' verse: Suffused with
imagery and laced with colloquial language. Given that Paterson, NJ was the
homebase of Williams, and given that Paterson lives in Paterson and writes
poetry about his everyday existence as a blue collar worker, and given that
the movie looks and feels like a Williams poem rendered cinematically ...
well, you see the concentric layers of coincidence here. And naturally it's not
coincidence at all, but a deliberate stab at verisimilitude by veteran director
Jim Jarmusch, whose "Paterson" is perhaps the most refreshing film he's
Music Mini-Reviews By Alison Ross
Let's face it: The Shins are the second coming of The Cure wrapped in
The Beach Boy's sandy towel. This is not contradictory at all, either, for
while The Cure is primarily known for its schizophrenic sonic template
featuring solemn anthems and buoyant rhythms, the merrier elements of The
Cure collage recall the falsetto giddiness of a Beach Boys song. So too, do
the Shins mine their dark-happy dichotomy, reveling in sunny pop but also
stewing in more brooding climates. On their latest, The Shins are positively
peppy and New Wavey, and the result is a far more engaging effort than the
previous album, "Port of Morrow," which in my view symbolized stagnation.
"Heartworms" in many ways mimics early-era Shins while simultaneously
propelling the band toward new heights.
A Tribe Called Quest was at the forefront of hip hop's Golden Era in the
1990s, eschewing the crude codes of gangsta rap yet still managing to steep
their albums in blunt eros and savvy social consciousness, all while crafting
astute sounds and rad rhymes. On its latest effort, billed as their last and as
an homage to the late Phife Dawg, and arriving on the cosmic doorstep a
mere 20 years after the previous release, Tribe sounds as fresh as ever.
Highlights on "We Got it From Here" include "Space Program" and "Ego,"
not to mention a wickedly whimsical duet with Andre 3000 on "Kids" (one
of many collaborations). But perhaps the standout song is one that
incorporates an actual hook, a rare occurrence in purely hip hop songs: "We
The People" features a catchy chorus that is also devastatingly relevant: “All
you Black folks, you must go/All you Mexicans, you must go/And all you
poor folks, you must go/Muslims and gays, boy we hate your ways/So all
you bad folk, you must go”
The members of British band The xx make very sexxy music. Even
though with each release the band palpably strays further from their postpunk
roots, they still manage to maintain a mentality grounded in the ideals
of post-punk: Spacious soundscapes that rely on spare instrumentation. But
there have always been two distinct elements to The xx, which they swirl
seamlessly like a yin/yang symbol. This means that on The xx's recent
release, the Rhythm and Beyonce persona that they embody is played up
much more than ever, while the post-punk is more nuanced. This makes for
an album that is sonically somewhat cluttered and a bit less idiosyncratically
intriguing than previous efforts, especially the debut album. That said, the
sexxy side of The xx is not only intact, but this latest album is downright
slithering with sensuality. Oliver's and Romy's whisper-croons are sleek with
eros, and Jamie xx's club dub effects throb with booty-shaking verve.
Atlanta's own outsider artist Lonnie Holley may be pure enigma, but then he is
also enigmatically pure. By that I mean that his purity of being is so striking that it
defies fathom by mere mortals who must exist in his towering shadow. He is
complicated, to be sure, but also authentic at the most basic level. He embodies
what all great artists do: A contradiction of clean and complex. It's this duality that
compels. His sculptures, comprised of organic and synthetic items culled from the
environment, are tangled totems of primitive ideals and modern mythologies,
political manifestos that stun for their simplicity and astound for their astute
intuitive arrangement. Lonnie's music reflects his improvisational artistic approach:
Heartfelt and grounded in this world, and yet existing beyond this plane, an
otherworldly opera summoning aliens and angels. On this album, he is joined by
Atlanta indie rockers Deerhunter as well as Animal Collective, both of whose own
cosmic compositions complement Lonnie Holley's gorgeous anti-aesthetic.
The Zen of
Innocence (Book Review)
By Alison Ross
In her quietly fierce poetry collection, Innocence, Patricia Carragon has mastered the art
of eviscerating withering emotions with creative defiance. Or maybe she is simply a
master of manipulating moods so that the reader is always waiting for the trick ending,
the twist that packs a punchline that socks you in the gut. Of course, these poems are
confessional musings and rantings, with the author's soul laid bare for the vultures to pick
at if they wish.
As such, her verse provides wrenching glimpses into a once-stifled life, one that has
bravely blasted through the barriers constructed by lesser minds. But the poems’
symbolic import is what softens the hard edges with magical hues. Take, for example,
"The Green Crayon," where a girl's coloring tool ignites her imagination, and becomes an
emblem of artistic anarchy: "Her imagination immediately left the classroom." Or "Small
Dreams," which is layered in nautical metaphor about the menace of time, which cruelly
devours dreams: "Fog plays tag with hindsight, clouds part for reality to settle in."
Other poems are existential riddles, such as "When I Die," which extols the virtues of
oblivion ("will the truth vaporize when oxygen leaves my brain?"), and the exceptional
"The Room," wherein the titular protagonist is personified as speaking an arcane idiom
and where silence is translator. Even though Patricia Carragon is certain she is no
"Dickinson, Keruoac, Basho" ("Mr. Lipson"), by the end we can discern the influence of
these authors who have steadily guided her to prize strong symbolism and a feisty Zenlike
approach to the travails of life.
Three IMAGES By Daniel Y. Harris
Artist bio: Daniel Y. Harris is the author of 11 collections of poetry and collaborative
writing including The Rapture of Eddy Daemon (BlazeVOX, 2016), heshe egregore (with
Irene Koronas, Éditions du Cygne, 2016), The Underworld of Lesser Degrees (NYQ
Books, 2015), Esophagus Writ (with Rupert M. Loydell, The Knives Forks and Spoons
Press, 2014), Hyperlinks of Anxiety ($ervená Barva Press, 2013) and The New Arcana
(with John Amen, NYQ Books, 2012). Some of his poetry, experimental writing, art, and
essays have been published in BlazeVOX, The Café Irreal, E·ratio, Exquisite Corpse, The
New York Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Magazine,
Ygdrasil and Zeek. He is the Editor-in-Chief of X-Peri, http://x-peri.blogspot.com/.
She Faces of Lair
Homage to Kurt Schwitters
Imagine Not Drowning
by Kelli Allen
Reviewed by Jeff Santosuosso
From its first piece to its last, Kelli Allen’s second and newest full-length collection,
Imagine Not Drowning, takes flight through love and sex, death and life, through things
neatly paired via juxtapositions that create wide-open spaces. She collects images
simultaneously and parses linearity from space and dispersion.
The beauty of the work is that there’s ample room for free association, inference, spiritual
roaming. Allen embraces, rather than resists the whirl. These are rich, dense, complex
poems filled with shades of words, connotations, innuendoes which venture quite far to
the edges of meaning. Imagine Not Drowning is not for the casual reader or the casual
Allen presents a mystical excerpt from Machado describing the incongruity yet final
redemption of man’s unpreparedness for the awesome power of the sea. Reader
precaution: You have tools, finally insufficient, inappropriate, or useless to quell your
sense of awe in the natural world. Yet like the quotation, the poems, motifs, and
undercurrents exalt the striving, extol the humanity. It’s worth the physical and spiritual
effort, nearly self-redemptive, like the verses and observations.
These are poems of implication, sometimes of induction. We’re liberated to wander along,
taking things as they come, sometimes with attribution, correlation, even cause and effect.
But alongside familiar and linear narrative, Allen weaves the perceptual fabric with the
cryptic, the near-non sequitur. The effect is of duality and relationships, tangible and
intangible, physical and metaphysical. This is a collection of environment and response
with plenty of choice and alternative.
We enter and exit on the wings of a bird, starting with Slavic mythology and ending with
a heron “nodding past the bay,” an oblique reference to take us over the horizon, on a lilt
of pleasure as the speaker feels her partner’s “teeth scrape my back.”
The rhythms and cadences are non-linear, full of pauses, pivot, and redirection. Early on,
Allen tweaks the edges of association with “Feeding Birds, or, rather, Some Magic.”
Untethered title. Staccato, full-stop title. Then she ushers in love and eroticism:
“Yours/is the association of warm under the down.” This structure compels a slowing,
aligning nicely with Allen’s deftness at subtlety. Likewise, the images sometimes appear
out of thin air, with little setting. “Eventually, we go inside” describes the sadness and
regret of missed opportunity, of unrequited desire. Somehow, a man and a woman appear
in a building. How did they get there? What type of building is it? Why were they
together? Literally, unanswered, but alongside implication, with plenty of room for
The path is byzantine, full of sleight of language and imagery. That the opening poem is
entitled “Becoming a Woman of the Brook, Shade, and Moss” is no accident. Much of
the poetry revolves around the speaker’s identity as a woman, both female in many forms,
companion, lover, wife, and adult many forms, daughter, mother, teacher, spiritual guide.
She opens mixing the physical moment and fantasy, of losing oneself and yielding, wish
and promise, love and trust. And onward for over 70 turns of the kaleidoscope. “Edging
Our Wall, Untying,” another syntactical pregnant pause, presents twists in speech that
form new connections from an unfamiliar, yet pleasing assembly.
Even the titles caution, beware those who enter. Not for menace, but for disorientation
and reorientation. Before crossing the threshold into the poems themselves, the titles
create darkness and light, obscurity and revelation. “How Much Tenderness, When We
Consider How to Leave” gives us 2 shining examples. Allen offers,
I say between us, but there was only me, if we count
presence as more than breath and completely still hands in a lap.
A rich opportunity for pondering, for the speaker, her companion and ourselves. She adds,
“We can never blanket enough dirt/to hide what is missing.” Presence by absence, the
mind awhirl in puzzles, delicate, evocative, and revelatory ones.
As the speaker settles on the death of her father, touching poems such as “Aphasia” and
“When He Leaves” agonize:
The stamp on the back of her hand has faded
the same way a favorite tree stump stays
against some remembrance of childhood
we no longer attempt to name.
The last line is the collection’s poster child: meaning via absence and disappearance.
Allen dwells on the transient, that which is without mass. In some pieces, death and loss
face us directly, while in others, the fragility of relationships brushes us more softly. In
“When We Argue About Unraveling Glass,” she juxtaposes the tardigrade, nature’s
ultimate survivor, with implications of an argument threatening peace.
“North Fork” alerts us that “the sign warns of undercurrent.” Flush with visible and
invisible forces and a sweeping away, rife with stilting syntax, stops and starts, nested
logic and circles of continuity, the poem tells of a day’s journey, past and present, danger
and innocence, all in familiar images that are freshly voiced. Allen loves these dualities,
these yin-yang associations and adjacencies that inhabit the natural world and the mind of
Allen intertwines the real with the imaginary, often within poems, sometimes within
images or lines. “We, As Other People,” urges us onto the path of make-believe: “We’ve
been very happy in the small open area/we named alter.” In fact, the words “let’s pretend”
appear five times, all in the latter half of the work.
“You Say Disappear And I Say Not Yet,” brings it all together. The pair is playing a
game, teasing, challenging, among totems, ready to “pretend we are just/ wrong enough,”
recognizing that “This is the closest thing we get/to surrender,” Allen’s riff on desire and
the natural world.
Allen prefers open air and empty spaces, which fill her work with possibility. Churches,
rivers, meadows and fields, and plenty of birds populate the imagery. Motifs relate to
sleeping, waking, changes in consciousness.
These are poems a woman would share with a companion, often a lover. (In fact, nearly
every poem includes at least 2 people.) “What Can We Do to Be Away from the World?”
“Riding the Borrowed Car Back Home,” and “When this is not about sentiment” depict
love and erotica. She verges on the surreal at times:
to see if the other
is awake, is still a shining fish,
in a dream where scales
leave darks pits in the mud
“This Is How You Ask Me to Pray,” a reverence and small miracles, followed by
“Invitations Toward Autumn,” depicting transition, anticipation, expectation. Allen
muses about, “letting the first storms come in, rounding/our shoulders, this suddenness.”
In the title poem, Allen’s overriding affirmation rises clear. “Kiss/your own fingers,” she
congratulates. “…you have carried yourself home.” Speaking to companions of all types,
Allen opens the myriad experiences and sensations that each of us is capable of feeling,
sharing, interpreting, all the while leaving plenty of space for those companions and the
eader to discover his or her own wonder, to feel the subtleties and nuances of this human
She sees and expresses her role as poet most clearly and directly in the joyful “There Are
Ships Closer If You Let Them,” as she resolves, “one morning, soon, I will take/ you to
the lighthouse you have painted” then reaches higher, “upward where light rotates
between fog/and whatever is left to love, to promise.”
Kelli Allen’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and
internationally. She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has won awards for her
poetry, prose, and scholarly work. She served as Managing Editor of Natural Bridge, is
the current Poetry Editor for The Lindenwood Review, and holds an MFA from the
University of Missouri St. Louis. She is the director of the River Styx Hungry Young
Poets Series and founded the Graduate Writers Reading Series for UMSL. She is
currently a Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing at Lindenwood University and
teaches for The Pierre Laclede Honors College at UMSL. Her chapbook, Some Animals,
won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize. Her chapbook, How We Disappear, won the 2016
Damfino Press chapbook award. Her newest full-length, Imagine Not Drowning, will be
released from C&R Press January, 2017. Her full-length poetry collection, Otherwise,
Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the
Pulitzer Prize. /react-text www.kelli-allen.com
Jeff Santosuosso is a business consultant and poet living in Pensacola, FL. A member of
the Florida State Poets Society, he is Editor-in-Chief of panoplyzine.com, an online
journal dedicated to poetry and short prose. His work has been nominated for the
Pushcart Prize and has appeared in San Pedro River Review, The Lake Poetry (UK), Red
Fez, Illya’s Honey, Red River Review, Texas Poetry Calendar (2012, 2014), Avocet,
Alalit, First Literary Review – East, and other online and print publications. He writes
book reviews on request.