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<strong>THUGWISE</strong><br />

<strong>CAT</strong><br />

Issue 37

Thugwise<br />

Credits:<br />

Alison Ross: ThugETTE-in=Chief<br />

Chani Zwibel ;Featured FEmme<br />

Felino Soriano: Resident Poet<br />

CindY Hochman: RAD-ASS Reviewer<br />

Quetzal:Thugwise Cat #1<br />

Soleil: Thugwise Cat #2<br />



<strong>CAT</strong>ATONICALLY SPEAKING-<br />

Thugwise/Thug Life<br />

Clockwise Cat has been denigrated once or twice for having a rough aesthetic, and for<br />

liberally employing memes and clip art. But I’m like, fuck those mofos, cuz memes be dope!<br />

And as far as the “look” of CC … well, we never set out to be all sophisticated and shit. We<br />

are, first and foremost, a zine. We doctor some imagery, use clip art and memes and<br />

uncopyrighted art from the internet and deploy funky fonts and we are PROUD to do so.<br />

Of course, we also solicit and publish more professionally done collages, sketchings and<br />

paintings, and we love those artists for offering us their eye-treats to adorn our journal. And<br />

truth be told, if we had the budget, we’d totally pay a graphic artist to prettify our pages even<br />

further and make our magazine look slightly more refined. But we don’t want to yuppify it,<br />

and so maybe it’s a good thing we lack funds. It’s the editorial, poetic, and artistic content,<br />

anyway, that makes the Cat so great. We believe in an authentic, organic ambiance,<br />

something not afraid to show its ass a bit. We own our gritty look and feel and wouldn’t have<br />

it any other way. The traditionalists aim to homogenize everything and make the journals into<br />

cookie-cutter condos, while we want to splatter graffiti all over the place.<br />

The traditionalists, you see, are the authoritarians. Clockwise Cat, on the other hand, is antiauthoritarian.<br />

We live by our own code.<br />

Clockwise Cat, in short, is an adherent of Thug Life as philosophized by the late, great<br />

Tupac Shakur. This is why this issue is called Thugwise Cat. We’re not being ironic hipsters<br />

here; we love the compelling contradictions that Tupac embodied; we love him for his<br />

rhymes, and we love him for his mind.<br />

Thug Life is often misunderstood as being a violent criminal code, when in fact it’s the<br />

audacious antithesis. Thug Life is living by your own code, one that is anti-authoritarian but<br />

respectful of your own community. It’s “gangsta” in the realest way possible; not nihilistic,<br />

but uplifting, and eschewing the stifling hierarchies that oppress. It’s recognizing the tyranny<br />

of tradition, and the forces of regressive repression, and overturning them. That’s what the<br />

Cat does – we proudly publish the people who subtly or overtly subvert the linguistic and<br />

artistic authoritarians.<br />

Below, I paste part of 2pac’s Codes of Thug Life. It’s worth noting that just as the Codes of<br />

Thug Life are inherently a sense of pride in being black, the Codes of Clockwise Cat are<br />

innately a sense of pride in being a black sheep. We don’t want to assimilate to conformist<br />

codes like those traditionalist journals with their gentrified aesthetics and generic poetics.<br />

We’d rather look like a vibrantly colorful thrift store than an aloof, soulless upscale<br />

department store – and we’d rather sell goods like raging invective, scathing satire, and<br />

progressive verse over fashion fad poetry that merges with the masses. We’re also about<br />

respecting humanity, and Thug Life was very much so about that too. It was about<br />

community, not hierarchy. Clockwise Cat vigorously celebrates community.<br />


Quetzal and Soleil, our resident feisty felines, would agree. Cats live the Thug Life, after all.<br />

Tupac’s CODES OF THUG LIFE<br />

Thug Life is an acronym for "The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone.” The codes were<br />

designed to give order to the rise of gang violence and drug dealing. These codes were signed by<br />

the Bloods and Crips at a peace treaty called the Truc Picnic, in California in 1992.<br />

The Codes<br />

5. Car jacking in our Hood is against the Code.<br />

8. No slinging in schools.<br />

11.The Boys in Blue don’t run nothing; we do. Control the Hood, and make it safe for squares.<br />

12. No slinging to pregnant Sisters. That’s baby killing; that’s genocide!<br />

14. Civilians are not a target and should be spared.<br />

15. Harm to children will not be forgiven.<br />

17. Senseless brutality and rape must stop.<br />

18. Our old folks must not be abused.<br />

19. Respect our Sisters. Respect our Brothers.<br />


The Irrevocable Object of Desire by Greg Wallace<br />

Artist bio: Gregory Autry Wallace is a poet, painter and collagist living in San Francisco. He<br />

studied English, World and Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at San Francisco State<br />

University. His poetry and collages have appeared in Athena Incognito, Black Scat Review,<br />

BlazeVox, Danse Macabre,Clockwise Cat and Five 2 One. He was a poetry editor for Ink<br />

Magazine and a founding editor of Oblivion Magazine. In addition, his paintings, collages and<br />

assemblages have appeared in juried art shows.<br />


<strong>THUGWISE</strong><br />

InVeCtiVe<br />

(And sAtiRiCaL SCreeDs)<br />





By John Alexander<br />

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of hearing about the Common Core.<br />

Yeah, yeah- some people are for it, some are against- and then there’s the students- “the victims”-<br />

who have to endure it.<br />

I mean, there was a time when going to school meant seeing your friends, memorizing a<br />

bunch of stuff, going to gym and lunch- and being “freed” at the end of the day.<br />

But now, the fun is all gone. Instead, the kids “search for evidence;” “piece together<br />

arguments;” “explain calculations;” “compare similarities and differences;” “think critically”- and<br />

that’s just the beginning.<br />

And for what? Lift their achievement levels? Undermine local control? Overwhelm kids<br />

with stupid word problems? Again, for what? To what end? So they can get a minimum wage<br />

job that requires them to apply NONE of the things they’ve learned?<br />

It does seem so, doesn’t it? So, I’ve devised a ten question “test” that will not only<br />

eliminate the need for all that time spent in the Common Core, but will prepare those students for<br />

the minimum wage jobs they will call a career.<br />

And, I’ve even provided a “grading key” so that the test takers will have a good, solid<br />

introduction by which to plan the rest of their lives (a “career planning” added bonus- for free!).<br />

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to- “The Common Core - Simplified.”<br />

(1) You are a cashier at Starbucks. A customer’s order rings up as $15.00.<br />

The customer gives you two (2) five dollar bills, four (4) one dollar bills,<br />

three (3) quarters, two (2) dimes, and five (5) pennies. How much change<br />

should you give back to the customer?<br />

(a) Two one dollar bills and three quarters;<br />

(b) No change back;<br />

(c) Two quarters and four nickels;<br />

(d) Three dimes and two nickels;<br />

(e) None of the above.<br />


(2) Draw a line so as to match the city with the state, province or country they are in.<br />

You must match them perfectly to get a point.<br />

New York City<br />

Indiana<br />

Oklahoma City<br />

New Jersey<br />

Jersey City<br />

Virginia<br />

Indianapolis<br />

Kansas<br />

Iowa City<br />

Iowa<br />

Kansas City<br />

Quebec<br />

Mexico City<br />

New York<br />

Quebec City<br />

Mexico<br />

Virginia Beach<br />

Oklahoma<br />

(3) If you are a K-Mart employee, and you hear this message- “Attention K-Mart<br />

Shoppers!” This message means that-<br />

(a) The store is closing;<br />

(b) Someone left their headlights on;<br />

(c) There is a psychotic gunman in the store;<br />

(d) A sale is about to begin;<br />

(e) A child is lost;<br />

(f) None of the above;<br />

(g) All of the above.<br />

(4) Fahrenheit and Celsius are-<br />

(a) Two ships that fought each other during the Civil War;<br />

(b) The names of Apple’s and Samsung’s new cell phones;<br />

(c) The last names of two ten-year-olds that have been offered football<br />

scholarships to the University of Alabama;<br />

(d) Two different ways to determine temperature;<br />

(e) None of the above;<br />

(f) All of the above.<br />

(5) “The Cloud” refers to-<br />

(a) The first song on Prince’s “Purple Rain” album;<br />

(b) What happens to your computer screen after years of use;<br />

(c) A weather phenomenon;<br />

(d) A data storage system;<br />

(e) What happens to your eyes after 9.5 hours of starring at your screen;<br />

(f) None of the above;<br />

(g) All of the above.<br />

(6) “Big Lots” is-<br />

(a) The name of a county park in Milwaukee;<br />

(b) An exclusive suburban development, just south of Dallas;<br />

(c) A discount chain store;<br />

(d) The new home of the Cleveland Cavaliers;<br />

(e) None of the above;<br />

(f) All of the above.<br />

(7) Buffalo Chicken Wings were first served in-<br />

(a) Chicago;<br />

(b) Los Angeles;<br />


(c) Buffalo;<br />

(d) Memphis;<br />

(e) New York;<br />

(f) None of the above<br />

(8) If you are driving “a mile a minute,” how far will you have driven after one hour?<br />

(a) Thirty miles;<br />

(b) Sixty miles;<br />

(c) It depends on the time zone;<br />

(d) Nobody in their right mind drives that slow;<br />

(e) It depends on how many stops you make;<br />

(f) None of the above;<br />

(g) All of the above.<br />

(9) Who is pictured on the three dollar ($3.00) bill?<br />

(a) John Adams;<br />

(b) Harriet Tubman;<br />

(c) Robert E. Lee;<br />

(d) John F. Kennedy;<br />

(e) Ronald Reagan;<br />

(f) All of them- it rotates;<br />

(g) None of the above.<br />

(10) A Broadway play is-<br />

(a) The last play of an NFL game;<br />

(b) Football plays run only by the New York Jets and New York Giants;<br />

(c) A place in Times Square where children can play;<br />

(d) What con-artists do to get you to buy knock-off goods;<br />

(e) A show that only rich people can afford to see;<br />

(f) None of the above;<br />

(g) All of the above.<br />


Each question- if answered correctly- is worth one (1) point. For question # 2, the cities much be<br />

matched perfectly with their respective state, province or country in order to get a point.<br />

The correct answers are:<br />

# 1- b<br />

# 2- Matching a city with its state, province or country-<br />

New York City with New York<br />

Oklahoma City with Oklahoma<br />

Jersey City with New Jersey<br />

Indianapolis with Indiana<br />

Iowa City with Iowa<br />

Kansas City with Kansas<br />

Mexico City with Mexico<br />

Quebec City with Quebec<br />

Virginia Beach with Virginia<br />


# 3- d<br />

# 4- d<br />

# 5- d<br />

# 6- c<br />

# 7- c<br />

# 8- b<br />

# 9- g<br />

# 10- e<br />


10/10 Find something to do so that someone can nominate you for a<br />

MacArthur “Genius Award.”<br />

9/10 Great score, but forget about going to Harvard. Try one of<br />

those on-line colleges.<br />

8/10 You’re way too smart for MacDonald’s or Burger King. Think-<br />

Olive Garden.<br />

7/10 No local hardware store for you. Head over to Lowe’s or Home<br />

Depot.<br />

6/10 Pick up and cash in deposit returnable cans and bottles.<br />

5/10 Give plasma as often as you can and make sure you get paid.<br />

4/10 Volunteer someplace that gives you a free meal and a place to<br />

sleep.<br />

3/10 Find out if your old school will let you back into grade one.<br />

2/10 Go to prison so you can learn to make something.<br />

1/10 Commit yourself at your local psychiatric hospital.<br />

0/10 See your doctor to make sure your brain is functioning.<br />

Author bio: After spending years in New York City, John Alexander has temporarily<br />

relocated to the hamlet of Getzville, New York. He lives and writes there in the company<br />

of his two favorite pets, “Bunny” and “Roma.” Most recently, John has appeared in<br />

Danse Macabre du Jour, Clockwise Cat (3), Straightjackets Literary Magazine,<br />

Hackwriters: The International Writers Magazine (U.K). He also co-authored the online<br />

novel, entitled, “A Vow of Silence.” It can be found at www.avowofsilence.net<br />


Satan’s Diabolical 10-Step<br />

Plan for President Trump<br />

By Moira Lynch<br />

Hello Donald,<br />

I read with great interest your proposal to help me defeat America and destroy the world. I must<br />

say, I admire your drive. This, combined by your bullying self-aggrandizement and total moral<br />

decay have proven to me that you are, indeed, the right man for the job. Congratulations.<br />

That said, we have our work cut out for us. President Obama has chosen to ignore my bidding,<br />

bribes and threats. Despite all this (and the fact that he’s black!) he has proven to be a strong<br />

adversary. In fact, sources tell me he will be remembered as one of the most admired presidents<br />

in US history. But no matter, we will triumph in the end. Hope and Change are nothing compared<br />

to our hatred and divisiveness. For while the world may love and respect Barack Obama, they<br />

will come to fear and cower before us!—!and as you know, Donald, that is the measure true power.<br />

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it<br />

will be because we destroyed ourselves.<br />

-Abraham Lincoln<br />

Below, I have outlined a plan for our success which was inspired by good old “Honest Abe”<br />

himself. (If I can’t make that freedom-loving bullshit artist burn in hell, he’ll at least rue his<br />

words.) If deployed correctly, you shall soon see the evil fruits of our labor. The genius of my<br />

plan lies in its pure audacity and irony. For we will use the most American of institutions to turn<br />


America against itself. Through freedom of speech and freedom of the press we will use lies to<br />

deceive voters and sensationalism and spectacle to keep them coming back for more. Because, as<br />

we both know, America so loves a scandal!<br />

Here are the initial broad strokes of my diabolical plan, but feel free to improvise with your own<br />

special brand of magnetic megalomania.<br />

1. Stir up fear, racism and sexism in white American men who feel their privilege and power<br />

slipping away. Launch your entry into politics by promoting a meritless rumor about the validity<br />

of Obama’s birth certificate. The Tea Party will love this as it gives racism an almost patriotic<br />

patina!<br />

2. Get the backing of Evangelical Christians. Despite their alleged allegiance to you know Who,<br />

they are a powerful and purposeful group. Best of all, we have a tremendous opportunity to use<br />

their beliefs for our own agenda. They believe the Second Coming is at hand and have a vested<br />

interest in promoting the end of the world. Who better than you, Donald, in the position of the<br />

most powerful man in the world to make that happen? You’re welcome.<br />

3. Alienate sane, sensible and morally responsible Republican party members with divisive and<br />

bullying rhetoric. The party can be ripped apart at its roots by appealing to its most aggrieved<br />

party members with unabashed fear and hatred.<br />

4. Parade your made-for-reality-TV family before the public to attest to your viability as a father,<br />

leader and worthy human being. A note here: I encourage you to say out loud all the inappropriate<br />

thoughts you have about your oldest daughter, Ivanka. The benefits are two-fold: 1.) It affirms<br />

your own attractiveness (because, really, could an ugly, ogre of a man father a woman so<br />

fuckable?) and 2.) a whiff of incest always appeals to America’s prurient nature and will get you<br />

even more media attention. Do you see the pattern here, my friend? Moral outrage gets attention<br />

and ultimately, votes.<br />

5. Use “America First” as a way to allay domestic fears of globalization and sow international<br />

fears of colonization. Employ terrorist threats to demonize and dehumanize refugees and<br />

immigrants seeking peaceful refuge in America. Back this up with threatening and insinuating<br />

promises to neighboring countries and allies. Oh, and I’ll give you extra credit for warming up to<br />

Vladimir Putin. He’s already on my team and I think you’ll work well together. Terrifichuman<br />

being.<br />

6. On the domestic front, let’s talk about dog-whistle policies like “Law and Order” to stoke the<br />

escalating tensions between police officers and communities of color. The greater the distrust we<br />

can create between the people and law enforcement, the better chance we can transform civil<br />

disobedience into civil war. Yet another example of my evil genius!—!and one I’m particularly<br />

proud of.<br />

7. The media will make us or break us. As luck would have it, these days most people are getting<br />

their political information from social media platforms so we can easily create fake news,<br />

manipulate the truth and create a more angry and confused electorate. When questioned by<br />

detractors and/or the mainstream media, simply deny any responsibility or culpability for your<br />

words then distract them with another shocking lie.<br />

8. Show the world you will take shit from no one. Use Twitter to promote useful fabrications and<br />


silence or shame any who would dare express distrust or disagreement with you. And on that<br />

note: retweet the racist and xenophobic ideologies of hate groups as much as possible. You will<br />

see they are very faithful and dedicated followers who will promote the Trump brand with gleeful<br />

zeal.<br />

9. Loudly label opponents, immigrants and others as criminals to gain support and distract from<br />

the fact that you have thousands of pending lawsuits ranging from fraud to sexual assault. While I<br />

commend you for your dirty deeds, they could be your Achilles heel. Play the offensive and you<br />

won’t have to play the defensive.<br />

10. Once elected, surround yourself with aids, advisors and Cabinet members as dedicated to<br />

destruction as you. I have some people in mind already (Steve Bannon is as relentless as they<br />

get). Oh, and if you can get a climate skeptic to head the EPA, you would be doing me a huge<br />

favor. Fuck those tree-hugging communists. I won’t be satisfied until every polar bear has<br />

drowned from exhaustion in tepid bathwate<br />

That’s all for now. Once you are in office, I will be contacting you with the next steps of my<br />

unholy plan. I look forward to your election and ascension to the highest seat of human power.<br />

Together we will destroy the world by reminding people to Make America Hate Again.<br />

Sincerely psyched for total destruction,<br />

Satan<br />





Everybody’s enrolling in the critical thinking program at Lesser Falls Bible College.<br />

Shouldn’t you too? Business leaders say the number one qualification they look for in<br />

new hires is a degree in critical thinking, but don’t take their word for it. Take the word<br />

of one of our graduates, Julio Maldacena, who got a twenty-percent raise after graduating<br />

with a master’s degree in critical thinking. Lesser Falls Bible College has earned praise<br />

from movie stars like Jim Carey and Jenny McCarthy. This isn’t your father’s critical<br />

thinking program. Our program is the newest in the tri-state area.<br />

The critical thinking program at Lesser Falls Bible College excels at academic rigor.<br />

Professor Gil Borodino designed our program using the knowledge he gained from<br />

completing his Ph.D. in critical thinking right here at Lesser Falls Bible College. With<br />

tuition costing $50,000 a year, you know it has to be good.<br />

Some people like the Better Business Bureau, college accreditation board, and attorney<br />

general think you shouldn’t be allowed to learn critical thinking at Lesser Falls Bible<br />

College, but who would believe a bunch of busybodies with halitosis, anyway? And<br />

besides, no one has proved that a master’s degree in critical thinking from Lesser Falls<br />

Bible College doesn’t lead to a fifty-percent salary increase.<br />

You have two choices. Either you get a critical thinking degree from Lesser Falls Bible<br />

College or you die broke, homeless, and alone.<br />



Unlike those other radioactive toothpastes, Nuke Bright contains only the<br />

freshest strontium-90 shipped directly from Fukushima, Japan. Strontium is<br />

chemically similar to calcium so once inside your body it concentrates in<br />

your tooth enamel giving you that glow-in-the-dark smile. That’s Nuke<br />

Bright Toothpaste in drugstores everywhere.<br />

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

Freedom, host of the Gelato Poetry Series, and an editor of the San Diego<br />

Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published more almost a hundred short<br />

stories in journals such as The Berkeley Fiction Review, Clockwise<br />

Cat, Space and Time, Zahir, Tales of the Talisman. One was nominated for a<br />

Pushcart Prize. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of<br />

Buddhism and the martial arts.<br />



By Virs Rana<br />

It appears we currently live in a time of significant transition. Socio-political,<br />

scientific, and spiritual strongholds are continuously confronted by interrogatory assaults<br />

and disruptions. While status quo dynamics are struggling to hold their ground,<br />

skepticism abounds: What are the facts? How are they derived? And for what purpose<br />

are they promulgated? The first question deals with truth, the second with process, and<br />

the third with motive. One cannot know the answer to the first, unless both process and<br />

motive are understood.<br />

For millennia past, the only one of these questions extensively solicited with answers<br />

was the first, which was disseminated in the forms of dictates, laws, and commandments,<br />

with little or no verification by ruling authorities. But traditions have slowly been eroded<br />

by false gods and false prophets, posing as heads of state, religion, and science. The<br />

masses, the rabble, the people, the common human, the collateral damage have become<br />

too educated and too informed to continue to be sheeple. The deterioration and decay of<br />

facades are revealing the many guises of corruption. And no matter the trappings and<br />

glitter of image, the excrementalism of incompetence and deception are exposed not as<br />

‘mistaken’ and ‘misspoken’, but as betrayal and lie.<br />

Beware of words that are granted meanings to suit the situation. Legalese and doublespeak<br />

are forms of forgery to excuse and diminish the severity and unlawfulness of<br />

crimes. Somewhere, sometime it became unmannered to press authorities for answers.<br />

Their position must be respected and protected at all costs, because in pressing them, we<br />

would have to press ourselves, which would be too awkward and too painful a reckoning<br />

for any formalized politeness. This hypocrisy is acceptable, as a buffer against truth and<br />

duty; two words that have been given such latitudes of meaning that accountability has<br />

been reduced to relativity in all situations, in order to dismiss those responsible for their<br />

transgressions against the very principles they have sworn to uphold, further reducing the<br />

word principle to quaint antiquity.<br />

Questions are not enough. We have been taught for too many generations that we are<br />

civilized, that we must speak and act toward one another with a modicum of respect,<br />

which should be accorded all who participate in this perverse deception. Why? The socalled<br />

authorities are the very corruptors of these principles of freedom. And they are<br />

everywhere; they are pervasive. They are members of our city councils, our county<br />

supervisors, our state representatives, our United States Congress. They are from the<br />

executive, legislative, and judicial branches, our President of the United States. They are<br />

our teachers, our priests, our imams, our rabbis, our pastors, our scientists. They live off<br />

our labor, and our money, and they pass laws to prevent us from taking legal action<br />


against them. They are shown favoritism and shielded against any consequences of their<br />

illegal actions, where you, a simple member of the masses would be vilified and<br />

incarcerated.<br />

But the authorities are merely figureheads, privileged in name and legal tender only,<br />

due to a diluted and polluted system. In most cases, they are less intelligent than those<br />

whom they refer to as the masses, and the rabble. Some may be glib and ingratiating to<br />

evoke sympathy and respect, which they often get, but, in truth, they are pawns of their<br />

own insecurity and denial. They even betray each other to sustain their untenable status.<br />

They make you the same promises, over and over, on the same issues, the issues that<br />

never change, because the promises are empty; but we forget, and forgive them, because<br />

we make empty promises to ourselves, and we will not stand and deliver.<br />

No, questions are not enough. We must raise our standards of responsibility to<br />

ourselves and to one another. We must cultivate our self-respect and our freedom in<br />

relationship to principles that those before us have called virtues, not in reactions to fear<br />

and anger, which in turn, motivate the masses toward alienation and apathy: that fear and<br />

anger used to manipulate others by force, through the threat of war and scarcity, that fear<br />

and anger so corrosive to community and good will, only temporarily suspended in times<br />

of tragedy, that fear and anger that have been the dominant emotional states on this planet,<br />

far too long, which lead many to believe it’s human nature, a bit premature, since we are<br />

still in the process of discovering what that nature is.<br />

But we are preoccupied. So we fail to address and to sustain community action,<br />

relinquishing this power to the maintenance of individual image and status. What you<br />

think of you is predicated on what others think of you, within this grand deception. Those<br />

in true service are noted for having a special calling and a special compassion that we<br />

would like to emulate, but just don’t have the time for. After all, who are you without<br />

participating in those worshipped values, and achieving success against all odds? Did you<br />

ever think why there are so many odds? Are they real? Who or what creates them?<br />

No, questions are not enough. Answers can be projected, but never understood, until<br />

they are first lived: A revolution within? A realization that production is not about things<br />

or statistics, but about what we need to understand, not to live life in false comfort and<br />

security, but in the process of seeing, beyond what we’ve allowed ourselves to become<br />

programmed to see? Mirrors often present a shadow image. What do we see, when we are<br />

reflected in the eyes of others?<br />

We know, but we choose not to act on that knowledge, for it would jeopardize all that<br />

we fought to believe in that made us a believer, a self-worshipper of gods created to be<br />

idolized, rather than in service to the Truth we refuse to acknowledge, in the birdsong,<br />

behind the mask of our deception…<br />

…Must give us pause…That last phrase, although poetically fit, may sound a little too<br />

froo-froo for the more sober and fiercely linear thinkers, because oblique metaphors have<br />

no meaning in their reality: You’re born; you (pretend to) live; then you die. Thusly, any<br />

patronizing concern for the welfare of others ain’t worth spit, no matter your bull-chitchat<br />

perseverating.<br />

Author bio: Orphaned at birth, Virs Rana was raised by Chrysalisian Monks in the<br />

Carpathian Mountains, where he studied ancient languages. Since leaving the monastery,<br />

he began writing a journal and decided to share his experiences in stories. He holds a<br />

degree as a MOG (Master of Organic Geometry)<br />


The Donald DOLLAR by Matt Kolbet<br />

As you surely remember from elementary school history class, George Washington, besides<br />

harboring a loathing for cherry trees, served as the first president of the United States, thus<br />

securing his position on the one-dollar bill. Such staid currency remains in constant use for<br />

mocking tips to bigoted waiters (you spent all your pennies sardonically last summer at the<br />

neighbor’s alt. right garage sale/fruit punch stand), charity to Salvation Army bell ringers, and<br />

desperately scribbling your phone number in lumberjack-themed strip clubs. That founding father<br />

would be most proud when Aspen told you she’d call and sort-of meant it, though she forgot later<br />

after someone threw up their pancakes on her. Or was it Bambi? Either way, General Washington<br />

knows something about fallen wood.<br />

The final president of our country, Donald Trump, deserves his own currency. The revolution he<br />

spearheaded was less about creating a new country or good governance, and he may never have<br />

held a blade more sizable than a knife, but he cut into bookmaker’s margins, and giving people<br />

the axe inspired his reality show before we were forced to join in. Washington spent the<br />

Christmas of 1776 crossing the Delaware to fight the Hessians in Trenton. When Trump went to<br />

New Jersey in 2016 he helped defeat Chris Christie. Rather than a single (which would be<br />

incongruous with Trump’s style in marriages or bankruptcies) the Donald Dollar will actually<br />

represent negative money, an additional debt (more in line with the current direction of the<br />

country). When spending it, customers will demonstrate their loyalty and willingness to sacrifice<br />

to make American something else again—you can’t be sure what, and you’re uncertain you want<br />

to know because it would force you to reevaluate not only your relationships, but career choices,<br />

pets (axolotls seemed cooler when the guy on the side of the road talked about them), and even<br />

the crush you had on your elementary school history teacher, Mrs. Forrest.<br />

Example: The Walmart you frequent most often sells a 36 pack of Coors Banquet for 24.99. The<br />

yellow cans have become your go-to beverage now that you can’t find Schlitz there. Not<br />

coincidentally, you triangulated the store’s prime location based on proximity to your parole<br />

officer, divorce lawyer and favorite strip joint. When you stop in Friday night, for every Donald<br />

Dollar you spend, you increase tidy corporate profits, which inevitably trickle down to or from<br />

CEOs. It also gives sufficient suds so you have a good time sitting at home watching your<br />

aquarium.<br />

Best of all, for a limited time the new administration is giving out Donald Dollars for free. This is<br />

in lieu of blood offerings, and we should be grateful. Collecting them will give you something to<br />

do while you re-read Julio Cortázar, waiting for the axolotl to trade places with you and take over<br />

your Twitter account to call out other salamanders from Mexico. Or perhaps kill you. Though<br />

you won’t undergo a metamorphosis, think of it as regeneration. Find Mrs. Forrest again. Ask<br />

her if she’s ever thought of becoming somebody’s second wife.<br />

Author bio: Matt Kolbet teaches and writes in Oregon<br />


DRONE DRAMA: Music for the Dead<br />

By Cecelia Chapman, Sean Derrick, and Jeff Crouch<br />

Description: “Drone Drama: Music for the Dead” is a video that addresses<br />

being human in the age of the drone. The eleven chapter, seventeen minute<br />

video, from the album by Berlin based, American composer Sean Derrick<br />

Cooper Marquardt was filmed in 2016, and a chapter edited and submitted to an<br />

online site each month. Chapter 11. 'If you were born without wings, do<br />

nothing to prevent them from growing,’ submitted to Clockwise Cat, considers<br />

change in consciousness as the path to social and cultural change. It was filmed<br />

at the NODAPL Berkeley Indigenous Day 2016.<br />

FULL VIDEO: https://youtu.be/yl3_PP-hXj8<br />

CHAPTER 11: https://youtu.be/ftUz8JimfCc<br />


AND TEXT:https://www.facebook.com/ChapmanMarquardt/<br />

“Drone Drama” was filmed on the San Francisco Peninsula, with all the<br />

contradictions inherent in a hyper-evolving, militaristic society: income disparity,<br />

environmental catastrophe, epic cultural upheaval. Notorious for being the evermorphing<br />

home to military defense contracting corporations, the San Francisco<br />

Peninsula bio-tech industry is known as Silicon Valley. Previously it was the<br />

Vietnam War industry home base, and before that, the greatest World War II<br />

shipbuilding industry in the world.<br />

I used Sean’s titles and his subtle drone tracks to direct the video. Each chapter is<br />

filmed in a specifically selected site, from orchid farm, to prison, to underneath the<br />

dystopic San Francisco freeways, to Oracle headquarters.<br />

Sean and I have never met in person but we collaborated on two earlier videos. I<br />

also conferred with my ten year collaborator, Jeff Crouch in Texas, about<br />

philosophy. I have never met Jeff in person either, so this video is very much a<br />

collaboration across space and time. My other ten year collaborator, performer<br />

Christa Hunter, is in Chapter 1.<br />

“Drone Drama” just had its premiere in Cologne, Germany, and was selected for<br />

the Italian Magmart Video Festival 10.<br />



Artist bios: Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt is the Berlin-based American sound artist and<br />

composer of “Drone Drama.” Sean performs throughout Europe in risk-taking performances. He<br />

is co-founder of Hortus Conclusus Records and can be found<br />

at https://www.facebook.com/seandcmarquardt/. Cecelia Chapman filmed and edited “Drone<br />

Drama” and is an American visual artist living in California. She has more than eighty short new<br />

media videos that examine how we live and think: ceceliachapman.com Her collaborators include<br />

performers, sound artists and artists she meets online or draws from her personal life. She has<br />

collaborated for eleven years with Jeff Crouch, a Texas internet artist, who continues to provide<br />

philosophic and logistic inspiration and advice on scores of projects. Google him.<br />




By Edwin L. Young, PhD<br />

1. Democracy, especially US democracy, is a sham and a criminalist, political,<br />

governing system as, in fact, about a dozen of the earth’s richest and most<br />

powerful humans ultimately control who runs for offices, how campaigns are<br />

conducted, who gets elected,, and what agendas get enforced. This globally<br />

controlling group sets the agendas for all nations while their rulership remains<br />

hidden, undisputed, and omnipotent.<br />

2. Massive movement of the earth’s human populations toward complete<br />

urbanization for the sake of becoming capitalist corporation’s exploited slave class<br />

while those who have been forced to come to live in huge urban areas find them<br />

turning into huge crime, poverty, and disease causing ghettos, or virtual, huge<br />

prisons of slave encampments.<br />

3. Justice System: Corporation Illegality Is Exempt from Prosecution<br />

4. Business ventures fail (or die) if they do not make a profit. On the other hand,<br />

if they persist in making a profit, many other forms of life will become diseased<br />

and die. On the whole, if most of these businesses succeed in making profits, all<br />

life on the planet will gradually become extinct.<br />

5. Food Production and Delivery Systems Attract Customers to Disease Inducing<br />

Foods Worldwide while US Health Care workers prescribe unnecessary big<br />

corporate pharmaceutical medications and treatments that prevent the body's use<br />

of its natural ability to fight disease and to self-heal and healthy diets are not<br />

promoted among the poor and unwary<br />

6. Consumer Protection laws are ineffective in combating Honest Advertising<br />

Systems that would attack the overwhelmingly effective Major TV channels that<br />

sell the populace on health destructive foods and practices. Illnesses related to<br />

these corporate owned TV channels’ programs are booming in the US.<br />

7. Water Sources Are Being Polluted and Water Delivery Systems Polluted and<br />

Are Unavailable in Remote Regions of the World<br />

8. Natural Resources Protection Ineffective in Stopping Exploitation of Backward<br />

Peoples and Is Not Guarding Against Their Dwindling Supply<br />

9. Environment Protection Is Ineffective in Guarding Against Deadly Chemicals<br />


Polluting Earth, Air, Water, and Large Water Bodies<br />

10. Transportation Industries Refusing to Allow Environment Friendly Alternative<br />

Fuels while Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal are Polluting and Despoiling and centrally<br />

and universally causing the eventual extinction of all life on earth.<br />

11. Animal and Plant Species Protection Agencies Are Ineffective in Preventing<br />

Extinctions and Human Unfriendly GMOs Taking Over by Huge Food Related<br />

Corporations Who are also Running Small Organic Farmers out of Business<br />

12. Employment Compensation to laid off workers is now becoming unavailable<br />

to many of them. At the same time, there is a massive increase in Part-time<br />

Workers who receive no unemployment compensation or benefits when they are<br />

forced out of work by modernized Automation and Mechanization.<br />

13. Public Education is controlled by State Officials and Local Wealthy Board<br />

Members, all of whom enforce Corporate Friendly and Populace Unfriendly<br />

Teaching Materials and Content and construct untold numbers of Public Education<br />

Buildings and Systems while Elitist Offspring have Elitist Controlled and Elitist<br />

Favoring Curricula. The under classes of the populace as a whole continue with<br />

their Preschools, First through Twelve, College, Graduate, and Professional<br />

Schools that Corporations Tailor for Mass Teaching Systems that will result in<br />

humanity becoming divided into one superior and several inferior dominated,<br />

exploited, and unwitting levels of tracks of slave classes.<br />

14. Banking and Finance Systems and Zero Interest on Loans to Huge<br />

Corporations while huge Corporations send nontaxable trillions to overseas safehavens<br />

15. Major TV Channels provide childish, odd, and horrific Programs to US and<br />

World Masses that Perpetuate their Infantalization (and their ignorance of US<br />

destructive imperialistic programs) of Adults in the US and in foreign nations as<br />

well.<br />

16. The Internet could and does provide alternative news and information<br />

programs. Nevertheless, the Populace is Hooked into major TV Channels that<br />

provide misinformation, avoid corporate unfriendly information, blackout news<br />

about US imperialistic programs that foment civil wars in underdeveloped nations,<br />

and independently reported stories about US arms industries selling weapons to<br />

both sides in these fomented civil wars, US privately funds ignorant foreign troops<br />

and US mercenary troops assassinate foreign heads of state unfriendly to or<br />

disobedient to the US<br />


17. During World War II, some major industrialist sent money and war related<br />

machines to aid Hitler’s war efforts, Henry Ford was one of them. Toward the end<br />

of World War II, the US brought renowned German scientists and engineers to the<br />

US to work on the US space and missile programs- Werner Von Braun was<br />

principal among them.<br />

18. The many religions of the world keep the unknowing and ignorant of the world<br />

pacified and preoccupied with their superstitious rituals and their other worldly<br />

belief systems that are irrelevant to how they are being exploited and<br />

enslaved. These religions keep the ignorant masses from becoming aware of the<br />

coming crisis to the earth with its impending global life extinction. All the while<br />

the elites of earth are designing and planning their escape to another, safe planet<br />

somewhere else in our vast universe.<br />

19. As all of these interconnected aspects and processes of our world silently and<br />

irrevocably continue to succeed, that is to say make profits in a world where there<br />

is no force capable of either stopping them altogether or of fundamentally altering<br />

their essentially, globally, undetectably, and cumulatively eventuality of producing<br />

an extinction of all life on our planet.<br />

!<br />


"#$!%&'(&')*$!%&+(!,$-*'&./01!2+'!34#&&5-!6)-!7/0)55.!<br />

%&8$!7&'!2+'!9&:$'08$0*!<br />

By Steven Singer<br />

First they came for people of color and I said nothing. Because I am not a person of<br />

color. Then they came for the poor and I said nothing. For I am not poor. Then they came<br />

for our public schools and I said nothing. Because I do not send my children to public<br />

schools. Now they’ve come for our government and who is left to speak for me?<br />

This is a paraphrase of Martin Niemöller’s famous lines about the cowardice of German<br />

intellectuals during Hitler’s rise to power. The fascists purged group after group while<br />

those who could have stood against them did nothing – until it was too late.<br />

That’s very nearly the position we find ourselves in today in relation to the Trump<br />

administration. The neoliberal and neofascist façade has fallen away. And the naked<br />

greed of our runaway capitalist system has been exposed for what it is.<br />

Just this week, Trump unveiled a new government office with sweeping authority to<br />

overhaul federal bureaucracy on the business model.<br />

Led by the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, The White House<br />

Office of American Innovation will be an autonomous entity enforcing the president’s<br />

will. Described as an internal “SWAT team” of strategic consultants, and staffed with<br />

former business executives, the office will cut down democratic rule in favor of top-down<br />

authoritarianism.<br />

And the excuse is the same one used to deny equity for minorities, the same one used to<br />

dismantle protections for the poor and the same one used to unfairly label and close our<br />

public schools – we need to run government like a business.<br />

But government is not a business.The goal of a business is profit for the few. The goal of<br />

government is service to the many.<br />


In a private business only the owner or the board of directors reaps the benefits. But our<br />

government is not supposed to be set up that way. It’s not supposed to benefit merely all<br />

the president’s men. It’s supposed to benefit all of us – the citizens, the taxpayers, the<br />

voters. This is exactly the model that has been used against our public schools.<br />

We have shifted our concern away from students and parents to investors and<br />

corporations. For almost two decades, our education policies have increasingly been to<br />

reduce local control – especially at schools serving the poor and minorities – and give<br />

that control to private charter school operators. We have removed the duly-elected school<br />

boards and replaced them with appointed boards of directors. We have removed or<br />

diminished democratic rule and replaced it with an autocracy. And all the while the<br />

middle class has cheered.<br />

It was a coup in plain site, and no one but parents, students, teachers and intellectuals<br />

spoke up. Our voices were undercut or ignored. When we demanded equal treatment for<br />

our children, we were labeled welfare queens wanting something for nothing. When we<br />

demanded fair treatment, a safe work environment and resources for our students, we<br />

were labeled union thugs standing in the way of progress. At every turn we were tone<br />

policed into silence and passed over for the voices of self-proclaimed experts who knew<br />

nothing but what they were paid to espouse.<br />

We were told that the only measure of academic success was a standardized test score.<br />

But no mention of the white, middle class standard our non-white, impoverished students<br />

were being held to.<br />

When our schools were increasingly segregated by race, class and income, we were told<br />

that it was only fair. After all, it was based on choice – the choice of the invisible hand of<br />

the free market. When our schools were starved of resources, we were told to do more<br />

with less. And when our students struggled to survive malnutrition, increased violence<br />

and the indentured servitude of their parents to an economic system that barely allowed<br />

them to sustain themselves, we blamed them. And their teachers, because how dare<br />

anyone actually try to help these untouchables!<br />

We allowed this – all of it – perpetrated by Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives<br />

and Liberals, because they’re all really just different dogs to the same masters. We<br />

justified it all in the name of the market, in the name of economics, in the name of<br />

business. Why should we care? It rarely affected us directly.<br />

White, middle class folks could get by. It wasn’t OUR schools being given away to<br />

private equity firms. It wasn’t OUR children being educated by temporary employees on<br />

the model of the peace corps with little training and no experience.<br />

Those were just someone else’s children. We weren’t even sure they were human. They<br />

certainly didn’t share the same portion of humanity as we did. They were unwashed and<br />

unfed. Even if you washed them, many of them would still have brown skin. We were<br />


happy to have them as an underclass, as a cushion to stop us from falling further down<br />

the social ladder.<br />

Our kids went to either well resourced public schools with fully elected school boards<br />

and shiny new facilities or else we sent our children to pristine private schools that<br />

offered the best of everything for a price.<br />

But now the chickens have come home to roost. Because this same model is being<br />

applied to our government.<br />

Now it is we who will lose our voices. It will be our services that are stripped away as an<br />

unnecessary cost savings. We will lose our healthcare. We will lose our environment. It<br />

will be our democracy suspended to make way for the more efficient means of<br />

government – fascism and autocracy.<br />

Who has time to listen to the people? Much easier to just decide what should be done.<br />

And we can justify it with our business model. No more voters and representatives. Now<br />

we will be businessmen and consumers. Nothing will stand in the way of the corporate<br />

class enriching themselves at public expense. They will be merely providing the rest of us<br />

with the goods and services of government, the bits that trickle down on our heads like<br />

rain or urine.<br />

That is what Trump is attempting. He is turning the United States into a banana republic<br />

– even installing his relatives and children in top leadership positions. Our government<br />

now resembles the corridors of power in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein with henchmen<br />

Uday and Qusay in tow.<br />

The question is this: will we allow it? Will we continue to allow it?<br />

Will we stand for it as the administration installs Trump loyalty officers in every federal<br />

office? Will we say nothing as nepotism and greed become the most prized attributes of<br />

governance? Will we remain silent as our public schools continue to be raided, sacked<br />

and burned? Because the answer to those questions is the answer to so much more. Are<br />

we on the cusp of revolution or is history merely repeating itself?<br />

Editor’s note: This essay is reprinted with permission from gadflyonthewall.com<br />


<strong>THUGWISE</strong><br />

VERSE<br />



Chani Zwibel<br />

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

who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta,<br />

Georgia. She enjoys writing poetry after nature walks and daydreaming. Recent<br />

Publications include Sage Woman Worlds of Faerie Issue 91(April 2017), W.I.S.H<br />

(Walking Is Still Honest) Press March 10, 2017, Dissident Voice Feb 12, 2017, Provoke<br />

Journal, January 2017, Mused Bella Online Literary Review Winter 2016 Vol 10 Issue 4,<br />

Catwise Clock (Clockwise Cat) Issue 35 Winter 2016, Sage Woman Roots and Wings<br />

Issue 89 (April 2016)<br />

Author’s statement: I let my imagination wander, in silence, in nature, and go wherever<br />

it takes me. So many portals to other worlds exist. They hide in the knot-holes of old<br />

trees and whisper from dusty shelves of old libraries. Dreaming is all-important, whether<br />

in waking or in sleep. I keep a notebook with me at all times, because inspiration often<br />

strikes unbidden, tiny worlds shimmer in the dew drops on moss, and beckon me with<br />

secrets to be revealed.<br />

Editor’s note: As we told Chani Zwibel, our Issue 37 Featured Femme, these pieces<br />

below contain “some lovely phrasing, some edgy humor, some jolting imagery.” We<br />

were thrilled when she submitted poems to us for consideration, and immediately seized<br />

on the opportunity to feature her. The first few pieces we enjoy for their witty glimpse<br />

into some sort of surrealist suburbia, while the rest of the poems summon our attention<br />

with their nuanced commentary on this, our own sordid world, as well as with their<br />

unusual perspective on nature and enticing elements of fantasy.<br />

WEST<br />

Dear Sir,<br />

on behalf of my client, it is my sad duty to inform you:<br />

Seeking a way out,<br />

the wayfarer flees wedlock.<br />

A hex strikes a blow:<br />

wench becomes werewolf.<br />

It’s wet on the whaleboat<br />

and wet on the wharf.<br />

Sinking into despair,<br />


she wears welts<br />

as small ornaments,<br />

bits of baleen cracking<br />

as she breaks her corset,<br />

crazy intoxicated<br />

by benign tumor<br />

of glowing moon.<br />

Respectfully,<br />

The Law Offices of Weasele, Foxe, and Wolfe<br />

BEST<br />

Attention Residents of Blue-Green Streams Neighborhood:<br />

Thank you,<br />

Without revealing names, it should be noted<br />

Last week during a wedding reception in the park,<br />

The chief attendant of the groom and the chief attendant of the bride<br />

behaved unseemly, got besotted, sullied their honor,<br />

and were found in a bestial state of frenzy behind Beta Shelter.<br />

They couldn’t stay modest,<br />

but snuck berry wine<br />

behind park benches,<br />

wearing Bermuda shorts and giggling.<br />

We implore the community to do better.<br />

We cannot take a besom broom to clear away such sins.<br />

We ask you keep your revels between yourselves<br />

and try not to be revealed in public,<br />

or we will have to ban beverages at all events.<br />

Between betrothals and barbeques, beware.<br />

Twice a year we bid goodbye to charms.<br />

The Neighborhood Committee for Highest Quality<br />

LEST<br />

You libertines forget:<br />

Leviathan seeks levitation, laurel crowns are reserved for victors, and an<br />

offense against your sovereign burns like lesions. Learn lavender can perfume a<br />


laywoman. A leak in leather leftover lends credibility to a legislature run amuck.<br />

Do the legwork. Apply the lesson. Avoid another level of disappointment.<br />


I will not write to warn you again,<br />

A Concerned Citizen<br />

weasels are underground, waiting.<br />

they want skin.<br />

weasels are snorting cocaine, underground, waiting.<br />

they want skin; they want hair.<br />

weasels are fucking, underground, waiting.<br />

they want skin; they want hair; they want blood.<br />

weasels are performing satanic initiation rites underground, waiting.<br />

they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle.<br />

weasels are embezzling millions from top Fortune 500 companies, underground, waiting.<br />

they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone.<br />

weasels are keeping toddlers in cages, underground, waiting.<br />

they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone; they<br />

want marrow.<br />

weasels are snapping babies’ spines, underground, waiting.<br />

they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone; they<br />

want marrow; they want gristle.<br />

weasels are underground, waiting.<br />


Mother of vultures<br />

shrieks in my nightmares.<br />

She’s like a machine with intentions.<br />

Whether unusual or suspicious,<br />

all logical connections are<br />

behavior resolving contradictions.<br />

Final conscience transported<br />

is integrated with other sign systems.<br />

Made, ruled, drilled,<br />

maintains High Standards.<br />

Talc can be scratched with your fingernails<br />

as anticipated.<br />

Even with significant success,<br />

emergency or safety,<br />

still too much sun,<br />

hours of sleep,<br />


dreams of that wicked man<br />

who stole my pot of herbs.<br />

Fine, or even too coarse-grained,<br />

microcrystalline,<br />

but breaks across grains,<br />

is death of fathers,<br />

and who still hath cried.<br />

Must I remember pebbles<br />

cleaved from rocks?<br />

My Other Mother Xanax will take the edge off.<br />

BABY<br />

crying is mechanized.<br />

brain cells electric pods with silver seeds.<br />

It drinks Zinc and misses most talking and laughing<br />

buttons when in sleep-mode.<br />

Manufacturing me made meaner<br />

By giving me a name<br />

Cast in metal<br />

Enter the cooker<br />

1/3 of a human hair<br />

Tricked<br />

Art wars with business in my rubber-tube-guts,<br />

Entertainment sold to a mass audience<br />

A financial transaction, economic ties<br />

The project paid-for<br />

Sugar-plastic stream<br />

Art cutters<br />

Off-putting, clumsy language of theory<br />

Illusion Pulsating light<br />

Continuous beam Gauge<br />


Dark at six o’clock and the store is full<br />

of people trying to stave off death with kale.<br />

It won’t save them.<br />

No organic vegetable Christ<br />

will rise from the compost heap,<br />

restoring animal-cruelty free peace<br />

upon a perfect earth;<br />

No way to bribe the reaper<br />

with vegan cheese.<br />

For those of us in the know:<br />


Night settles<br />

in the six pm of eternity,<br />

no daylight savings<br />

for the damned.<br />


Tell me again<br />

how candlelight,<br />

dusk dark rooms,<br />

guardian dog,<br />

heavy door,<br />

and brass door knob<br />

collect the sound<br />

and feel of<br />

hollow wet throb<br />

inside down spouts.<br />

Blue shutters<br />

cloak windows<br />

looking out to<br />

wet slick stone stairs,<br />

wet pebble path,<br />

wet water garden bridge,<br />

bent nail submerged.<br />

Raindrops gloss<br />

luminescent green ivy.<br />

In the pond<br />

two fish<br />

are parallel bars of gold.<br />

Sting of thirsty mosquitoes<br />

on my bare arm<br />

as I walk and hear<br />

a single bird call.<br />


Artwork by Marcia Arrieta<br />

Artist bio: Marcia Arrieta’s work appears in Fourteen Hills, Of/with, Wicked Alice, Moss<br />

Trill, Eratio, Posit, Catch & Release, Melusine, Web Conjunctions, and Great Weather<br />

for Media, among others. The author of two poetry books: archipelago<br />

counterpoint (BlazeVOX 2015) and triskelion, tiger moth, tangram, thyme (Otoliths<br />

2011), she edits and publishes Indefinite Space, a poetry/art journal.<br />


The Saga of FACES and VASES<br />

By Tracy Thomas<br />

There’s voices in the mandolin, some sort of chatter down in the f-holes.<br />

Now there’s a campfire and horrible mundane songs that matter to everyone<br />

but the soup stones, the antiphonies, the pariahs outside the firelight, those<br />

reprobates shivering in the woods with pink toadstools. Their bones have left<br />

them. Their bones are off to see the world. Their bones are drunk in Buenos<br />

Aires. They’re hiding in the jimson weed, crazy in the scent of moonflowers.<br />

Their bones are playing dominoes under the ponderosas. They’re sleeping on<br />

one leg with flamingos. The voices are telling a story they’ve chopped into<br />

pieces. They’re rasping at the grue. There’s a trunk with my father’s broken<br />

mandolin. I’m having a garage sale but it’s tricky getting rid of darkness. I<br />

got this dinner triangle of bones. I got the pulcher eye. I got Latinate<br />

adjectives, nonsensical objectives. I learned a dance in the lich gate. I’ll<br />

bring your turtle back to life, your wishing star heartbreak turtle in the hurdy<br />

gurdy of your head. The voices chopped the story into pieces now they’re<br />

black dove treble clef. Now they’re Ascension Day rain. They’re the sobs of<br />

smoldering wound. There’s voices hacked in pieces. They’re playing<br />

mandolin.<br />

It’s all about stories, if you can keep them from going into pieces;<br />

keep them from seducing the neighbor’s daughter in the tree house. Then the<br />

stories are looking for some sort of revenge for their mutilation. They want<br />

the quemada, the conflagrande, the auto-da-fe freeway. Maybe eat some<br />

folks, got them turning on a spit or they’ve got their heads together inventing<br />

something like a song, a chant, a groan, whatever to give voice to the<br />

nonsense or they’re getting on your nerves stirring up the goat herd, waking<br />

you from your pastoral idyll, send you sprawling from your dithyramb, no<br />

shoes, head on fire, burning fennel stalks waving at whoever’ll listen. I’m<br />

sick with that voice. Now I’m butchering some stories, hacking them into<br />

dusk persimmon calligraphy, flowered owls of smoke, fax machine abraxas.<br />

See how deep they’ll sink. Maybe they’ll send signs back from the depths.<br />

I’m going to slaughter some stories, stare into their entrails hanging from my<br />

hands for a message. Maybe hang them from the rearview mirror like lucky<br />

dice. The stories can be messy if they’re no more than bits of yourself, just<br />

bits of you chopped into the language of the birds, bits of you hacked into<br />

voces mysticae. Then you realize what you really have is potsherds and<br />

nettles.<br />


The stories are gouging a hole in your face, gouging a hole in that<br />

place the voice comes from. The stories gnaw on my father’s mandolin;<br />

gnaw on my finger’s searching for Fur Elise, searching for the origin of<br />

madrigals, origin of Mardi gras, of nightingales. Now the stories want a<br />

voice of their own, so they’re cooking up a voice, stewing up a voice in the<br />

retort, in the crucible. But what comes out isn’t right. It’s not like other<br />

voices. It’s bathing in tongues. It’s stealing from the dead. It’s playing<br />

bassoon on a dark beach. It’s the homunculus. It’s always looking for what’s<br />

behind the light, maybe for where light comes from. The homunculus voice<br />

attempts to sing but all that comes out is apotropaica, all that comes out is<br />

bits of maenads and Heraclitus, an orchard of blue olives, all that comes out<br />

is the Jack the Ripper small talk, the semper vivum of breath, all that comes<br />

out is the silence of a broken mandolin. They let Prince Albert out the can<br />

and he can really use a smoke.<br />

Now I’m watering the lawn. When I’m done I’ll need to build an ark<br />

or at least a chair for deep sea fishing. Then I can play mandolin while the<br />

trout jump just to see their own smile before flopping into the mirror of the<br />

lake. Beautiful Apotropaica is smiling at me from the terrace above and then<br />

I skip off into the happiness of the dream. That’s one side of the story. The<br />

one damaged in transport, the one the ants like, the one the lunatic ate with<br />

the secret message to the gods, the one that died from cholera, the one lazing<br />

under the black fig tree, the one delivering the shibboleth mystery-gram.<br />

You can open it with the decoder ring you found in the bramble hedge of<br />

lacerating death. Alas it’s just poetry on shards of pottery about the beauty,<br />

the truth of a piece of pottery. This mandolin will tell its story one more time<br />

by god or I’ll never make your eyes roll back into your head to the sloppy<br />

sounds of heaven on earth.<br />

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

American West; Colorado, Wyoming, California and finally Arizona,<br />

basically a non-stop Frederic Remington painting. His poems have appeared<br />

in The Southern Review, The Journal and Bombay Gin. Since his plans for<br />

graduate school have fallen through he’s currently searching for a cave in<br />

the Sonoran Desert where he’s hoping to begin experiencing St. Anthonystyle<br />

visions.<br />


Unshed<br />

By Sheikha A.<br />

I have been swallowing landays,<br />

their echoing screeching refracting<br />

macabre. And then I chewed upon<br />

the black waters of justice;<br />

clandestine writings – as if it wasn’t<br />

enough to drown under excessive<br />

layers of humility, that the written<br />

word needed to suffer the veil –<br />

but the veil is no vice. Nor is it<br />

cumbersome. Poetry has always been<br />

the secrets of a mad mind; psychobabble<br />

clothed in obsequiousness.<br />

But landays do not abash. Once<br />

the word is released, there is no fleeing –<br />

only incarceration. But, there is glory<br />

in the tinkering of society’s empaths –<br />

they defend them landays with quills<br />

made from the same trees that died<br />

suffering their weaponry – unshed<br />

unshelled unconfessed democracy.<br />

Author bio: Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her<br />

work appears in over 90 literary venues, both print and online, including<br />

several anthologies by different presses. More about her can be accessed on<br />

her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com<br />


Temple<br />

By David Mac<br />

this temple warm air<br />

writing amorous words<br />

on the back of<br />

a fish<br />

(swim)<br />

writing on shadows and ghosts<br />

(fade)<br />

who believes in<br />

life is a<br />

UFO<br />

(zoom)<br />

but when will I be<br />

loved?<br />

ask that and know<br />

that you really are<br />

dying<br />


The Life<br />

By Ann Huang<br />

You had a life<br />

for bringing in the silver lake<br />

of a forgotten way . . .<br />

(Water<br />

light and thinned and white<br />

as the drain of poppy seeds . . .<br />

castles<br />

let alone in saffron banks . . .<br />

sky<br />

translucent as a gay whale . . .<br />

and the urgent moon<br />

splurging silver<br />

under New Zealand, gin-pure, merging into the sea . . . )<br />

And the night is many upside bowls<br />

or its moon a glory of black lures<br />

glued in acute-blue sky<br />

when could you own your life?<br />

Author bio: Ann Huang is a seasoned marketer with more than fifteen years<br />

of experience working with the spoken and written word. As an MFA<br />

recipient in Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Huang’s poetry<br />

has appeared online and in print extensively. Her recent poem,<br />

“Night Lullaby,” was a Ruth Stone Poetry Prize finalist. Huang's new poetry<br />

collection, Delicious and Alien, is due out in 2017. Her poems follow the<br />

surrealistic gestures that weave reality into divergent realms of perspectives<br />

and perceptions. Visit AnnHuang.com for more poems and press releases.<br />


[Then of forest paths diverge<br />

and keepdiverging]<br />

by Aaron Bauer<br />

Then of forest paths diverge and keep diverging.<br />

There is a brief moment in everyone's life when he or she is free from strife.<br />

When<br />

there is not one word apt to describe where<br />

these fragments dig under our skin. What<br />

they burrow themselves into is flesh like sprouts grow out of fields. Why<br />

they were forced to cut in we don't know, nor do we know how.<br />

Think but this is a nothing moment, that<br />

this beauty is a mole on your mother's breast, that<br />

this grizzly death is the one awaiting you, that<br />

this land is only itself when bathed in moonlight.<br />

This man is man, and he is you.<br />

This palpable tension . . .<br />

This zealous lover . . .<br />

Thou art how great . . .<br />

Thou lucky mistresses . . .<br />

Though a good deal warped, we will build our homes with these boards, and<br />

through the floorboards worms will slither, and<br />

through the house, sunlight will glimmer, and<br />

through the walls, wind will eat your skin. It will be time<br />

to admit the air has power over you.<br />

Author bio: Aaron Bauer is a Pushcart-nominated poet and educator living<br />

in Colorado. He received his MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.<br />

His work has appeared in Prism Review, Poemeleon and others. His<br />

chapbook Colloquy of Sparrows was published Blue Lyre Press. His website<br />

is aaronmbauer.wordpress.com.<br />


Two Poems BY ALAN BRITT<br />


Like Seinfeld's Kramer<br />

hugging 42 nd Street subway tiles<br />

in my whitey tidies.<br />

Suddenly, a vireo, of all saints,<br />

whistles from a nearby pine.<br />

As I plummet<br />

onto a bed of copper<br />

needles in my underwear,<br />

I'm reminded<br />

I'm allowed<br />

to miss church<br />

next six months<br />

so long as I read a<br />

healthy helping of Baudelaire.<br />

Ah, once again,<br />

loving the briar patch!<br />


(For Sabine Pascarelli)<br />

Another poem in quicksand.<br />

But poems have magic<br />

up their sleeves: soaking verbs<br />

in olive oil & boiling nouns<br />

in the pantry of a late 16th century<br />

French cottage below the Italian border.<br />

I'm a mouse in the pantry of that cottage.<br />

I'm the rattle of tins<br />

filled with local basil,<br />

rosemary, thyme, & parsley,<br />

Italian, of course.<br />


I'm the sickening edges<br />

of a chocolate bar<br />

left on the counter overnight,<br />

& despite premonitions to the contrary<br />

I volunteered for that bivouac,<br />

dangerous,<br />

it seemed to me,<br />

so, I offered a chocolate bar instead.<br />

Good thing,<br />

since I didn't have an edge<br />

to give & soaking wet<br />

from Autumn cornfields.<br />

A detective, who looked a lot like Poe,<br />

in fact, I'm sure it was him lurking<br />

beneath a Charlie Chan fedora,<br />

behind purple azaleas,<br />

as the Queen's procession<br />

of silver horses<br />

decorated with saffron bells, bells,<br />

& bells made from skulls<br />

& crucifixes,<br />

plus red roses<br />

in the side yard,<br />

bleeding, bleeding,<br />

bleeding.<br />

Author bio: In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture<br />

Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets<br />

between Ecuador and the United States. During his visit, he participated in venues all<br />

across the country including the international literary conference sponsored by La<br />

hermandad de las palabras 2015 in Babahoyo, Ecuador. In 2013 he served as judge for<br />

the The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The<br />

Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013.<br />

His latest books include Violin Smoke (Translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and<br />

published in Romania & Hungary (2015); Lost Among the Hours: 2015; Parabola<br />

Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli): 2013; and Alone with the Terrible Universe: 2011. He<br />

teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.<br />


The Night Sky Reminds Me of a<br />

Chalkboard<br />

By James Babbs<br />

for some reason<br />

the night sky reminds me of the old chalkboards<br />

the teachers used when I was in school<br />

the chalkboards were usually black<br />

and took up most of the wall at the front of the classroom<br />

but I do vaguely recall<br />

seeing some green ones somewhere<br />

anyway<br />

the teachers wrote on the chalkboards<br />

using pieces of chalk of course<br />

and they used big felt erasers<br />

to wipe away what had been written<br />

at the end of the school day<br />

one prized pupil got the honorable job<br />

of cleaning the erasers<br />

which was usually accomplished<br />

by hitting them together<br />

or smacking the erasers against the metal rail<br />

which ran along the bottom of the chalkboard<br />

where the pieces of chalk were kept<br />

and you kept banging the erasers<br />

until no more or most of the dust<br />

stopped emanating from them<br />

and it seems funny to me now<br />

and I wonder how much chalk dust<br />

us youngsters must have breathed into our lungs<br />

in those lost and innocent days<br />

all those years ago<br />

anyway<br />

the night sky reminds me of a chalkboard<br />

dotted with chalk-made stars<br />

and what about the moon<br />

I don’t see the moon<br />

I guess someone must have erased it<br />

before it could be found<br />

Author bio: James Babbs is a writer, a dreamer, a three-time loser and an all-around nice<br />

guy who just wants to be left alone. James is the author of Disturbing The Light (2013)<br />

& The Weight of Invisible Things (2013) and has hundreds of poems and a few short<br />

stories scattered all over the internet.<br />



The sound of strangers singing<br />

By Paul Grant<br />

Tonight<br />

All of history<br />

Suddenly<br />

Bubbles up beneath me<br />

All the long dead,<br />

Gods<br />

Friends<br />

Lovers<br />

Knock at the long hours<br />

Demand attention<br />

To be more than<br />

Memory<br />

I don't know<br />

What to do with this<br />

It is too big,<br />

Comes on<br />

Too fast<br />

My skin feels rebel<br />

Tingles like a fresh kill,<br />

The blood here is not mine<br />

It flows in new ways<br />

Towards unexplored parts<br />

I pace on the carpet<br />

Try and walk it off<br />

I want to scream<br />

Punch holes<br />

In the walls<br />

Dance like silent amphetamines<br />

But its 3am<br />

And what would the neighbours think<br />


So I pace some more<br />

And reason<br />

That somewhere<br />

There must be someone else<br />

Pacing the carpet<br />

In the long hours<br />

Thinking its too big<br />

It's all too big,<br />

The heartbeat of an ocean<br />

Sailing upon a small ship.<br />


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

By Simon Perchik<br />

And this stone turns its back<br />

the way streams even in snow<br />

crush you under the descent<br />

smelling from moonlight<br />

and toward each other<br />

though there's still some rain inside<br />

all night flowing beneath your feet<br />

as gravel and whispers<br />

–with one sharp stone<br />

you open your mouth as if she<br />

is more thirsty than the others<br />

and every path glows with ice<br />

is singing that old love song<br />

carried in your arms<br />

clearing the way to her lips<br />

and one by one each night<br />

heavier, reaches up<br />

for the darkness and go.<br />

Author bio: Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan<br />

Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent<br />

collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more<br />

information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other<br />

Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.<br />


Dark and Stormy<br />

By Katy Lasell<br />

Past the graveyard on my run<br />

I visit mother just for fun<br />

Lie down for I am ill at ease<br />

And fall asleep beneath the trees<br />

Awaken in the cream moonlight creatures all around me tight their eyeless wagging clean<br />

and clacking heavy legs in dirt are dragging drinking chatting noiseless laughing help me<br />

mother why is father here beneath the starry altar serving drinks to all the headless<br />

armless sapped of power something’s wrong the end is near I smell it read the stones are<br />

clear and lichen tossed the scruffy gravel sounds the pounding of the gavel tastes the<br />

flavor of the pomegranate sweet and final earless but the tones are spinal ask me if I’d<br />

like a sip or father if he’d like to sit and take a load off for awhile if they had mouths<br />

they’d surely smile if they had teeth they’d surely chew awake me from this ghost-fed<br />

stew you cannot I am all alone and you are sick suburban home and sixty and you haven’t<br />

asked what it feels like lying in the grass, to know.<br />

Oh Father it was terrible. But the cocktails the ghouls were serving really hit the spot. Is<br />

it time for another Oxycontin now?<br />

Author bio: Katy Lasell is a fiction writer and poet based in New York.<br />


Kelly 2<br />

By R. Bremner<br />

In the psychedelic sea, Alice Long is still my favorite girlfriend, so I’m<br />

going to wave at 200 South La Brea, where you take me for rides. The<br />

girl with the Joey Ramone tattoo may have pretty little angel eyes, but<br />

she dreams of dark darkness and breaks the news that is so fine to the<br />

“in” crowd who don’t call my name when I’m feeling rubber biscuits.<br />

When will I be your man? When you’re no good and wear swinging<br />

blue jeans and have no action on mocking bird hill. You make me feel<br />

like that’s not the way to Bogart me on my best days in the fraternity of<br />

man. Mission bells rang on tomorrow’s yesterday for the wild Irish roses<br />

who were fanatics waving their freak flag and driving Cadillacs into<br />

Southern culture on the skids. The bullet proof lovers ate some grass<br />

roots and bad seeds which gave them self-defeating blues and Juliette<br />

seizures. The tremor dolls went to crown court to tell the frogman he<br />

ain’t got no home. Vanity found that every night brings a new surprise,<br />

so she decided that she’d better run on moving sidewalks to the<br />

reverberations.<br />

(Bill Kelly is a disc jockey at radio Station WFMU.)<br />

Author bio: R. Bremner has evolved through metrical, Beat, surrealism,<br />

universalism, and metrical again to his current obsession with<br />

absurdism.<br />


what happens follows logically<br />

by Tara Roder<br />

to be honest it’s the kind of place where moth wings beat fervently against your face.<br />

where you call me sugar and i recoil.<br />

judge judy is deus ex machina, dropping accusations of indolence like they’re going out<br />

of style.<br />

there are synonyms for usually. also wasps’ nests. a strange predilection for 50s<br />

crooners.<br />

this lady said her sister was a female doogie howser but we didn’t really believe<br />

her. (someone somewhere is thinking about my frame, my wrists.)<br />

by the river i contemplate water rats and solemnly summon melanie klein to interpret the<br />

color of cars. then the florist’s nephew arrives with a delivery—a box of hilariously<br />

unintended consequences.<br />

Author bio: Tara Roeder is the author of two chapbooks, Maritime and (all the things<br />

you're not). Her work has appeared in venues including The Bombay Gin, Hobart,<br />

Otoliths, DOGZPLOT, and MonkeyBicycle. She's an Associate Professor of Writing<br />

Studies in New York City.<br />


Two Poems By George Held<br />

Author bio: George Held keeps a low profile in NYC, though his poems, stories, and<br />

book reviews appear fairly often in print and online.<br />

What Difference?<br />

(After Robert Frost)<br />

Three roads in a wood converged<br />

and I took the one least trod.<br />

Now I wonder, has that<br />

made any fucking difference?<br />

While Waiting<br />

In the plastic customers’ lounge<br />

at my car dealer’s, the TV blares<br />

The Price Is Right while the sporty<br />

woman across from me reads<br />

a book by Donald Trump,<br />

Xmas lights blink “Welcome,”<br />

and refugees wait endlessly for<br />

permission to enter the promised land.<br />


TWO POEMS by R. Riekki<br />

Author bio: Riekki has been a finalist for several screenplay competitions; an<br />

abbreviated list includes the Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest, Crimson Screen Horror<br />

Film Fest, Fantasmagorical Film Festival, The International Horror Hotel Film Festival,<br />

Marquee Lights Competition, Terror Film Festival, Cannes Screenplay Contest, and<br />

many more.<br />

The Pledge of Allegiant<br />

(Starring Shailene Woodley)<br />

I Pledge Allegiance to my rag and the Banana Republic for<br />

which we stand, one inflation, divisible, with Liberty University<br />

and Justice: Tween Clothing & Fashion for Girls for all.<br />

At a signal from the Dictator, the cleaners, in odored rank, hands<br />

on mops, deface the floor. Another signal is given: every cleaner<br />

gives the rag a paramilitary salute of right arm straightened and<br />

inclined upwards with the hand open and palm down. Standing<br />

thus, all repeat together, auf Deutsch, slowly, Trumpily, “I<br />

Pledge allegiance to my rag and the Banana Republic for which<br />

we stand, one inflation, divisible, with Liberty University and<br />

Justice: Tween Clothing & Fashion for Girls for all.” At the<br />

words “to my rag,” the right hand goes to the floor, gracefully,<br />

palm palming Palmolive with the rag and remains in this gesture<br />

‘till the end of suffrage, whereupon all hands with Allstate<br />

immediately drop to their suicide.<br />


I Look White Even Though I’m Not White But You Will<br />

Make Me White But I’m Not 100% White Because No One<br />

is 100% White Around Here But We Pretend That the<br />

Quarters in Us that are Indigenous Can Be Turned into<br />

Dollars for Silence<br />

ears<br />

going blind<br />

head like wax<br />

kid in class saying, “if you only knew what science has done to me”<br />

the mercy of ravens<br />

I’ve been colonized so deeply that I can feel it in my colon<br />

once upon a midnight false binary<br />

I overheard the conversation where the woman was saying “the liberals made Trump by<br />

not including poor whites, as if they’re bathed in white privilege and not bathed in<br />

suffocation”<br />

the hymns of shadows<br />

the hers in shadows<br />

the stagnant stag<br />

I striped to get my way through the striped collage where I found out that college meant<br />

nothing<br />

but stripping me of any chance to be free of debt<br />

the uber-Christian girl tells me she will always love Jesus more than me<br />

the rent is eating my bones<br />

the landlord knows he is Lord, knows he is Land (Land = Lord, Lord = Land)<br />

the landlord knows he is Lord, knows he is Land (people - money, people - freedom)<br />


the rent is eating my bones<br />

the Christian pastor tells me I am a little boy<br />

I stopped to bleed and ended up in the blood jobs with my blood wages and I’ve gotten<br />

home several times to find blood on my clothes (non-fiction)<br />

Nancy is pregnant—we call her preg-nancy—she says she can’t keep it—she says she<br />

can’t lose it.<br />

the hours of violence<br />

the hims of violence<br />

I underheard any conversations where in the end everything you ever owned would be<br />

sold for the medical bills, bulls, kills<br />

once upon a midday dreary we realized we were eating our lunch in our cubicles because<br />

they were firing anyone who tried to breathe<br />

I’ve been colonized so deeply that I can’t even type a ; without feeling sick to my guts<br />

the mercy of ravens<br />

kid in class saying “they would have killed us a hundred years ago”<br />

heart like an ax<br />

going deaf<br />

eyes<br />





Little Desert Flower<br />

By Michael Lee Johnson<br />

Out of this poem<br />

grows a little desert flower.<br />

it is blue sorrow<br />

it waits for your return.<br />

You escape so you must from me<br />

refuge, folded, wrapped in cool spring rain leavesavoiding<br />

July, August heat.<br />

South wind hell-fire burns memories within you,<br />

branded I tattoo you, leave my mark,<br />

in rose barren fields fueled with burned and desert stubble.<br />

Yet I wait here, a loyal believer throat raw in thirst.<br />

I wrest thunder gods gathering ritual-prayer rain.<br />

It is lonely here grit, tears rub my eyes without relief.<br />

Yet I catch myself loafing away in the wind waiting fate<br />

to whisper those tiny messages<br />

writer of this storm welded wings,<br />

I go unnoticed but the burned eyes of red-tailed hawk<br />

pinch of hope, sheltered by the doves.<br />

I tip a toast to quench your thirst,<br />

one shot of Tequila my little, purple, desert flower.<br />

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

Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor,<br />

publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in<br />

Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than 915 small press<br />

magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites. His website is:<br />

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

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

including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and<br />

Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 101 poetry videos on YouTube<br />

as of 2015: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos . Michael<br />

Lee Johnson was nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015 &<br />

Best of the Net 2016. He is also the editor/publisher of anthology,<br />

Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow.<br />


Went Over To Poe’s Place<br />

By Frank Grigonis<br />

He was tipping one back<br />

as usual, one of his tooyoung<br />

cousins, I mean. So<br />

in the moment he didn’t<br />

hear me ask if he wanted a<br />

beer. Then this singular<br />

squeak assailed my ears,<br />

which turned out to be a<br />

skinny black cat pushing<br />

open the chamber door.<br />

“Can’t you see that I am<br />

presently engaged?”<br />

implored Poe, his eyes<br />

rolling into the black<br />

caverns of tragical affection.<br />

But by now the black cat<br />

was rubbing his knobby<br />

spine against my shivering<br />

shin, so I didn’t say a<br />

thing but instead watched<br />

with horror as Poe’s<br />

cousin transformed into a<br />

250 pound Wal-Mart<br />

shopper fairly covered<br />

with raven tattoos. “What<br />

can it mean!?” I screamed<br />

to Edvard Munch who was<br />

busy painting something on<br />

the sanguine’s shopper’s<br />

ever-widening thigh. “Never<br />

mind that!” shrieked the cat<br />

with eyes wide like empty<br />

saucers, “Just get me to a<br />

shelter before he kills me<br />

with one of those sordid<br />

stories!”<br />

Author bio: Frank Grigonis writes poetry and fiction. He likes Rimbaud and cats,<br />

not in that order. He can be reached at fehu9@netzero.net.<br />


Americon!<br />

By John Pursch<br />

She lives in triplicate, necessitated by inculcated confessorial profession of fratricide,<br />

flint lock philanthropy, and hyperbolic wherewithal, backed by sullied fracas paramours<br />

in silly focus ferry flares. Sapped guys capsize clear-cut blueblood chorus lines in<br />

limping lineage of post-Gallic searchlight comeuppance. Interrupted suppository rooks<br />

name culled cockadoodle yank-off bleep-cheeky felt-up haddock after goopy clock-drip<br />

bra lines. Oodles of concupiscent candy keep it up, up, and a sway bar, seeping sandy<br />

band saw, suppurating myopian referees from scanty panty parity to soaking sigh in<br />

vanity, a dove, a fluted pane.<br />

“My queen, my dome, my pineal Glock, my hock in spiel in spigot Gott in bitter pull of<br />

jerky water travesty above imputed claims! In surgery, my purging blahs, clods spat their<br />

big fat ugly putrescent fateful eyes on fleas of measly old identity on precious little<br />

specious me!” our Lady of Liposuction slobbers incontinent, buttocks in sawmill<br />

hammock from Static Sighland to the Jerky Spore to Madhatter, Lung Island, Scuppered<br />

Your Nuke, Conned Ectoplasmic Electorate, soaking handball planetoid to bugged<br />

elusive shame.<br />

“Americon! Americon! Cod fished out of Noflounderland and Nan Stuckitinher Sound<br />

till the geriatric cherubim canoe wobble wiggle wigwam wax within that wirehair<br />

wigging way-way Willhe Wonkher with a winking one-eyed Tyrannosaurus Regulated<br />

Sextant scorecard seminarian?” she conch ludes, awning ankh and honoring some<br />

beautifully titular honey-haired honky slunk café denizen.<br />

Only her chair or dresser drawers on floorboard footman foppish watch fob figurine of<br />

fulminating foxtrot folksy flip-phone clones are sure for surety forlorn forgone forsooth<br />

forelocks foreknowledge fornicating for nothing in the shaven haven of our disheveled<br />

craving yardarm.<br />

Now she has resettled on ball-peen paltry pantry starch in commodious promissory<br />

quotes, remonstrated penetration, dung a dimpled sum of addenda, pudenda, appendages,<br />

crapped intensity, influenza, humped tea clumpy flimsy flocked flop pharmaceutical<br />

philately, smooches swollen to dimly dozen dozer doubt, depilatory doughboy snowball<br />

numb nuts bumblebees, brand-news futile ipso noumena.<br />

Author bio: John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. Twice nominated for Best of the Net,<br />

his work has appeared in many literary journals. A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is<br />

available in paperback at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/whiteskybooks. His pi-related<br />

experimental lit-rap video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l33aUs7obVc. He’s<br />

@johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.<br />



By Kurt Kline<br />

Gone long gone<br />

in the tall corn like a smart rooster<br />

a visitor out of time & that’s<br />

the name of that tune. Nobody’s<br />

gonna make a deal up on Hippy Hill<br />

this afternoon & the whirlwind heaves<br />

a heavy sigh as reaching into its bag of tricks<br />

pulls out a mask of a mask<br />


combing through yr hair<br />

o haven’t we played this rubber before?<br />

I saw them all assembling there<br />

m o l e c u l a r p l a s t i c i t y<br />

forming contiguous pocket of gravity<br />

this feverish pituitary gland<br />

optic nerve of the imagination<br />

at 12:34 AM Friday the day<br />

the oscilloscope started to writhe<br />


on a Saturday night. Moonage daydream<br />

in a parking lot. When you agreed<br />

Christmas could’ve fallen within<br />

any 24 hour period no calling<br />

at %:00 AM which used to be<br />

the valor we shared: “LOOK OUT<br />


I guess this is a different California<br />

from the one in which Zorro flourished<br />

lazy midsummer night fanning butterfly wings<br />

to cool the smoke of moonrattles<br />

intrinsic luminosity in the time it takes to blink<br />

12:58 EVEN accounting<br />

daylight saving’s time<br />

international dateline<br />

It’s still Christmas<br />

WHERE YOU Are ISN’T’T?<br />

1::00 AM now I guess the past never<br />

happened.,.. & there’ll never be<br />

Another midsummer night’s dream<br />

Anyway anymore than can be believed!<br />



But only FROM ACTUALITY<br />

The world of hearing<br />

sounds in one’s mind<br />

1:34 A.M. & I love you<br />

but you are the furthest thing from<br />

going out of my mind. There are spots<br />

before my eyes Time ghosts<br />

mixed with heavier liqueur—<br />

grillage of flame up down directionless<br />

a future you’d rather not forget<br />

drops you somewhere on the side<br />

of the motorway No need for long<br />

farewells. Meet you by the turnstyle<br />

Jean Genie never say goodbye.<br />

You’ll be coming back<br />

in a little while—<br />

or that’s not a meteorite I see tonight<br />

zigzagging stardust across the sky.<br />

Author bio: Kurt Cline is Associate Professor of English and World Comparative<br />

Literature, National Taipei University of Technology. His full-length book of poetry,<br />

Voyage to the Sun, was published by Boston Poet Press in 2008. Five 2 One Magazine<br />

named him National Poetry Month Poet of the day, April 26, 2016. Poems and stories<br />

have appeared in BlazeVOX; Danse Macabre; Mission at 10th; Wilderness House<br />

Literary Review; HuesoLoco; Apocrypha and Abstractions; Black Scat; and Clockwise<br />

Cat. Scholarly articles have appeared in Glimpse; Anthropology of Consciousness;<br />

Concentric; Beatdom Literary Journal; and Comparative Civilizations and Cultures. Cline<br />

is also a performance artist, theatrical magician and singer-songwriter. His album Alien<br />

Shoe was produced by 12 Studio in 2013.<br />


Two Poems<br />

By Patrick Hurley<br />


Author bio: Patrick Hurley wasted several years in grad school … now he’s a bartender.<br />

He once wrote a book on Thomas Pynchon. For one year, he tricked a local paper into<br />

reimbursing him for drinks by writing a cocktail column for them. Mostly he reads and<br />

writes and tries to figure out how to survive without working a stupid job.<br />


Two Poems<br />

By Marie C Lecrivain<br />

Author bio: Marie C Lecrivain is the executive editor/publisher of poeticdiversity: the<br />

litzine of Los Angeles, a photographer, and a writer-in-residence at her apartment. Her<br />

prose and poetry have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including:<br />

Edgar Allen Poetry Journal, The Los Angeles Review, Nonbinary Review, The Poetry<br />

Salzburg Review, Red Fez, Spillway, Orbis, A New Ulster, and others. She's the author of<br />

several volumes of poetry and fiction, including Philemon's Gambit (© 2016<br />

International Word Bank Press), which is available on Amazon.com.<br />

Nigredo 2017-2020<br />

Go, into the shadow. We’re all headed<br />

down the dark path now, with eyes wide open<br />

and hands emptied of promise. The dreaded<br />

monsters may - or may not - deem to drop in<br />

on your dreams, the last glimmers of a time<br />

when all was possible, and arrogance<br />

wore a sneering smile. In the black grime<br />

is where we will claim the inheritance<br />

of our true selves, through battle and harsh<br />

truths we must embrace, along with the fact<br />

that each of us is mired in the marsh<br />

of shame for eschewing our kin. To act<br />

otherwise brings about insanity.<br />

Use this time to unite humanity.<br />

To the Women of America<br />

I.<br />

I would love to say<br />

when the smoke has cleared<br />

and the tears have washed<br />

the ashes from my eyes<br />

that it will be okay.<br />

We can begin again<br />

and the reward is worth<br />

the commitment to the long game.<br />


But I have to look at the corpse<br />

of my ego, dashed upon the rocks<br />

of what is now life as we know it.<br />

I have to ask, “Where the fuck was I<br />

and why didn't I listen<br />

to the voice in the silence<br />

that whispered the warning,<br />

‘Change is the landlord<br />

of this corner you occupy<br />

in the universe.<br />

Payment is due -<br />

and you’re arrears’.”<br />

Where do I go<br />

when I have nothing left<br />

when my hopes and dreams<br />

were undercut by my hubris?<br />

And who the fuck<br />

am I now?<br />

!!.<br />

This morning, I spoke to a young woman<br />

who’s first words were. “I feel sad…”<br />

And with a response caught<br />

in my throat, and with management<br />

listening in for quality assurance<br />

I laughed and said<br />

“I put on my big girl pants,<br />

so I know how you feel, “<br />

and turned the conversation<br />

to other matters, knowing now,<br />

for the first time ever<br />

I have an inkling of how she feels;<br />

a muslim woman,<br />

and<br />

a gnostic woman,<br />


two second class citizens<br />

not part of the inner circle.<br />

But I can’t let her know that<br />

as I’m on the clock<br />

and I’ve got to keep going.<br />

III<br />

Every woman I talk to<br />

has the same tense tone<br />

engendered by vocal cords<br />

paralysed by that atavistic fear<br />

of knowing that something<br />

or someone is after you,<br />

that someone might grab you<br />

and give you a beatdown<br />

like a cow getting poleaxed<br />

before the slaughter.<br />

And none of us will commit;<br />

to congregate is unseemly,<br />

to mention empowerment<br />

a crime. My despair grows<br />

by the hour, as words I used<br />

to take pride in are now<br />

crushed in the silence.<br />

By 3 pm I wish - O..<br />

I wish, for a brief second,<br />

I’d been born a man.<br />

IV<br />

What does it mean<br />

to be a woman in America?<br />

What has it ever meant<br />

to try to be equal<br />

In the land of opportunity<br />

and greed, oppression<br />


and pain, distraction<br />

and commerce?<br />

What does it mean<br />

to be a young girl<br />

watching a sea of red hats<br />

on television, while her<br />

mother cries for her future?<br />

What does it mean<br />

to be a woman<br />

who knows nothing<br />

except to be defined<br />

by her ties to a man,<br />

and who is afraid of women<br />

who don’t willingly wear<br />

the shackles she’s embraced?<br />

What does it mean<br />

for the helpers, and the doers,<br />

the CEOS and CNAs?<br />

What will we do<br />

now that a long shadow<br />

has been cast over our light?<br />

V.<br />

I wish I could say<br />

everything will be okay,<br />

but I don’t have a line<br />

on the future.<br />

I no longer believe<br />

in tomorrow…<br />

at least,<br />

not yet.<br />


King of Batons<br />

By Adam Scharf<br />

Fireworks are office buildings exploding before male clerk gets to first desk.<br />

Burning alive, save the Picasso over the child.<br />

You are an animal playing a role.<br />

You don’t know when the ending is, or how cold you are,<br />

who gave the first horse to man.<br />

They have removed seats from airplanes, replaced them with department stores.<br />

We shop while complaining about children who cry,<br />

relieved because it's easier having sex in fitting rooms.<br />

Who tamed the first horse?<br />

Sold the first ticket.<br />

Piled everyone into theme parks convincing us we prefer to be entertained by mice.<br />

Pilgrims arrived from foreign countries, even from Greece where there have always been<br />

ugly gods.<br />

Towers crashed by planes, tragedy on commemorative plates, we know how to make a<br />

fortune.<br />

Before she opened the box Pandora was created to punish man, men were happy before<br />

women.<br />

America was happy before Bikini Atoll, before Eve ate a fucking apple.<br />

The ending is when she no longer needs to be kissed on the cheek,<br />

when the doctor steals your organs out right, when you aren't given a receipt.<br />

Women end up being what saves us.<br />

Eve is a hero who justified America for you to sleep at night.<br />

I can hardly wait to watch children grow up and get divorced and watch game shows,<br />

to delegate killing so they can eat a hamburger, to wear clothes made by poor people.<br />

Being sick is profitable because someone needs a yacht from Grandpa’s disease, this rain.<br />

All this rain.<br />

The flood that is happening we only buy bigger boats.<br />

No one swimming downward searching for a drain.<br />

Most drown, float on debris, the lifeboats are taken. Hard to build in all this water.<br />

We hear you from the crow's nest yelling, “Drowning people are lazy!”<br />

Aren’t they? Swimming to your boat as we speak, calling for shipwreck.<br />

You are expecting us to tear holes at the bottom, only we’ve set fire at the top. Trickles<br />

down.<br />

This flood is what saves you from burning, makes you a swimmer, come up for air.<br />

You save the Picasso as a flotation device, I call you lazy.<br />

You yell for drain to be pulled, an orchestra playing in rain. We’d rather drown.<br />

Author bio: Adam Scharf was born and raised in utica NY. He now lives in orlando<br />

Florida as a writer and professional improviser. He's at work on his first novel.<br />



Tripsis By Timothy Adams<br />

Fire lame like tirerubber that yearns for the moon to fall and the darkness of the night to<br />

cover with cotton warmth the empty street patterns – pristine diodes that breath are<br />

behind the bricks, and sculptures turn on circles beside them as he appeared<br />

-<br />

i collect wicks,<br />

moments of wicking my hair<br />

with sticky lemon balms,<br />

‘mildew’ and ‘Methuselah’,<br />

confused ancient writings,<br />

like Cicero ingesting magic mushrooms and watching the surf off of Thessaloniki,<br />

or early recorded masonic rites, these thousand-year ceremonies on a fuzzy metal plate,<br />

spinning and spinning in my closet –<br />

like the old tire marks on my walls,<br />

and beer cans stuck to the ceilings,<br />

every year of u.s. army playing cards in crooked stacks,<br />

existential philosophy books partially burned in a haphazard lawn fire<br />

–<br />

crazed madcap, a diamond in the rough rust ring ringing, wrung and scraped tongue<br />

rashly raw against muscly asphalt, the sanguine carpet of flesh looked a ghostly shell of<br />

itself, so rouge and pastel-vibrant but no whole<br />

with simultaneous scripts reading out themselves, out the scenes beams ballet-dance,<br />

conquerer of limb, he ballet-flexes his way through the structures, until the wind soaks<br />

his hair, and the waves go to cloud-dust<br />

Author bio: Timothy is a playwright, poet & performer living and working in New<br />

Orleans. He is interested in what can be gleamed from many different objects their<br />

patterns - patterns but also discord and chaos and how all those concepts intersect. He<br />

wonders sometimes if flying is pleasant birds and other winged creatures or is it<br />

considered a chore? Investigations of this and other varieties can be found on<br />

Nationtimesyndrome.com.<br />


Heart Architecture<br />

By Jordan A. Y. Smith<br />

this is heart architecture<br />

lines suggesting gestures<br />

of dyspeptic jesters<br />

[Chorus of heartitects]<br />

this is heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

defective perfection<br />

<br />

[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]<br />

[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]<br />

[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]<br />

[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]<br />

[verse of conception through dance commands]<br />

since the moment conceived<br />

I was raised to believe<br />

that peace meant keeping nothing<br />

up your sleeve but the breeze<br />

indebted to the ease with which<br />

I waltz through the world<br />

pausing between dips<br />

and serendipitous twirls<br />

Entered the world Eurocentric<br />

cause what else could I be?<br />

blind to some destiny<br />

of ph.d. degree<br />

but by the Mirror Stage<br />

a new me had spawned<br />

without me cracking any covers<br />

of Ponty or Lacan<br />

like a bomb, I rocked on<br />

just as calm as the king<br />

don’t give a damn if Fanon<br />

bangs Manon of the Spring<br />

so I’m not going to walk<br />


down the streets and preach<br />

about migrants like a<br />

national security breach<br />

about priests or police<br />

as the scapegoat sorority<br />

about the ceding of hegemony<br />

to citizen minorities<br />

more to me than meets the eye<br />

I’m robots in the sky<br />

and when Run says “dance”<br />

I. do. not. die.<br />

[Chorus of heartitects]<br />

this is heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

defective perfection<br />

<br />

[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]<br />

[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]<br />

[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]<br />

[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]<br />

[verse of ignorance through hellfire]<br />

with astounding powers of ignorance<br />

stay blind to the metaphysics<br />

exquisite exchanges<br />

amorous little visits<br />

is it a need for apology<br />

that keeps me in line at this clinic?<br />

or craftsman finish in the<br />

Foucauldian molding of limits?<br />

(anyway) I crave these little runarounds,<br />

keep a notebook on hand<br />

so while you’re wasting my life<br />

I stay in tune with the plan<br />

What plan??<br />

the plan man follows best in the sun<br />

to divest us of the impetus<br />

for the vest and the gun<br />

soon as vespers is done<br />

then the matins begins with<br />

that fat I spat in Latin<br />


lapsed back into English<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

but I mean that’s just my opinion<br />

a handful of dust<br />

with fairy godfather blessings<br />

shavings of rust<br />

been saving this crush<br />

for just such a flood<br />

gate eruption gush suction<br />

out corruption via the bucking<br />

buckaroo booyeah<br />

kama sutra hoopla<br />

holy trinity whistling<br />

some trippy zippity doodah<br />

alluded to caskets<br />

baskets full of fire<br />

and pitchforks<br />

for my cherubic little choir<br />

[Chorus of heartitects]<br />

this is heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

defective perfection<br />

<br />

[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]<br />

[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]<br />

[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]<br />

[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]<br />

[verse of corpus through cosmos]<br />

body hermeneutics:<br />

verbs curve, eyes fail<br />

but fingers trace trails<br />

across corporeal braille<br />

not sorry, your grail<br />

so holy I’m guacamole<br />

your hips can play ships<br />

I’m a boy with toys only<br />

no land lubbers, rubbers<br />


of the rabbit foot charms<br />

a feminine so enveloping<br />

I have to put arms<br />

round your skeleton dressing<br />

it’s a labor of love<br />

for the Gods up above<br />

when the push is for shove<br />

governor, ditchdigger,<br />

thinker, teacher between<br />

lady earth spinning and<br />

we’re keeping her green<br />

with an octave coupler<br />

favelas on Babylon<br />

beach blanket bingo<br />

a la Funicello and Avalon<br />

Gravitron, smashed<br />

great excuse to get close<br />

On a subatomic comet<br />

overdosing with hope<br />

[Chorus of Heartitects]<br />

this is heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

heart architecture<br />

<br />

defective perfection<br />

<br />

[shinz" no k"ji = heart construction]<br />

[bimb" no M"shi = impov’rished Mencius]<br />

[jink" no r"shi = artificial old priest]<br />

[minp" no d"ki = civil code palpitation]<br />

With the Credits:<br />

Why should I let these people into my heart,<br />

And take ‘em around for a tour?<br />

So they can sit around sipping their syrupy gossip<br />

And bitch about the décor?<br />

Sure!<br />

Author bio: Jordan A. Y. Smith is a poet/translator/professor resident in Tokyo. His<br />

poetic works have been published in Tokyo Poetry Journal, Genre, Random Agenda, and<br />

elsewhere, and his translations of Japanese poetry have appeared in Poetry Review,<br />

Connotations Press, Poetry Kanto, Tokyo Poetry Journal, etc., and in anthologies<br />

published by New Directions and Josai University Press.<br />


A Prayer in Jocularities<br />

by A.S. Coomer<br />

Hiccup, tick tock, lip locked, zipper’s stuck.<br />

Best get the matches, the fuse’s busted.<br />

Quick fix, get blitzed, common sense.<br />

Ain’t a candle left in this rattrap sloth track.<br />

Turned milk, guilt trip, auto-drip, medicinal spit cherry pits.<br />

Flashlight’s cracked, batteries corroded decades ago.<br />

Dust mounds, loud mouths, storm clouds.<br />

It ain’t been this dark in years.<br />

Foregone, bygone, rust-dusted, trash-crusted forgotten lawn,<br />

without the slightest sight of an end to the goddamn dawn.<br />

Fuck it, kick the bucket, lose the locket, quit the sprocket,<br />

let’s go on to bed.<br />

Author bio: A.S. Coomer is a native Kentuckian serving out a<br />

purgatorial existence somewhere in the Midwest. His work has<br />

appeared in over thirty publications. He’s got a handful of novels<br />

that need good homes. You can find him at<br />

www.ascoomer.wordpress.com. He also runs a “record label” for<br />

poetry: www.lostlonggoneforgottenrecords.wordpress.com.<br />


Cheshire<br />

By Zara Hanif<br />

I would like a boyfriend<br />

I’m not sure where you find one<br />

Can I go to a superstore? You know, the ones<br />

Where you can get cheap clothes and everyday groceries<br />

I’ll go up to the customer service clerk and ask<br />

“I’d like a boyfriend please; can you tell me which aisle?”<br />

The clerk will wrinkle her tiny nose and say<br />

“You need to be more specific.”<br />

I will purse my lips and tap my cheek<br />

Let me think, what kind, it’s so hard<br />

Like picking the right ice cream<br />

Too many good flavors<br />

I’ll say, “Well,<br />

I’d like someone who is proficiently sane,<br />

You see, I found most of my marbles, I swear, I’m just<br />

Missing maybe three, four, sixteen,” I’ll smile at my joke, and<br />

Her eyes will narrow with impatience, while she gestures for me to hurry.<br />

“Basically, he needs to carry the sanity of our relationship.”<br />

She’ll stare at me for a bit, then say<br />

“You need to be specific, like what will he look like?”<br />

Looks, ah yes, society sanctioned, superficial judging and degradation<br />

I’d like Jeff Goldblum, Daniel Radcliff, and Alan Rickman all chopped up,<br />

And served to me in a frappe with a cherry on top, but I can’t say that ‘cause<br />

I have no idea what that would look like, and I don’t want my decision based on<br />

looks<br />

So I say<br />

“A tall/short, thin/fat, male, oh but if it turns out to be a girl,<br />

And if I’ve already fallen in love, I’ll probably keep her. Oh and fill-<br />

-In-the-blank race, and bright/dark eyes, oh he must, has got to be,<br />

Semi attractive.”<br />

She’ll stare again, and frown,<br />

“I need something to go on here.”<br />

I’ll smile wide, my best Cheshire cat imitation (my stripes are on the inside),<br />

“The thing that is of the upmost importance is most certainly,<br />

His personality.”<br />


“Which is?” She’ll sound impatient, but I’ll<br />

Know that she is really enjoying my eccentricity<br />

“He needs half of my mine, you see, he cannot be<br />

Too much like me, if I had too much of me I’d kill myself<br />

But he can’t be too different, I’d lose interest immediately.<br />

He needs the good half, the part of me I love, and I will<br />

Have the parts of him he loves, so that together we are,<br />

Something never lonely, but instead content.”<br />

For the first the time in our conversation<br />

The clerk has warm, Mediterranean blue eyes<br />

She begins pressing buttons, and the register gets<br />

Smokey, I hear static, and see electrical sparks flash and surge<br />

Finally, though, the receipt shoots high into the air, and flutters<br />

Into my hands, and the magical wisdom of the universe reads<br />

“There’s an animal shelter down the road, so go get a cat. Get two.”<br />

I tip my imaginary hat<br />

To the shocked clerk trying to fix<br />

The unraveling machine, as I stroll out<br />

Deciding to name them ‘Cheshire’ and ‘Jeff Goldblum.’<br />

Author bio: Zara Hanif is an Engish/Creative Writing major at Rhode Island College.<br />

She has been published in her College's lit mag Shoreline this year as well. She is<br />

currently dating a short/tall, thin/fat male, with dark/light skin, and is very content.<br />


The Ghost of Plato By Greg Wallace<br />

Artist bio: Gregory Autry Wallace is a poet, painter and collagist living in San Francisco. He<br />

studied English, World and Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at San Francisco State<br />

University. His poetry and collages have appeared in Athena Incognito, Black Scat Review,<br />

BlazeVox, Danse Macabre,Clockwise Cat and Five 2 One. His paintings, collages and<br />

assemblages have appeared in juried art shows.<br />


The Party<br />

By Thom Young<br />

the party<br />

started with guns in their<br />

mouths<br />

and a nice baby's breath<br />

arrangement<br />

that seemed to play off her<br />

dress<br />

the vows said<br />

heard by those with knives<br />

in their eyes and a one way<br />

ticket<br />

when the part came to kiss<br />

the bride<br />

the Mothership<br />

arrived with a light<br />

they'd never known or seen<br />

there's no love in Roswell<br />

there's no love<br />

in her eyes anymore.<br />

Author bio: Thom Young is a writer from Texas. His last poetry<br />

collection A Little Black Dress Called Madness hit #1 Poetry in<br />

Germany. He is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and his work<br />

appears in over a hundred literary journals.<br />


Two POEMS<br />

By Marcia Arrieta<br />

hardly<br />

it was the day she decided to sleep in (9 am ) & crashed into the dictionary<br />

instead<br />

where other people’s lives became fractions she needed to assemble into a<br />

whole<br />

but the rain came & the boxes almost emptied needed to be broken down<br />

while others still needed to be filled<br />

arc light synchronicity<br />

hat pins & fishing poles a pink star insulate isolate the book has gotten lost<br />

dreams<br />

of houses with many rooms shape shift eagles bears we board the train outer<br />

hebrides inner stoic salvage renovation revelation the angel’s wings the<br />

bullet holes on main street we seek shelter<br />

Author bio: Marcia Arrieta work appears in Fourteen<br />

Hills, Of/with, Wicked Alice, Moss Trill, Eratio, Posit, Catch & Release,<br />

Melusine, Web Conjunctions, and Great Weather for Media, among<br />

others. The author of two poetry books: archipelago<br />

counterpoint (BlazeVOX 2015) and triskelion, tiger moth, tangram,<br />

thyme (Otoliths 2011), she edits and publishes Indefinite Space, a poetry/art<br />

journal.<br />


jesus love me<br />

by Jenean Gilstrap<br />

wednesday’s child<br />

is full of woe<br />

or so it’s said<br />

‘n that’s been<br />

my cross to bear<br />

but sometimes it seem<br />

like i got me a twin<br />

jesus loves me<br />

you know them twins<br />

the ones what live inside<br />

the you of you<br />

‘n this’un live<br />

deep down inside<br />

the me of me<br />

like she even wear my own skin<br />

this i know<br />

‘n she do all them<br />

terrible thangs<br />

goin’ to them bars<br />

for a dance ‘n a drink<br />

then i git the blame<br />

‘n that’s a downright dirty shame<br />

cause i ain’t neva’ even had no sloe gin<br />

for the bible<br />

‘n she go outside ‘n play<br />

in the back seat’a them cadillacs<br />

but she ain’t doin’ nothin’<br />

them men ain’t doin’<br />

havin’ a little fun<br />

lookin’ for love<br />

in all them wrong places<br />

tells me so<br />

sometime i can’t even tell<br />

where she begin ‘n i end<br />


or i end ‘n she begin<br />

this twin’a mine<br />

but come daylight<br />

it come to be crystal clear<br />

i be her and she be me<br />

little ones to him belong<br />

now i’ll tell you ‘bout me<br />

i been scooped up<br />

throwed down<br />

rolled over<br />

‘n started all over agin<br />

can’t keep up for keepin’ down<br />

in the devil’s den<br />

they are weak<br />

so i’m tryin’ to rid myself<br />

of all them sins ‘n my evil twin<br />

‘n i went on down<br />

to the first baptist church<br />

holy bible in my hand<br />

but they told me go<br />

‘n be born agin<br />

but he is strong<br />

now i didn’t wanna be borned<br />

another single time<br />

cause they ain’t no tellin’<br />

what i might find<br />

deep down inside<br />

the me of me this time<br />

why they might be two more twins<br />

yes jesus loves me<br />

so i set myself down<br />

‘n had a little talk<br />

just me ‘n my evil twin<br />

‘n it seem that ole<br />

path of the straight ‘n narrow<br />

just ain’t our cuppa tea<br />

so we gonna’ party till i don’t know when<br />


yes jesus loves me<br />

gonna go on down to the corner bar<br />

have a little drink ‘n a dance or two<br />

then a little backseat romance<br />

‘n when i git done<br />

jest like always<br />

jesus’ll be right there<br />

cause he love us<br />

no matter what we done<br />

or where we done been<br />

the bible tells me so<br />

jesus?<br />

jesus?<br />

jesus! jesus!<br />

where you at?<br />

just come on back<br />

‘n i’ll be born agin<br />

jesus jesus<br />

you know what i done<br />

‘n you know where i done been<br />

don’t leave me now<br />

in this devil’s den<br />

jesus?<br />

jesus!<br />

where you at?<br />

Author bio: Jenean Gilstrap is the author of two books of poetry, Gypsy Woman Words<br />

[2014] and Words Unspoken [2013], and is a featured poet/artist at Yareah Magazine and<br />

at Plum Tree Books. Her poetry has been widely published in numerous literary journals<br />

and she has been invited to read her work at several international poetry festivals. A<br />

number of her poems have been narrated, as well as lyrically arranged and recorded by<br />

the accomplished Aindre’ Reece-Sheerin, vocalist/musician. She resides in Shreveport,<br />

Louisiana, but divides her time between there and the East coast as she completes her<br />

third book of poetry, Willful Word She and her work may be found at:<br />

https://www.facebook.com/jenean.gilstrap, http://www.yareah.com/author/jenean-cgilstrap/,https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9WQqmfDDKNkAR5A8nt9_ZA,<br />

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=nav_responsive_sub_nav_edit_profile,<br />

http://thegypsyonwordsunspoken.blogspot.com/.<br />


Rummult Stars<br />

By Jay Jurisich<br />

typhoid anemia jaundice carpel tunnels<br />

busted vacant bronze busts rusted tunics<br />

gold endive lost greek diving box<br />

relics in satchels delivered by dogs<br />

a fresh piece of cod<br />

dragged over coals of lonely grease<br />

tansy asphodel sounds good what is it<br />

ricochet off the fortunate floor<br />

the general indigestion of harsh stoppages<br />

whistling freefaith lost times etcetera<br />

rains grace our old tunnels of grease<br />

but dont give a fig to the pineknob<br />

smallish things smelt and smited<br />

ribald color in all its raving gravity<br />

a fine local analgesic your sagebrush halls<br />

little or no chance or minimal chances of<br />

a dog or a bird or a birddog<br />

just sayin'<br />

the hostess' handyman<br />

went to town but there is no town<br />

the captain sent a belated postcard to the world<br />

humu post hamu bossd rimu poxo rummult<br />

waded in jeans and tossed to the sea<br />

she peeled her parsnip with care<br />

hot coals darkness knifeminds<br />

a bright lake of voices<br />

appropriately exhausted I dropped into floppery<br />

underjoyed nightshade mythdusted stars<br />

I thought they fought well their causes losing<br />

suburban american family room 1975<br />

all that remains of the remains<br />

up into skirts among boxes of old loneliness<br />

he denies all suspicions to the contrary<br />

sugarbelly in clown formation whispering<br />

but I can't make out the words being made<br />

Author bio: Jay Jurisich is a Berkeley, California based artist whose artwork and poetry explores<br />

the visual identity and conceptual nature of language. He is interested in whether language can be<br />

"used" in a way that is not conventionally communication, poetry, or logical, but inhabits or<br />

inspires a physical presence. W: http://www.jurisich.com/<br />


Ginsberg<br />

By Amelia Leff<br />

Ginsberg I’ve given you nothing and now I’m all.<br />

Ginsberg one thousand two hundred and fifty dollar credit line February 27, 2016.<br />

I can’t lie to my own mind.<br />

Ginsberg when will you let your hair down?<br />

Go fuck yourself with your bald spot.<br />

I do feel good though don’t worry.<br />

I’ll write this poem till I’m in my wrong mind.<br />

Ginsberg when will you be demonic?<br />

When will you put on your pilfered halo?<br />

When will you break through the cold soil?<br />

When will you be worth the price of admission?<br />

Ginsberg why is your bank empty of eggs?<br />

Ginsberg when will you send Krishna to the Bronx?<br />

I’m salved by your reasoned reassurances.<br />

When can I go into the bookstore and take what I want with my B.A.?<br />

Ginsberg it’s you and I who are filled with tectonic faults not the next guy over.<br />

Your sutras are too little for me.<br />

You made me want to be a tax attorney.<br />

There must be some audit that can settle this arbitration.<br />

Everyone’s in Bushwick I don’t think they’ll leave it’s gentrifying.<br />

Are you being funny or is this some form of serious demonstration?<br />

I’m trying to jump off the cliff.<br />

I refuse to give up flying.<br />

Ginsberg stop smoking I don’t know what I’m doing.<br />

Ginsberg the oil barrels are falling.<br />

I haven’t touched a screen for seconds, everyday somebody fails to go on trial for murder.<br />

Ginsberg my loins buzz whenever I dream about the NRA.<br />

Ginsberg I used to be a shotgun son when I was an adult and I’m sorry.<br />

I smoke Bubba Kush every chance I get.<br />

I pace in my room for evenings to no end and search for the caves of the unknown.<br />

When I go to Times Square I get picked but never get pocked.<br />

My mind is scattered there’s going to be peace.<br />

You should have seen me shooting the breeze.<br />

My cat thinks I’m on the brink of self-discovery.<br />

I won’t read the Federalist Papers.<br />

I have personal dignitaries and blasé regrets.<br />

Ginsberg I still haven’t told you what you did to Reagan after he blew up that Russian in<br />

the closet.<br />

I’m addressing your third eye.<br />

Are you going to let your sexual life be run by The New Yorker?<br />

I masturbate to The New Yorker.<br />


I do it every week.<br />

Its cover scoffs at me every time I take back my tortoise-shelled sexuality.<br />

I masturbate to it in the attic of Robert F. Wagner Middle School.<br />

It’s always telling me about Syria and 8-bit steakhouses. Politicians are jokes. Painters<br />

are jokes. Everybody’s a joke<br />

but me.<br />

It occurs to me that I am Ginsberg.<br />

I'm gazing in the mirror again.<br />

America is falling from me.<br />

I haven’t got a turban’s chance.<br />

I’d better consider my identity politics.<br />

My identity politics consist of two left feet millions of take-backs an inexhaustible<br />

social network that goes 1400<br />

miles an hour and twenty-five-thousand charitable foundations.<br />

I say everything about my neo-Fate and the trillions of iotas living in my proposed<br />

policies that stop one stamp short<br />

of the front door.<br />

I have raised the desperate institution of overpriced education, pop political collectives<br />

are next to come.<br />

My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a straight rich white male.<br />

Ginsberg how can I sow the seeds in your infertile fields?<br />

I will continue like the Clintons my pantsuits are as fitting as Hillary’s more so they’re all<br />

different colors.<br />

Ginsberg I will buy your saxophones 10 pantsuits apiece a blue dress down on your<br />

rusted instrument.<br />

Ginsberg free Marshall Applewhite.<br />

Ginsberg save The Branch Davidians.<br />

Ginsberg Simon & Garfunkel must not die.<br />

Ginsberg I am the Anita Hill girl.<br />

Ginsberg when I was seven momma dragged me to the island paradise of Key Largo they<br />

sold us parrots an<br />

armful per feather a feather costs a seashell and the red tide was free everyone was sandstrewn<br />

and Buffett-ed about the whole experience it was all so privileged you have no<br />

idea how familial the vacation was in 1999 Humphrey Bogart was a real unashamed<br />

Democrat a grand lib-hard Lauren Bacall made me hard I once saw Bertie Higgins<br />

naked.<br />

Everybody must have been a high-profile lawyer.<br />

Ginsberg you don’t really want to help out.<br />

Ginsberg it’s them bad Blacks.<br />

Them Blacks them Blacks and them Muslims. And them Blacks.<br />

The Black wants to eat us alive. The Black’s power mad. He wants to take our women<br />

from out our kitchens.<br />


His wants to grab Manhattan. His needs a White Washington Post. His wants our Apple<br />

factories in China.<br />

His grassroots movements running our conscience.<br />

That too bad. Ugh. She makes Mexicans learn speak. She need cheap work Cholos. Hah.<br />

His make us feel<br />

like second-class natives. Help.<br />

Ginsberg this is such a joke.<br />

Ginsberg this is the impression I get from looking at the internet.<br />

Ginsberg isn’t this wrong?<br />

I just want to be myself.<br />

It’s true we say they have value yet treat them like Jim Crow Negros, I’m white and<br />

dissatisfied and want to<br />

do something about it.<br />

Ginsberg I’m putting my pale pen to the court house steps.<br />

Author bio: Amelia Leff has work published in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal and The<br />

Birch Gang Review. She graduated from Ohio Northern University in 2016 with a B.A. in<br />

creative writing.<br />


Three Photomanipulations<br />

By Erica Olson<br />

Artist bio: In addition to creating photo manipulation art, Erica Olson writes poetry and<br />

prose. Her work has been featured in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu,<br />

haikuniverse, and The Voices Project (forthcoming). Erica lives in rural Montana.<br />



Ants<br />

By Judith Huang<br />

The first thing you notice about this place is the ants. Ants on the walls. Ants on the floor.<br />

Ants on the ceiling, between the crack between the lights. Ants in the kitchen, ants in the<br />

living room, ants in the bedroom. Ants on the flowers you pick. Ants on the cup you put<br />

down. Ants on the soles of your slippers. Ants, reddish brown, tiny as a fullstop with<br />

tinier feelers. Ants, in a line, bringing reinforcements. Ants. Ants. Ants. Ants. The everpresent<br />

soldiers of rot, of decay, of furor, of the ever-looming ever-present near-ubiquity<br />

of death.<br />

The death of an evening, the death of a week, the death of a year of Mondays through<br />

Sundays. The death of you, the death of me, the death of the forest, the death of the city.<br />

Ants, hailing the fact that everything’s rotting, quickly so quickly, in the fulsome decay<br />

of the tropical sun.<br />

Bury your grandma, and within a minute she’s a feast, of her eyes, her ears, her nose, her<br />

hair. Ants at her neck, ants at her throat, ants on her tongue, ants in her vagina, ants<br />

knocking at the unlockable door of her teeth.<br />

Ants move in and build a nest. They knock down and they build up. They are building<br />

museums one day, and catacombs the next. They are building MRT lines, they are<br />

building library skyscrapers, they are building roads that lead nowhere and everywhere at<br />

once. They are building shopping mall after shopping mall after shopping mall. They are<br />

building hipster coffee shops, they are building sky gardens, they are building infinity<br />

pools, they are building simulated high-tech break-neck metropolises, they are building<br />

luxury villas for the billionaires of the world to unite in the carefully constructed tax<br />

havens of the cove. Nothing stays, not the condos, not the semi-Ds, not the bungalows,<br />

not the HDBs, everything is one fecund, rotting, shifting, collapsing thing.<br />

Ants, everywhere ants, they are knocking down schools, they are tunneling through<br />

libraries, they are demolishing skyscrapers to make room for even higher towers of glass<br />

bridged by bridges of glass, they are unearthing your ancestors to build high-rises on the<br />

wounded exhumed lands of the dead. Oh restless land, heaving with the absolute biomass<br />

of ants, building your carefully commissioned babies new cribs in the sky, building a sky<br />

high fantasy eye to eye your sky wheeling by.<br />

Ants, putting together the labels on museums, the programs for concert pianists, legato in<br />

this era and staccato the next, determining which species of trees we will grow on the<br />

sides of the roads in robust and cacophonous harmony.<br />

Ants - laboring to the rhythm of the silent obese queen, issuing orders through pneumatic<br />

pipelines. Ants on my bed, feeding the gifted with royal jelly, keeping the drones in their<br />

amniotic sacs even as poets emerge in full chorus, on cue, in your third generation.<br />

Ah, ants, you have crawled over my crevices, you have exhumed my graves, you have<br />

stalked up my banana ghosts, wafting like frangipani hosts in the middle of a wet petal.<br />

Ah, ants, what have<br />


you done with my grandma, all you’ve left of her sweet old face is the brittle bone, the<br />

hole<br />

where her nose used to be, the hole where her lips used to be, the hole where the head of<br />

my father first emerged into this world, obliterating all love of and knowledge of history<br />

with the hard forgetting light of life.<br />

Ah yes, ants, tap dancing on the way to infinity on a closed loop with no possible<br />

feedback, ants, in the musical of the life of our founder, the founder of the colony, the<br />

founder of the party, the founder of every last drip and drop of our nether end, ants,<br />

saying nothing original, only a soup of letters to feed as pap to the embryos that hatch<br />

every year into batches of prepaid preconceived dots joined to dots joined to dots that are<br />

our offspring, that are our past and our present and our future, ants after ants after ants.<br />

Ah yes, we are ants, flying in pairs on the wings of love to an inevitable descent by the<br />

moon of the fluorescent light, waiting for our chance to replenish the genetic stock of the<br />

colony. We are ants, sniffing out the trail of opportunity, the chemical trail left by ants of<br />

yore. We are ants, never resting, questing continually on our equatorial island, stretching<br />

its form to the limits, building to the very edge of space. And when we have flown<br />

beyond even that, a satellite fixing its gaze upon the pinpoint of our origin, may we look<br />

back and gasp, and see on the swarming dot of our land the heaving mass of ants, ants,<br />

ants.<br />

Author bio: Judith Huang is a Singaporean writer, translator and editor currently living<br />

in China. A recipient of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year Award in 2001, 2003 and 2004,<br />

her writing has been published in journals and anthologies at home and abroad, including<br />

Prairie Schooner, Asia Literary Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Loreli<br />

China, Ceriph, LONTAR, Spittoon Magazine, Stylus and the Harvard Advocate. She<br />

graduated from Harvard University in 2010, and is a member of the Signet Society of<br />

Arts and Letters. Her online portfolio can be found at www.judithhuang.com.<br />


Two Poems<br />

By Bob Heman<br />


WHEN THE CARETAKER told them a joke they didn’t laugh. It was a<br />

side of her they had never seen before. When they first saw the serpent<br />

they thought it was just another one of her jests. They smiled when they<br />

took the fruit. It wasn’t until after a bite or two that they understood the<br />

joke was on them.<br />

IN THE GARDEN ALL THE ANIMALS wore the same face. In the<br />

garden the trees were all the same height. Each step they took left them in<br />

the same place. The word they spoke was the same word, over and over<br />

again. When the serpent arrived it had no head. Each of their heads in<br />

turn became the serpent’s head. None of them fit correctly until he wore<br />

the head of the woman. It was then she offered the other the fruit.<br />

Author bio: Bob Heman’s collages, cut-outs and drawings have been shown in a<br />

small two-man show at The Brooklyn Museum, in a one-man retrospective of his cutouts<br />

[participatory cut-out multiples on paper] at BACA’s Downtown Cultural<br />

Center, and in group shows in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. His poems and<br />

prose poems have appeared in such diverse publications as Sentence, The Prose<br />

Poem, Caliban, Otoliths, Kayak, Hanging Loose, Center, and Artful Dodge, and are<br />

upcoming in New American Writing and Reaedr.<br />


Two Poems<br />

by Susan Cossette<br />

When Men Got Their Period<br />

When the male race awoke<br />

From unsettling testosterone dreams<br />

They all were menstruating,<br />

In confused unison.<br />

An army of hulking, hairy, clueless<br />

Menstruating men,<br />

Lacking hitherto unknown feminine supplies.<br />

Suddenly, that pronoun no longer applies—<br />

Tampons and sanitary pads<br />

Became valued commodities<br />

Traded on the free market.<br />

Midol exchanges sprang up<br />

On street corners, under scarlet tents.<br />

Riots and stampedes ensued.<br />

Male bodies consumed with cramps<br />

They founded foundations—<br />

To fund the latest scientific discoveries<br />

To stop the pain, the clotting, and the bloating.<br />

There were galas and telethons.<br />

They found empathy,<br />

In the hot pains of childbirth—<br />

Large feet suspended in cold stirrups,<br />

Naked, vulnerable from the waist down—<br />

Fish on a sterile butcher blocks,<br />

No longer thinking with their cocks.<br />

A new world order of clarity emerged<br />

Uncharted and myriad—<br />

And it all began when men got their period.<br />


Postmodern Times Square<br />

Lurking behind black tempered glass<br />

And cold steel beams that force their way,<br />

To an indifferent metallic sky—<br />

The faceless plead for their humanity,<br />

Not the execution of their dreams<br />

Or the strangling of fragile individuality.<br />

Trespassing the collective bond,<br />

The circuitry and computer screens<br />

Hijack their will.<br />

Binary code is the lexicon.<br />

No language,<br />

Just a forced, lethal stream<br />

Of zeroes and ones<br />

And hollow screams.<br />

The grey robot princess<br />

Waltzes numbly<br />

On the cracked, steaming asphault—<br />

Electrodes still affixed to her temples,<br />

Gossamer gown undone.<br />

Do not judge her.<br />

She is you.<br />

She is all of us.<br />

Editor’s Note: This poem originally appeared in Peggy Sue Messed Up . . . and<br />

other poems<br />

Author bio: Susan Cossette is the author of Peggy Sue Messed Up. . . and other<br />

poems. By day, she is Communications Director for Voices of September 11 th , a<br />

nonprofit that provides social work support services and programming for those<br />

impacted by terrorism and mass violence. By night, she prowls in search of the<br />

perfect open mic and cold glass of pinot grigio while wearing a tiara. More of her<br />

work may be found on her website: musepalace.wordpress.com.<br />


omgommgg omgg love<br />

by Anna Keeler<br />

When I talk about her my psychedelic vocabulary shrinks into minimalism,<br />

and I find that my tongue forgets its want for warp. It tumbles and savors<br />

those gasps between a mis-step and free fall.<br />

I take that time to find my footing in coherence.<br />

Because she is healthy and alive but with a polychromatic mind, the home of<br />

harvest moons and a heart full as starfruit skin.<br />

I sit by as she finds the hidden lupine of a jaded rainbow quartz and she<br />

holds onto each synonym I toss her way. Threading my words onto a soft<br />

string, she turns the most gargantuan terms into the most pure, unvarnished<br />

lotus.<br />

And I see that she’s as holographic as she is lovely, fighting through my<br />

polarity to keep a smile on her face.<br />

She’s a good person. And she’s teaching me how to do that.<br />

I let her bury my thesaurus in her back pocket.<br />


Looking toward the continuation of breath:<br />

X confrontations of what prophecy<br />

comprehends<br />

By Felino A. Soriano<br />

!if I choose to align my thinking with statistical data, and even with the language of my<br />

physicians’ overwhelming prognosis, I will not be alive within five years<br />

my choice is to alter the future of what grim expectations represent!<br />

breathe is<br />

what we do<br />

as in the ambulation coming<br />

later within a life of varied<br />

shades of vernacular’s<br />

unlimited interpretations<br />

Obstacles are meant to instill fear/<br />

combinations of needing ongoing<br />

embraces from those that<br />

breathe warmth into our<br />

interaction.<br />

Numbers numb. South of<br />

devotion exists plans to<br />

persuade the mind<br />

to undergo physiological<br />

alterations.<br />

teaching isn’t necessary<br />

anxiety<br />

I’ve been here now for several days.<br />

Here<br />

as in a promise to die. Death is to Cancer’s hands as<br />

the pastel exterior to my fading home’s<br />

calefacient disposition. I breathe to survive near my<br />

daughter’s<br />

profound daddy, I want you to stay here forever. How/why, then, and thus, would<br />

I lie down<br />

near where the coldest section of my personal earth<br />

spins toward an anti-sun: unknowing what is needed to<br />

remain retain life in the language of fatherly<br />

devotion and<br />

articulation of<br />

my life’s enigmatic purpose?<br />


Purpose cannot be planned<br />

or renamed into<br />

a symptom of an event’s processed<br />

When death<br />

is a memory<br />

I now stack its syllables<br />

into<br />

a variant of totality’s<br />

configuration to predict<br />

what is already<br />

approaching.<br />

I know now what matters:<br />

seeing the age of my daughter multiply!<br />

forthcoming.<br />

approaching annual reminders of my marriage’s<br />

celebratory season!<br />

I will engage with elation<br />

whenever the body begins to continue,<br />

uninterrupted<br />

I remove myself<br />

now<br />

from a<br />

possible<br />

future. Self. Self<br />

disease meant to multiply<br />

and<br />

/or<br />

the bad<br />

into a suffocating<br />

role of making memory<br />

move toward<br />

a regretful insinuation.<br />

This is not a role I’ve<br />

fully shown my reflection!<br />

instead the rule of<br />

fractions finding<br />

peace within knowing solace<br />

in partial indication<br />


applies.<br />

To the song hearing me!<br />

thank you. For the piano that<br />

solos in the name of<br />

my own<br />

I will devote these<br />

words<br />

to parallel the spatial<br />

monologue<br />

maneuvering from the<br />

devoted and<br />

sacred identity attaching all art, and hands!<br />

all meaning of<br />

internal infatuation<br />

Hear me<br />

whomever allows<br />

language of grief<br />

to unravel into<br />

sounds of eventual<br />

healing, !I will<br />

become what my daughter<br />

needs: her accompaniment<br />

among the aisle awaiting<br />

the moment her name<br />

and attachment to my<br />

hand will change<br />

a form of a<br />

futurity self<br />

I!<br />

will not attempt to<br />

acclimate to the function my<br />

illness<br />

represents.<br />

Each clock shows their histories,<br />

their<br />

accurate<br />

futures needn’t unwind yet or<br />

in a<br />

time worth<br />

less when sleep is inattentive!<br />

In place<br />

I am the, or,<br />

I plan to listen<br />

or invent a jazz of breathing<br />


CUT-OUT<br />

By Nelly Sanchez<br />

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

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

participed in exhibitions : in 2012, at Paris -"Femmes/Hommes. Stéréotypes à l'oeuvre", galerie<br />

ABB (Belleville, Paris)-, in 2014 at Mestre (Italia) - "Quand saro più grande", La Casa della<br />

Renna- and Dieppe (Seine-Maritime, France) and in 2016 at Paris "Notre part de rêve". She<br />

also illustrated writings like La Falaise était nue (Bernard Baritaud), Venus in fur (Sader-<br />

Masoch). Her artwork: www.nellysanchez.fr/<br />



a rhythm of healing conversations<br />

Demonstrations outside<br />

with<br />

wind<br />

waiting<br />

within cracks of sound<br />

and any surface needing to<br />

release what the eye<br />

cannot notice until a phase<br />

or object identifies its<br />

particular presence.<br />

Here, I am healing.<br />

Here is what<br />

breathing is and<br />

what it<br />

does is<br />

more so a reflection<br />

of my hand’s<br />

moving forward<br />

Crows, I<br />

cry their<br />

songs,<br />

songs ignite purpose within what my body<br />

is no longer steering toward<br />

the way each<br />

trumpet is a soul<br />

working within contextual affirmation<br />

each breath from which direction takes conception,<br />

my motive is to engulf each moment with<br />

a dialogical performance to intrigue each<br />

shadow or smile awaiting the presence<br />

of how beginning will never cease to discover<br />

I wander<br />

back<br />

from what has occurred,<br />

back<br />

beyond youth and the expatriation toward my current motivation.<br />

What’s<br />

noticed amid these daily fears I’ve<br />


grown from hand and cellular expansion<br />

!movement from what is weak<br />

loses its focus now<br />

as I attempt to dislocate the present from what tomorrow is supposed to portend<br />

Movement misleads me<br />

or<br />

within a certain light its<br />

angular<br />

language mirrors<br />

each of my tongues’ versions of speaking into an open mouth of screaming<br />

disillusion<br />

Sedentary Fathoms<br />

|section forty-five|<br />

Eyes of my child#<br />

their<br />

softened<br />

shapes<br />

shape what shares my<br />

devotion to her building language<br />

into<br />

each symmetry of<br />

onward living.<br />

When meeting (formal, familial introduction)<br />

my eyes<br />

dove toward a meaning<br />

I did<br />

not<br />

know or interpret<br />

with breathing#<br />

each subsequent meander of<br />

hold speak understand<br />

always leads to<br />

the connection of father/daughter<br />

devotion and<br />

reflexive<br />

protection#<br />

Sedentary Fathoms<br />

|section forty-six|<br />


My mood is<br />

more of itself each<br />

morning<br />

when<br />

a<br />

conference of crows<br />

collaborate on<br />

awakening<br />

in the flesh<br />

tone<br />

of each<br />

moment’s<br />

allegorical becoming#<br />

music I silence<br />

when the piano solos without intent<br />

as with an<br />

indecisive<br />

not<br />

contour of<br />

stone<br />

ending whole<br />

in the shallow portion<br />

of Monday’s early<br />

morning<br />

Sedentary Fathoms<br />

|section forty-seven|<br />

Violin me.<br />

Eviscerate the nausea<br />

water<br />


from each vein#<br />

proclaim dissipation in reverberating praise.<br />

Hiding<br />

isn’t the<br />

option<br />

I can hold within my<br />

colder hands.<br />

Night is chills<br />

is vomiting<br />

the airway is too stubborn and<br />

breath<br />

broken<br />

comprehend. My pulse<br />

to<br />

taps tabletops<br />

in rhythm-breaths mirroring<br />

light speaking<br />

of dialogical broken<br />

onto layers<br />

glass<br />

Sedentary Fathoms<br />

|section forty-eight|<br />

This daytime light<br />

is more so a focus<br />

on finding dead<br />

voices than hearing<br />

the dragonfly draw<br />

its alphabet of<br />

escape underneath<br />

the virtue of<br />

combined silence<br />

and introspective<br />

miracles<br />

Sedentary Fathoms<br />

|section forty-nine|<br />

Elongate in the<br />

name of<br />


paradigm<br />

elation.<br />

Music is a<br />

now<br />

one of<br />

momentary<br />

proof<br />

prose<br />

when the tongue is of<br />

works<br />

pure<br />

confession<br />

momentum of<br />

toward<br />

the sacred<br />

architectural<br />

communication#<br />

Author bio: Felino A. Soriano’s poetry appears in CHURN, BlazeVOX, 3:AM Magazine,<br />

The National Poetry Review, Small Po[r]tions, and elsewhere. His books of poetry<br />

include Between these Rhythms: Bone & Ash (2016), Vocal Apparitions: New & Selected<br />

Poems: 2012 – 2016 (2016), sparse anatomies of single antecedents (2015), Of isolated<br />

limning (2014), Pathos|particular invocation (2013), Of language|s| the rain<br />

speaks (2012), Intentions of Aligned Demarcations (2011), In Praise of Absolute<br />

Interpretation (2010), Construed Implications (2009), and Among the<br />

Interrogated (2008). His collaborative collection Quintet Dialogues: translating<br />

introspection, which features visual art from David Allen Reed is forthcoming from<br />

Howling Dog Press. Visit Of the poetry this jazz portends for more information.<br />


Two Poems<br />

By Sheila Murphy<br />

Country Western Fest<br />

Gravity was shatterproof<br />

until I memorized my fate,<br />

a mirror image of your roan,<br />

rumored to comprise the perfect ride.<br />

Someone was giving out passes<br />

for hydration at seventy a pop,<br />

to ready for continuance<br />

the morning after.<br />

I pocketed the viola clef<br />

then joined the middle tier<br />

here in the outdoor butterscotch<br />

of caucuses where recitation vetoes<br />

handbills, handouts, hand cut handsome<br />

in favor of a finishing school<br />

of nimbledons that just swam past<br />

like rough riders for keeps.<br />


Pixels are my lean-to in the feather morning<br />

Commas outlast sleep<br />

Our weather simplifies anticipated steps to tea<br />

Olfactory cues revive the sage perimeter of earth<br />

Author bio: Sheila E. Murphy composes poetry both in tranquility and fever with equal<br />

fervor. She resides in the desert Southwest, where she writes, draws, crafts keynote<br />

addresses about doing business with power and grace for conferences and conventions.<br />

She is a business author and teacher, as well. She blogs at blog.worktransformed.com<br />

Her literary and artistic information can be found at<br />

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Murphy<br />


Photos by David J. Thompson<br />


<strong>THUGWISE</strong><br />



The Zombies of Bigotry: "Get Out" Slashes<br />

Through White Supremacy (Film Review)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

There are no good white people in director Jordan Peele's social thriller "Get Out."<br />

And that's just the way it should be.<br />

Of course, there will be the legions of deep-in-denial detractors, those who brand the movie as<br />

benightedly bigoted against Caucasian culture. But I ask: Is it bigoted to portray reality? I think<br />

not.<br />

Sure, the white people in the movie are sinister. Does this mean that the aim of the movie is to<br />

suggest that all white people are sinister?<br />

Or could it be that the movie is a take-down of white supremacist culture?<br />

That, I believe, is a distinction that should be heavily mused upon. After all, white supremacy can<br />

be reinforced by anyone of any racial or ethnic group (Ben Carson, anyone?). Not all white<br />

people are evil, to be sure, but the white supremacist ethos that guides political policy and societal<br />

behavior is malevolent to the core.<br />

"Get Out" is a devastating and savvy satirical indictment of the prevailing pathological white<br />

supremacy that pervades all corners of society. The movie's bold metaphorical mockery of white<br />

appropriation of black culture is so painfully pointed as to be brutally depressing. I barely found<br />

any entertainment value in the movie, even as I could recognize objectively that it has<br />

entertaining elements. What the movie did exceptionally well is dredge up my not-so-latent white<br />

guilt complex and bring it to the forefront. I suspect it did this with many conscientious<br />

Caucasians.<br />

I suppose it's redundant to reiterate how ingenious it was for director Peele to select the vehicle of<br />

a horror/thriller to transport racially existential themes. In hindsight, it's an obvious, intuitive<br />


genre to use. But it turns out that Peele had the foresight to pinpoint the horrors of white<br />

supremacy and elaborate on them in a stylized cinematic way.<br />

Genre gimmicks abound in “Get Out” - zombified characters, caricatured archetypes, suspenseful<br />

plot points, carefully calculated missteps, violent crescendo, trick ending. There is a Hitchcockian<br />

sense of suspense and tension throughout the movie, but also nods and allusions to B movies,<br />

slasher films, 80s teen horror flicks – and yet the movie never seems cheap or derivative. Rather,<br />

it’s an elevated and cerebral psychological horror on par with Poe. It takes the thriller genre to a<br />

new zenith by infusing a plausible plot and refusing to showcase gratuitous gore. Rather,<br />

aggressive actions arise organically and are legitimized by context.<br />

All elements germane to the genre work in service to propel the plot of “Get Out” in an<br />

imaginative, if terrifying way.<br />

For what we are dealing with in "Get Out" is an evocation of modern-day slavery via hypnosis<br />

and a vicious eugenics. Peele is urging us to see how all we are all subtly but forcefully<br />

mesmerized by white supremacy and its myriad connotations and reverberations. He is laying<br />

bare all of our preposterous "post-racial" claims and turning them inside out to reveal a seedy,<br />

sleazy underside.<br />

I have long wrangled with the dilemma of how American society can disentangle itself from the<br />

dastardly web it's spun itself into regarding racial relations. And Jordan Peele's movie seems to<br />

reinforce my fears - that we are so deeply enmeshed in the maze of racial dysfunctions that we're<br />

better off just cutting loose from the labyrinth and starting over completely.<br />

But how do we dismantle white supremacy? By eradicating Caucasians? Obviously that's not<br />

possible or desirable. By further segregating the races? That’s already happening. We’ve been<br />

regressing for quite some time, as neighborhoods and schools self-segregate along racial lines. It<br />

would almost be justifiable if the situation did not always result in further suffering by people of<br />

color.<br />

The situation is urgent. Jordan Peele's movie is a clarion call (a cacophonous clarion call, at that)<br />

to action. His movie suggests that we should be more aware of our own deep-seeded prejudices<br />

and the actions we and others take that might be loaded with sinister intention, even if<br />

superficially we think we are acting from an impetus of self-awareness and benevolence.<br />

For example, we might think that the justice system will ultimately "rehabilitate" the staggering<br />

number of black men caught up in it, without realizing that it's the system itself that caters to a<br />

white supremacist philosophy that deliberately thwarts black ascendancy.<br />

Lynching is no longer necessary when you have prison cages that will stifle the soul. The KKK’s<br />

fashion apparel is rendered anachronistic because the enforcers of Anglo authoritarianism now<br />

wear plain clothes and operate in the light of day. Burning crosses in lawns, setting fire to<br />

churches, devising nooses, using whips and chains– these tools of repression have been replaced<br />

by laws that perpetuate poverty and injustice. And a society hypnotized by the system that<br />

stymies are the unwitting servants of such putrid policies.<br />

American society needs to "get out" of its lethal Euro-centric ideology and fight the zombies of<br />

hateful hegemony.<br />




THEORY<br />


Book Review By Alison Ross<br />

Heller Levinson's philosophy of poetics is something that can only be described as<br />

"accessibly elusive." Or is that "elusively accessible"? Either way, this paradox<br />

encapsulates Heller's approach, which on the surface seems overly cerebral but in<br />

actuality is intuitively ascertainable. His is a paragon of experimental verse, aloof and<br />

excessively premised on the tenets of logos ... and yet, at its core, his Hinge Theory and<br />

the execution thereof (via his verse) have a playful pathos. Heller may or may not agree<br />

with this interpretation, but the way I read his poetry, there is a palpable sense of fierce<br />

ebullience, of good old fashioned frenzied FUN.<br />

Heller's Hinge Theory is both rigid and unhinged. Words "hinge" on other words, but<br />

then the associations they spawn lead to an unhinged spewing of ideas, that nonetheless<br />

circle back to the original idea. Sometimes the associations are overtly obvious ("bellyfull.<br />

belly-ache") and sometimes they are much less explicit. As I said, you can intuitively<br />

grasp his process, but try to lucidly explicate it - good luck.<br />

In his latest collection, Tenebraed, Heller takes the Latin word, "tenebrae," signifying<br />

darkness, and mutates it into a verb, then welds it to a noun or concept in order to invert<br />

that idea's connotations and turn the entire enterprise inside out. Or something like that.<br />

(As I said, his poetry and philosophy are accessible yet elusive, meaning that I get it, but<br />

then I don't. As soon as I think I have it, I have to backtrack. For in order to truly know<br />

something, you have to be able to capably explain it. In this case, it remains to be seen<br />

whether I have done so.)<br />


Tenebrae, in Heller's poetic universe, is the opposite of darkness, despite its original<br />

meaning. Or, rather, it is a probing of the facets of darkness in order to irradiate:<br />

"...exploring underbellies, hidden contours, liberating the undisclosed..." (page 13).<br />

In Heller's conception of the world, what merits illumination most are the obscure, the<br />

arcane, the veiled, the shadow-dwelling...<br />

How this latest articulation of Hinge Theory works goes something like this: Words are<br />

"imported" from other contexts, where they have already established their own legitimacy,<br />

and they serve to embellish their new contexts. The words themselves are infused with<br />

novel dimensions (they "Bloom from their Immersions in Additional Communities"<br />

(page 15) ), and the new context benefits and thrives, as well. Exports, too, exist - those<br />

are the words that "vault" from one territory to another, and become the "Subject<br />

Scrutinized" (page 16). Mining is the final component of this multi-tiered theory, and<br />

yet...shouldn't it be the first? Mining is what occurs when one context/application is<br />

"consulted to enrich" the context "currently being investigated." (page 16).<br />

This whole theory is an exercise in slyly subverting linguistic stagnation: "The<br />

lexiconically Static is a Logos Abuser," Heller proclaims. Lexicons are intrinsically<br />

dynamic, and lexiconic vigor relies on savvy manipulation of diction and syntax, which<br />

in turn affects semantics. Hence, Hinge Theory.<br />

(Honestly, I find the whole theory adorably brilliant - somewhat Dickinsonian in its<br />

quaint but stern intellectuality, and somewhat Seussian in its whimsical erudition. It may<br />

be a reflection of my own poetic ethos that I locate a tenor of humor in it, but I do think<br />

deep down, Heller is also an astute scholar of the absurd.)<br />

The poems themselves can be overwhelming for a first-time reader, situated as they are at<br />

the far end of the experimental spectrum, with all the implications thereof of coldly cubist,<br />

robustly rational but soullessly mechanical. But, as I have already made clear, a patient<br />

reader will see beyond that deceptive surface, and come to bask in the wonderful<br />

wilderness of the Levinson Vernacular. These are not mere modern hieroglyphics. This is<br />

language re-imagined - deconstructed, re-constructed, re-deconstructed, and so forth.<br />

But now, alas, the poems. How does one even choose which poems to zoom in on? From<br />

one perspective, they are a big beautiful tangled mass, in need of careful unraveling. But<br />

that's for mathematical minds. My mind is fueled more by intuition and instinct, so I will<br />

focus on five poems that I believe are emblematic of my own (dubious?) discernment of<br />

Hinge Theory's logos-pathos dichotomy. I won't exactly explicate them, because that's a<br />

daunting exercise if there ever was one - and finally, an unnecessary one, a violation of<br />

their integrity.<br />

We start on page 20: "tenebraed to a Faded Aristocracy." The first part of the poem is a<br />

paragraph that stutters in succinct spurts : "louche carom. souse soliloquy. gongs. curtains.<br />


unravel ... blanche. bastion. bulldog." The second part of the poem, however, begins to<br />

flow down the page, though it keeps true to its laconic core:<br />

"fraught<br />

fought<br />

smatter<br />

the finger<br />

smithereens"<br />

The humor harbored within this poem occurs in the way the lines in the first part are<br />

minimalistic and sharply punctuated, and how they contrast on the page with the free<br />

falling words that are also jolting for their terseness. The vacillation between abstract<br />

language and more concrete imagery, too, creates a tense tango between the<br />

reason/emotion polarities.<br />

Moving right along to page 27, we encounter "tenebraed to an Enameled Latency," in<br />

which we have a compact capture of Hinge Theory in action. Here, "collapsed<br />

vernaculars" exist in hives, and are recklessly "wracked." Indeed, one could say that this<br />

piece of verse is Hinge Theory in poetic code. The "mantis of jeopardy," upon kissing an<br />

oblong (of course), "trawls pearls of<br />

dismissal across confiscated skies." Perhaps these pearls are the fruits of the<br />

mining/importing/exporting process, and the skies are the origins - the territories mined -<br />

of the pearls? The mind giddily celebrates the possible permutations and infinite<br />

interpretations offered up in a Heller omni-verse.<br />

"tenebraed to black," on page 38, is the ying to the previous poem's yang. Not only is it<br />

four and a half pages long, but it furiously hurls forth, paying homage to the color black<br />

('black is color's barometer"), with manic meditations on this misunderstood hue,<br />

interspersing quotations from Rimbaud, Wittgenstein, Klee, wildly weaving in italicized<br />

quasi-narratives, and splattering a stream of subconscious associations across the page<br />

like Pollack paint, becoming just as layered and dense: "mournful melancholic cape<br />

swaggering juju broth admissible annihilative churly warren-breasted perfume..." Black<br />

is "infinity's gangplank," it turns out, whose "smoke cinder ash" lead to "geometric<br />

meltdown."<br />

After recovering from this frenzied romp, we retreat to the poem on page 44, which, it<br />

must be said, offers only slight respite from the madman rantings on page 38. Here,<br />

"tenebraed to nothing" is a trippy tribute to emptiness, "to the not that is not." It is<br />


"cancellation's triumph," and, sadly, "it was being void of wind to wind up with." Of<br />

course, "being and nothingness" is referenced, as it features the "ineptitude of<br />

exactitude." Heller wonders: "does nothing have color," as if to allude back to the<br />

previous poem scrutinized. The rest of the poem seems to ponder the substance of<br />

nothing, oxymoronically.<br />

(This poem was perhaps my favorite to scrutinize, as I literally laughed out loud during<br />

certain moments, solidifying my suspicion that Heller is an astute student of the seriously<br />

silly and the sillily serious)<br />

Finally, we arrive toward the end of the collection, where we happen upon "Tenebraed to<br />

encroach," which honors the variegated ways of trespassing ("succor seduce invoke<br />

inroad penetrate insert"), ending up, ironically, in an area of "dialectic omission."<br />

In this collection, where contexts are mined for import material which, as it become<br />

exported, enriches new contexts, Heller Levinson has managed to embed pathos inside of<br />

logos, twining concepts considered by dulled minds to be dualistic in nature, when in fact,<br />

they are clearly like Russian dolls, situated inside of each other.<br />

Someone once called Heller's verse "post poetry." I am not sure I agree with this<br />

assessment, but I am not sure I disagree with it either. Is Heller's Hinge Theory one that<br />

advances modern poetics, or is it a tool in transcending it? Time will tell, but one thing is<br />

for sure right now: Heller Levinson writes compelling pieces - that is, they are tenebraed<br />

to compel.<br />


Guarding the Small Light<br />

Collage by Bob Heman<br />


I'm Not A Plastic Bag<br />

by Rachel Hope Allison<br />

Hardcover $19.95<br />

Archaia Entertainment 2016<br />

ISBN: 978-1-936393-54-1<br />

Reviewed by John Yohe<br />

In I'm Not A Plastic Bag, Rachel Hope Allison imagines the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,<br />

“an accumulated concentration of floating trash between Hawaii and the California<br />

coastline,” (!) as a living thing, a monster, hungry for more garbage, and birds, seals and<br />

turtles. This makes for a somewhat sublime book, since the monster (and the actual<br />

Garbage Patch) is horrifying, yet the artwork is beautiful, including pencil sketches with<br />

watercolors.<br />

I'm Not A Plastic Bag rides the line between graphic novel and children's book (the<br />

biggest difference, I sometimes feel, being that the former uses word balloons and the<br />

latter doesn't). I think the audience for this book is all ages—certainly the message is for<br />

everybody—though there's a cuteness factor that makes me think it's more geared to<br />

children. Or anyway, I'm going to give this book to my nieces. There is almost no text, no<br />

dialogue, except for the creepy advertising excerpts that appear in the mouth of the<br />

Garbage Patch monster, with which is tries to lure in seagulls.<br />

I'm not really clear what happens after that, and I still don't understand the title. Like,<br />

who is the 'I'? The monster? Meaning it's not 'just' a bag, but a whole bunch of bags? And<br />

the story, as if it wasn't already surreal, gets more so, with (spoiler alert) a flock of<br />

seagulls (not the band) somehow lifting the (apparently grateful?) Garbage Patch monster<br />

up and sending it into space. So, happy ending, I guess.<br />

Unfortunately, in the Real World, the real Garbage Patch still exists, and at the end of the<br />

book we are offered some text, and info, about the North Pacific Garbage Patch, or The<br />

North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, as I learned it's also called, along with other<br />

Gyres/Garbage Patches in other oceans (again: !) Also, for example, the Top Ten Items<br />

Found in Ocean Debris:<br />


1. Cigarettes 32%<br />

2. Food Wrappers/Containers 9%<br />

3. Caps, Lids 8%<br />

4. Cups, Plates, Forks, Knives, Spoons 6%<br />

5. Beverage Bottles (plastic) 6%<br />

6. Bags (plastic) 5%<br />

7. Beverage Bottles (glass) 4%<br />

8. Beverage Cans 4%<br />

9. Straws/Stirrers 4%<br />

10.Rope 2%<br />

Who'd've thought cigarettes would be up there? How do they get way in the ocean? And<br />

fish and turtles and whales are eating all this stuff. And dying.<br />

I Am Not A Plastic Bag also offers a 'Things You Can Do' section after the bag news, the<br />

contents of which most of us could probably guess. Yet do we do them? Nah. But if you<br />

did want to do something, consider volunteering for the International Coastal Cleanup<br />

organized by the Ocean Conservancy.<br />

Hard not to be cynically sarcastic, to create an ironic distance so as not to be too<br />

horrified. Hard for people to care about something going on out in the ocean when we've<br />

got plenty o' things on land to worry about, like fracking, and lead-infested city water<br />

supplies, and a two-party system that hampers democracy, I know, but that's why a book<br />

like this is good, is needed. All these problems are systemic, but a dead ocean means a<br />

dead humankind, eventually.<br />

I'm Not A Plastic Bag was created with help from the Ocean Conservancy and<br />

JeffCorwinConnect, the company of Jeff Corwin, host of the tv show Ocean Mysteries on<br />

ABC, and it's good to see a concerted effort, in all types of medias, to get the word out<br />

about the ravaging of the oceans (btw: I volunteered for the Sea Shepard Conservation<br />

Society for a while, so I'm not just writing this from the safety of a non-involved life)<br />

Editor’s Note: For more info, especially about the International Coastal Cleanup, check<br />

out the Ocean Conservancy website: www.keepthecoastclear.org. Rachel Hope Allison's<br />

website: www.rachelhopeallison.com And if you're new to the Great Pacific Garbage<br />

Patch, check out the Wikipedia page.<br />

Author bio: Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan and lives in Oregon.<br />

He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, runner/busboy, bike messenger,<br />

wilderness ranger, fire lookout, as well as a teacher of writing. www.johnyohe.com<br />


Paterson in Paterson<br />

(Film Review) By Alison Ross<br />

I am ashamed to admit that up until recently, I have had scant contact with<br />

the poetry of Williams Carlos Williams. Other than the famous "plum<br />

poem," as I call it (whose real title is "This is Just to Say"), I have barely<br />

known Williams' verse. But since seeing the movie "Paterson," that has<br />

changed. I have become enamored of his imagistic, plain-spoken style. Just<br />

as Williams' poetry focuses on common people and quotidian activities, and<br />

is rife with imagery that soulfully saturates the senses, so too does<br />

"Paterson" celebrate the mundane elements of the average person's life, and<br />

revels in landscapes, colors and textures to provide sensory stimulation. And,<br />

of course, "Paterson" equally commemorates the written word, with its<br />

protagonist, also bearing the name Paterson, driving buses to make a living<br />

but writing poetry to live passionately.<br />

The poems, naturally, are in the vein of Williams' verse: Suffused with<br />

imagery and laced with colloquial language. Given that Paterson, NJ was the<br />

homebase of Williams, and given that Paterson lives in Paterson and writes<br />

poetry about his everyday existence as a blue collar worker, and given that<br />

the movie looks and feels like a Williams poem rendered cinematically ...<br />

well, you see the concentric layers of coincidence here. And naturally it's not<br />

coincidence at all, but a deliberate stab at verisimilitude by veteran director<br />

Jim Jarmusch, whose "Paterson" is perhaps the most refreshing film he's<br />

ever done.<br />


Music Mini-Reviews By Alison Ross<br />

Let's face it: The Shins are the second coming of The Cure wrapped in<br />

The Beach Boy's sandy towel. This is not contradictory at all, either, for<br />

while The Cure is primarily known for its schizophrenic sonic template<br />

featuring solemn anthems and buoyant rhythms, the merrier elements of The<br />

Cure collage recall the falsetto giddiness of a Beach Boys song. So too, do<br />

the Shins mine their dark-happy dichotomy, reveling in sunny pop but also<br />

stewing in more brooding climates. On their latest, The Shins are positively<br />

peppy and New Wavey, and the result is a far more engaging effort than the<br />

previous album, "Port of Morrow," which in my view symbolized stagnation.<br />

"Heartworms" in many ways mimics early-era Shins while simultaneously<br />

propelling the band toward new heights.<br />

A Tribe Called Quest was at the forefront of hip hop's Golden Era in the<br />

1990s, eschewing the crude codes of gangsta rap yet still managing to steep<br />

their albums in blunt eros and savvy social consciousness, all while crafting<br />


astute sounds and rad rhymes. On its latest effort, billed as their last and as<br />

an homage to the late Phife Dawg, and arriving on the cosmic doorstep a<br />

mere 20 years after the previous release, Tribe sounds as fresh as ever.<br />

Highlights on "We Got it From Here" include "Space Program" and "Ego,"<br />

not to mention a wickedly whimsical duet with Andre 3000 on "Kids" (one<br />

of many collaborations). But perhaps the standout song is one that<br />

incorporates an actual hook, a rare occurrence in purely hip hop songs: "We<br />

The People" features a catchy chorus that is also devastatingly relevant: “All<br />

you Black folks, you must go/All you Mexicans, you must go/And all you<br />

poor folks, you must go/Muslims and gays, boy we hate your ways/So all<br />

you bad folk, you must go”<br />

The members of British band The xx make very sexxy music. Even<br />

though with each release the band palpably strays further from their postpunk<br />

roots, they still manage to maintain a mentality grounded in the ideals<br />

of post-punk: Spacious soundscapes that rely on spare instrumentation. But<br />

there have always been two distinct elements to The xx, which they swirl<br />

seamlessly like a yin/yang symbol. This means that on The xx's recent<br />

release, the Rhythm and Beyonce persona that they embody is played up<br />

much more than ever, while the post-punk is more nuanced. This makes for<br />

an album that is sonically somewhat cluttered and a bit less idiosyncratically<br />

intriguing than previous efforts, especially the debut album. That said, the<br />

sexxy side of The xx is not only intact, but this latest album is downright<br />

slithering with sensuality. Oliver's and Romy's whisper-croons are sleek with<br />

eros, and Jamie xx's club dub effects throb with booty-shaking verve.<br />


Atlanta's own outsider artist Lonnie Holley may be pure enigma, but then he is<br />

also enigmatically pure. By that I mean that his purity of being is so striking that it<br />

defies fathom by mere mortals who must exist in his towering shadow. He is<br />

complicated, to be sure, but also authentic at the most basic level. He embodies<br />

what all great artists do: A contradiction of clean and complex. It's this duality that<br />

compels. His sculptures, comprised of organic and synthetic items culled from the<br />

environment, are tangled totems of primitive ideals and modern mythologies,<br />

political manifestos that stun for their simplicity and astound for their astute<br />

intuitive arrangement. Lonnie's music reflects his improvisational artistic approach:<br />

Heartfelt and grounded in this world, and yet existing beyond this plane, an<br />

otherworldly opera summoning aliens and angels. On this album, he is joined by<br />

Atlanta indie rockers Deerhunter as well as Animal Collective, both of whose own<br />

cosmic compositions complement Lonnie Holley's gorgeous anti-aesthetic.<br />


The Zen of<br />

Innocence (Book Review)<br />

By Alison Ross<br />

In her quietly fierce poetry collection, Innocence, Patricia Carragon has mastered the art<br />

of eviscerating withering emotions with creative defiance. Or maybe she is simply a<br />

master of manipulating moods so that the reader is always waiting for the trick ending,<br />

the twist that packs a punchline that socks you in the gut. Of course, these poems are<br />

confessional musings and rantings, with the author's soul laid bare for the vultures to pick<br />

at if they wish.<br />

As such, her verse provides wrenching glimpses into a once-stifled life, one that has<br />

bravely blasted through the barriers constructed by lesser minds. But the poems’<br />

symbolic import is what softens the hard edges with magical hues. Take, for example,<br />

"The Green Crayon," where a girl's coloring tool ignites her imagination, and becomes an<br />

emblem of artistic anarchy: "Her imagination immediately left the classroom." Or "Small<br />

Dreams," which is layered in nautical metaphor about the menace of time, which cruelly<br />

devours dreams: "Fog plays tag with hindsight, clouds part for reality to settle in."<br />

Other poems are existential riddles, such as "When I Die," which extols the virtues of<br />

oblivion ("will the truth vaporize when oxygen leaves my brain?"), and the exceptional<br />

"The Room," wherein the titular protagonist is personified as speaking an arcane idiom<br />

and where silence is translator. Even though Patricia Carragon is certain she is no<br />

"Dickinson, Keruoac, Basho" ("Mr. Lipson"), by the end we can discern the influence of<br />

these authors who have steadily guided her to prize strong symbolism and a feisty Zenlike<br />

approach to the travails of life.<br />


Three IMAGES By Daniel Y. Harris<br />

Artist bio: Daniel Y. Harris is the author of 11 collections of poetry and collaborative<br />

writing including The Rapture of Eddy Daemon (BlazeVOX, 2016), heshe egregore (with<br />

Irene Koronas, Éditions du Cygne, 2016), The Underworld of Lesser Degrees (NYQ<br />

Books, 2015), Esophagus Writ (with Rupert M. Loydell, The Knives Forks and Spoons<br />

Press, 2014), Hyperlinks of Anxiety ($ervená Barva Press, 2013) and The New Arcana<br />

(with John Amen, NYQ Books, 2012). Some of his poetry, experimental writing, art, and<br />

essays have been published in BlazeVOX, The Café Irreal, E·ratio, Exquisite Corpse, The<br />

New York Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Magazine,<br />

Ygdrasil and Zeek. He is the Editor-in-Chief of X-Peri, http://x-peri.blogspot.com/.<br />

She Faces of Lair<br />


Homage to Kurt Schwitters<br />


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


Imagine Not Drowning<br />

by Kelli Allen<br />

C&R Press<br />

Reviewed by Jeff Santosuosso<br />

From its first piece to its last, Kelli Allen’s second and newest full-length collection,<br />

Imagine Not Drowning, takes flight through love and sex, death and life, through things<br />

neatly paired via juxtapositions that create wide-open spaces. She collects images<br />

simultaneously and parses linearity from space and dispersion.<br />

The beauty of the work is that there’s ample room for free association, inference, spiritual<br />

roaming. Allen embraces, rather than resists the whirl. These are rich, dense, complex<br />

poems filled with shades of words, connotations, innuendoes which venture quite far to<br />

the edges of meaning. Imagine Not Drowning is not for the casual reader or the casual<br />

read.<br />

Allen presents a mystical excerpt from Machado describing the incongruity yet final<br />

redemption of man’s unpreparedness for the awesome power of the sea. Reader<br />

precaution: You have tools, finally insufficient, inappropriate, or useless to quell your<br />

sense of awe in the natural world. Yet like the quotation, the poems, motifs, and<br />

undercurrents exalt the striving, extol the humanity. It’s worth the physical and spiritual<br />

effort, nearly self-redemptive, like the verses and observations.<br />

These are poems of implication, sometimes of induction. We’re liberated to wander along,<br />

taking things as they come, sometimes with attribution, correlation, even cause and effect.<br />

But alongside familiar and linear narrative, Allen weaves the perceptual fabric with the<br />

cryptic, the near-non sequitur. The effect is of duality and relationships, tangible and<br />


intangible, physical and metaphysical. This is a collection of environment and response<br />

with plenty of choice and alternative.<br />

We enter and exit on the wings of a bird, starting with Slavic mythology and ending with<br />

a heron “nodding past the bay,” an oblique reference to take us over the horizon, on a lilt<br />

of pleasure as the speaker feels her partner’s “teeth scrape my back.”<br />

The rhythms and cadences are non-linear, full of pauses, pivot, and redirection. Early on,<br />

Allen tweaks the edges of association with “Feeding Birds, or, rather, Some Magic.”<br />

Untethered title. Staccato, full-stop title. Then she ushers in love and eroticism:<br />

“Yours/is the association of warm under the down.” This structure compels a slowing,<br />

aligning nicely with Allen’s deftness at subtlety. Likewise, the images sometimes appear<br />

out of thin air, with little setting. “Eventually, we go inside” describes the sadness and<br />

regret of missed opportunity, of unrequited desire. Somehow, a man and a woman appear<br />

in a building. How did they get there? What type of building is it? Why were they<br />

together? Literally, unanswered, but alongside implication, with plenty of room for<br />

inference.<br />

The path is byzantine, full of sleight of language and imagery. That the opening poem is<br />

entitled “Becoming a Woman of the Brook, Shade, and Moss” is no accident. Much of<br />

the poetry revolves around the speaker’s identity as a woman, both female in many forms,<br />

companion, lover, wife, and adult many forms, daughter, mother, teacher, spiritual guide.<br />

She opens mixing the physical moment and fantasy, of losing oneself and yielding, wish<br />

and promise, love and trust. And onward for over 70 turns of the kaleidoscope. “Edging<br />

Our Wall, Untying,” another syntactical pregnant pause, presents twists in speech that<br />

form new connections from an unfamiliar, yet pleasing assembly.<br />

Even the titles caution, beware those who enter. Not for menace, but for disorientation<br />

and reorientation. Before crossing the threshold into the poems themselves, the titles<br />

create darkness and light, obscurity and revelation. “How Much Tenderness, When We<br />

Consider How to Leave” gives us 2 shining examples. Allen offers,<br />

I say between us, but there was only me, if we count<br />

presence as more than breath and completely still hands in a lap.<br />

A rich opportunity for pondering, for the speaker, her companion and ourselves. She adds,<br />

“We can never blanket enough dirt/to hide what is missing.” Presence by absence, the<br />

mind awhirl in puzzles, delicate, evocative, and revelatory ones.<br />

As the speaker settles on the death of her father, touching poems such as “Aphasia” and<br />

“When He Leaves” agonize:<br />

The stamp on the back of her hand has faded<br />

the same way a favorite tree stump stays<br />

against some remembrance of childhood<br />

we no longer attempt to name.<br />


The last line is the collection’s poster child: meaning via absence and disappearance.<br />

Allen dwells on the transient, that which is without mass. In some pieces, death and loss<br />

face us directly, while in others, the fragility of relationships brushes us more softly. In<br />

“When We Argue About Unraveling Glass,” she juxtaposes the tardigrade, nature’s<br />

ultimate survivor, with implications of an argument threatening peace.<br />

“North Fork” alerts us that “the sign warns of undercurrent.” Flush with visible and<br />

invisible forces and a sweeping away, rife with stilting syntax, stops and starts, nested<br />

logic and circles of continuity, the poem tells of a day’s journey, past and present, danger<br />

and innocence, all in familiar images that are freshly voiced. Allen loves these dualities,<br />

these yin-yang associations and adjacencies that inhabit the natural world and the mind of<br />

the poet.<br />

Allen intertwines the real with the imaginary, often within poems, sometimes within<br />

images or lines. “We, As Other People,” urges us onto the path of make-believe: “We’ve<br />

been very happy in the small open area/we named alter.” In fact, the words “let’s pretend”<br />

appear five times, all in the latter half of the work.<br />

“You Say Disappear And I Say Not Yet,” brings it all together. The pair is playing a<br />

game, teasing, challenging, among totems, ready to “pretend we are just/ wrong enough,”<br />

recognizing that “This is the closest thing we get/to surrender,” Allen’s riff on desire and<br />

the natural world.<br />

Allen prefers open air and empty spaces, which fill her work with possibility. Churches,<br />

rivers, meadows and fields, and plenty of birds populate the imagery. Motifs relate to<br />

sleeping, waking, changes in consciousness.<br />

These are poems a woman would share with a companion, often a lover. (In fact, nearly<br />

every poem includes at least 2 people.) “What Can We Do to Be Away from the World?”<br />

“Riding the Borrowed Car Back Home,” and “When this is not about sentiment” depict<br />

love and erotica. She verges on the surreal at times:<br />

to see if the other<br />

is awake, is still a shining fish,<br />

in a dream where scales<br />

leave darks pits in the mud<br />

“This Is How You Ask Me to Pray,” a reverence and small miracles, followed by<br />

“Invitations Toward Autumn,” depicting transition, anticipation, expectation. Allen<br />

muses about, “letting the first storms come in, rounding/our shoulders, this suddenness.”<br />

In the title poem, Allen’s overriding affirmation rises clear. “Kiss/your own fingers,” she<br />

congratulates. “…you have carried yourself home.” Speaking to companions of all types,<br />

Allen opens the myriad experiences and sensations that each of us is capable of feeling,<br />

sharing, interpreting, all the while leaving plenty of space for those companions and the<br />


eader to discover his or her own wonder, to feel the subtleties and nuances of this human<br />

experience.<br />

She sees and expresses her role as poet most clearly and directly in the joyful “There Are<br />

Ships Closer If You Let Them,” as she resolves, “one morning, soon, I will take/ you to<br />

the lighthouse you have painted” then reaches higher, “upward where light rotates<br />

between fog/and whatever is left to love, to promise.”<br />

Author bios:<br />

Kelli Allen’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and<br />

internationally. She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has won awards for her<br />

poetry, prose, and scholarly work. She served as Managing Editor of Natural Bridge, is<br />

the current Poetry Editor for The Lindenwood Review, and holds an MFA from the<br />

University of Missouri St. Louis. She is the director of the River Styx Hungry Young<br />

Poets Series and founded the Graduate Writers Reading Series for UMSL. She is<br />

currently a Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing at Lindenwood University and<br />

teaches for The Pierre Laclede Honors College at UMSL. Her chapbook, Some Animals,<br />

won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize. Her chapbook, How We Disappear, won the 2016<br />

Damfino Press chapbook award. Her newest full-length, Imagine Not Drowning, will be<br />

released from C&R Press January, 2017. Her full-length poetry collection, Otherwise,<br />

Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the<br />

Pulitzer Prize. /react-text www.kelli-allen.com<br />

Jeff Santosuosso is a business consultant and poet living in Pensacola, FL. A member of<br />

the Florida State Poets Society, he is Editor-in-Chief of panoplyzine.com, an online<br />

journal dedicated to poetry and short prose. His work has been nominated for the<br />

Pushcart Prize and has appeared in San Pedro River Review, The Lake Poetry (UK), Red<br />

Fez, Illya’s Honey, Red River Review, Texas Poetry Calendar (2012, 2014), Avocet,<br />

Alalit, First Literary Review – East, and other online and print publications. He writes<br />

book reviews on request.<br />

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