Klox and Katz Ink

clockwisecat

Clockwise Cat Issue 38, aka Klox and Katz Ink, is dripping with delightful decoration of the Verse, Visual, reView and inVective variety!
Poems exploding from our inkwells include those from authors Mary Newell, Jeri Thompson, Heath Brougher, Featured Femme Tara Roeder, Holly Day, AJ Huffman, Daniel Crocker, Ken Allan Dronsfeld, Austin Alexis, Judith Huang, CL Bledsoe. Further bursting forth from our inky loins are satires and rants by Steven Singer, Jon Wesick, Fred White, Selah Grenewood, Eric Suhem, Joshua Hall. And our canvas is positively bleeding visuals by the eminent talents Sheila Murphy and Bob Heman, plus collages and photomanipulations by Nelly Sanchez, Erica Olson, and Seigar. But wait - there's more! Our pages are sticky with the reviews of the latest CDs by Kendrick Lamar and Run The Jewels, as well as appraisals of recently released flix Kedi, Detroit and Julieta. We even showcase an interview with the AfroSurreal Writers of Oakland, California! So whaddya waitin' fer? Get thee to the inkery! www.clockwisecat.com

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ISSUE 38

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CAST OF CATS

ALI CAT

FELINO SORIANO

CINDY HOCHMAN

TARA ROEDER

SOLEIL

QUETZAL

PUBLISHER/EDITOR

RESIDENT POET

RAD-ASS REVIEWER

FEATURED FEMME

KLOCKWIZE KAT

KATWIZE KLOCK


EDITOR’S SCRATCHING POST

Issue 38 of Clockwise Cat - aka Klox and Katz Ink - is not formally themed

like some of our past issues – and even those issues have more of an

informal theme, as I don’t require writers and artists to adhere to a theme

and actually don’t even decide on one until the last minute, on a whim. But

for this issue, I thought I would pervade it with themed imagery from a

recent inspiring installation at the beloved graffiti-splattered Krog Street

Tunnel in Cabbagetown, ATL. Since it seems we are under siege from Neo-

Nazi types – after all, their Grand Wizard is in the White Supremacist

House – we must fight back vociferously against the toxic tenets of bigotry.

And while there is a lot to be said for more bellicose opposition groups like

Antifa, I also feel there is a lot to be said for dousing the fierce flames of

hatred with the sweet waters of pure love.


Two Satirical Ads by John Wesick

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A HOROSCOPE FOR THE ASTRONOMICALLY

MINDED By Fred White

Asking people what sign they’re under might make for lighthearted party banter;

but most agree that astrology has no basis in reality. The planets, let alone stars, are too

distant to exert any degree of influence (gravitational or otherwise) on one’s destiny or

temperament. Still, many continue to be charmed by the thought that their destinies are

governed by celestial forces. Astronomical facts just aren’t compelling enough to dispel

that longing.

But compromise is possible! Welcome to the New Astrology, whereby the astronomical

discoveries of the past half-century have finally had an influence on the venerable

pseudo-science. No more balderdash about the Moon entering the Seventh House or

bellicose Mars looping ominously through peaceful Aquarius. There are now new signs

that are certain to resonate with younger generations, especially those who have taken

Intro to Astronomy during their sophomore year. To wit:

SUMBLAC, the Super-Massive Black Hole lurking at the center of our galaxy, replacing

Aires the Ram (March 21-April 18): As a Sumblac, you tend to be both elusive and

aggressive. Expect to be victorious with hostile takeovers. Competitors will try to steer


clear of you, but your influence will predominate. Keep in mind, however, that such

predominance in the business world may undermine your trustworthiness.

KUBO, the Kuiper-Belt Object; formerly Taurus the Bull (April 20-May 20), Kubos tend

to struggle with an inferiority complex, yet always manage to regain their self-esteem

Like Pluto, once a noble Planet, now reclassified as a Kuiper Belt Dwarf Planet, you are

destined to attain a high position in your career, only to be demoted through no fault of

your own. But because you are blessed with a resilient nature, you will not let setbacks

get the better of you. Indeed, a lawsuit could work in your favor.

DOBS, the Double Star, formerly Gemini Twins (May 21-June 21). If you’re a typical

Dobs, you know what it’s like to go through life being shadowed by an envious, less

enterprising sibling, one who is always looking for ways to undermine or take credit for

your accomplishments. You will discover ingenious ways of retaining your status as the

Alpha in the family.

CORBOP, the Cosmic Ray Bombardment Phenomenon; formerly Cancer the Crab (June

22-July 22). You are possessed of enormous energy, which tends either to inspire or

intimidate others. Like your Sign, which, according to astrophysicists, emanates from the

Big Bang itself, your energy levels are inexhaustible and can reach levels of near-lethal

intensity. Never lose sight of your powers, or you could harm the ones you love.

SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, formerly Leo the Lion

(July23-August 22). Pride and independent mindedness are the dominant Sofian traits.

No one pulls the wool over your eyes! Such vigilance has made you into an astute

observer, not only of people but of natural (especially celestial) phenomena. The only

sign in the astronomically informed New Astrology that is an artifact, Sofia will guide


your destiny as an engineer and versatile handyperson who will never fall prey to

unscrupulous mechanics.

POCREA, the Pillars of Creation, formerly Virgo the Virgin (August 23-September 22),

As a Pocrea, you are fertile of mind and body. Like Venus rising out of the sea on a halfshell,

you project purity mingled with earthiness and coupled with the promise of the

kind of fertility that can spawn a dynasty of high achievers. Find some way to connect

your unsullied demeanor with your earthier innermost self, or risk the loss of an

extraordinary destiny.

DARMAT, Dark Matter (formerly Libra, Scales, September 23-October 23). Darmats

want to be inconspicuous, ideally invisible, yet at the same time wish to pursue activities

that require collaboration. How you progress will hinge upon your ability to find a middle

ground between these contradictory traits. Hint: give equal consideration to contradictory

points-of-view. Remember that your success hangs in the balance.

LOPOC, the long-period Oort Cloud Comet (formerly Scorpio, the Scorpion, October

24-November 21). If you prefer to remain out of the limelight, you are a typical Lopoc.

True, you occasionally get the urge to appear unannounced at social events; but in

general, you are even-tempered, content to scuttle along the outskirts of life. It will be in

your best interest this coming holiday season to avoid crashing parties—you could get

stung.

WORHOL, the Wormhole, formerly Sagittarius, the Archer (November 23-December

21). Aside from getting inexplicable urges to paint soup cans, you are a genius at figuring

out shortcuts to difficult problems. A straight shooter, you insist on being blunt in your


elations with friends and associates. Maintain this reputation; it will bring you a rich

bounty.

CORMAJ, a Coronal Mass Ejection Event, formerly Capricorn the Goat (December 22-

January 19). Cormajes are hot-tempered. Often a fate-sealer, such a trait is one that you

can control by avoiding the urge to butt into other people’s business. You are apt to

capitalize on the ease with which you can intimidate others just by your very presence.

GLEISE, the Red Dwarf Star Gleise 876, in the constellation Aquarius; bearer of a

planetary system including the super-earth Gleise 876-d; formerly Aquarius the Water

Bringer (January 20-February 18). Nobody truly can understand you, and that is how you

like it. You convey intrigue, possibility; friends do all they can to get you to reveal more

of yourself. Stay mysterious! It will ensure peaceful interactions. When invited to

receptions, bring libations.

ETAQ, the Cepheid Variable Star Eta Aquilae (formerly Pisces, the Fish, February 19-

March 20). Like your sign, a member of a class of stars that enabled modern astronomers

to determine cosmic distances, you have a mercurial nature—easily confused with bipolar

disorder. Unlike those afflicted with bipolar disorder, though, you can control your

emotional extremes: yes, highly agitated—a veritable fish out of water—when faced with

new surroundings; but subdued and contemplative among family. During your next signperiod,

expect to be swept along in a current of daunting but satisfying challenges.

Author bio: Fred White’s fiction and satires have appeared in Clockwise Cat (Issue #29),

Praxis, Mad Hat Lit, Pidgeonholes, Limestone, and elsewhere. He lives near Sacramento,

CA.


The Political Pundit

By Eric Suhem

At the journalism award dinner in Washington D.C., Morton was honored for his

accomplishments. “As a member of the Fourth Estate, I take my responsibility as a

journalism professional seriously. It is a privilege to play a role in the shaping of public

opinion, as we cannot underestimate the importance of a well-informed citizenry.”

Clutching his journalism award coffee mug, Morton pontificated on such subjects as the

roles of televised and printed news in society, the fracturing impact of the Internet on

traditional news sources, and the blurred line between news & entertainment. He went on

and on, as those in the room stared into their phones.

Morton became a commentator on the role of media in politics, sparring it out with those

on the other side of the political fence in televised roundtables. He established himself as

a fixture in the world of political punditry, and constantly provided opinions. On most

televised appearances, Morton was indignant about what the other critics had said about

what he’d said, and vice-versa. He began to be a powerful force on social media, tweeting

comments on the reactions to his previous observations, offering essential input to the

conversation on the public square. Morton knew that it was necessary for him to respond

to the tweets and posts, as a high volume of amplified social media interaction would

guarantee a higher amount of interest in his remarks.

One day, on his way to a power lunch, Morton walked by a laundromat, where he saw his

brother Les inside, painting a watercolor of a clothes dryer. Les was an assistant at the

laundromat, who on his free time created abstract paintings of washers, dryers, rolling

wire clothes baskets, and other clothes-cleaning items. “You know, Les, it’s important to

make a difference, to do something for which you’ll be remembered,” said Morton,

feeling the familiar pang of disappointment in Les’ life choices. Les just smiled, and

continued painting.

The owner of the laundromat was happy to let Les display his paintings on the walls, near

the washers and dryers. Les enjoyed creating acrylic paintings of detergent, and his

current interest was to focus on aspects of Tide, with ideas for a future project about

Clorox bleach. One day, Les decided that he liked the angle of the sunlight at the

laundromat. “I’m becoming intrigued by the play of light and shadow on Dryer #3,” said

Les to one of the laundromat’s customers, who shrugged and continued folding her

clothes. Les decided to embark on a new art project focusing on Dryer #3.

At family gatherings, Morton regaled his kin with tales of Beltway intrigue, replete with

double-crosses, backstabs, and gossip. When asked how things were going at the

laundromat, Les said that they may be getting 2 new dryers, and that he planned to branch


out and create sculptures exploring dry cleaning. The family didn’t know what to make of

Les’ artistic explorations. “Well Les will be Les,” said Morton, and they laughed.

As Morton continued to make a name for himself in political punditry, Les decided to

paint from a new angle, getting inside of a large dryer to create paintings from a ‘clotheseye

view’. Tragically, he was unable to engage the latch to extricate himself from the

machine, and was tumble-desiccated to death, banging frantically on the dryer door while

customers folded their clothes.

Posthumously, Les’ work became iconic. “Item #23: ‘Man at Detergent Dispenser’, a

painting truly emblematic of a time and place in American history,” called the auctioneer

and the bidding accelerated furiously at the auction house, much to Morton’s disbelief.

‘Man at Detergent Dispenser’ sold for $54 million. Les’ work would go on to influence

future artists, who created paintings and sculptures based not only on laundry machines,

but also clothes hampers and ironing boards. Les’ name lived on in history, known for

launching a genre of Laundry Art.

Morton would continue as a political commentator for another twenty years, and when he

retired, another herd of pundits replaced him, doing the exact same thing, commenting on

who said what about whom.

Author bio: Eric Suhem lives in the orange hallway (www.orangehallway.com)


Author bio: The author is Professor of Humanities – Moscow University Touro.

Europeans: The Most Brutal

of All Time?

by Dr. Paul Kindlon

Let us begin with the spiritual words uttered by the 16th century German

preacher and theologian Thomas Muentzer:

"Curse the unbelievers ... don't let them live any longer, the evil-doers who

turn away from God. The sword is necessary to exterminate them ... if they

resist let them be slaughtered without mercy ... don't be moved by pity ... At

them! At them! While the fire is hot! Don't let your sword get cold! “

Sound familiar?

Many will complain that the comparison is unfair, but history teaches us to

be very wary of Europeans. Here’s why…

*“Christian “ Europeans executed perhaps as many as half a million

“witches” from the 14th century until 1650. 85% of the victims were

women.

*“Christian” Europeans committed genocide against millions of native

American Indians from the 15th century all the way up to the middle of the

19th. Estimates range from 15 to 50 million.

*“Christian” Europeans gave us the freedom-crushing 20th century political

ideology called “Fascism”. This monstrous authoritarian and racist

movement led to as many as 40 million deaths including six million Jews in

the well-documented “holocaust” and 26 million Soviet citizens.

*“Christian” Europeans – in this case the Brits- attempted genocide against

the citizens of India, killing perhaps as many as 20-40 million people. The

legendary racist Winston Churchill alone was responsible for six million

Indian deaths during WWII.


*“Christian” Europeans started the slave trade from Africa to America. 10

million may have died as a direct result of the Atlantic slave trade. Those

who survived the perilous journey were sold into abject slavery at the hands

of “Christian” Europeans living in America’s old South.

*“Christian” Europeans enthusiastically waged war and terrorism against

non-believers in six Crusades throughout the Middle-East over a 200 year

period. Because few records were kept of the battle fatalities no one knows

the exact figure of victims. Some say one million; others 7 million.

It is true that the “new Europe” has largely kept itself in check over the past

few decades choosing peace and prosperity over war. But is that about to

change? Is “Christian” Europe backsliding and reverting to her old ways?

Was the recent rape of Libya, perhaps, a foreshadowing of darker days

ahead? Could the old Europe soon return and bring about massive death and

destruction even more gruesome and on an even greater scale than its

previous crimes against humanity?

Consider the dilemma of the current Russian government as it watches on

nervously while European military forces under the direction of NATO

encroach upon Russian territory year after year. Think about the trepidation

of the war planners as they try to defend themselves from a European

military alliance that spends 10 times more than the Russians - approaching

its borders from three sides. A daunting task.

The track record of “Christian” Europe is obviously not terribly good – to

say the least. Let’s hope history does not repeat itself. For it would do so for

the very last time.


The Illuminati Program (Deprogrammed)

by Selah Grenewood

In the eye is your bruise

Repetition of the code, which is typified. Repeat, squander, retreat. Conceal, don’t reveal.

Diamond back is a program they start when you cannot even speak or walk. The diamond is the

goal. Dangling manna, but you cannot obtain it. They dangle it – spinning fractal iridescence.

Then you black out. You do not remember. The word seals the diamond in a scope. You don’t

remember anything. Clouds of smoke. You do not but you are in pain. The body is in pain. The

diamond pack – the back is the terrain where there is nothing growing but extraction and

reducing.

Stay in the field of wires and blushing flowers. When they take your blood you grow oldest. You

are canonized.

The diamond back and what cracks is light shreds, holes in your psyche. You are mortal,

wounded, envisaged and closing what crack spills wide. They assume you are completed. A

fixation. A diversion. A template -- that can be rendered useful or useless.

The diamond back spins prism on everything: on your food, on your body and in your mind. It

calls itself after a back door where they deny, hollow, and cast you in pillars of dense white

powder that they claim is light and God.

They chimed in spectral, Eros has found you back. Eros has found you back. When captured and

contained, the spell ran in circles, knotting up on all sides into further incantation. Bubbly

dissonance.

Repeat. Squander. Retreat

Your head is wobbly and a screen fitted therein. This screen covered the person, fitted on as

dementia or Alzheimer’s. There was no idea that the person was alive. Movement was achieved

in a fluid though sickened state. The other ghost sequestered the first. If the first ghost was the


screen, the second, was the substance. The second ghost in its substance buried the knowledge.

The substance was not substantial or beneficial. It contained no color, had no address – its only

intention the haunting. The knowledge was buried and it could not surface. If it did this second

ghost haunted.

Bugs squirming in dreams. Butcher knives down sharp against bloody arms. The incubus pressure

at night. Hysteria with people.

Follow the rainbow onto a bridge. Taste the rainbow, touch the rainbow: it’s lucky. The rainbow

leads to a hole. There something is buried and then exhumed with tools and distillation which

then leads to further implantation.

You Don’t Remember Anything. We are the Gods. Repeat. A black and bloody spin. Squander.

It is night… there is a dark river

Blood flowing over

Dripping, tripping in the woods

Where is the house?

The halls make one light filled as they quadruple into locked hemispheres and loops. The

diamond back is your Garrison. You are more than one and when we command it you will

become whomever we wish. You are made in our image. Eros has found you back. Eros has

found you back. When you wake up you will walk the bridge through the rainbow. Retreat.

Awake. On a strip, bruised and bloody. Where is the diamond that dangles? The light? Sweet

crushed sanguine light. Something is fuzzy. One must walk the bridge. That is the Word.

This program is finished. She has been acquitted. The Order is reversed. It is not to walk the

bridge through the rainbow; it is to walk the bridge to get to the rainbow – to walk with life. You

cannot take life away without death in life, life in death. There is a window that is life. There is a

reflection that is death. When the window is opened, there is only the One.

On there precious commodities they stamp Time. Boxed in, hexagonal, shape shifting time that

they also claim is worthless. Time is meaningless as a name, but what’s beyond time is not.

What’s beyond it is the stream.

Flowers do not grow in time. They are. When you reach the bridge and walk it, you hold life’s

sanctity and death’s sanctity, which is merely a different state of living.

Deprogrammed by her Soul. The conclusion is free will. Understanding mines – a child of God

above sacrifices and cesspools, spindles and spinning wheels, above commerce and crash, ashes

and lust. What bled out from her was what they gave.

Author bio: Selah’s work is featured in Teen Ink, Mother Verse, Positive Outlooks, The

Sound, Gravel, New Spirit and Metapsychosis journal.


Surprised by Charlottesville?

You Haven’t Been

Paying Attention

By Steven Singer

America is a funny place.

On the one hand, we’re one of the first modern Democracies, a product of

Enlightenment thinking and unabashed pluralism and cultural diversity.

On the other, we’ve built our entire society on a cast system that is the basis of our

economics, politics and cultural mores.

We’re the land of Benjamin Franklin, the Wright brothers, Duke Ellington, Toni

Morrison, and Sandra Day O’Connor.

But we’re also the land of Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Charles Lindberg,

Bull Connor, and David Duke.

Tolerance and love are as American as apple pie. But so are racism, sexism,

prejudice and anti-Semitism.

"It is not as though the United States is the land of opportunity, or a hypocritical

racist state,” says sociologist John Skrentny. “It is one or both, depending on

context."

So this week when people saw Nazis marching openly in Charlottesville, Virginia,

the only thing that was really so surprising about it was how surprised so many

people seem to be.

“That’s not my America!” they seem to be saying.

To which I reply, “Hell, yes, it is! Where have you been the last 241 years!?”

We base our salary scales on genitalia! You think we’re really so freaking

advanced!? The shade of your epidermis determines the likelihood of police

arresting you, charging you, even killing you regardless of your having a weapon,

whether you resist arrest or simply lie on the ground with your hands in the air.


Regardless of the evidence, if you’re convicted, the length and severity of the

sentence are all partially determined by the amount of melanin in your skin. The

cultural derivation of the name on your resume determines the likelihood of

employers calling you back for an interview. In many places, your rights are

legislated based on whom you love.

Our schools are segregated. Our taxes are levied most heavily on those with the

least means to pay. Our prisons house more black people today than did slave

plantations in the 1860s.

Yet a bunch of white dudes carrying Tiki torches shouting hate filled puns (“Jew

will not replace us"? Seriously?) somehow doesn’t compute?

Come on. This is America. Racism and prejudice are not threats smuggled in past

border security. They’ve always been here. At least since Europeans came offering

trade and peace with one hand and guns and smallpox with the other.

The land of the free was stolen from the Native Americans. Our national wealth

was built on the backs of slaves. Our laws and electoral system were built to

empower one group at the expense of others.

Yet reformations in this process are rarely met with celebration. Instead of

memorializing the end of slavery, we embrace the institution with fond

remembrance.

Nor did prejudice and bigotry end when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat,

after Brown vs. Board, the Voting Rights Act, Freedom Rides, sit-ins or civil

rights protests.

America has always been a place hostile to the under privileged, the second sex,

religious dissenters, the brown skinned.


At most, we had become less confrontational in recent years, but we never really

changed our core values, our social structures, who has power and who does not.

During my lifetime, people started to equate having a black President with the end

of racism. Somehow they ignored the everyday reality for most black people.

They ignored the constant prejudice against the poor, the continued bigotry against

LGBTs, the Islamophobia, the increase in hate crimes.

If there has been any change during the past eight months, it hasn’t been with the

degree to which Americans are prejudiced. It’s the degree with which we’re

willing to hide it.

Whereas before racists would claim to be colorblind, that their actions were

completely devoid of racial bias, today they sigh and repeat the dusty slogans of

Jim Crow Alabama or 1930s Berlin.

And somehow people are actually surprised about this. It’s because too many of us

have swallowed the lies about living in a post-racial society. You thought we were

beyond all that. It was a brave new world, morning in America, and we were

finally treating everyone equally – unless you looked at what we were actually

doing.

Mainly this is the reaction you get from white people. They rub their eyes and just

can’t believe it.

You don’t see this too often from people of color, Muslims, LGBTs and some

Jews. Why? Because they never had the luxury to ignore it.

That’s what we white folks have been doing since the beginning. Whenever these

issues come up, we have a knee jerk reaction to minimize it.

Things aren’t that bad. You’re just blowing it out of proportion.

But, no. I’m not. That’s why you’re so damn shocked, son.You haven’t been

looking reality square in the face.

So when we’ve got undeniable video footage of angry white males (mostly)

marching through Southern streets brandishing swastikas and assault rifles, it

catches many white folks off guard. They’re not prepared for it – because they

haven’t been doing their homework.


We’ve been living in a bubble. Especially those living in major metropolitan areas.

That kind of thing never happens around here, right? Of course it does!

Just because you live above the Mason Dixon Line doesn’t mean you’re safe. You

have a black friend, you like authentic Mexican food and you laugh while

watching “Modern Family.” But you haven’t opened your eyes to the reality

outside your door.

You send your kids to private school or live in a mostly upper class white district.

You have an exclusive gym membership that keeps out the riff-raff. You work in

an office where that one token person of color makes you feel sophisticated and

open-minded.

You’ve got to wake up. You’ve got to educate yourself about race and class in

America.

Because those people you saw in Charlottesville aren’t an anomaly.

They are an authentic part of this country, and if you don’t like it, you have to do

something about it.

You can’t hide behind denial. You have to take a stand, pick a side, and be

counted.

Because one day soon, the torches will be outside your door. You have to decide

now - do you want to brandish or extinguish them?

Editor’s Note: Steven Singer’s editorials are always reprinted with

permission from the author. Check out his terrific blog at

gadflyonthewallblog.com.


Donald Trump’s

By Joshua Hall

Problem

The internet is a dark, dangerous alley to go stumbling down on a late night

when paranoia's got hold of your better judgement and you're stalking a hideous

mythological beast said to prey on goats and small pets. Most of the sites carry warnings

like this:

"A myth? A legend? All we know is that it strikes at night and has a weakness for blood.

Put away the goats and any other household pets, my friends, cause the Chupacabra may

be coming to a barn near YOU."

The online Chupacabra flackery, however apocryphal, is a welcomed distraction from the

onslaught of numbing static still referred to as "the news." In my better moods, the

talking-head-administration-intermediaries are an amusing nuisance, and some

reluctant part of me pities any fool who has to endure the soul-numbing bummer of

filling up an hour of each day with such obvious bullshit.

Nevertheless, I turned away from the bloodthirsty, bestial internet crank-sites to the

cable-news pundits, and I had a vision. Or at the very least, a sighting: there it was, the

Chupacabra, snarling at me through the television, threatening to track me down, round


me up, and eat my cat, the divine Sergeant Pepper. The beast's face was that of a demonic

alien aesthetically corrupted by a lifetime of accepting large sums of money to spin truth

into a tangled web of political gobbledygook. The self-loathing that accompanies such a

modus vivendi takes an ugly, irreversible physical toll. As such, I couldn't look away

from the sinister fiend, its haughty disdain for decency so inbred, so unnatural, that I

knew I had come face-to-face with the Chupacabra itself.

The beast bore a strong resemblance to Kellyanne Conway, self-proclaimed adviser to the

President of the United States. The cosmetic surgery couldn't hide the wear and tear of

whoring her integrity around Washington D.C. for the better part of her

adult existence. Ultimately there is no portrait in the attic for Kellyanne, and the

resuult isn't pretty--just a veneer of odious, opportunistic self-preservation.

And this lead may run deeper than even my wildest cranked-out 2 AM epiphanies. In

elite D.C. sex-club circles, it is rumored that Kellyanne is the product of an inter-species

Chupacabra-human union, which technically would make her half-Chupacabra. There is

no official term for such a hybrid, and I am afraid to consult further any search engine on

the subject. So, for the sake of this argument, let's just call her the Chupacabra, a vile

entity which owes no allegiance to anything other than its own advantage. The

Chupacabra plans, schemes, connives, always with the intention to kill.

As I sat in catatonic terror, however, I felt a tinge of pity for a beast forced to regurgitate

the script of a Commander in Chief deep in his Tiger-Penis-addict web of denial and

untruth. I was witnessing the physical manifestations of Evil progressively wear down a

political hack. It's an ugly sight, regardless of whose side you're on.

So I had to remind myself that the Chupacabra is a tragic figure, confined to a life of

isolation and detachment from meaningful human connection and experience; a savage,

self-serving existence of little consequence.

Is her tragedy worth our compassion? Imagine looking in the mirror every day and seeing

a disfigured image of self totally and completely full of someone else's shit, someone

who, as Bob Dylan sings, "even Jesus would never forgive." Smiling through that

hideous self-realization may perhaps be the ultimate mortal curse.


But the Chupacabra eventually reverted to its innate barbie-doll-harpy scowl. And thus,

this early twenty-first century has produced something truly spectacular: a living visual

record of moral decay, staring back at us on our glowing screens, filling our living rooms

and waking lives with the gospel of hatred and death.

At some point, however, there may be a showdown: Donald Trump the Tiger Penis

versus Kellyanne Conway the Chupacabra, WWE style. Who will win that

choreographed cage-fight is anybody's guess, but my money is on the Tiger Penis. As

any careful reader of Suetonius will remember, Agrippina didn't survive.

Author bio: U/1(4'!V'88!*1!'!5&*$%&-!'.+!241*)*'.7!V*1!)4&&%.$!B&/:%)$-!WX(%!

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PITY THE

By Steven Singer

It’s gotta’ be tough to be a corporate school reformer these days.

Betsy DeVos is Education Secretary. Donald Trump is President. Their entire Koch

Brothers-funded, ALEC-written agenda is national policy.

But their stripes are showing – big time.

The NAACP has turned against their school privatization schemes. The Journey for

Justice Alliance is having none of it. The Movement for Black Lives is skeptical. Even

their trusty neoliberal Democratic allies are seeking to put some distance between them.

And it’s making them look… sad.

You’d think they’d have much to celebrate. Their policies are right up there with voter

disenfranchisement, the Muslim ban and building a wall.

Charter schools – YES! Voucher schools – YES! Public schools – NO.

High stakes testing is going gangbusters pushed by the federal government with little

interference from the states.

Common Core is in almost every school while the most state legislatures do about it is

consider giving it a name change.

And in every district serving students of color and the poor, budgets are being slashed to

pieces to make room for another juicy tax cut for the rich.

They’ve taken George W. Bush’s education vision – which neoliberal Barack Obama

increased – and somehow found a way to double-triple down on it!

They should be dancing in the streets. But somehow they just don’t feel like dancing.


What’s wrong, Michelle Rhee and Campbell Brown? Is that a tear I see in Peter

Cunningham’s eye?

Perhaps they’ve seen the error of their ways. Maybe after all this time, they’ve finally

realized all children deserve a robust, authentic education, not just the market-driven

chance of – maybe – a quality education.

But no. It’s not that. It’s the way the Trump administration is going about it. You see,

he’s being – gulp – honest.

He’s actually saying what he means. He’s throwing back the curtain exposing all the

racist, classist, capitalist motivations behind corporate education reform.

Even when he lies – which is often – he’s no good at it. His real motives are plain as the

weave on his head. Under Obama, they could do almost the same things, but at least

Barack would apologize for it. He’d clothe it in the language of civil rights and make it

sound all noble. He’d excuse systemic inequality as the deserved results of competition.

But Trump!? He’s championing all their favorite causes while tweeting skepticism about

the very concept of civil rights, ignoring poverty as fake news and just making an all out

ass of himself and everyone with whom he associates.

That’s YOU, corporate education reformers. That’s you. And you’re being forced to own

it.I almost pity you.

What a dark world you must inhabit. To take these sinister schemes that brutalize

children and actually believe in them! Take charter schools.

Imagine sincerely believing that poor black kids deserve to go to schools that aren’t

controlled by school boards but instead by unelected bureaucrats. Imagine thinking the

color of your skin should determine whether you have a say in your child’s education.

White folks get to elect the people running their schools, but not black folks. And you

know what, it’s for their own good, say the reformers!

Imagine thinking that the amount of melanin in your skin should determine whether your

schools are transparent or not – whether they’re required to have open records, open

meetings, even whether they have to follow the same safety protocols and regulations as

traditional public schools!

WHITE SCHOOLS – not for profit, spend the budget all on the students. BLACK

SCHOOLS – CA-CHING! CA-CHING!


And when it comes to voucher schools, imagine selling a tax cut to a wealthy family as if

it somehow benefited poor folks. Letting the Walton’s pocket a few thousand from their

kids exclusive private school tuition doesn’t help Ma and Pa Six Pack. Nor does offering

a discount to the kind of parochial schools that brainwash kids into thinking that

evolution is evil, climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, and slavery was just God’s will.

It’s the difference between trying to sell a glossy fraud like KIPP’s charter school

network and an obvious one like the President’s Trump University.

But now everyone sees they’re essentially the same. No wonder these faux reformers

look so down.

Imagine pushing standardized tests as if they were a technological breakthrough. They’ve

been around since at least China’s Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). If that’s cutting

edge, I think you’ll like my new APP. It’s called The Wheel!

In America, standardized tests have been around since the 1910s where they were a

leading feature of the eugenicist movement. They were a tool to “prove” the racial

imperfection of black and brown people and the superiority of whites. Imagine

demanding something like that as a civil right!

I couldn’t do it with a straight face. But they did! And it worked! For a little while.

Now their whole pyramid scheme is just too damn clear. Make the kids take unfair,

biased tests that will show how few resources poor black kids get and then use that as a

justification for giving them fewer resources, closing their schools and privatizing them.

No one’s even tried a scam that blatant since Bernie Madoff went to prison!

What do they have to gain by all this? Money.

Standardized testing is a multi-billion dollar industry. School privatization is a multibillion

dollar industry. If you can find a way to suck up federal, state and local tax dollars

meant to educate children and divert that into your private bank account, well you’ve just

struck it rich!

Racism pays, folks! Prejudice pays! Because the majority doesn’t mind so much when

you take advantage of the underprivileged. That’s why they’re underprivileged in the first

place!

And when people like me speak out against them, the best they can do are Ad hominem

attacks – you’re too white to question policy affecting black people, or your friends are


lack but (somehow) not black enough. Today I actually read a response to an article I

wrote that came down to these insightful criticisms – Nu-uh! And How dare you! Which

we can add to their response to criticisms that charter schools increase segregation – I

know you are but what am I?

The folks at the Education Post, a propaganda network passing off most of this nonsense

as if it were legitimate news and funded by $12 million from the Broads, the Waltons and

other usual suspects, they must really be desperate.

They’ve sold their souls to the Devil and may not even get a good return on the

investment.

You see, they’re betting that by the time the Trump zeppelin explodes, their policies will

be irreversible.

The problem is that he’s been extremely ineffective. He’s pushing their agenda, but isn’t

getting much done. And with multiple new scandals everyday and increasing calls for

impeachment, time is running out.

It’s enough to stoke pity in the hardest of hearts. Sure these folks have sold out our

children for thirty pieces of silver, but they’re still people, after all. They deserve our

empathy, kindness, pity.

Well almost.

Editor’s Note: Steven Singer’s editorials are always reprinted with permission from the

author. Check out his terrific blog at gadflyonthewallblog.com.


POESIE

!

!


Boil

K,!


Two poems by Michael Marrotti

Stalin's Moustache

If Pittsburgh

wore a moustache

it would be a replica

of Joseph Stalin's

If Pittsburgh

had nice things

to say in general

it would tell me

to shut the fuck up

about it

Only missionary

penetration here

in Pittsburgh

I'm surprised

sodomy still isn't

a crime of passion

If you're expecting

liberalism in this

so-called blue state

discard it as propaganda

the free spirit's have

a tendency to face

relentless persecution

It's the city

I hate to love

my birthright

the place that gave me

my lovely children


Till death do us part

well I'm still waiting

for a few in-laws to go

before I emigrate

to the west coast

for what could be

further disappointment

A Contradiction Of The Doctrine

Free thinking

don't cost a thing

come to think of it

it's on the house

The negation

of asceticism

and display

of my appearance

may be of dubious

nature to you

But that doesn't grant

you the right

regardless of how

righteous

To jump to the

conclusion

that I need help

from the almighty above

I'm close to him

in this precise moment

the pills have taken effect

I'm soaring like George Soros

Be that as it may

I don't deal well


with missionary

interlopers

If you hand me

one more

of those self-help

biblical pamphlets

I will show you

how hostile I am

when the tranquility

of these pills

begins to wear off

Author bio: Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh,

using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in

a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other

people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When

he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless

shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work,

please check out his book, F.D.A. Approved Poetry, available at

Amazon.


TWO POEMS by Richard King Perkins II

Author bio: Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care

facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time

Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a

thousand publications including The Louisiana Review, Plainsongs, Texas Review, Hawai’i

Review, Roanoke Review, Sugar House Review and The William and Mary Review. His poem

“Grease Poet” was a prize winner of the Woodrow Hall award for enduring excellence. His poem

"Nemesis" recently won the Songs Of Eretz Editor's Choice award.

Droplets of Garnet

As the night opens up

to the first familiar invitation of violence

and the honoring of mystery

we join the avant-garde celebration

awaiting the spray of calm

as the night pulls in like a fistful of jacks

and somber visions darken their legitimate servitude.

In the enphantomed protest,

costly dull plutonium

severs husks of air and dust from blessed animals

stripped of gauche display

where imperishable moonlight

encourages ancient impulses

to underreport every spasm of pain.

In the quest for cosmic justice

the night pulls in like a fistful of tacks

standing below tranquil basins

awaiting retaliatory droplets of garnet to fall.

My Every Verb

You are my every verb

as I stand here speaking

while flowers of transposition

arc above,

petal to tongue

scent to taste—

the cider of almost dreams.

Dark sheep gradually awaken,

nouns of inactive salvage,

unconscious to you

the random needs

of a delicate woman arrived

wearing a checkered dress

of bold and italics.


!

SLOW LEARNER

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Author bio: J. TARWOOD has been a dishwasher, a community

organizer, a medical archivist, a documentary film producer, an oral

historian, and a teacher. Much of his life has been spent in East

Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. He has published three

books, And For The Mouth A Flower, Grand Detour and The Cats In

Zanzibar, and his poems have appeared in magazines ranging

from American Poetry Review to Visions. He has always been an

unlikely man in unlikely places.


Author bio: Jeri Thompson has been writing again after a long

hiatus. At 60 she has recreated herself into one who shouts her

family's secrets and tells her tale. You can find her work in Mas

Tequila Review, Chiron Review, Yellow Chair Review and Cadence

Collective and others. She was once nominated for a Pushcart Prize

in 2013.

Just Smile

My father said

I have Smiling Depression, I was told.

It comes from my father always demanding,

“Get that frown off your face, Smile."

"Smile.”

“Don’t look at me that way,”

"Smile, SMILE!"

“I’ll give you something to cry about.”

"Smile!"

Years later, told by many men:

"Smile, you’re such a pretty girl when you Smile."

"Smile!"

“What’s wrong? You should Smile.”

“!Smile more.”

“You look tired, you should Smile.”

"Just Smile.”

“Give us a Smile, Sweetie”

"Smile, Baby, Smile."

Smile!

Smile!! Just

SMILE!!!"


(fuck you!)

Exsanguination

When he said, “You shine so bright. I am lucky to know you.”

I believed him.

When he said, “You make me want to be a better man,”

I believed that, too.

Then he continued to date

Other women. He liked to talk about them! and

How much better, smarter, prettier, sexier I was,

(Soon I will be the chosen one, I thought).

While I have never received a fist in the face like her,

I am still my mother’s daughter.

I can take a squared off punch in the gut like a heavyweight,

Expecting it to be the last. It never is.

Then, the tipping point!

That place where I stand upright again.

There is no rush of blood to my head.

Only the anemic dizziness of a woman

All bled out.

!

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TWO POEMS

by AJ Huffman

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FEATURED

FEMME:!!

TARA ROEDER

!

Author bio: Tara Roeder’s poetry and fiction have

appeared in over thirty journals including 3 A:M

Magazine, The Bombay Gin, Café Irreal,

MonkeyBicycle, Hobart, Bateau, and Two Serious

Ladies. She is the author of two chapbooks—(all

the things you’re not), published by dancing girl

press, and Maritime, published by Bitterzoet

Press. She lives in New York City, where she makes

her living as an Associate Professor of Writing

Studies. She’s a vegan, a feminist, and a closet

A-Team fan.

Author Statement: I’m intensely drawn to the idea

of the heteroclite—what Michel Foucault has

described as “the disorder in which fragments of a

large number of possible orders glitter separately

in the dimension.” I want to create texts that are

permeable and playful; I’m a fan of unlikely

juxtapositions, unexpected catalogues, random

lists, and tiny surprises. I take pleasure in

writing pieces whose outcomes I can’t predict. And

I also view engaging with the unable-to-beanticipated

as a tiny act of resistance to the

absolute boringness that is patriarchy.


the minor gods of the pantheon are tired of being

overlooked

synonyms for rebellion include insurgence,

upheaval, and princess leia.

cloacina the sewer goddess and febris the fever

queller

slouch low in a dive bar booth.

though not a god herself, delilah reads apocrypha,

buys a slingshot

and gets a haircut.

sunbathing

the neighbor is

a saint. floating in a blue lagoon.

says things like

magazine cut-ups,

dreams things like

taco tuesdays

with william s. burroughs and

valerie j. solanas.

i crave her manicure.

the long island medium and this generation’s bonnie

and clyde

crimes include pillaging and forging dr. phil’s

signature

they wake with matching dreams

of glass papered caves covered in shag carpet

and tiny tiny icicles

they owe it all to that crooked psychic

fig, the ripened ovary of ficus carica

nobody listens to Cassandra.


(who won the space wars/the names of multiple

medieval torture devices/why the clocks were

melting/usurious percentages)

floating fig trees drop offspring

uneaten by neighborhood urchins

who have been forewarned/spun into spiderwebs

as a young girl, she was the recipient of a

handsome collection

of tightly bound instruction manuals sewn together

with human hair:

how to pickle figs. how to operate a table

saw. how to find the perimeter of a large museum.

how to ascertain the wingspan of the formidable

pterodactyl

panic dance

i was especially drawn to this employment

opportunity because of the asbestos smell,

the way you dot your ts and cross your eyes.

if you peruse my skill set you will discover

my longstanding devotion to lesser known saints,

such as Dymphna, murdered by her pagan father,

and Polycarp, who would not burn.

my greatest weakness is that i never stop smelling

fire.

your filing cabinet is on fire.

the ladies’ bingo club discusses the invention of

the internet

they know al gore didn’t invent the internet. they

don’t know who invented the internet. they don’t

know how one invents the internet. they don’t know


the true nature of the internet. they speculate on

the nature of its inventor—inquisitive, forward

thinking, and perhaps, one wisely suggests,

skittish in the company of others. they know how

to bake babka, something you can actually put in

your mouth . that’s one thing they know. they do

not know if the inventor of the internet has a food

allergy.

my first boyfriend

my first boyfriend lived under water, composed of

phantom limbs and seaweed hair. we met on an

abandoned pirate ship. his name was george pirate

ship. his interests included taking long walks in

squid territory and attempting to tame wild

lobsters. he had purple sneakers. (yes, totally

soaking wet purple sneakers.)

what will you do when the honey’s gone

sleight hand slip

i say i want you

and have you noticed the things that look like

caterpillars but are not caterpillars?

trying to be nonchalant

you say you teach creative spelling

and onomatopoeia

to give an example

you buzz like a bee

and i say have you read the bees are dying

it’s really really sad

and you say there’s a song for that

there’s a song for everything

but sometimes it’s just sounds


THE DANCE OF THE UNFATHOMABLE LIGHT & DARKNESS

TRAPPED

IN THE ENCHANTED CASTLE IN THE COUNTRY OF DUALITY

By Dr. Mel Waldman !

!

(on reading Harold Norse’s poem-Hotel Nirvana)!

Born!

in the Void,!

!

black flower of nothingness, phantom in metamorphosis, !

becoming the un-unreal efflorescence,!

!

I am!

free-flowing non-thoughts floating in the enchanted castle!

&!

cosmic waves & particles rushing across metaphysical rhapsodies & rivers!

!

passing!

through a kaleidoscopic opening in the Mind’s Eye!

&!

awakening, !

!

one fateful moment inside a strange consciousness the fire of revelation the apocalyptic

motion of the swirl of the dance of unfathomable light & darkness trapped in the

enchanted castle in the country of duality,!

!

I!

gaze into the House of My Soul!

&!

within my indecipherable mystery-the unborn creation of the Source,!

!

I!

discover the Lilliputian House of Mirrors where the Janus-faced mirror of my unborn self!

!

hangs !

above the Void!

&!

I inhale my overwhelming light & listen to the unfathomable darkness!

!


swirling !

around me in a dust storm of DNA!

&!

in this becoming into being & I AM, in the circle of destiny rushing into duality,!

!

I!

shall come forth from nowhere, black flower of nothingness, !

bursting into something-ness & the bliss of breath-the sacred cosmic breath;!

I shall come forth & taste the sprawling light of love & bite the veil of darkness that!

!

sticks to my soul & frightens me-I shall, & I shall heal with holy sounds-shall chant the

oneness of the whirling universe-shall be beautiful & strong inside the omnipotent sound!

!

of OM reverberating inside my soul-I shall, but only when I gaze into the harrowing

mirror of death within-the oval darkness hiding in the whirling light & embrace the!

!

bestial blackness, like a father caressing his estranged son who comes home after lost

decades-shall I breathe beauty again & dance in the circle of NIRVANA!

!

Author bio: Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories

have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE,

ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, PULP METAL MAGAZINE, YELLOW MAMA, and

AUDIENCE. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books

including LIQUID IMAGINATION, A NEW ULSTER, THE BROOKLYN LITERARY

REVIEW, THE BROOKLYN VOICE, BRICKPLIGHT, THE BITCHINʼ KITSCH,

CRAB FAT MAGAZINE, DEAD SNAKES, SKIVE MAGAZINE, ODDBALL

MAGAZINE, ON THE RUSK, POETRY PACIFIC, POETICA, RED FEZ, SOUL-

LIT, SQUAWK BACK, SWEET ANNIE & SWEET PEA REVIEW, THE JEWISH

LITERARY JOURNAL, THE JEWISH PRESS, THE JERUSALEM POST,

HOTMETAL PRESS, MAD SWIRL, HAGGARD & HALLOO, ASCENT

ASPIRATIONS, and NAMASTE FIJI: THE INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF

POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he

was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11

books.


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These are the first

people

By Samuel W. James

to start talking to themselves.

Nothing to sing about, just chatter.

I need to be going south

or to some kind of emotional outcome,

but what small talk there is turns to me.

After so long, talking is like playing Scrabble

and I don’t say much.

I notice rot has fused together the leaves

of the drooping branches above,

and a buzzard hovers nervously, not wanting to dive.

Swans sail, people and places move;

here outside, it’s rusting.

I try leading this dizzy autumn towards winter so it can go on

but dealing with people is like slapping iron. So I go on

and talk turns back to the grit-blast wind,

and how when blood comes out it freezes over.

Author bio: Samuel W. James is a new writer from Yorkshire,

who writes poems, short stories and novels. He has poems in Ink

Sweat and Tears, London Grip, Peeking Cat and Allegro. He is

concerned about equality, civil rights and the well-being of his cat,

though only so much of this comes across in his writing.


Unbridled Birds

By James D. Casey

My skull feels twisted

Backward behind the skin

Brain aquiver and

Bombinating

Mulling over the night's

Astral events

Odd details

Only seen

With a magnifying glass

Inside a green

Zinc coffin

Called sleep

I remember

So many roads

Old ones whispering

Young ones crying

Streets of imagination

Upon the bed

Of longing

Strange and familiar faces

Beyond the void

I remember

A cosmic tribe

Ancient feathers

From galactic owls

Braided into their hair

Dancing for rain

On a distant planet

Diamonds fall from the heavens

Like water there

I remember

Dolorous mountains

Making beautiful music


Serenading rivers of

Raging scintillation

Asking myself why

Such magnificence

Is surrounded by an air

Of heavy sadness

I remember

Lachrymal tincture

From a toothy moon

Vomiting lunar brilliance

Telling me secrets

I did not want to hear

While I

Tied to an Amethyst cross

Could not escape

With a flash of light

And a clap of thunder

I suddenly awoke

To a violent midday storm

Stardust in my dried saliva

Moon sand on my feet

Glad to be home

But anticipating my next departure

Come nightfall my eyes

Will become unbridled birds

Traveling to worlds unseen

In the light of day

Author bio: James D. Casey IV is a published author of two poetry books:

'Metaphorically Esoteric' & 'Dark Days Inside the Light While Drunk on Wine.'

He is also working on his third book titled 'Tin Foil Hats & Hadacol Coins.’

Mr. Casey's writings have been published in Triadæ Magazine, Pink Litter, In

Between Hangovers, Poetry Breakfast, Spillwords, Micropoetry, Your One

Phone Call, Scarlet Leaf Review, Words on Fire, and Leaves of Ink. Poetry Life

& Times, Artvilla, and Realistic Poetry International all have him listed in their

poet archives as well. You can find links to his projects

at http://louisianakingcasey.wixsite.com/big-skull-poetry.


Everything Red for the Queen

By Michael Lee Johnson

Everything is red

in the kingdom of the queen.

Matador hat with barnacles,

witch white hair to the shoulders,

tickling the breast.

In her eyes are the blood shot

of many vampires;

in her heart the daggers

of many soldiers.

Five inky fingers


cross her throat

like an ill-fitted necklace.

Her dress is like heart charms,

scales of fish dripping

blood toward her toes.

Withy, twists around her throat.

Anglers of the court toss hooks

toward her cherry red lips,

capture the moment

of the haze of purple

surrounding her head.

Everything is red

in the kingdom of the queen.

Death changes colors from red to blue.

Author bio: Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the

Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor,

publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner

in Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than 935 small press

magazines in 29 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.


A Stone in the Sky’s Eye

By CL Bledsoe

The sky is a stranger until it opens and becomes an enemy.

Every drop must have a name. Every name must have a death.

The question is how to love while living, how to remember before asked.

No one asks what the sky fears, but we assume it’s someone we’d recognize.

Maybe a fear of falling, a fear of rising forever. Something to do with winds

scouring its face free of all tears.

The truth is whatever costs the least.

Remember to eat bananas so your legs don’t cramp, lettuce and green things.

Remember to drink your body weight in water every three weeks.

If the clouds fall, put your head down like everyone else.

Try to remember what it is to be dry.

Someday, that memory might come true again.

It’s so much easier to scream than to listen.

What I want to know is what does water drink when it has a headache?

Mountains will fall from the skies, knock the ground into the air.

Imagine, to be a stone, flying.

That moment of ascension, weightless before the plunge.

Author bio: CL Bledsoe is the assistant editor for The Dead Mule and

author of fourteen books, most recently the poetry collection Trashcans in

Love and the flash fiction collection Ray's Sea World. He lives in northern

Virginia with his daughter.


Hey Natty! Yeah, Cracker? Have You Heard? What's

that, Cracker? It's Over!

By Daniel Crocker

It's over, I say, it's over

I'm going to kill myself tomorrow

I woke up with a panic attack again

My wife squeezes my left nipple

hard

Dear God, I say

your fingers are like talons

Well, she wants to know, are you

thinking about something

else at least?

So, I tell her about

when I was a kid

a time of quiet minds

that doesn't even seem real

anymore

My cousin used to make

fun of me because I was

too fat to climb a tree

So I decided to show

that little bastard what

was what

I went out back to

his favorite climbing tree

Tore off my Frankie Says

Relax T-Shirt

Pulled strength from a well

of willpower I didn't know existed

and embraced my

destiny

I made it about

six inches

before sliding down

like a fireman and


ipping off a nipple

against the bark

Took it off like sandpaper

I said

She pinched it again

gentle this time

It's there now, she says

Sure, I say, but from eight

to seventeen, I was a one nipple

wonder

It came back about the time

I grew my awesome mullet

Of course, we both know

I'm not really

thinking about anything else

I'm only tell this story

so she'll rest her head

on my chest

Sometimes, I still feel it

I say, as she's falling back to sleep

like an amputee might

A ghost nipple

crying out

right where the new

one is.

Author bio: Daniel Crocker’s most recent books are Like a Fish and The One Where I

Ruin Your Childhood, both by Sundress Publications. Recent work has appeared in The

Chiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, New World Writing, The Kentucky Review,

Fried Chicken and Coffee and many others.


Two poems

By Arushi Singh

NIGHTMARES

Would you forgive me

If I returned

With marks on my arms

And a

Stranger’s

breath in my

nightmares?

TWO CHAMBERS

Don’t blame me

I’m a wild lover of words

I’d sit on my chair with two chambers in my chest

and one in my gun

the other hand shot bleeding blue.

my Love

bleeding ink for you to breathe

like smoke from my lungs

Author bio: A passionate writer and literature enthusiast, Arushi Singh has

been experimenting with free style poetry for a few years. She is from Delhi,

India, and is currently studying literature Mount Carmel College, Bangalore,

and has developed an interest in postmodernist and postcolonial poetry with

a focus on the marginal.

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A HAPPY ELEGY FOR FIDEL

11/25/16

By Tyson West

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I re-read tonight

Your “One Thousand Fearful Words For Fidel Castro” on this date of his death

And the internet, that beacon of truth, proclaims he survived over 600

assassination attempts

I didn’t know they kept stats for such a thing

Like major league homers by switch hitting Cuban left fielders, but

Fidel did way better than Jesus who after all

Bought the hacienda on the Pharisee’s first try.

Just as I remember the azure eyed and Lady Clairol blond Jesus weeping over my

pre-puberty sins,

I vividly recall the young Fidel haunting my childhood’s end

The bearded boogie man with big cigar and green army fatigues whining in the

broken English of a Tijuana pimp.

Seated at the right hand of Nikita and branded by Ike and Jack as the dark one,

I had no idea that Fidel had driven out Batista and Lucky Luciano and Meyer

Lansky

Who peddled drugs to flabby American tourists

Looking for a floating crap game and a blow job ninety miles away from our

pristine shores.

Hell, you would have thought the DEA and CIA

Would have loved Fidel’s ass,

Any enemy of sex and drugs is a friend of ours.

But it was that commie thing

That name you could call the skinny kid with glasses on the middle school

playground like queer or faggot

That back in those days would shut down any argument.

While I was an acned middle school groad,

Lawrence, good liberals like you

Sensed the interplay of our cold warriors and warlords fancy dancing and

Walter Cronkite pontificating against the asbestos curtain backdrop of Schlitz beer

and Camel cigarettes.

Watching the vapor trails slimed out of aircraft crawling like slugs at 30,000 feet

I was scared shitless of fallout from a nuke from Havana hitting Cleveland ending

the nothingness of my Halloween candy

Farting on Santa’s lap and my looking down Doris McAdoo’s blouse in study hall.

But in the end your hero and my villain turned out the same

Fidel survived his endless speeches at the UN and Revolutionary Square

And boatlifted his opposition to Little Havana


Leaving Cuba, reclining like the Naked Maja, in the path of hurricanes and

tropical storms,

To survive on Soviet and Venezuelan handouts

And build a damn good medical system so El Jefe need never trust a foreign

surgeon.

Smart enough to play his people against their government Fidel would blame

Ten US presidents and their CIA directors for their eternally rebuild 58 De Sotos

and lack of the internet

Once Fidel ascended to the throne in 1959, even Ché knew the revolution was

over and took his style off to Bolivia to leave his beautiful corpse in the

Andes.

Fidel never needing to replay his revolution

Flipped off Republican or Democrat administrations with bipartisan furvor.

In the same class as Generalissimo Francisco Franco who shot enough of the right

people in the beginning,

He received that greatest reward to which any dictator can aspire:

A state funeral and nine days of mourning

After dying in bed at 90.

Author bio: Tyson West has published poetry, including haiku, traditional

western poetry, free verse and experimental poetry and form verse and had two

poems were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His Steampunk short story, “The

Wulver”, was published in Voluted Tales and “The Thirteenth Victim”, a vampire

short story was included in an anthology called “You Can’t Kill Me I’m Already

Dead”. His poetry collection “Home-Canned Forbidden Fruit” is available from

Gribble Press, http://www.greymaredit.com/. His novella “Mall of the Damned”

was published in 2014 by Red Dashboard Publishing, LLC.

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Bustle Hustle

By Rich Murphy

The gig jig weighs against the debtor

and journeyman alike, but wiggles

with a feather for the stock-holding

chief exploitation officer and beans spill.

Disposable people with wall-flower addresses

disappear into a dreaded truth:

Taught to fear becoming.

The dance instructor in some corner office

choreographs three-step line jobs

for the denial states and whole psyches

slip on the electric slide: We.

Don’t drink the Kool Aid and get high

and tangled within corporate structure?

Musicians tango with a one-horse carriage;

artists Van Gogh without either ear;

stock boys fetch when a distant whim wishes.

The fishbowl, filled with colored water and sugar,

waits on a giggle from the ice cube

who rigs all the angles from the board.

Unhappy with the exclusive arrangements

that promise cameo appearances now-and-again,

maybe next week, the crammers and jammers

post whole lives for sale.


128 Words for Lies

By Jeff Bagato

You don’t just make one

you make them all

Charging on with a credit

card from situation

to situation, the payments

a long way in the future

& out of mind

bending plastic back

and forth makes a crease

more pliable & flexible

with each fold until

it swings open like a gate

through which every

varmint large

or small

can enter

freely

and when the bombs

start falling—

critters large—

and the tanks start

rolling—

critters large—

and the jet fighters

spinning—

critters large—

and the chewing

mouths of diplomats

gnaw on the apartments

& theatres & bookstores

and their eyes—big

pupils staring, dead

eyes without soul,

that devour souls—

their eyes—

eyeing the women through

their veils and even

through the dark layers


of their robes—

inspecting for something

they can’t define & you can’t

produce—

critters large

critters large

while critters small run close to the ground

wrapped in Kevlar &

camo & leather & plastic—

these action figures holding guns

as big as themselves

it’s easy to smile

at the lies of critters

small, but it’s the words

& smiles & dead eyes

of the critters large

you have to fight, and there’s only

one target cause

the large ones

have gone

a long way

to the future &

out of

our

minds

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

Some of his poetry has appeared in Zoomoozophone Review, Otoliths, Streetcake,

Clockwise Cat, In Between Hangovers, Zombie Logic Review, Full of Crow, Exquisite

Corpse, and Chiron Review. His most recent book of poetry, Savage Magic, came out in

early 2016. Other poetry books include And the Trillions, Spells of Coming Day and

Cthulhu Limericks. He has also published several science fiction novels, including Kill

Claus!, The Toothpick Fairy, Computing Angels, and Dishwasher on Venus. A blog

about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.wordpress.com.


Tupilak in Yoskeha

By Joshua Gage

The taste of swans

draped with volcanoes.

Spiritual seekers sought

hand disciplines. The Queen,

impassioned, climaxed at

midnight, pleasing a familiar

affection. Generally defined

as singing to the alpine

glaciers, she dances to

re-enchant the shift of wind

or red dark. Earth loses

all its orange sunshine

of stained twilight feathers.

Victory. The battle throb of

heart beat in different world weather.

Half a mind with mud and grease.

Author bio: Joshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Cleveland, His first

full-length collection, breaths, is available from VanZeno Press. Intrinsic Night, a

collaborative project he wrote with J. E. Stanley, was published by Sam’s Dot

Publishing. His most recent collection, Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie

Apocalypse, is available on Poet’s Haven Press. He is a graduate of the Low

Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a

penchant for Pendleton shirts and any poem strong enough to yank the breath

out of his lungs.

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Mind is a tumbling object

By Dominick Damo

Mind is a tumbling object, punctuated by loss and celebrated by splendor,

unifying all opposites, churning through the drudgery and weeding out the

nitkompoops once sought by the sages of millenia, hating each other and

sucking on the steelworkers prosthesis, raising questions about the nature of

celery, celebrating by not triumphing, masticating but no strife, always

thorough, always serene, stifling the will through the games, childhood

raised like a barn and sullened by black light, illuminating to paths towards

the ultimate farce, the ultimatum is a breakfast cereal, sullying the breaklines

cut with strychnine, spelling through the teeth, under bellied, sullen, sullen,

sullen, brick walls all lined up in a German aviator, cementing the ineptitude

smitten by yesterday's follies, stopping all rational thought, stopping

anchorage into Saturn's ring, ringing through the ears forlornly eaten, like a

bag of potato chips, a cramp in the sea, eating crackers and wafers and light.

Author bio: Dominick Damo's poems have been featured in several

publications, including Peculiar Mormyrid, Misfits Miscellany, and in self

published chapbooks. A former vagabond and anarchist writer, Dominick

also has been involved with multiple experimental music projects and

released works under different monikers. He aims to slay the ordinary by

subverting the fog that envelops and comprises ordinary waking

consciousness and consensus reality through spontaneous acts of the

sublime. Also, biscuits.


Two poems

By Daniel Wilcox

Starbacked

Starbacked night, coffee-drunk sky;

rows of cars meet

at the red orb,

anonymous

a lone skateboarder foot-tricks

waiting for the flash to sage green,

his board-wheeler a bill of adding

getting a toehold

from the faceless

hidden in their auto glass

street

fathomless

when all dreams night

into marred perception

conundruming

not dumbing, not plumbed down,

not dumbwaiving for godot,

no snare

but God inspired;

no theological

smart aleck dolt,

no horrific tulips

of the poisonous

calvin’s sort

no foreordained inscrutables

no despairing dilemmas

but

instead that everlasting jolt

of infinite compassion


fearless locutions from the heart,

--not verbal or literal executes--

but

generous movements

of comfort and actions for the lost,

the needy, the hurt,

all those who suffer,

and even those who surfeit;

all inclusive, all in one,

walking with the sun on the water

of the moment

Selah

Author bio: Daniel's wandering lines have appeared in many magazines in the United

States, Canada, and overseas including Contemporary American Voices, Write Room,

Static Movement, Word Riot, Fish Food, Poetry Pacific, Counterexample Poetics, and

Unlikely Stories IV.Before that Daniel hiked through the University of Nebraska, Cal

State University, Long Beach (BA: Creative Writing), Montana, Pennsylvania, Europe,

Arizona, and Palestine/Israel. He now is retreaded on the central coast of California with

his quilting wife.


Two poems

By Matthew F. Amati

I Find Them In Bags

Grow Seven Feet In Under A Minute! I Killed And Ate My Father, You Should Try It

Sometime! Bang! Lights Out! Adorable Carcinoma Fetches Grandpa's Slippers!

Set The Butterflies On Fire! Liven Up A Dull Midnight! One Eye Looks West The Other

Sees Right Through You! Seven Dead In Blimp Mishap! Our Heads Are Round To Flush

Away Dreams! Sirens! Derailment! Famine! My Brain Swelled And I'm Covered In Tiny

Bumps! Explosion! Hush Little Baby, It's Time You Learned To Fight Like A Man!

Zowie! Say Hello To Our Amazing War! Smile! Death Comes Quick But Doesn't Stick

Around.Mother's Fingers Are In The Bad Place! Mustn't Shriek! Close Eyes And Think

About Burlap! I Found Spain In A Book! My Bone Hurts! Cake's Done! Time to die!

(But…Cake!)

Come, There is Ham Here

Blue lips blobbering, striding unguently abarft the beams of a slissandic seaborscht,

where a maiden Armerica slaunters rape-eyed up gormless ladled bleachheads. Fib the

cove's quarrons. Shave your moneygrams, horde your hordes of whorehound horrors, put

a borket under the splat where the sealing dribbles. A bottus of brown hail goes down

gullet strewthly. To cork flesh probably, brake in a hoot coven. When the moan shines,

frolic with the selves and furries, dunce the fandrinko awrongside scrambling skulls drug

from the gravescarred. So out went the handle and we were left drunkling.

Author bio: Matthew Amati’s poetry has previously been published by White Knuckle

Press.


Two poems

by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Burnt Toast and Tepid Tea

Six am creeps, waiting for my ride

freedom exists on the upper train

the high road taken of lesser fury

it's burnt toast and tepid tea again.

Diamond ring shimmering like new

but love is dusty, decrepit and cold

like the tea and toast, just a waste.

a rising sun finally warms my mood

Jays enjoying toast; cats sipping tea.

I just leave, time for a newer day.

Amnesia Haze

Within lofty daily trials

life always in check

gaze at self-made walls

inhale an amnesia haze.

Chastising red milestones

beaten within submissions

artful weaving of whispers

wake from a deeper sleep.

Questioned emotion on ice

travel within a dark compass

where in Hades am I spirited

queries shuffle on downward.

dissected voices in a breeze

breathless inhales unshaken


lowing kisses to a blue nebula

poison barbs on a comet's tail.

Blown away with red leaves,

tincture of orange and yellows

fog clearing in rising sunshine

shaking off that amnesia haze.

!

Author bio: Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He

loves thunderstorms and time with his cat Willa. His published work can be

found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web

and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize

Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.


Two poems

By Austin Alexis

Author bio: Austin Alexis has work most recently in Home Planet News,

The Lyric and the anthologies Poets4Paris and Rabbit Ears:TV Poems. His

full-length collection is Privacy Issues (Broadside Lotus Press, 2014).

Extraterrestrial

Insects that roam and explore a (distant) planet

hover at the entrance of the dirt-tunnels they’ve created.

Run along expanses of purple soil

and turquoise stretches of sand.

Wiggle their three-sectioned bodies.

Their six legs intricate their way

over harp-scales of pebbles.

In the silence of earless existence

they feel but don’t hear

the (collective) footsteps that belong to them.

Their antenna sift the air for odors that drift

like chimes tapping the wind.

Their antenna search breezes

for signs of predators--

nonhuman or human.

Mystical

You wake to a world without sound

or maybe a realm of slow-motion sound,

a subtle pulse substitutes for sound,

something akin to

the beating of an insect’s heart,

half-imagined, but real.

The first thing you spot


is an insect’s leg, multiplied,

multiplied to twelve times its normal size.

It moves in slow motion,

making it seem as if stillness moves

drunk and blurred in arrested time.

You are puzzled, experiencing this scene,

this glimpse at what can’t be defined,

these phenomena that can’t be

but are.


Two pieces

By Mark Cunningham

[future word]

__________. 1. a disc-shaped superficial layer of cells formed by the cleavage of a large

yolky egg such as that of a bird or a reptile. 2. to daydream of changing your

name. 3. an acquaintance who will never become a friend.

[future word]

__________. 1. a melody or other tonal pattern played under a drone. 2. a greeting card

with glitter. 3. first person plural of “um.” 4. in syndication.

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2 poems

By Heath Brougher

Author bio: Heath Brougher is the poetry editor of Five 2 One Magazine. He is the

author of two chapbooks, “A Curmudgeon Is Born” (Yellow Chair Press 2016) and

“Digging for Fire” (Stay Weird and Keep Writing Publishing Co. 2016) with another one

titled “Your Noisy Eyes” due out in 2017. He is a Best of the Net Nominee and his work

has been translated into Albanian. He was the judge of Into the Void Magazine’s 2016

Poetry Competition and edited the anthology “Luminous Echoes,” the sales of which will

be donated to help with suicide prevention. His work has appeared in Of/with, Chiron

Review, Crack the Spine, Cruel Garters, MiPOesias, Gloom Cupboard, X-Peri, Blue

Mountain Review, and elsewhere.

Newfangled Beneficial Mutation

You live in a mouse on Coughing Street

your hair is made of mosquitoes

and your hallways are made of Medusas

you’ve grown pyramids on your toes

and your hands are made of burnt wood dipped in mayonnaise

you walk with your snake feet into the rubber day

your teeth are made of wallops

and loam run through your veins

are you not a maze?

are you not an eternity?

your eyes are soundless wind chimes that make the air feel like water

your soda shoes freeze to your helicopter skin

your tangerine truffles skim elephant trunks

you drink a camel’s throat to quench your thirst and give misguided directions

to everyone you know.

Lemons

The lemonist was a fruity lime pisser.

Flabergastication slips directly through the vent slats.

My detachable nose is replaced with an ear.

I smell your eyes burning pure human flesh.

The Pope occasionally sells sneakers at Wal-Mart.

There is no such thing as flabergastication [except there is].


Mice whisper about a map that leads to endless cheese fields.

If youse people don’t listen up I’m gonna knock youse the fuck out.

My head is on fire because you poured water on my shoes.

There are hashtags flooding the streets outside my apartment.

I walk on Mars justlikethat but do no golfing whatsoever.

The drunken cow with fluorescent lips flings us around.

There is talk of the dimness gaining phosphorescence.

Heath Beef Teeth Slarbeque Barbeque Brougher aka Beef Hocker

wanted to kill all his scumbag suburban classmates.

It remains on his bucket list.

The Bubonic iPhone is jagged and fractured as the ground.

I hereby state that we will elect the first hermaphrodite president come 2020.

Andale! Andale! Andale!

The plum flower says this weather is giving it a headache.

Jagged lemons drop into my eyesockets.

An octopus sits

on a giraffe’s tongue pointed

perfectly skyward.


Two Poems

By Sheila A. Murphy

Purportedly

Charm often insulates

the vested greenery.

All thumbs on deck

spirit me away for now

and at the hour

of fellow furlongs

replicating capital committees

meant to activate those recency effects.

Research has vilified nomadic pearls

absent expected provenance.

Peace sounds less probiotic

than your Nana, therefore

deconstruct the bastard, why don’t you?

The gods refute your thoughts

like the square of the hypotenuse

always meant to equal something.

Op Cit Scansion

Ghost write your birth cert-,

bathe among like-minded

Pharisees until the truck comes

to unload dumpsters

in the alley resembling a canal

designed by several fourth graders

sporting chisels and a swizzle stick

entertaining magi out of work,

knocking socks out of the driving range,

exhibiting learned behaviors

toward behemoths angling toward the tiny light

and everybody out to text

the code, a sanctioned ode

comprised of pennies in the dark

swept up into surrender cloth

with pride and snark.


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Author bio: Tyler Sherwood Pruett is a writer and artist with a special interest in short forms of

poetry. His work has appeared in many prestigious journals such as Modern Haiku and Frogpond,

as well as important anthologies. He is the author of Blue Wolves Are Howling Grapefruit

Orange, and A Refutation of Exile with Red Moon Press, Tyler is currently working as a

professional writer, and as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University.


This poem will save the world

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Two Poems

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3&//+!


REVIEWS.

INTERVIEWS.

VISUALS.


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On March 9, 2017, the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop held their first

creativity and intuition reading and workshop. Clairvoyant Tarot

Reader and fiction writer Alia Curtis provided a workshop on

understanding one’s psychic and intuitive abilities. The workshop

was followed by a reading with writers Lyndsey Ellis, Nazelah

Jamison, Raina J. León, and Arisa White and held at Nomadic Press

Uptown. The roundtable was moderated by Audrey T. Williams, with

additional questions from Dera R. Williams and curated by Rochelle

Spencer. This event was sponsored by Nomadic Press and Pro Arts

Gallery. (The second creativity and intuition reading series was held

at Nomadic Press Uptown; the third reading and creativity reading

series was held at Chapter 510 and The Department of Make Believe.

The second and third reading series were curated by Audrey T.

Williams and Dera R. Williams.)


Audrey: We’ve been discussing how all forms of creativity are

deeply intuitive. Audre Lorde has said that the master’s tools

will never dismantle the master’s house, so what tools do you

then turn to in your creative work? What is your writing

process? Do other creative practices inform your work?

Lyndsey: I use dance a lot. I’ve never considered myself

intuitive. Still, I’m always trying to get out of my head, and my

process is very fluid. I go with the flow–and consider music a

gift.

Arisa: Dance has a kind of wildness, that sense of play. In

childhood, with my siblings, we’d play with each other and

dismantle pain by being in artistic collaboration.

Alia: I try to do Tai Chi and Chi Gong Breathing is an important

aspect of Tai Chi. It balances your body chemistry and relaxes

you giving you a better handle on stress and ensuring better

health.

Raina: I do a lot of sleeping–I use dreams to help get me started.

I also talk to Siri in the car. I use the dictating function on the

phone and ask questions–how are the characters related?

Nazelah: I write a lot of relationship poems. I was married and

wrote about that–the interaction..I would say my motivation for

writing is some type of tension. I’m also a performer. When I

write from that, it forms the beginning of my writing.

Dera: It has been a gift to hear your words. I recently listened to

speculative fiction writer Tananarive Due’s podcast about

racism and trauma. What is the relationship of trauma to your

work?

Raina: I think a lot about trauma and how it can impact future

generations. A woman may have high blood pressure, and then

her children may also have high blood pressure. I’m also

thinking about the process of seeking–I’m unsure if that’s the

phrase I should use–the trauma written into the lives of not only

children but also grandchildren. Children can grow up hearing


their mother crying, and then she could have daughters who

will also bear children…I also think about the conscious and the

unconscious and try to seek out joy–I try to be intentional about

seeking out joy.

Alia: I’ve learned trauma is something you have to embrace, not

bury. At some point, the creative process is a form of counseling.

It’s embracing the trauma.

Arisa: I’m developing a different relationship to trauma where it

isn’t a bad or negative thing. It’s just a path to knowledge–and it

needs to speak so that joy can come out. So I’m seeing it as a

library, in a way, and considering what it has taught me and

how I can reimagine it.

Nazelah: I started writing when I was a child, and I used writing

to re-live my childhood. I started to realize that a lot of writing

was a form of healing. That’s what I try to bring when I tell a

story. The pain is there, but it doesn’t have to make us sick.

When we read or write, we’re safe and not as emotionally

attached.

Lyndsey: In a way, writing is embracing emotional progress.

There’s also inter-generational trauma, and it affects siblings

who grow up in the same household. When I was growing up, we

carried each other’s pain. I’m really shy and quiet, so when I left


home, I released a lot of pain and tried to make it into joy. With

writers, with trauma and pain, you learn to make it into

something beautiful, a gift to someone else.

Editor’s Note: Please read further about the Afrosurreal Writers

at these links: Solstice, Poets and Writers.


SILENCE IS ALSO MUSIQUE

By NELLY SANCHEZ

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

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

also participated in exhibitions : in 2012, at Paris -"Femmes/Hommes. Stéréotypes à

l'oeuvre", galerie ABB (Belleville, Paris)-, in 2014 at Mestre (Italia) - "Quand saro più

grande", La Casa della Renna- and Dieppe (Seine-Maritime, France) and in 2016 at Paris

"Notre part de rêve". She has also illustrated writings. Please peruse her artwork at

www.nellysanchez.fr

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Melancholic Meditations!!

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(BOOK REVIEW of Melancholia by Heller Levinson, Mary Newell,

Will Alexander, Linda Lynch)

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BY ALISON ROSS

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As Mary Newell states in her essay about Emily

Dickinson's treatment of melancholy, "Melancholy is

typically a reflective state rather than a cathartic or

sentimental one." I take this to mean that often we

misunderstand people to be "mired" in melancholy,

whereas instead they are actually meditating on it. This

interpretation infuses the idea of melancholy with new


vigor, just as Newell's essay serves as the invigorating

centerpiece of the collaborative tome, "Melancholia:" The

book's contributors are not only "diverse in gender,

ethnicity, location and artistic medium," but the book

itself is multi-genre, containing as it does sketchings,

essays, and poems. Will Alexander contributes pieces that

are densely abstract poetic philosophies as well as

comparatively simpler drawings, while Heller Levinson

adorns the latter part of the tome with his Hinge Theory

"exfoliations," which offer musings on melancholy in

sometimes wildly whimsical ("warbling like ostracized

banana," "melancholia approaches the reunion of

witches"), often rigidly logical ("supra-cognizance lopsides

through interstice") and always fervently paced phrasings.

Linda Lynch adds delicate doodlings that soften the impact

of these mind-numbing pieces. As Newell states in her

essay, "It is not the passage of time that breeds

melancholy so much as an awareness of its consequences:

mutability, loss, transcience, and mortality," - and the

existence of the collaborative efforts in "Melancholia:"

cements the idea that artistic creations can subvert

evanescence ... if only fleetingly.

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Kendrick Lamar Gives a Damn (Music Review) By Alison Ross

Kendrick Lamar can seemingly do no wrong - musically speaking, anyway. I am

a bit on the fence about his social views, mainly because they appear to be

somewhat muddled or amorphously defined - not exactly embracing the Black

Lives Matter ethos, but not exactly shunning it either. There have been times

when things he's said in interviews veer more toward the white supremacist

view of how blacks should conduct their lives, condemning, in a way, black

people for their plight rather than casting their problems in the light of a

societal malaise, one that is deeply informed by decades of brutally benighted

and bigoted attitudes. Too, his attitude toward women is not wholly enlightened

- not exactly misogynistic, but not exactly feminist, either.

It's all fine and well when someone doesn't hew to accepted dogmas too closely

and branches out on their own tangential ideologies, but it seems Kendrick may

be a victim of severe lapses in judgment. Tupac Shakur he is not. True, Tupac's

life was rife with demons, but when it came to being a vociferous spokesperson

for black people and, yes, even women (his feminist songs eclipse his sexist

ones in both number and "wokeness"), he mightily filled that role. Lamar still

has a way to go to attain such an apex of conscientious thinking.

But DAMN. He sure can craft astute tunes with riddling rhymes and robust

rhythms. Granted, he's been accused of being more derivative of trap music and

R&B on this album than on his previous masterwork, To Pimp a Butterfly,

which slithers with soulful jazz and and teems with haunting introspective

lyrics. But it seems that DAMN. was an attempt to break from that mold so as

to elude pesky pigeonholing. Plus, DAMN. is every bit as intellectual, ultimately,

as TPAB, containing, as it does, a cerebral spin on popular genres. It's not

superficial sounding like so many empty-calorie hits that dissolve into the ether

after six months. It has heft and dynamic depth. Does it have the potency of a

Good Kid Maad City? No, it doesn't, but again, it's not an attempt to recreate

that era, but rather, to push forward and show the world that pop songs don't

have to melt in your mouth like cotton candy - they can be both of the here and

now and transcend time. And dammit if that's not an accomplishment.


TWO COLLAGES

By GREGORY AUTRY WALLACE

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J&'.)*1)/7!V%!1$4+*%+!


THE ROOM


PHOTOMANIPULATIONS

by Erica Olson

Artist bio: In addition to creating photo manipulation art, Erica Olson writes poetry

and prose. Her work has been featured in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu,

haikuniverse, and The Voices Project (forthcoming). Erica lives in rural Montana7!

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VIDEO TONFA

Book Review by Tim Goodyear

Floating World Comics 2016

ISBN: 978-1-942801-93-1

I love the premise of Video Tonfa, in which artist Tim Goodyear merges

his love(s) of drawing and movies together in a series of meditationreviews:

Each two-page 'entry' consisting of Goodyear's purposefully

crude-looking drawing of a movie's vcr/dvd cover and backside, with his

own words inserted into the space where the text description would go.

Goodyear's cover sketches sometimes reveal a lot about how he feels

about a movie, if only in how much detail/time he puts in to the

reproduction. Likewise, his text-meditations tend to be better on the

movies he likes better, although he's almost always clever with whatever

movie he's dealing with. By giving himself a limitation on the amount of

text, he's forcing himself to make what he says count, in what I take to

be a Kerouac-esque one-shot, no-revision style. Meaning we're getting

Goodyear in undiluted form. Which can be a risk for any writer.

Goodyear isn't trying to offer any great insights into the movies he's

writing/drawing about, he's not trying to be a wise poet or philosopher or

movie critic. His love of (generally) B horror movies is obvious, and a little

infectious, and I do appreciate his eclectic rejection of mainstream

Hollywood, though his taste does also lean to some of the great directors,

like Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick. Goodyear is also obviously versed

in comic books, and artists such as Frank Miller. Otherwise though, a lot

of the movies in Video Tonfa are in the horror genre, which I'm a little

less on board with.


What I'm also not on board with is the spelling. I kind of suspected

something might be up when on the first page of the book, opposite the

credits, a little cartoon features a long-haired young man riding a giant

spliff into the words, “Spell'in Nazis Might Cry.” I like to think of myself

as not caring about spelling—that's what I tell my writing students

anyways—but man, every single text entry has some whoppers. One

picked at random, from the movie Neighbors:

Are you smart? Disipointed? Do you like art but often find much of

it weak, shallow & vapid? Well dude, if you say yes, then this just

might be the movie for you. They flip the stereotypes in this with

Belushi as the the streight man. It's great. Trust. Akroyd &

Moriarty move in to the only other house on the court. In the

coarse of the eavning they manage to flip all of Belushis switchs &

expose all his & his familys bullshit delusions. A tense & point'd

comedic masterpiece.

Sic all, though the fact that Goodyear got 'masterpiece' right but not the

plural of 'switchs' is odd. Perhaps he was not exactly sober when doing

these. Nor is this one of his better meditations, being really only a

description, though I love his humor here in the one-word sentence (i.e.

the timing of) 'Trust.'

But, that's Goodyear's style. And his drawing is like his writing: a little

basic, a little crude, all black-on-pus-yellow. That's the way he wants it.

At its best, it's very entertaining. And, I get a sense of who Goodyear is

from Video Tonfa—that's all I think we really look for in books, to get to

know the writer/artist, to like them, with the idea that they might like

us. I think also this kind of project, this kind of book, helps us get a

sense of ourselves too, since I'm sure everyone, like me, will be curious to

see if and how their tastes match up with his. (For example: Sex, Lies &

Videotape? Really? You didn't like it? It's one of my favorite movies of all

time!)

Author bio: Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan and

lives in Oregon. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler,

runner/busboy, bike messenger, wilderness ranger, fire lookout, as well

as a teacher of writing. www.johnyohe.com


TWO IMAGES: DECONSTRUMPTION AND

YES WE CAN

By Seigar

Artist bio: Seigar is an English philologist, a high school teacher, and a curious

photographer. His aim as an artist is to tell tales with his camera, to capture moments

but trying to give them a new frame and perspective. Travelling is his inspiration.

However, he tries to show more than mere postcards from his visits, creating a

continuous conceptual storyline from his trips. His most ambitious project so far is his

“Plastic People", a work that focuses on the humanization of the mannequins he finds in

the shop windows all over the world. He has participated in several exhibitions in

Tenerife, and his works have also been featured in international publications.


DEATHLY JEWELS ARE MUUY BIEN

Music Reviews of Run the Jewels, Death and Muuy Bien By Alison Ross

The dynamic and dastardly duo known as Run the Jewels have returned for

another round of demolishing mainstream hip hop and reconstituting the

debris to form a freakishly fresh subgenre that I call Noir Rap, because it

sounds like sharp-barbed crime rhymes set against Hitchcockian/spy thriller

music. Atlanta-born Killer Mike's gruff drawl and El P's brash Bronx bark

are a mesmerizing meshing of North-South sensibilities and dichotomies.

Not to mention, how fucking cool is it that these indie hip hop legends

represent a seamless sewing together of interracial harmony and duality?

I had not heard of a band called

Death until the documentary entitled - you guessed it - "A Band Called

Death" came out a few years ago and piqued my interest. Death were a

protopunk band, and an African American one at that. And yet, when it

comes to protopunk and punk rock, all you ever hear about is white bands -

The Sonics, MC5, The Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, Sex Pistols,

The Clash, and so on. Death hailed from Detroit, and yet sounded nothing

like the funk or Motown famously emanating from Motor City black artists.

Death actually had its genesis as a funk band (under a different name), but


seeing concerts by The Who and Alice Walker urged a sharp change of

course. Its tunes veered away from buoyant beats and into the rough rhythms

which ultimately presaged punk. Death's husky, booming, screeching vocals

and amphetamine-fueled guitar slashings helped build a template for later

bands like the Sex Pistols, who are credited with solidifying the sound. That

a black punk band has been eclipsed in music history by white punk bands

should come as no shock to those who pay even scant attention to racial

matters. Death had a hard time gaining legitimacy in its time, due in large

part to the band's refusal to concede to playing "black music." The band

broke up in 1977, but reformed in 2009, and has been touring on and off

ever since. "Politicians in My Eyes," "Freakin Out," "Let the World Turn" -

these are patently punk songs crafted in a time when the genre was still

evolving its sonic signature.

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The Red Sun

By Bob Heman


TWO VISUALS

By SHEILA MUPRHY


MOVIE MINI-REVIEWS

BY ALISON ROSS

It's hard to know how to characterize or even feel about

Kathryn Bigelow's well-intentioned "Detroit." Bigelow has

long been one of my favorite directors, even as I struggle

with the way she sometimes mishandles themes of violence

and sexism. I don't think she means to glorify or

titillate, though at heart I do think she is more adept at

curating content with strong thriller potential than she is

with the social justice angle. Granted, movies like Strange

Days and Hurt Locker, and even to an extent, Point Break,

all interweave social issues into their fabric in some way,

and Hurt Locker may even have a social justice ideal (antiwar

sentiment) at its crux. But it's hard to tell with

Bigelow. She's either intentionally ambiguous so as to

explore multi-foliate dimensions of a given topic, or she

has a fragile grasp on where her own empathies lie. Or,

it's entirely possible she doesn't want to offend the

overriding patriarchal principles of a misogynistic movie

industry. In any event, the main problem with Detroit is

that its harrowing centerpiece scene - that of a civil

rights-era psychotic white cop barbarically abusing his

innocent black subjects - draws out so long that it almost


ecomes too numbing to properly process through any sense

of sympathy. Maybe that was Bigelow's point, however - that

violence, especially police brutality, that exists so

pervasively - nullifies feeling, and that's the way it's

able to perpetuate and replicate itself. But something

still feels "off" to me, and maybe it's that the movie

fails to resolve anything, even as it heroically undercuts

scenes of savagery with loving homages to Detroit's

burgeoning, emerging Motown milieu.

Kedi is a loving meditation on the mystical allure of our

feline overlords. It captures a cat-topia, of sorts, for

feline fanatics. In Istanbul, hundreds of thousands of cats

meander the streets seeking food and affection. We get to

know seven kitties and become vicarious witness to how

their daily interactions with people provide a soothing

antidote to human travails. Who needs psychotherapy when

your purpose is to care for such cuddly creatures? At the

same time, these fickle furballs also prove to be fiercely

solitary and characteristically elusive when they weary of

intimacy overload. After all, we're just their lowly human

servants.


I love Pedro Almodovar flicks, in particular Bad Education

and the divinely twisted and feistily feminist Volver. But

Julieta, try as it may to ascend to the status of vintage

Almodovar, ultimately fails in its quest - it never gains a

solid grounding on which to anchor its otherwise compelling

narrative. The story is archetypal Almodovar, based as it

is on a trio of Alice Munro short stories, set in the

director's native Spain, and showcasing a story about a

mother-daughter rupture. There is a problem with the pacing

in the film - at times too sluggish, lingering over tedious

details - and the direction finally proves too lackluster

to bring the dynamic ideas to vigorous life. Usually

Almodovar's films are a whirl of vibrant energy and even

the slower scenes are infused with a sense of tension.

Julieta has memorable moments - the climax, for example,

where the mother's disillusionment reaches a tragic apex -

but it's hardly enough to overcome the fractures of the

film.

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SOLEIL AND QUETZAL:

COUNTER-CLOCKWISE CATS

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