CAST OF CATS
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
SLADE EARWAX CANDLES
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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! “
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
*“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
Stay in the field of wires and blushing flowers. When they take your blood you grow oldest. You
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
You’ve got to wake up. You’ve got to educate yourself about race and class in
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
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
By Joshua Hall
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
"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(%!
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
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
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
You see, they’re betting that by the time the Trump zeppelin explodes, their policies will
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.
Editor’s Note: Steven Singer’s editorials are always reprinted with permission from the
author. Check out his terrific blog at gadflyonthewallblog.com.
Two poems by Michael Marrotti
wore a moustache
it would be a replica
of Joseph Stalin's
had nice things
to say in general
it would tell me
to shut the fuck up
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
It's the city
I hate to love
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
A Contradiction Of The Doctrine
don't cost a thing
come to think of it
it's on the house
of my appearance
may be of dubious
nature to you
But that doesn't grant
you the right
regardless of how
To jump to the
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
If you hand me
of those self-help
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
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
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.
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
My father said
I have Smiling Depression, I was told.
It comes from my father always demanding,
“Get that frown off your face, Smile."
“Don’t look at me that way,”
“I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Years later, told by many men:
"Smile, you’re such a pretty girl when you Smile."
“What’s wrong? You should Smile.”
“You look tired, you should Smile.”
“Give us a Smile, Sweetie”
"Smile, Baby, Smile."
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.
by AJ Huffman
from THE SERPENT
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
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
synonyms for rebellion include insurgence,
upheaval, and princess leia.
cloacina the sewer goddess and febris the fever
slouch low in a dive bar booth.
though not a god herself, delilah reads apocrypha,
buys a slingshot
and gets a haircut.
the neighbor is
a saint. floating in a blue lagoon.
says things like
dreams things like
with william s. burroughs and
valerie j. solanas.
i crave her manicure.
the long island medium and this generation’s bonnie
crimes include pillaging and forging dr. phil’s
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
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
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
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
your filing cabinet is on fire.
the ladies’ bingo club discusses the invention of
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
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
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
IN THE ENCHANTED CASTLE IN THE COUNTRY OF DUALITY
By Dr. Mel Waldman !
(on reading Harold Norse’s poem-Hotel Nirvana)!
in the Void,!
black flower of nothingness, phantom in metamorphosis, !
becoming the un-unreal efflorescence,!
free-flowing non-thoughts floating in the enchanted castle!
cosmic waves & particles rushing across metaphysical rhapsodies & rivers!
through a kaleidoscopic opening in the Mind’s Eye!
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,!
gaze into the House of My Soul!
within my indecipherable mystery-the unborn creation of the Source,!
discover the Lilliputian House of Mirrors where the Janus-faced mirror of my unborn self!
above the Void!
I inhale my overwhelming light & listen to the unfathomable darkness!
around me in a dust storm of DNA!
in this becoming into being & I AM, in the circle of destiny rushing into duality,!
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
These are the first
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.
By James D. Casey
My skull feels twisted
Backward behind the skin
Brain aquiver and
Mulling over the night's
With a magnifying glass
Inside a green
So many roads
Old ones whispering
Young ones crying
Streets of imagination
Upon the bed
Strange and familiar faces
Beyond the void
A cosmic tribe
From galactic owls
Braided into their hair
Dancing for rain
On a distant planet
Diamonds fall from the heavens
Like water there
Making beautiful music
Serenading rivers of
Asking myself why
Is surrounded by an air
Of heavy sadness
From a toothy moon
Vomiting lunar brilliance
Telling me secrets
I did not want to hear
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
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
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
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
I went out back to
his favorite climbing tree
Tore off my Frankie Says
Pulled strength from a well
of willpower I didn't know existed
and embraced my
I made it about
before sliding down
like a fireman and
ipping off a nipple
against the bark
Took it off like sandpaper
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
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
right where the new
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.
By Arushi Singh
Would you forgive me
If I returned
With marks on my arms
breath in my
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.
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.
A HAPPY ELEGY FOR FIDEL
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
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
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
Who peddled drugs to flabby American tourists
Looking for a floating crap game and a blow job ninety miles away from our
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
To survive on Soviet and Venezuelan handouts
And build a damn good medical system so El Jefe need never trust a foreign
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
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.
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
and when the bombs
and the tanks start
and the jet fighters
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—
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
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
a long way
to the future &
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.
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.
By Daniel Wilcox
Starbacked night, coffee-drunk sky;
rows of cars meet
at the red orb,
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
when all dreams night
into marred perception
not dumbing, not plumbed down,
not dumbwaiving for godot,
but God inspired;
smart aleck dolt,
no horrific tulips
of the poisonous
no foreordained inscrutables
no despairing dilemmas
instead that everlasting jolt
of infinite compassion
fearless locutions from the heart,
--not verbal or literal executes--
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
By Mark Cunningham
__________. 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.
__________. 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.
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.
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
By Sheila A. Murphy
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.
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
In the pith of a sad meander
For Charlottesville, for the Unstable
'3/&$*@%!%6B%)$'$*/.1!!!! ! !
/&!)&41(*.0!18/0'.9B/1$%&1!!!! ! !!!!
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
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
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
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
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
(BOOK REVIEW of Melancholia by Heller Levinson, Mary Newell,
Will Alexander, Linda Lynch)
BY ALISON ROSS
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.
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.
By GREGORY AUTRY WALLACE
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!
Book Review by Tim Goodyear
Floating World Comics 2016
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
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
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
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.
The Red Sun
By Bob Heman
By SHEILA MUPRHY
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
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
SOLEIL AND QUETZAL: