Klox and Katz Ink

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

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


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ISSUE 38<br />



ALI CAT<br />




SOLEIL<br />









Issue 38 of Clockwise Cat - aka <strong>Klox</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Katz</strong> <strong>Ink</strong> - is not formally themed<br />

like some of our past issues – <strong>and</strong> even those issues have more of an<br />

informal theme, as I don’t require writers <strong>and</strong> artists to adhere to a theme<br />

<strong>and</strong> actually don’t even decide on one until the last minute, on a whim. But<br />

for this issue, I thought I would pervade it with themed imagery from a<br />

recent inspiring installation at the beloved graffiti-splattered Krog Street<br />

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

Nazi types – after all, their Gr<strong>and</strong> Wizard is in the White Supremacist<br />

House – we must fight back vociferously against the toxic tenets of bigotry.<br />

And while there is a lot to be said for more bellicose opposition groups like<br />

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

hatred with the sweet waters of pure love.

Two Satirical Ads by John Wesick<br />


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MINDED By Fred White<br />

Asking people what sign they’re under might make for lighthearted party banter;<br />

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

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

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

governed by celestial forces. Astronomical facts just aren’t compelling enough to dispel<br />

that longing.<br />

But compromise is possible! Welcome to the New Astrology, whereby the astronomical<br />

discoveries of the past half-century have finally had an influence on the venerable<br />

pseudo-science. No more balderdash about the Moon entering the Seventh House or<br />

bellicose Mars looping ominously through peaceful Aquarius. There are now new signs<br />

that are certain to resonate with younger generations, especially those who have taken<br />

Intro to Astronomy during their sophomore year. To wit:<br />

SUMBLAC, the Super-Massive Black Hole lurking at the center of our galaxy, replacing<br />

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

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<br />

predominance in the business world may undermine your trustworthiness.<br />

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

to struggle with an inferiority complex, yet always manage to regain their self-esteem<br />

Like Pluto, once a noble Planet, now reclassified as a Kuiper Belt Dwarf Planet, you are<br />

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

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

get the better of you. Indeed, a lawsuit could work in your favor.<br />

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

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

enterprising sibling, one who is always looking for ways to undermine or take credit for<br />

your accomplishments. You will discover ingenious ways of retaining your status as the<br />

Alpha in the family.<br />

CORBOP, the Cosmic Ray Bombardment Phenomenon; formerly Cancer the Crab (June<br />

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

intimidate others. Like your Sign, which, according to astrophysicists, emanates from the<br />

Big Bang itself, your energy levels are inexhaustible <strong>and</strong> can reach levels of near-lethal<br />

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

SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, formerly Leo the Lion<br />

(July23-August 22). Pride <strong>and</strong> independent mindedness are the dominant Sofian traits.<br />

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

observer, not only of people but of natural (especially celestial) phenomena. The only<br />

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

your destiny as an engineer <strong>and</strong> versatile h<strong>and</strong>yperson who will never fall prey to<br />

unscrupulous mechanics.<br />

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

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

you project purity mingled with earthiness <strong>and</strong> coupled with the promise of the<br />

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

your unsullied demeanor with your earthier innermost self, or risk the loss of an<br />

extraordinary destiny.<br />

DARMAT, Dark Matter (formerly Libra, Scales, September 23-October 23). Darmats<br />

want to be inconspicuous, ideally invisible, yet at the same time wish to pursue activities<br />

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

ground between these contradictory traits. Hint: give equal consideration to contradictory<br />

points-of-view. Remember that your success hangs in the balance.<br />

LOPOC, the long-period Oort Cloud Comet (formerly Scorpio, the Scorpion, October<br />

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

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

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

your best interest this coming holiday season to avoid crashing parties—you could get<br />

stung.<br />

WORHOL, the Wormhole, formerly Sagittarius, the Archer (November 23-December<br />

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

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

elations with friends <strong>and</strong> associates. Maintain this reputation; it will bring you a rich<br />

bounty.<br />

CORMAJ, a Coronal Mass Ejection Event, formerly Capricorn the Goat (December 22-<br />

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

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

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

GLEISE, the Red Dwarf Star Gleise 876, in the constellation Aquarius; bearer of a<br />

planetary system including the super-earth Gleise 876-d; formerly Aquarius the Water<br />

Bringer (January 20-February 18). Nobody truly can underst<strong>and</strong> you, <strong>and</strong> that is how you<br />

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

of yourself. Stay mysterious! It will ensure peaceful interactions. When invited to<br />

receptions, bring libations.<br />

ETAQ, the Cepheid Variable Star Eta Aquilae (formerly Pisces, the Fish, February 19-<br />

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

to determine cosmic distances, you have a mercurial nature—easily confused with bipolar<br />

disorder. Unlike those afflicted with bipolar disorder, though, you can control your<br />

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

new surroundings; but subdued <strong>and</strong> contemplative among family. During your next signperiod,<br />

expect to be swept along in a current of daunting but satisfying challenges.<br />

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

Praxis, Mad Hat Lit, Pidgeonholes, Limestone, <strong>and</strong> elsewhere. He lives near Sacramento,<br />


The Political Pundit<br />

By Eric Suhem<br />

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

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

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

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

Clutching his journalism award coffee mug, Morton pontificated on such subjects as the<br />

roles of televised <strong>and</strong> printed news in society, the fracturing impact of the Internet on<br />

traditional news sources, <strong>and</strong> the blurred line between news & entertainment. He went on<br />

<strong>and</strong> on, as those in the room stared into their phones.<br />

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

on the other side of the political fence in televised roundtables. He established himself as<br />

a fixture in the world of political punditry, <strong>and</strong> constantly provided opinions. On most<br />

televised appearances, Morton was indignant about what the other critics had said about<br />

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

comments on the reactions to his previous observations, offering essential input to the<br />

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

to the tweets <strong>and</strong> posts, as a high volume of amplified social media interaction would<br />

guarantee a higher amount of interest in his remarks.<br />

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

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

laundromat, who on his free time created abstract paintings of washers, dryers, rolling<br />

wire clothes baskets, <strong>and</strong> other clothes-cleaning items. “You know, Les, it’s important to<br />

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

feeling the familiar pang of disappointment in Les’ life choices. Les just smiled, <strong>and</strong><br />

continued painting.<br />

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

the washers <strong>and</strong> dryers. Les enjoyed creating acrylic paintings of detergent, <strong>and</strong> his<br />

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

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

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

Les to one of the laundromat’s customers, who shrugged <strong>and</strong> continued folding her<br />

clothes. Les decided to embark on a new art project focusing on Dryer #3.<br />

At family gatherings, Morton regaled his kin with tales of Beltway intrigue, replete with<br />

double-crosses, backstabs, <strong>and</strong> gossip. When asked how things were going at the<br />

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

out <strong>and</strong> create sculptures exploring dry cleaning. The family didn’t know what to make of<br />

Les’ artistic explorations. “Well Les will be Les,” said Morton, <strong>and</strong> they laughed.<br />

As Morton continued to make a name for himself in political punditry, Les decided to<br />

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

view’. Tragically, he was unable to engage the latch to extricate himself from the<br />

machine, <strong>and</strong> was tumble-desiccated to death, banging frantically on the dryer door while<br />

customers folded their clothes.<br />

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

painting truly emblematic of a time <strong>and</strong> place in American history,” called the auctioneer<br />

<strong>and</strong> the bidding accelerated furiously at the auction house, much to Morton’s disbelief.<br />

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

future artists, who created paintings <strong>and</strong> sculptures based not only on laundry machines,<br />

but also clothes hampers <strong>and</strong> ironing boards. Les’ name lived on in history, known for<br />

launching a genre of Laundry Art.<br />

Morton would continue as a political commentator for another twenty years, <strong>and</strong> when he<br />

retired, another herd of pundits replaced him, doing the exact same thing, commenting on<br />

who said what about whom.<br />

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

Author bio: The author is Professor of Humanities – Moscow University Touro.<br />

Europeans: The Most Brutal<br />

of All Time?<br />

by Dr. Paul Kindlon<br />

Let us begin with the spiritual words uttered by the 16th century German<br />

preacher <strong>and</strong> theologian Thomas Muentzer:<br />

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

turn away from God. The sword is necessary to exterminate them ... if they<br />

resist let them be slaughtered without mercy ... don't be moved by pity ... At<br />

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

Sound familiar?<br />

Many will complain that the comparison is unfair, but history teaches us to<br />

be very wary of Europeans. Here’s why…<br />

*“Christian “ Europeans executed perhaps as many as half a million<br />

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

women.<br />

*“Christian” Europeans committed genocide against millions of native<br />

American Indians from the 15th century all the way up to the middle of the<br />

19th. Estimates range from 15 to 50 million.<br />

*“Christian” Europeans gave us the freedom-crushing 20th century political<br />

ideology called “Fascism”. This monstrous authoritarian <strong>and</strong> racist<br />

movement led to as many as 40 million deaths including six million Jews in<br />

the well-documented “holocaust” <strong>and</strong> 26 million Soviet citizens.<br />

*“Christian” Europeans – in this case the Brits- attempted genocide against<br />

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

legendary racist Winston Churchill alone was responsible for six million<br />

Indian deaths during WWII.

*“Christian” Europeans started the slave trade from Africa to America. 10<br />

million may have died as a direct result of the Atlantic slave trade. Those<br />

who survived the perilous journey were sold into abject slavery at the h<strong>and</strong>s<br />

of “Christian” Europeans living in America’s old South.<br />

*“Christian” Europeans enthusiastically waged war <strong>and</strong> terrorism against<br />

non-believers in six Crusades throughout the Middle-East over a 200 year<br />

period. Because few records were kept of the battle fatalities no one knows<br />

the exact figure of victims. Some say one million; others 7 million.<br />

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

few decades choosing peace <strong>and</strong> prosperity over war. But is that about to<br />

change? Is “Christian” Europe backsliding <strong>and</strong> reverting to her old ways?<br />

Was the recent rape of Libya, perhaps, a foreshadowing of darker days<br />

ahead? Could the old Europe soon return <strong>and</strong> bring about massive death <strong>and</strong><br />

destruction even more gruesome <strong>and</strong> on an even greater scale than its<br />

previous crimes against humanity?<br />

Consider the dilemma of the current Russian government as it watches on<br />

nervously while European military forces under the direction of NATO<br />

encroach upon Russian territory year after year. Think about the trepidation<br />

of the war planners as they try to defend themselves from a European<br />

military alliance that spends 10 times more than the Russians - approaching<br />

its borders from three sides. A daunting task.<br />

The track record of “Christian” Europe is obviously not terribly good – to<br />

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

the very last time.

The Illuminati Program (Deprogrammed)<br />

by Selah Grenewood<br />

In the eye is your bruise<br />

Repetition of the code, which is typified. Repeat, squ<strong>and</strong>er, retreat. Conceal, don’t reveal.<br />

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

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

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

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

diamond pack – the back is the terrain where there is nothing growing but extraction <strong>and</strong><br />

reducing.<br />

Stay in the field of wires <strong>and</strong> blushing flowers. When they take your blood you grow oldest. You<br />

are canonized.<br />

The diamond back <strong>and</strong> what cracks is light shreds, holes in your psyche. You are mortal,<br />

wounded, envisaged <strong>and</strong> closing what crack spills wide. They assume you are completed. A<br />

fixation. A diversion. A template -- that can be rendered useful or useless.<br />

The diamond back spins prism on everything: on your food, on your body <strong>and</strong> in your mind. It<br />

calls itself after a back door where they deny, hollow, <strong>and</strong> cast you in pillars of dense white<br />

powder that they claim is light <strong>and</strong> God.<br />

They chimed in spectral, Eros has found you back. Eros has found you back. When captured <strong>and</strong><br />

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

dissonance.<br />

Repeat. Squ<strong>and</strong>er. Retreat<br />

Your head is wobbly <strong>and</strong> a screen fitted therein. This screen covered the person, fitted on as<br />

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

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.<br />

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

intention the haunting. The knowledge was buried <strong>and</strong> it could not surface. If it did this second<br />

ghost haunted.<br />

Bugs squirming in dreams. Butcher knives down sharp against bloody arms. The incubus pressure<br />

at night. Hysteria with people.<br />

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

leads to a hole. There something is buried <strong>and</strong> then exhumed with tools <strong>and</strong> distillation which<br />

then leads to further implantation.<br />

You Don’t Remember Anything. We are the Gods. Repeat. A black <strong>and</strong> bloody spin. Squ<strong>and</strong>er.<br />

It is night… there is a dark river<br />

Blood flowing over<br />

Dripping, tripping in the woods<br />

Where is the house?<br />

The halls make one light filled as they quadruple into locked hemispheres <strong>and</strong> loops. The<br />

diamond back is your Garrison. You are more than one <strong>and</strong> when we comm<strong>and</strong> it you will<br />

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

found you back. When you wake up you will walk the bridge through the rainbow. Retreat.<br />

Awake. On a strip, bruised <strong>and</strong> bloody. Where is the diamond that dangles? The light? Sweet<br />

crushed sanguine light. Something is fuzzy. One must walk the bridge. That is the Word.<br />

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

bridge through the rainbow; it is to walk the bridge to get to the rainbow – to walk with life. You<br />

cannot take life away without death in life, life in death. There is a window that is life. There is a<br />

reflection that is death. When the window is opened, there is only the One.<br />

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

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

What’s beyond it is the stream.<br />

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

sanctity <strong>and</strong> death’s sanctity, which is merely a different state of living.<br />

Deprogrammed by her Soul. The conclusion is free will. Underst<strong>and</strong>ing mines – a child of God<br />

above sacrifices <strong>and</strong> cesspools, spindles <strong>and</strong> spinning wheels, above commerce <strong>and</strong> crash, ashes<br />

<strong>and</strong> lust. What bled out from her was what they gave.<br />

Author bio: Selah’s work is featured in Teen <strong>Ink</strong>, Mother Verse, Positive Outlooks, The<br />

Sound, Gravel, New Spirit <strong>and</strong> Metapsychosis journal.

Surprised by Charlottesville?<br />

You Haven’t Been<br />

Paying Attention<br />

By Steven Singer<br />

America is a funny place.<br />

On the one h<strong>and</strong>, we’re one of the first modern Democracies, a product of<br />

Enlightenment thinking <strong>and</strong> unabashed pluralism <strong>and</strong> cultural diversity.<br />

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

economics, politics <strong>and</strong> cultural mores.<br />

We’re the l<strong>and</strong> of Benjamin Franklin, the Wright brothers, Duke Ellington, Toni<br />

Morrison, <strong>and</strong> S<strong>and</strong>ra Day O’Connor.<br />

But we’re also the l<strong>and</strong> of Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Charles Lindberg,<br />

Bull Connor, <strong>and</strong> David Duke.<br />

Tolerance <strong>and</strong> love are as American as apple pie. But so are racism, sexism,<br />

prejudice <strong>and</strong> anti-Semitism.<br />

"It is not as though the United States is the l<strong>and</strong> of opportunity, or a hypocritical<br />

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

context."<br />

So this week when people saw Nazis marching openly in Charlottesville, Virginia,<br />

the only thing that was really so surprising about it was how surprised so many<br />

people seem to be.<br />

“That’s not my America!” they seem to be saying.<br />

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

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

advanced!? The shade of your epidermis determines the likelihood of police<br />

arresting you, charging you, even killing you regardless of your having a weapon,<br />

whether you resist arrest or simply lie on the ground with your h<strong>and</strong>s in the air.

Regardless of the evidence, if you’re convicted, the length <strong>and</strong> severity of the<br />

sentence are all partially determined by the amount of melanin in your skin. The<br />

cultural derivation of the name on your resume determines the likelihood of<br />

employers calling you back for an interview. In many places, your rights are<br />

legislated based on whom you love.<br />

Our schools are segregated. Our taxes are levied most heavily on those with the<br />

least means to pay. Our prisons house more black people today than did slave<br />

plantations in the 1860s.<br />

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

will not replace us"? Seriously?) somehow doesn’t compute?<br />

Come on. This is America. Racism <strong>and</strong> prejudice are not threats smuggled in past<br />

border security. They’ve always been here. At least since Europeans came offering<br />

trade <strong>and</strong> peace with one h<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> guns <strong>and</strong> smallpox with the other.<br />

The l<strong>and</strong> of the free was stolen from the Native Americans. Our national wealth<br />

was built on the backs of slaves. Our laws <strong>and</strong> electoral system were built to<br />

empower one group at the expense of others.<br />

Yet reformations in this process are rarely met with celebration. Instead of<br />

memorializing the end of slavery, we embrace the institution with fond<br />

remembrance.<br />

Nor did prejudice <strong>and</strong> bigotry end when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat,<br />

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

rights protests.<br />

America has always been a place hostile to the under privileged, the second sex,<br />

religious dissenters, the brown skinned.

At most, we had become less confrontational in recent years, but we never really<br />

changed our core values, our social structures, who has power <strong>and</strong> who does not.<br />

During my lifetime, people started to equate having a black President with the end<br />

of racism. Somehow they ignored the everyday reality for most black people.<br />

They ignored the constant prejudice against the poor, the continued bigotry against<br />

LGBTs, the Islamophobia, the increase in hate crimes.<br />

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

degree to which Americans are prejudiced. It’s the degree with which we’re<br />

willing to hide it.<br />

Whereas before racists would claim to be colorblind, that their actions were<br />

completely devoid of racial bias, today they sigh <strong>and</strong> repeat the dusty slogans of<br />

Jim Crow Alabama or 1930s Berlin.<br />

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

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

beyond all that. It was a brave new world, morning in America, <strong>and</strong> we were<br />

finally treating everyone equally – unless you looked at what we were actually<br />

doing.<br />

Mainly this is the reaction you get from white people. They rub their eyes <strong>and</strong> just<br />

can’t believe it.<br />

You don’t see this too often from people of color, Muslims, LGBTs <strong>and</strong> some<br />

Jews. Why? Because they never had the luxury to ignore it.<br />

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

issues come up, we have a knee jerk reaction to minimize it.<br />

Things aren’t that bad. You’re just blowing it out of proportion.<br />

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

looking reality square in the face.<br />

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

marching through Southern streets br<strong>and</strong>ishing swastikas <strong>and</strong> assault rifles, it<br />

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

haven’t been doing their homework.

We’ve been living in a bubble. Especially those living in major metropolitan areas.<br />

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

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

have a black friend, you like authentic Mexican food <strong>and</strong> you laugh while<br />

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

outside your door.<br />

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

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

an office where that one token person of color makes you feel sophisticated <strong>and</strong><br />

open-minded.<br />

You’ve got to wake up. You’ve got to educate yourself about race <strong>and</strong> class in<br />

America.<br />

Because those people you saw in Charlottesville aren’t an anomaly.<br />

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

something about it.<br />

You can’t hide behind denial. You have to take a st<strong>and</strong>, pick a side, <strong>and</strong> be<br />

counted.<br />

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

now - do you want to br<strong>and</strong>ish or extinguish them?<br />

Editor’s Note: Steven Singer’s editorials are always reprinted with<br />

permission from the author. Check out his terrific blog at<br />


Donald Trump’s<br />

By Joshua Hall<br />

Problem<br />

The internet is a dark, dangerous alley to go stumbling down on a late night<br />

when paranoia's got hold of your better judgement <strong>and</strong> you're stalking a hideous<br />

mythological beast said to prey on goats <strong>and</strong> small pets. Most of the sites carry warnings<br />

like this:<br />

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

Put away the goats <strong>and</strong> any other household pets, my friends, cause the Chupacabra may<br />

be coming to a barn near YOU."<br />

The online Chupacabra flackery, however apocryphal, is a welcomed distraction from the<br />

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

talking-head-administration-intermediaries are an amusing nuisance, <strong>and</strong> some<br />

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

filling up an hour of each day with such obvious bullshit.<br />

Nevertheless, I turned away from the bloodthirsty, bestial internet crank-sites to the<br />

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

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

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

alien aesthetically corrupted by a lifetime of accepting large sums of money to spin truth<br />

into a tangled web of political gobbledygook. The self-loathing that accompanies such a<br />

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

from the sinister fiend, its haughty disdain for decency so inbred, so unnatural, that I<br />

knew I had come face-to-face with the Chupacabra itself.<br />

The beast bore a strong resemblance to Kellyanne Conway, self-proclaimed adviser to the<br />

President of the United States. The cosmetic surgery couldn't hide the wear <strong>and</strong> tear of<br />

whoring her integrity around Washington D.C. for the better part of her<br />

adult existence. Ultimately there is no portrait in the attic for Kellyanne, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

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

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

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

Chupacabra-human union, which technically would make her half-Chupacabra. There is<br />

no official term for such a hybrid, <strong>and</strong> I am afraid to consult further any search engine on<br />

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

entity which owes no allegiance to anything other than its own advantage. The<br />

Chupacabra plans, schemes, connives, always with the intention to kill.<br />

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

the script of a Comm<strong>and</strong>er in Chief deep in his Tiger-Penis-addict web of denial <strong>and</strong><br />

untruth. I was witnessing the physical manifestations of Evil progressively wear down a<br />

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

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

isolation <strong>and</strong> detachment from meaningful human connection <strong>and</strong> experience; a savage,<br />

self-serving existence of little consequence.<br />

Is her tragedy worth our compassion? Imagine looking in the mirror every day <strong>and</strong> seeing<br />

a disfigured image of self totally <strong>and</strong> completely full of someone else's shit, someone<br />

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

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

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

this early twenty-first century has produced something truly spectacular: a living visual<br />

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

<strong>and</strong> waking lives with the gospel of hatred <strong>and</strong> death.<br />

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

versus Kellyanne Conway the Chupacabra, WWE style. Who will win that<br />

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

any careful reader of Suetonius will remember, Agrippina didn't survive.<br />

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

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*.!$(%!0%.&%!/#!*.@%1$*0'$*@%!1'$*&%-!5(*)(!38%.+1!*.)*1*@%!(42/&!'.+!<br />

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48$*2'$%!'*2!/#!$(%!%11',1-!'))/&+*.0!$/!V'88-!*1!$(%!B4&14*$!/#!W'!$&4$(!5/&$(!<br />


PITY THE<br />

By Steven Singer<br />

It’s gotta’ be tough to be a corporate school reformer these days.<br />

Betsy DeVos is Education Secretary. Donald Trump is President. Their entire Koch<br />

Brothers-funded, ALEC-written agenda is national policy.<br />

But their stripes are showing – big time.<br />

The NAACP has turned against their school privatization schemes. The Journey for<br />

Justice Alliance is having none of it. The Movement for Black Lives is skeptical. Even<br />

their trusty neoliberal Democratic allies are seeking to put some distance between them.<br />

And it’s making them look… sad.<br />

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

disenfranchisement, the Muslim ban <strong>and</strong> building a wall.<br />

Charter schools – YES! Voucher schools – YES! Public schools – NO.<br />

High stakes testing is going gangbusters pushed by the federal government with little<br />

interference from the states.<br />

Common Core is in almost every school while the most state legislatures do about it is<br />

consider giving it a name change.<br />

And in every district serving students of color <strong>and</strong> the poor, budgets are being slashed to<br />

pieces to make room for another juicy tax cut for the rich.<br />

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

increased – <strong>and</strong> somehow found a way to double-triple down on it!<br />

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

What’s wrong, Michelle Rhee <strong>and</strong> Campbell Brown? Is that a tear I see in Peter<br />

Cunningham’s eye?<br />

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

realized all children deserve a robust, authentic education, not just the market-driven<br />

chance of – maybe – a quality education.<br />

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

he’s being – gulp – honest.<br />

He’s actually saying what he means. He’s throwing back the curtain exposing all the<br />

racist, classist, capitalist motivations behind corporate education reform.<br />

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

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

Barack would apologize for it. He’d clothe it in the language of civil rights <strong>and</strong> make it<br />

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

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

the very concept of civil rights, ignoring poverty as fake news <strong>and</strong> just making an all out<br />

ass of himself <strong>and</strong> everyone with whom he associates.<br />

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

it.I almost pity you.<br />

What a dark world you must inhabit. To take these sinister schemes that brutalize<br />

children <strong>and</strong> actually believe in them! Take charter schools.<br />

Imagine sincerely believing that poor black kids deserve to go to schools that aren’t<br />

controlled by school boards but instead by unelected bureaucrats. Imagine thinking the<br />

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

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

know what, it’s for their own good, say the reformers!<br />

Imagine thinking that the amount of melanin in your skin should determine whether your<br />

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

meetings, even whether they have to follow the same safety protocols <strong>and</strong> regulations as<br />

traditional public schools!<br />

WHITE SCHOOLS – not for profit, spend the budget all on the students. BLACK<br />


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

it somehow benefited poor folks. Letting the Walton’s pocket a few thous<strong>and</strong> from their<br />

kids exclusive private school tuition doesn’t help Ma <strong>and</strong> Pa Six Pack. Nor does offering<br />

a discount to the kind of parochial schools that brainwash kids into thinking that<br />

evolution is evil, climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, <strong>and</strong> slavery was just God’s will.<br />

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

network <strong>and</strong> an obvious one like the President’s Trump University.<br />

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

look so down.<br />

Imagine pushing st<strong>and</strong>ardized tests as if they were a technological breakthrough. They’ve<br />

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

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

In America, st<strong>and</strong>ardized tests have been around since the 1910s where they were a<br />

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

imperfection of black <strong>and</strong> brown people <strong>and</strong> the superiority of whites. Imagine<br />

dem<strong>and</strong>ing something like that as a civil right!<br />

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

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

biased tests that will show how few resources poor black kids get <strong>and</strong> then use that as a<br />

justification for giving them fewer resources, closing their schools <strong>and</strong> privatizing them.<br />

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

What do they have to gain by all this? Money.<br />

St<strong>and</strong>ardized testing is a multi-billion dollar industry. School privatization is a multibillion<br />

dollar industry. If you can find a way to suck up federal, state <strong>and</strong> local tax dollars<br />

meant to educate children <strong>and</strong> divert that into your private bank account, well you’ve just<br />

struck it rich!<br />

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

you take advantage of the underprivileged. That’s why they’re underprivileged in the first<br />

place!<br />

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

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<br />

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

we can add to their response to criticisms that charter schools increase segregation – I<br />

know you are but what am I?<br />

The folks at the Education Post, a propag<strong>and</strong>a network passing off most of this nonsense<br />

as if it were legitimate news <strong>and</strong> funded by $12 million from the Broads, the Waltons <strong>and</strong><br />

other usual suspects, they must really be desperate.<br />

They’ve sold their souls to the Devil <strong>and</strong> may not even get a good return on the<br />

investment.<br />

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

be irreversible.<br />

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

getting much done. And with multiple new sc<strong>and</strong>als everyday <strong>and</strong> increasing calls for<br />

impeachment, time is running out.<br />

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

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

empathy, kindness, pity.<br />

Well almost.<br />

Editor’s Note: Steven Singer’s editorials are always reprinted with permission from the<br />

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

POESIE<br />

!<br />


Boil<br />


Two poems by Michael Marrotti<br />

Stalin's Moustache<br />

If Pittsburgh<br />

wore a moustache<br />

it would be a replica<br />

of Joseph Stalin's<br />

If Pittsburgh<br />

had nice things<br />

to say in general<br />

it would tell me<br />

to shut the fuck up<br />

about it<br />

Only missionary<br />

penetration here<br />

in Pittsburgh<br />

I'm surprised<br />

sodomy still isn't<br />

a crime of passion<br />

If you're expecting<br />

liberalism in this<br />

so-called blue state<br />

discard it as propag<strong>and</strong>a<br />

the free spirit's have<br />

a tendency to face<br />

relentless persecution<br />

It's the city<br />

I hate to love<br />

my birthright<br />

the place that gave me<br />

my lovely children

Till death do us part<br />

well I'm still waiting<br />

for a few in-laws to go<br />

before I emigrate<br />

to the west coast<br />

for what could be<br />

further disappointment<br />

A Contradiction Of The Doctrine<br />

Free thinking<br />

don't cost a thing<br />

come to think of it<br />

it's on the house<br />

The negation<br />

of asceticism<br />

<strong>and</strong> display<br />

of my appearance<br />

may be of dubious<br />

nature to you<br />

But that doesn't grant<br />

you the right<br />

regardless of how<br />

righteous<br />

To jump to the<br />

conclusion<br />

that I need help<br />

from the almighty above<br />

I'm close to him<br />

in this precise moment<br />

the pills have taken effect<br />

I'm soaring like George Soros<br />

Be that as it may<br />

I don't deal well

with missionary<br />

interlopers<br />

If you h<strong>and</strong> me<br />

one more<br />

of those self-help<br />

biblical pamphlets<br />

I will show you<br />

how hostile I am<br />

when the tranquility<br />

of these pills<br />

begins to wear off<br />

Author bio: Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh,<br />

using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in<br />

a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other<br />

people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When<br />

he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless<br />

shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work,<br />

please check out his book, F.D.A. Approved Poetry, available at<br />


TWO POEMS by Richard King Perkins II<br />

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

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

Pushcart, Best of the Net <strong>and</strong> Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a<br />

thous<strong>and</strong> publications including The Louisiana Review, Plainsongs, Texas Review, Hawai’i<br />

Review, Roanoke Review, Sugar House Review <strong>and</strong> The William <strong>and</strong> Mary Review. His poem<br />

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

"Nemesis" recently won the Songs Of Eretz Editor's Choice award.<br />

Droplets of Garnet<br />

As the night opens up<br />

to the first familiar invitation of violence<br />

<strong>and</strong> the honoring of mystery<br />

we join the avant-garde celebration<br />

awaiting the spray of calm<br />

as the night pulls in like a fistful of jacks<br />

<strong>and</strong> somber visions darken their legitimate servitude.<br />

In the enphantomed protest,<br />

costly dull plutonium<br />

severs husks of air <strong>and</strong> dust from blessed animals<br />

stripped of gauche display<br />

where imperishable moonlight<br />

encourages ancient impulses<br />

to underreport every spasm of pain.<br />

In the quest for cosmic justice<br />

the night pulls in like a fistful of tacks<br />

st<strong>and</strong>ing below tranquil basins<br />

awaiting retaliatory droplets of garnet to fall.<br />

My Every Verb<br />

You are my every verb<br />

as I st<strong>and</strong> here speaking<br />

while flowers of transposition<br />

arc above,<br />

petal to tongue<br />

scent to taste—<br />

the cider of almost dreams.<br />

Dark sheep gradually awaken,<br />

nouns of inactive salvage,<br />

unconscious to you<br />

the r<strong>and</strong>om needs<br />

of a delicate woman arrived<br />

wearing a checkered dress<br />

of bold <strong>and</strong> italics.

!<br />


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Author bio: J. TARWOOD has been a dishwasher, a community<br />

organizer, a medical archivist, a documentary film producer, an oral<br />

historian, <strong>and</strong> a teacher. Much of his life has been spent in East<br />

Africa, Latin America, <strong>and</strong> the Middle East. He has published three<br />

books, And For The Mouth A Flower, Gr<strong>and</strong> Detour <strong>and</strong> The Cats In<br />

Zanzibar, <strong>and</strong> his poems have appeared in magazines ranging<br />

from American Poetry Review to Visions. He has always been an<br />

unlikely man in unlikely places.

Author bio: Jeri Thompson has been writing again after a long<br />

hiatus. At 60 she has recreated herself into one who shouts her<br />

family's secrets <strong>and</strong> tells her tale. You can find her work in Mas<br />

Tequila Review, Chiron Review, Yellow Chair Review <strong>and</strong> Cadence<br />

Collective <strong>and</strong> others. She was once nominated for a Pushcart Prize<br />

in 2013.<br />

Just Smile<br />

My father said<br />

I have Smiling Depression, I was told.<br />

It comes from my father always dem<strong>and</strong>ing,<br />

“Get that frown off your face, Smile."<br />

"Smile.”<br />

“Don’t look at me that way,”<br />

"Smile, SMILE!"<br />

“I’ll give you something to cry about.”<br />

"Smile!"<br />

Years later, told by many men:<br />

"Smile, you’re such a pretty girl when you Smile."<br />

"Smile!"<br />

“What’s wrong? You should Smile.”<br />

“!Smile more.”<br />

“You look tired, you should Smile.”<br />

"Just Smile.”<br />

“Give us a Smile, Sweetie”<br />

"Smile, Baby, Smile."<br />

Smile!<br />

Smile!! Just<br />


(fuck you!)<br />

Exsanguination<br />

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

I believed him.<br />

When he said, “You make me want to be a better man,”<br />

I believed that, too.<br />

Then he continued to date<br />

Other women. He liked to talk about them! <strong>and</strong><br />

How much better, smarter, prettier, sexier I was,<br />

(Soon I will be the chosen one, I thought).<br />

While I have never received a fist in the face like her,<br />

I am still my mother’s daughter.<br />

I can take a squared off punch in the gut like a heavyweight,<br />

Expecting it to be the last. It never is.<br />

Then, the tipping point!<br />

That place where I st<strong>and</strong> upright again.<br />

There is no rush of blood to my head.<br />

Only the anemic dizziness of a woman<br />

All bled out.<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />


!<br />

!<br />


by AJ Huffman<br />

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!<br />

Author bio: Tara Roeder’s poetry <strong>and</strong> fiction have<br />

appeared in over thirty journals including 3 A:M<br />

Magazine, The Bombay Gin, Café Irreal,<br />

MonkeyBicycle, Hobart, Bateau, <strong>and</strong> Two Serious<br />

Ladies. She is the author of two chapbooks—(all<br />

the things you’re not), published by dancing girl<br />

press, <strong>and</strong> Maritime, published by Bitterzoet<br />

Press. She lives in New York City, where she makes<br />

her living as an Associate Professor of Writing<br />

Studies. She’s a vegan, a feminist, <strong>and</strong> a closet<br />

A-Team fan.<br />

Author Statement: I’m intensely drawn to the idea<br />

of the heteroclite—what Michel Foucault has<br />

described as “the disorder in which fragments of a<br />

large number of possible orders glitter separately<br />

in the dimension.” I want to create texts that are<br />

permeable <strong>and</strong> playful; I’m a fan of unlikely<br />

juxtapositions, unexpected catalogues, r<strong>and</strong>om<br />

lists, <strong>and</strong> tiny surprises. I take pleasure in<br />

writing pieces whose outcomes I can’t predict. And<br />

I also view engaging with the unable-to-beanticipated<br />

as a tiny act of resistance to the<br />

absolute boringness that is patriarchy.

the minor gods of the pantheon are tired of being<br />

overlooked<br />

synonyms for rebellion include insurgence,<br />

upheaval, <strong>and</strong> princess leia.<br />

cloacina the sewer goddess <strong>and</strong> febris the fever<br />

queller<br />

slouch low in a dive bar booth.<br />

though not a god herself, delilah reads apocrypha,<br />

buys a slingshot<br />

<strong>and</strong> gets a haircut.<br />

sunbathing<br />

the neighbor is<br />

a saint. floating in a blue lagoon.<br />

says things like<br />

magazine cut-ups,<br />

dreams things like<br />

taco tuesdays<br />

with william s. burroughs <strong>and</strong><br />

valerie j. solanas.<br />

i crave her manicure.<br />

the long isl<strong>and</strong> medium <strong>and</strong> this generation’s bonnie<br />

<strong>and</strong> clyde<br />

crimes include pillaging <strong>and</strong> forging dr. phil’s<br />

signature<br />

they wake with matching dreams<br />

of glass papered caves covered in shag carpet<br />

<strong>and</strong> tiny tiny icicles<br />

they owe it all to that crooked psychic<br />

fig, the ripened ovary of ficus carica<br />

nobody listens to Cass<strong>and</strong>ra.

(who won the space wars/the names of multiple<br />

medieval torture devices/why the clocks were<br />

melting/usurious percentages)<br />

floating fig trees drop offspring<br />

uneaten by neighborhood urchins<br />

who have been forewarned/spun into spiderwebs<br />

as a young girl, she was the recipient of a<br />

h<strong>and</strong>some collection<br />

of tightly bound instruction manuals sewn together<br />

with human hair:<br />

how to pickle figs. how to operate a table<br />

saw. how to find the perimeter of a large museum.<br />

how to ascertain the wingspan of the formidable<br />

pterodactyl<br />

panic dance<br />

i was especially drawn to this employment<br />

opportunity because of the asbestos smell,<br />

the way you dot your ts <strong>and</strong> cross your eyes.<br />

if you peruse my skill set you will discover<br />

my longst<strong>and</strong>ing devotion to lesser known saints,<br />

such as Dymphna, murdered by her pagan father,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Polycarp, who would not burn.<br />

my greatest weakness is that i never stop smelling<br />

fire.<br />

your filing cabinet is on fire.<br />

the ladies’ bingo club discusses the invention of<br />

the internet<br />

they know al gore didn’t invent the internet. they<br />

don’t know who invented the internet. they don’t<br />

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

the true nature of the internet. they speculate on<br />

the nature of its inventor—inquisitive, forward<br />

thinking, <strong>and</strong> perhaps, one wisely suggests,<br />

skittish in the company of others. they know how<br />

to bake babka, something you can actually put in<br />

your mouth . that’s one thing they know. they do<br />

not know if the inventor of the internet has a food<br />

allergy.<br />

my first boyfriend<br />

my first boyfriend lived under water, composed of<br />

phantom limbs <strong>and</strong> seaweed hair. we met on an<br />

ab<strong>and</strong>oned pirate ship. his name was george pirate<br />

ship. his interests included taking long walks in<br />

squid territory <strong>and</strong> attempting to tame wild<br />

lobsters. he had purple sneakers. (yes, totally<br />

soaking wet purple sneakers.)<br />

what will you do when the honey’s gone<br />

sleight h<strong>and</strong> slip<br />

i say i want you<br />

<strong>and</strong> have you noticed the things that look like<br />

caterpillars but are not caterpillars?<br />

trying to be nonchalant<br />

you say you teach creative spelling<br />

<strong>and</strong> onomatopoeia<br />

to give an example<br />

you buzz like a bee<br />

<strong>and</strong> i say have you read the bees are dying<br />

it’s really really sad<br />

<strong>and</strong> you say there’s a song for that<br />

there’s a song for everything<br />

but sometimes it’s just sounds




By Dr. Mel Waldman !<br />

!<br />

(on reading Harold Norse’s poem-Hotel Nirvana)!<br />

Born!<br />

in the Void,!<br />

!<br />

black flower of nothingness, phantom in metamorphosis, !<br />

becoming the un-unreal efflorescence,!<br />

!<br />

I am!<br />

free-flowing non-thoughts floating in the enchanted castle!<br />

&!<br />

cosmic waves & particles rushing across metaphysical rhapsodies & rivers!<br />

!<br />

passing!<br />

through a kaleidoscopic opening in the Mind’s Eye!<br />

&!<br />

awakening, !<br />

!<br />

one fateful moment inside a strange consciousness the fire of revelation the apocalyptic<br />

motion of the swirl of the dance of unfathomable light & darkness trapped in the<br />

enchanted castle in the country of duality,!<br />

!<br />

I!<br />

gaze into the House of My Soul!<br />

&!<br />

within my indecipherable mystery-the unborn creation of the Source,!<br />

!<br />

I!<br />

discover the Lilliputian House of Mirrors where the Janus-faced mirror of my unborn self!<br />

!<br />

hangs !<br />

above the Void!<br />

&!<br />

I inhale my overwhelming light & listen to the unfathomable darkness!<br />


swirling !<br />

around me in a dust storm of DNA!<br />

&!<br />

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

!<br />

I!<br />

shall come forth from nowhere, black flower of nothingness, !<br />

bursting into something-ness & the bliss of breath-the sacred cosmic breath;!<br />

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

!<br />

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

oneness of the whirling universe-shall be beautiful & strong inside the omnipotent sound!<br />

!<br />

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

mirror of death within-the oval darkness hiding in the whirling light & embrace the!<br />

!<br />

bestial blackness, like a father caressing his estranged son who comes home after lost<br />

decades-shall I breathe beauty again & dance in the circle of NIRVANA!<br />

!<br />

Author bio: Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, <strong>and</strong> writer whose stories<br />

have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE,<br />


AUDIENCE. His poems have been widely published in magazines <strong>and</strong> books<br />









POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he<br />

was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature <strong>and</strong> is the author of 11<br />



These are the first<br />

people<br />

By Samuel W. James<br />

to start talking to themselves.<br />

Nothing to sing about, just chatter.<br />

I need to be going south<br />

or to some kind of emotional outcome,<br />

but what small talk there is turns to me.<br />

After so long, talking is like playing Scrabble<br />

<strong>and</strong> I don’t say much.<br />

I notice rot has fused together the leaves<br />

of the drooping branches above,<br />

<strong>and</strong> a buzzard hovers nervously, not wanting to dive.<br />

Swans sail, people <strong>and</strong> places move;<br />

here outside, it’s rusting.<br />

I try leading this dizzy autumn towards winter so it can go on<br />

but dealing with people is like slapping iron. So I go on<br />

<strong>and</strong> talk turns back to the grit-blast wind,<br />

<strong>and</strong> how when blood comes out it freezes over.<br />

Author bio: Samuel W. James is a new writer from Yorkshire,<br />

who writes poems, short stories <strong>and</strong> novels. He has poems in <strong>Ink</strong><br />

Sweat <strong>and</strong> Tears, London Grip, Peeking Cat <strong>and</strong> Allegro. He is<br />

concerned about equality, civil rights <strong>and</strong> the well-being of his cat,<br />

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

Unbridled Birds<br />

By James D. Casey<br />

My skull feels twisted<br />

Backward behind the skin<br />

Brain aquiver <strong>and</strong><br />

Bombinating<br />

Mulling over the night's<br />

Astral events<br />

Odd details<br />

Only seen<br />

With a magnifying glass<br />

Inside a green<br />

Zinc coffin<br />

Called sleep<br />

I remember<br />

So many roads<br />

Old ones whispering<br />

Young ones crying<br />

Streets of imagination<br />

Upon the bed<br />

Of longing<br />

Strange <strong>and</strong> familiar faces<br />

Beyond the void<br />

I remember<br />

A cosmic tribe<br />

Ancient feathers<br />

From galactic owls<br />

Braided into their hair<br />

Dancing for rain<br />

On a distant planet<br />

Diamonds fall from the heavens<br />

Like water there<br />

I remember<br />

Dolorous mountains<br />

Making beautiful music

Serenading rivers of<br />

Raging scintillation<br />

Asking myself why<br />

Such magnificence<br />

Is surrounded by an air<br />

Of heavy sadness<br />

I remember<br />

Lachrymal tincture<br />

From a toothy moon<br />

Vomiting lunar brilliance<br />

Telling me secrets<br />

I did not want to hear<br />

While I<br />

Tied to an Amethyst cross<br />

Could not escape<br />

With a flash of light<br />

And a clap of thunder<br />

I suddenly awoke<br />

To a violent midday storm<br />

Stardust in my dried saliva<br />

Moon s<strong>and</strong> on my feet<br />

Glad to be home<br />

But anticipating my next departure<br />

Come nightfall my eyes<br />

Will become unbridled birds<br />

Traveling to worlds unseen<br />

In the light of day<br />

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

'Metaphorically Esoteric' & 'Dark Days Inside the Light While Drunk on Wine.'<br />

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

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

Between Hangovers, Poetry Breakfast, Spillwords, Micropoetry, Your One<br />

Phone Call, Scarlet Leaf Review, Words on Fire, <strong>and</strong> Leaves of <strong>Ink</strong>. Poetry Life<br />

& Times, Artvilla, <strong>and</strong> Realistic Poetry International all have him listed in their<br />

poet archives as well. You can find links to his projects<br />

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

Everything Red for the Queen<br />

By Michael Lee Johnson<br />

Everything is red<br />

in the kingdom of the queen.<br />

Matador hat with barnacles,<br />

witch white hair to the shoulders,<br />

tickling the breast.<br />

In her eyes are the blood shot<br />

of many vampires;<br />

in her heart the daggers<br />

of many soldiers.<br />

Five inky fingers

cross her throat<br />

like an ill-fitted necklace.<br />

Her dress is like heart charms,<br />

scales of fish dripping<br />

blood toward her toes.<br />

Withy, twists around her throat.<br />

Anglers of the court toss hooks<br />

toward her cherry red lips,<br />

capture the moment<br />

of the haze of purple<br />

surrounding her head.<br />

Everything is red<br />

in the kingdom of the queen.<br />

Death changes colors from red to blue.<br />

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

Vietnam era. He is a Canadian <strong>and</strong> USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor,<br />

publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner<br />

in Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than 935 small press<br />

magazines in 29 countries, <strong>and</strong> he edits 10 poetry sites.

A Stone in the Sky’s Eye<br />

By CL Bledsoe<br />

The sky is a stranger until it opens <strong>and</strong> becomes an enemy.<br />

Every drop must have a name. Every name must have a death.<br />

The question is how to love while living, how to remember before asked.<br />

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

Maybe a fear of falling, a fear of rising forever. Something to do with winds<br />

scouring its face free of all tears.<br />

The truth is whatever costs the least.<br />

Remember to eat bananas so your legs don’t cramp, lettuce <strong>and</strong> green things.<br />

Remember to drink your body weight in water every three weeks.<br />

If the clouds fall, put your head down like everyone else.<br />

Try to remember what it is to be dry.<br />

Someday, that memory might come true again.<br />

It’s so much easier to scream than to listen.<br />

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

Mountains will fall from the skies, knock the ground into the air.<br />

Imagine, to be a stone, flying.<br />

That moment of ascension, weightless before the plunge.<br />

Author bio: CL Bledsoe is the assistant editor for The Dead Mule <strong>and</strong><br />

author of fourteen books, most recently the poetry collection Trashcans in<br />

Love <strong>and</strong> the flash fiction collection Ray's Sea World. He lives in northern<br />

Virginia with his daughter.

Hey Natty! Yeah, Cracker? Have You Heard? What's<br />

that, Cracker? It's Over!<br />

By Daniel Crocker<br />

It's over, I say, it's over<br />

I'm going to kill myself tomorrow<br />

I woke up with a panic attack again<br />

My wife squeezes my left nipple<br />

hard<br />

Dear God, I say<br />

your fingers are like talons<br />

Well, she wants to know, are you<br />

thinking about something<br />

else at least?<br />

So, I tell her about<br />

when I was a kid<br />

a time of quiet minds<br />

that doesn't even seem real<br />

anymore<br />

My cousin used to make<br />

fun of me because I was<br />

too fat to climb a tree<br />

So I decided to show<br />

that little bastard what<br />

was what<br />

I went out back to<br />

his favorite climbing tree<br />

Tore off my Frankie Says<br />

Relax T-Shirt<br />

Pulled strength from a well<br />

of willpower I didn't know existed<br />

<strong>and</strong> embraced my<br />

destiny<br />

I made it about<br />

six inches<br />

before sliding down<br />

like a fireman <strong>and</strong>

ipping off a nipple<br />

against the bark<br />

Took it off like s<strong>and</strong>paper<br />

I said<br />

She pinched it again<br />

gentle this time<br />

It's there now, she says<br />

Sure, I say, but from eight<br />

to seventeen, I was a one nipple<br />

wonder<br />

It came back about the time<br />

I grew my awesome mullet<br />

Of course, we both know<br />

I'm not really<br />

thinking about anything else<br />

I'm only tell this story<br />

so she'll rest her head<br />

on my chest<br />

Sometimes, I still feel it<br />

I say, as she's falling back to sleep<br />

like an amputee might<br />

A ghost nipple<br />

crying out<br />

right where the new<br />

one is.<br />

Author bio: Daniel Crocker’s most recent books are Like a Fish <strong>and</strong> The One Where I<br />

Ruin Your Childhood, both by Sundress Publications. Recent work has appeared in The<br />

Chiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, New World Writing, The Kentucky Review,<br />

Fried Chicken <strong>and</strong> Coffee <strong>and</strong> many others.

Two poems<br />

By Arushi Singh<br />


Would you forgive me<br />

If I returned<br />

With marks on my arms<br />

And a<br />

Stranger’s<br />

breath in my<br />

nightmares?<br />


Don’t blame me<br />

I’m a wild lover of words<br />

I’d sit on my chair with two chambers in my chest<br />

<strong>and</strong> one in my gun<br />

the other h<strong>and</strong> shot bleeding blue.<br />

my Love<br />

bleeding ink for you to breathe<br />

like smoke from my lungs<br />

Author bio: A passionate writer <strong>and</strong> literature enthusiast, Arushi Singh has<br />

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

India, <strong>and</strong> is currently studying literature Mount Carmel College, Bangalore,<br />

<strong>and</strong> has developed an interest in postmodernist <strong>and</strong> postcolonial poetry with<br />

a focus on the marginal.<br />

'<br />

'<br />

'<br />



11/25/16<br />

By Tyson West<br />

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I re-read tonight<br />

Your “One Thous<strong>and</strong> Fearful Words For Fidel Castro” on this date of his death<br />

And the internet, that beacon of truth, proclaims he survived over 600<br />

assassination attempts<br />

I didn’t know they kept stats for such a thing<br />

Like major league homers by switch hitting Cuban left fielders, but<br />

Fidel did way better than Jesus who after all<br />

Bought the hacienda on the Pharisee’s first try.<br />

Just as I remember the azure eyed <strong>and</strong> Lady Clairol blond Jesus weeping over my<br />

pre-puberty sins,<br />

I vividly recall the young Fidel haunting my childhood’s end<br />

The bearded boogie man with big cigar <strong>and</strong> green army fatigues whining in the<br />

broken English of a Tijuana pimp.<br />

Seated at the right h<strong>and</strong> of Nikita <strong>and</strong> br<strong>and</strong>ed by Ike <strong>and</strong> Jack as the dark one,<br />

I had no idea that Fidel had driven out Batista <strong>and</strong> Lucky Luciano <strong>and</strong> Meyer<br />

Lansky<br />

Who peddled drugs to flabby American tourists<br />

Looking for a floating crap game <strong>and</strong> a blow job ninety miles away from our<br />

pristine shores.<br />

Hell, you would have thought the DEA <strong>and</strong> CIA<br />

Would have loved Fidel’s ass,<br />

Any enemy of sex <strong>and</strong> drugs is a friend of ours.<br />

But it was that commie thing<br />

That name you could call the skinny kid with glasses on the middle school<br />

playground like queer or faggot<br />

That back in those days would shut down any argument.<br />

While I was an acned middle school groad,<br />

Lawrence, good liberals like you<br />

Sensed the interplay of our cold warriors <strong>and</strong> warlords fancy dancing <strong>and</strong><br />

Walter Cronkite pontificating against the asbestos curtain backdrop of Schlitz beer<br />

<strong>and</strong> Camel cigarettes.<br />

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

I was scared shitless of fallout from a nuke from Havana hitting Clevel<strong>and</strong> ending<br />

the nothingness of my Halloween c<strong>and</strong>y<br />

Farting on Santa’s lap <strong>and</strong> my looking down Doris McAdoo’s blouse in study hall.<br />

But in the end your hero <strong>and</strong> my villain turned out the same<br />

Fidel survived his endless speeches at the UN <strong>and</strong> Revolutionary Square<br />

And boatlifted his opposition to Little Havana

Leaving Cuba, reclining like the Naked Maja, in the path of hurricanes <strong>and</strong><br />

tropical storms,<br />

To survive on Soviet <strong>and</strong> Venezuelan h<strong>and</strong>outs<br />

And build a damn good medical system so El Jefe need never trust a foreign<br />

surgeon.<br />

Smart enough to play his people against their government Fidel would blame<br />

Ten US presidents <strong>and</strong> their CIA directors for their eternally rebuild 58 De Sotos<br />

<strong>and</strong> lack of the internet<br />

Once Fidel ascended to the throne in 1959, even Ché knew the revolution was<br />

over <strong>and</strong> took his style off to Bolivia to leave his beautiful corpse in the<br />

Andes.<br />

Fidel never needing to replay his revolution<br />

Flipped off Republican or Democrat administrations with bipartisan furvor.<br />

In the same class as Generalissimo Francisco Franco who shot enough of the right<br />

people in the beginning,<br />

He received that greatest reward to which any dictator can aspire:<br />

A state funeral <strong>and</strong> nine days of mourning<br />

After dying in bed at 90.<br />

Author bio: Tyson West has published poetry, including haiku, traditional<br />

western poetry, free verse <strong>and</strong> experimental poetry <strong>and</strong> form verse <strong>and</strong> had two<br />

poems were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His Steampunk short story, “The<br />

Wulver”, was published in Voluted Tales <strong>and</strong> “The Thirteenth Victim”, a vampire<br />

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

Dead”. His poetry collection “Home-Canned Forbidden Fruit” is available from<br />

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

was published in 2014 by Red Dashboard Publishing, LLC.<br />

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Bustle Hustle<br />

By Rich Murphy<br />

The gig jig weighs against the debtor<br />

<strong>and</strong> journeyman alike, but wiggles<br />

with a feather for the stock-holding<br />

chief exploitation officer <strong>and</strong> beans spill.<br />

Disposable people with wall-flower addresses<br />

disappear into a dreaded truth:<br />

Taught to fear becoming.<br />

The dance instructor in some corner office<br />

choreographs three-step line jobs<br />

for the denial states <strong>and</strong> whole psyches<br />

slip on the electric slide: We.<br />

Don’t drink the Kool Aid <strong>and</strong> get high<br />

<strong>and</strong> tangled within corporate structure?<br />

Musicians tango with a one-horse carriage;<br />

artists Van Gogh without either ear;<br />

stock boys fetch when a distant whim wishes.<br />

The fishbowl, filled with colored water <strong>and</strong> sugar,<br />

waits on a giggle from the ice cube<br />

who rigs all the angles from the board.<br />

Unhappy with the exclusive arrangements<br />

that promise cameo appearances now-<strong>and</strong>-again,<br />

maybe next week, the crammers <strong>and</strong> jammers<br />

post whole lives for sale.

128 Words for Lies<br />

By Jeff Bagato<br />

You don’t just make one<br />

you make them all<br />

Charging on with a credit<br />

card from situation<br />

to situation, the payments<br />

a long way in the future<br />

& out of mind<br />

bending plastic back<br />

<strong>and</strong> forth makes a crease<br />

more pliable & flexible<br />

with each fold until<br />

it swings open like a gate<br />

through which every<br />

varmint large<br />

or small<br />

can enter<br />

freely<br />

<strong>and</strong> when the bombs<br />

start falling—<br />

critters large—<br />

<strong>and</strong> the tanks start<br />

rolling—<br />

critters large—<br />

<strong>and</strong> the jet fighters<br />

spinning—<br />

critters large—<br />

<strong>and</strong> the chewing<br />

mouths of diplomats<br />

gnaw on the apartments<br />

& theatres & bookstores<br />

<strong>and</strong> their eyes—big<br />

pupils staring, dead<br />

eyes without soul,<br />

that devour souls—<br />

their eyes—<br />

eyeing the women through<br />

their veils <strong>and</strong> even<br />

through the dark layers

of their robes—<br />

inspecting for something<br />

they can’t define & you can’t<br />

produce—<br />

critters large<br />

critters large<br />

while critters small run close to the ground<br />

wrapped in Kevlar &<br />

camo & leather & plastic—<br />

these action figures holding guns<br />

as big as themselves<br />

it’s easy to smile<br />

at the lies of critters<br />

small, but it’s the words<br />

& smiles & dead eyes<br />

of the critters large<br />

you have to fight, <strong>and</strong> there’s only<br />

one target cause<br />

the large ones<br />

have gone<br />

a long way<br />

to the future &<br />

out of<br />

our<br />

minds<br />

Author bio: Jeff Bagato is a writer <strong>and</strong> electronic musician living near Washington, DC.<br />

Some of his poetry has appeared in Zoomoozophone Review, Otoliths, Streetcake,<br />

Clockwise Cat, In Between Hangovers, Zombie Logic Review, Full of Crow, Exquisite<br />

Corpse, <strong>and</strong> Chiron Review. His most recent book of poetry, Savage Magic, came out in<br />

early 2016. Other poetry books include And the Trillions, Spells of Coming Day <strong>and</strong><br />

Cthulhu Limericks. He has also published several science fiction novels, including Kill<br />

Claus!, The Toothpick Fairy, Computing Angels, <strong>and</strong> Dishwasher on Venus. A blog<br />

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

Tupilak in Yoskeha<br />

By Joshua Gage<br />

The taste of swans<br />

draped with volcanoes.<br />

Spiritual seekers sought<br />

h<strong>and</strong> disciplines. The Queen,<br />

impassioned, climaxed at<br />

midnight, pleasing a familiar<br />

affection. Generally defined<br />

as singing to the alpine<br />

glaciers, she dances to<br />

re-enchant the shift of wind<br />

or red dark. Earth loses<br />

all its orange sunshine<br />

of stained twilight feathers.<br />

Victory. The battle throb of<br />

heart beat in different world weather.<br />

Half a mind with mud <strong>and</strong> grease.<br />

Author bio: Joshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Clevel<strong>and</strong>, His first<br />

full-length collection, breaths, is available from VanZeno Press. Intrinsic Night, a<br />

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

Publishing. His most recent collection, Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie<br />

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

Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a<br />

penchant for Pendleton shirts <strong>and</strong> any poem strong enough to yank the breath<br />

out of his lungs.<br />


Mind is a tumbling object<br />

By Dominick Damo<br />

Mind is a tumbling object, punctuated by loss <strong>and</strong> celebrated by splendor,<br />

unifying all opposites, churning through the drudgery <strong>and</strong> weeding out the<br />

nitkompoops once sought by the sages of millenia, hating each other <strong>and</strong><br />

sucking on the steelworkers prosthesis, raising questions about the nature of<br />

celery, celebrating by not triumphing, masticating but no strife, always<br />

thorough, always serene, stifling the will through the games, childhood<br />

raised like a barn <strong>and</strong> sullened by black light, illuminating to paths towards<br />

the ultimate farce, the ultimatum is a breakfast cereal, sullying the breaklines<br />

cut with strychnine, spelling through the teeth, under bellied, sullen, sullen,<br />

sullen, brick walls all lined up in a German aviator, cementing the ineptitude<br />

smitten by yesterday's follies, stopping all rational thought, stopping<br />

anchorage into Saturn's ring, ringing through the ears forlornly eaten, like a<br />

bag of potato chips, a cramp in the sea, eating crackers <strong>and</strong> wafers <strong>and</strong> light.<br />

Author bio: Dominick Damo's poems have been featured in several<br />

publications, including Peculiar Mormyrid, Misfits Miscellany, <strong>and</strong> in self<br />

published chapbooks. A former vagabond <strong>and</strong> anarchist writer, Dominick<br />

also has been involved with multiple experimental music projects <strong>and</strong><br />

released works under different monikers. He aims to slay the ordinary by<br />

subverting the fog that envelops <strong>and</strong> comprises ordinary waking<br />

consciousness <strong>and</strong> consensus reality through spontaneous acts of the<br />

sublime. Also, biscuits.

Two poems<br />

By Daniel Wilcox<br />

Starbacked<br />

Starbacked night, coffee-drunk sky;<br />

rows of cars meet<br />

at the red orb,<br />

anonymous<br />

a lone skateboarder foot-tricks<br />

waiting for the flash to sage green,<br />

his board-wheeler a bill of adding<br />

getting a toehold<br />

from the faceless<br />

hidden in their auto glass<br />

street<br />

fathomless<br />

when all dreams night<br />

into marred perception<br />

conundruming<br />

not dumbing, not plumbed down,<br />

not dumbwaiving for godot,<br />

no snare<br />

but God inspired;<br />

no theological<br />

smart aleck dolt,<br />

no horrific tulips<br />

of the poisonous<br />

calvin’s sort<br />

no foreordained inscrutables<br />

no despairing dilemmas<br />

but<br />

instead that everlasting jolt<br />

of infinite compassion

fearless locutions from the heart,<br />

--not verbal or literal executes--<br />

but<br />

generous movements<br />

of comfort <strong>and</strong> actions for the lost,<br />

the needy, the hurt,<br />

all those who suffer,<br />

<strong>and</strong> even those who surfeit;<br />

all inclusive, all in one,<br />

walking with the sun on the water<br />

of the moment<br />

Selah<br />

Author bio: Daniel's w<strong>and</strong>ering lines have appeared in many magazines in the United<br />

States, Canada, <strong>and</strong> overseas including Contemporary American Voices, Write Room,<br />

Static Movement, Word Riot, Fish Food, Poetry Pacific, Counterexample Poetics, <strong>and</strong><br />

Unlikely Stories IV.Before that Daniel hiked through the University of Nebraska, Cal<br />

State University, Long Beach (BA: Creative Writing), Montana, Pennsylvania, Europe,<br />

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

his quilting wife.

Two poems<br />

By Matthew F. Amati<br />

I Find Them In Bags<br />

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

Sometime! Bang! Lights Out! Adorable Carcinoma Fetches Gr<strong>and</strong>pa's Slippers!<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(But…Cake!)<br />

Come, There is Ham Here<br />

Blue lips blobbering, striding unguently abarft the beams of a sliss<strong>and</strong>ic seaborscht,<br />

where a maiden Armerica slaunters rape-eyed up gormless ladled bleachheads. Fib the<br />

cove's quarrons. Shave your moneygrams, horde your hordes of whorehound horrors, put<br />

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

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

frolic with the selves <strong>and</strong> furries, dunce the f<strong>and</strong>rinko awrongside scrambling skulls drug<br />

from the gravescarred. So out went the h<strong>and</strong>le <strong>and</strong> we were left drunkling.<br />

Author bio: Matthew Amati’s poetry has previously been published by White Knuckle<br />


Two poems<br />

by Ken Allan Dronsfield<br />

Burnt Toast <strong>and</strong> Tepid Tea<br />

Six am creeps, waiting for my ride<br />

freedom exists on the upper train<br />

the high road taken of lesser fury<br />

it's burnt toast <strong>and</strong> tepid tea again.<br />

Diamond ring shimmering like new<br />

but love is dusty, decrepit <strong>and</strong> cold<br />

like the tea <strong>and</strong> toast, just a waste.<br />

a rising sun finally warms my mood<br />

Jays enjoying toast; cats sipping tea.<br />

I just leave, time for a newer day.<br />

Amnesia Haze<br />

Within lofty daily trials<br />

life always in check<br />

gaze at self-made walls<br />

inhale an amnesia haze.<br />

Chastising red milestones<br />

beaten within submissions<br />

artful weaving of whispers<br />

wake from a deeper sleep.<br />

Questioned emotion on ice<br />

travel within a dark compass<br />

where in Hades am I spirited<br />

queries shuffle on downward.<br />

dissected voices in a breeze<br />

breathless inhales unshaken

lowing kisses to a blue nebula<br />

poison barbs on a comet's tail.<br />

Blown away with red leaves,<br />

tincture of orange <strong>and</strong> yellows<br />

fog clearing in rising sunshine<br />

shaking off that amnesia haze.<br />

!<br />

Author bio: Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He<br />

loves thunderstorms <strong>and</strong> time with his cat Willa. His published work can be<br />

found in reviews, journals, magazines <strong>and</strong> anthologies throughout the web<br />

<strong>and</strong> in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize<br />

Awards <strong>and</strong> the Best of the Net for 2016.

Two poems<br />

By Austin Alexis<br />

Author bio: Austin Alexis has work most recently in Home Planet News,<br />

The Lyric <strong>and</strong> the anthologies Poets4Paris <strong>and</strong> Rabbit Ears:TV Poems. His<br />

full-length collection is Privacy Issues (Broadside Lotus Press, 2014).<br />

Extraterrestrial<br />

Insects that roam <strong>and</strong> explore a (distant) planet<br />

hover at the entrance of the dirt-tunnels they’ve created.<br />

Run along expanses of purple soil<br />

<strong>and</strong> turquoise stretches of s<strong>and</strong>.<br />

Wiggle their three-sectioned bodies.<br />

Their six legs intricate their way<br />

over harp-scales of pebbles.<br />

In the silence of earless existence<br />

they feel but don’t hear<br />

the (collective) footsteps that belong to them.<br />

Their antenna sift the air for odors that drift<br />

like chimes tapping the wind.<br />

Their antenna search breezes<br />

for signs of predators--<br />

nonhuman or human.<br />

Mystical<br />

You wake to a world without sound<br />

or maybe a realm of slow-motion sound,<br />

a subtle pulse substitutes for sound,<br />

something akin to<br />

the beating of an insect’s heart,<br />

half-imagined, but real.<br />

The first thing you spot

is an insect’s leg, multiplied,<br />

multiplied to twelve times its normal size.<br />

It moves in slow motion,<br />

making it seem as if stillness moves<br />

drunk <strong>and</strong> blurred in arrested time.<br />

You are puzzled, experiencing this scene,<br />

this glimpse at what can’t be defined,<br />

these phenomena that can’t be<br />

but are.

Two pieces<br />

By Mark Cunningham<br />

[future word]<br />

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

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

name. 3. an acquaintance who will never become a friend.<br />

[future word]<br />

__________. 1. a melody or other tonal pattern played under a drone. 2. a greeting card<br />

with glitter. 3. first person plural of “um.” 4. in syndication.<br />

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2 poems<br />

By Heath Brougher<br />

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

author of two chapbooks, “A Curmudgeon Is Born” (Yellow Chair Press 2016) <strong>and</strong><br />

“Digging for Fire” (Stay Weird <strong>and</strong> Keep Writing Publishing Co. 2016) with another one<br />

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

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

Poetry Competition <strong>and</strong> edited the anthology “Luminous Echoes,” the sales of which will<br />

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

Review, Crack the Spine, Cruel Garters, MiPOesias, Gloom Cupboard, X-Peri, Blue<br />

Mountain Review, <strong>and</strong> elsewhere.<br />

Newfangled Beneficial Mutation<br />

You live in a mouse on Coughing Street<br />

your hair is made of mosquitoes<br />

<strong>and</strong> your hallways are made of Medusas<br />

you’ve grown pyramids on your toes<br />

<strong>and</strong> your h<strong>and</strong>s are made of burnt wood dipped in mayonnaise<br />

you walk with your snake feet into the rubber day<br />

your teeth are made of wallops<br />

<strong>and</strong> loam run through your veins<br />

are you not a maze?<br />

are you not an eternity?<br />

your eyes are soundless wind chimes that make the air feel like water<br />

your soda shoes freeze to your helicopter skin<br />

your tangerine truffles skim elephant trunks<br />

you drink a camel’s throat to quench your thirst <strong>and</strong> give misguided directions<br />

to everyone you know.<br />

Lemons<br />

The lemonist was a fruity lime pisser.<br />

Flabergastication slips directly through the vent slats.<br />

My detachable nose is replaced with an ear.<br />

I smell your eyes burning pure human flesh.<br />

The Pope occasionally sells sneakers at Wal-Mart.<br />

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

Mice whisper about a map that leads to endless cheese fields.<br />

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

My head is on fire because you poured water on my shoes.<br />

There are hashtags flooding the streets outside my apartment.<br />

I walk on Mars justlikethat but do no golfing whatsoever.<br />

The drunken cow with fluorescent lips flings us around.<br />

There is talk of the dimness gaining phosphorescence.<br />

Heath Beef Teeth Slarbeque Barbeque Brougher aka Beef Hocker<br />

wanted to kill all his scumbag suburban classmates.<br />

It remains on his bucket list.<br />

The Bubonic iPhone is jagged <strong>and</strong> fractured as the ground.<br />

I hereby state that we will elect the first hermaphrodite president come 2020.<br />

Andale! Andale! Andale!<br />

The plum flower says this weather is giving it a headache.<br />

Jagged lemons drop into my eyesockets.<br />

An octopus sits<br />

on a giraffe’s tongue pointed<br />

perfectly skyward.

Two Poems<br />

By Sheila A. Murphy<br />

Purportedly<br />

Charm often insulates<br />

the vested greenery.<br />

All thumbs on deck<br />

spirit me away for now<br />

<strong>and</strong> at the hour<br />

of fellow furlongs<br />

replicating capital committees<br />

meant to activate those recency effects.<br />

Research has vilified nomadic pearls<br />

absent expected provenance.<br />

Peace sounds less probiotic<br />

than your Nana, therefore<br />

deconstruct the bastard, why don’t you?<br />

The gods refute your thoughts<br />

like the square of the hypotenuse<br />

always meant to equal something.<br />

Op Cit Scansion<br />

Ghost write your birth cert-,<br />

bathe among like-minded<br />

Pharisees until the truck comes<br />

to unload dumpsters<br />

in the alley resembling a canal<br />

designed by several fourth graders<br />

sporting chisels <strong>and</strong> a swizzle stick<br />

entertaining magi out of work,<br />

knocking socks out of the driving range,<br />

exhibiting learned behaviors<br />

toward behemoths angling toward the tiny light<br />

<strong>and</strong> everybody out to text<br />

the code, a sanctioned ode<br />

comprised of pennies in the dark<br />

swept up into surrender cloth<br />

with pride <strong>and</strong> snark.

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!<br />

Author bio: Tyler Sherwood Pruett is a writer <strong>and</strong> artist with a special interest in short forms of<br />

poetry. His work has appeared in many prestigious journals such as Modern Haiku <strong>and</strong> Frogpond,<br />

as well as important anthologies. He is the author of Blue Wolves Are Howling Grapefruit<br />

Orange, <strong>and</strong> A Refutation of Exile with Red Moon Press, Tyler is currently working as a<br />

professional writer, <strong>and</strong> as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University.

This poem will save the world<br />

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Two Poems<br />

K,!A'&,!P%5%88!!<br />

!<br />

!"#$%&'()%*!A'&,!P%5%88!\[(7!F7!J/&+('2-!A"!=/8423*']!8*@%1!*.!$(%!8/5%&!V4+1/.!<br />

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J&'.?8*.7!!!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

In the pith of a sad me<strong>and</strong>er<br />

!<br />

C.!$(%!B*$(!/#!1'+!2%'.+%&!<br />

!<br />

4.$&'.18'$'38%!1$'&8*0($!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<br />

!<br />

B4.)$4&%1!&%2/.1$&'.)%!<br />

!<br />

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!<br />

1*8%.)%!<br />

!<br />

B&/8*#%&'$%1!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

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X(%!4$$%&!1*8%.)%!/#!$(%!4.$&'.18'$%+!1$'&17Q!<br />

!<br />

!!<br />

For Charlottesville, for the Unstable<br />

States<br />

!<br />

C.!$(%!B*$(!/#!!<br />

'3/&$*@%!%6B%)$'$*/.1!!!! ! !<br />

!<br />

141B%.1%!'8%&$!<br />

#8'01!5'&B!<br />

!<br />

%,%8*+1!1$&%$)(%+!!<br />


!<br />

1$'$4%1!1.4)?!/4$!'$!2*+.*0($!!<br />

/&!)&41(*.0!18/0'.9B/1$%&1!!!! ! !!!!<br />

!<br />

1$&'.08%9B481%!!<br />

$&%.)(!$*2%!!<br />

!<br />

B/*1/.9$*BB%+!15/&+1!'.+!$/.04%1!<br />

+*12',!$(%!/B$*2*1$1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<br />

!<br />

&%$&%'$!!&%0&/4B!<br />


REVIEWS.<br />



!<br />

On March 9, 2017, the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop held their first<br />

creativity <strong>and</strong> intuition reading <strong>and</strong> workshop. Clairvoyant Tarot<br />

Reader <strong>and</strong> fiction writer Alia Curtis provided a workshop on<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing one’s psychic <strong>and</strong> intuitive abilities. The workshop<br />

was followed by a reading with writers Lyndsey Ellis, Nazelah<br />

Jamison, Raina J. León, <strong>and</strong> Arisa White <strong>and</strong> held at Nomadic Press<br />

Uptown. The roundtable was moderated by Audrey T. Williams, with<br />

additional questions from Dera R. Williams <strong>and</strong> curated by Rochelle<br />

Spencer. This event was sponsored by Nomadic Press <strong>and</strong> Pro Arts<br />

Gallery. (The second creativity <strong>and</strong> intuition reading series was held<br />

at Nomadic Press Uptown; the third reading <strong>and</strong> creativity reading<br />

series was held at Chapter 510 <strong>and</strong> The Department of Make Believe.<br />

The second <strong>and</strong> third reading series were curated by Audrey T.<br />

Williams <strong>and</strong> Dera R. Williams.)

Audrey: We’ve been discussing how all forms of creativity are<br />

deeply intuitive. Audre Lorde has said that the master’s tools<br />

will never dismantle the master’s house, so what tools do you<br />

then turn to in your creative work? What is your writing<br />

process? Do other creative practices inform your work?<br />

Lyndsey: I use dance a lot. I’ve never considered myself<br />

intuitive. Still, I’m always trying to get out of my head, <strong>and</strong> my<br />

process is very fluid. I go with the flow–<strong>and</strong> consider music a<br />

gift.<br />

Arisa: Dance has a kind of wildness, that sense of play. In<br />

childhood, with my siblings, we’d play with each other <strong>and</strong><br />

dismantle pain by being in artistic collaboration.<br />

Alia: I try to do Tai Chi <strong>and</strong> Chi Gong Breathing is an important<br />

aspect of Tai Chi. It balances your body chemistry <strong>and</strong> relaxes<br />

you giving you a better h<strong>and</strong>le on stress <strong>and</strong> ensuring better<br />

health.<br />

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

I also talk to Siri in the car. I use the dictating function on the<br />

phone <strong>and</strong> ask questions–how are the characters related?<br />

Nazelah: I write a lot of relationship poems. I was married <strong>and</strong><br />

wrote about that–the interaction..I would say my motivation for<br />

writing is some type of tension. I’m also a performer. When I<br />

write from that, it forms the beginning of my writing.<br />

Dera: It has been a gift to hear your words. I recently listened to<br />

speculative fiction writer Tananarive Due’s podcast about<br />

racism <strong>and</strong> trauma. What is the relationship of trauma to your<br />

work?<br />

Raina: I think a lot about trauma <strong>and</strong> how it can impact future<br />

generations. A woman may have high blood pressure, <strong>and</strong> then<br />

her children may also have high blood pressure. I’m also<br />

thinking about the process of seeking–I’m unsure if that’s the<br />

phrase I should use–the trauma written into the lives of not only<br />

children but also gr<strong>and</strong>children. Children can grow up hearing

their mother crying, <strong>and</strong> then she could have daughters who<br />

will also bear children…I also think about the conscious <strong>and</strong> the<br />

unconscious <strong>and</strong> try to seek out joy–I try to be intentional about<br />

seeking out joy.<br />

Alia: I’ve learned trauma is something you have to embrace, not<br />

bury. At some point, the creative process is a form of counseling.<br />

It’s embracing the trauma.<br />

Arisa: I’m developing a different relationship to trauma where it<br />

isn’t a bad or negative thing. It’s just a path to knowledge–<strong>and</strong> it<br />

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

library, in a way, <strong>and</strong> considering what it has taught me <strong>and</strong><br />

how I can reimagine it.<br />

Nazelah: I started writing when I was a child, <strong>and</strong> I used writing<br />

to re-live my childhood. I started to realize that a lot of writing<br />

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

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

When we read or write, we’re safe <strong>and</strong> not as emotionally<br />

attached.<br />

Lyndsey: In a way, writing is embracing emotional progress.<br />

There’s also inter-generational trauma, <strong>and</strong> it affects siblings<br />

who grow up in the same household. When I was growing up, we<br />

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

home, I released a lot of pain <strong>and</strong> tried to make it into joy. With<br />

writers, with trauma <strong>and</strong> pain, you learn to make it into<br />

something beautiful, a gift to someone else.<br />

Editor’s Note: Please read further about the Afrosurreal Writers<br />

at these links: Solstice, Poets <strong>and</strong> Writers.



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

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

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

l'oeuvre", galerie ABB (Belleville, Paris)-, in 2014 at Mestre (Italia) - "Qu<strong>and</strong> saro più<br />

gr<strong>and</strong>e", La Casa della Renna- <strong>and</strong> Dieppe (Seine-Maritime, France) <strong>and</strong> in 2016 at Paris<br />

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

www.nellysanchez.fr<br />


!<br />

Melancholic Meditations!!<br />

!<br />

(BOOK REVIEW of Melancholia by Heller Levinson, Mary Newell,<br />

Will Alex<strong>and</strong>er, Linda Lynch)<br />

!<br />


!<br />

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

!<br />

!<br />

As Mary Newell states in her essay about Emily<br />

Dickinson's treatment of melancholy, "Melancholy is<br />

typically a reflective state rather than a cathartic or<br />

sentimental one." I take this to mean that often we<br />

misunderst<strong>and</strong> people to be "mired" in melancholy,<br />

whereas instead they are actually meditating on it. This<br />

interpretation infuses the idea of melancholy with new

vigor, just as Newell's essay serves as the invigorating<br />

centerpiece of the collaborative tome, "Melancholia:" The<br />

book's contributors are not only "diverse in gender,<br />

ethnicity, location <strong>and</strong> artistic medium," but the book<br />

itself is multi-genre, containing as it does sketchings,<br />

essays, <strong>and</strong> poems. Will Alex<strong>and</strong>er contributes pieces that<br />

are densely abstract poetic philosophies as well as<br />

comparatively simpler drawings, while Heller Levinson<br />

adorns the latter part of the tome with his Hinge Theory<br />

"exfoliations," which offer musings on melancholy in<br />

sometimes wildly whimsical ("warbling like ostracized<br />

banana," "melancholia approaches the reunion of<br />

witches"), often rigidly logical ("supra-cognizance lopsides<br />

through interstice") <strong>and</strong> always fervently paced phrasings.<br />

Linda Lynch adds delicate doodlings that soften the impact<br />

of these mind-numbing pieces. As Newell states in her<br />

essay, "It is not the passage of time that breeds<br />

melancholy so much as an awareness of its consequences:<br />

mutability, loss, transcience, <strong>and</strong> mortality," - <strong>and</strong> the<br />

existence of the collaborative efforts in "Melancholia:"<br />

cements the idea that artistic creations can subvert<br />

evanescence ... if only fleetingly.<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />

!<br />


!<br />

Kendrick Lamar Gives a Damn (Music Review) By Alison Ross<br />

Kendrick Lamar can seemingly do no wrong - musically speaking, anyway. I am<br />

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

somewhat muddled or amorphously defined - not exactly embracing the Black<br />

Lives Matter ethos, but not exactly shunning it either. There have been times<br />

when things he's said in interviews veer more toward the white supremacist<br />

view of how blacks should conduct their lives, condemning, in a way, black<br />

people for their plight rather than casting their problems in the light of a<br />

societal malaise, one that is deeply informed by decades of brutally benighted<br />

<strong>and</strong> bigoted attitudes. Too, his attitude toward women is not wholly enlightened<br />

- not exactly misogynistic, but not exactly feminist, either.<br />

It's all fine <strong>and</strong> well when someone doesn't hew to accepted dogmas too closely<br />

<strong>and</strong> branches out on their own tangential ideologies, but it seems Kendrick may<br />

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

life was rife with demons, but when it came to being a vociferous spokesperson<br />

for black people <strong>and</strong>, yes, even women (his feminist songs eclipse his sexist<br />

ones in both number <strong>and</strong> "wokeness"), he mightily filled that role. Lamar still<br />

has a way to go to attain such an apex of conscientious thinking.<br />

But DAMN. He sure can craft astute tunes with riddling rhymes <strong>and</strong> robust<br />

rhythms. Granted, he's been accused of being more derivative of trap music <strong>and</strong><br />

R&B on this album than on his previous masterwork, To Pimp a Butterfly,<br />

which slithers with soulful jazz <strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> teems with haunting introspective<br />

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

to elude pesky pigeonholing. Plus, DAMN. is every bit as intellectual, ultimately,<br />

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

superficial sounding like so many empty-calorie hits that dissolve into the ether<br />

after six months. It has heft <strong>and</strong> dynamic depth. Does it have the potency of a<br />

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

that era, but rather, to push forward <strong>and</strong> show the world that pop songs don't<br />

have to melt in your mouth like cotton c<strong>and</strong>y - they can be both of the here <strong>and</strong><br />

now <strong>and</strong> transcend time. And dammit if that's not an accomplishment.



'<br />

!&#);#'()%*!j&%0/&,!"4$&,!h'88')%!*1!'!B/%$-!B'*.$%&!'.+!)/88'0*1$!8*@*.0!*.!;'.!<br />




by Erica Olson<br />

Artist bio: In addition to creating photo manipulation art, Erica Olson writes poetry<br />

<strong>and</strong> prose. Her work has been featured in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu,<br />

haikuniverse, <strong>and</strong> The Voices Project (forthcoming). Erica lives in rural Montana7!<br />

!<br />


Book Review by Tim Goodyear<br />

Floating World Comics 2016<br />

ISBN: 978-1-942801-93-1<br />

I love the premise of Video Tonfa, in which artist Tim Goodyear merges<br />

his love(s) of drawing <strong>and</strong> movies together in a series of meditationreviews:<br />

Each two-page 'entry' consisting of Goodyear's purposefully<br />

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

own words inserted into the space where the text description would go.<br />

Goodyear's cover sketches sometimes reveal a lot about how he feels<br />

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

reproduction. Likewise, his text-meditations tend to be better on the<br />

movies he likes better, although he's almost always clever with whatever<br />

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

text, he's forcing himself to make what he says count, in what I take to<br />

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

Goodyear in undiluted form. Which can be a risk for any writer.<br />

Goodyear isn't trying to offer any great insights into the movies he's<br />

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

movie critic. His love of (generally) B horror movies is obvious, <strong>and</strong> a little<br />

infectious, <strong>and</strong> I do appreciate his eclectic rejection of mainstream<br />

Hollywood, though his taste does also lean to some of the great directors,<br />

like Woody Allen <strong>and</strong> Stanley Kubrick. Goodyear is also obviously versed<br />

in comic books, <strong>and</strong> artists such as Frank Miller. Otherwise though, a lot<br />

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

less on board with.

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

something might be up when on the first page of the book, opposite the<br />

credits, a little cartoon features a long-haired young man riding a giant<br />

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

as not caring about spelling—that's what I tell my writing students<br />

anyways—but man, every single text entry has some whoppers. One<br />

picked at r<strong>and</strong>om, from the movie Neighbors:<br />

Are you smart? Disipointed? Do you like art but often find much of<br />

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

might be the movie for you. They flip the stereotypes in this with<br />

Belushi as the the streight man. It's great. Trust. Akroyd &<br />

Moriarty move in to the only other house on the court. In the<br />

coarse of the eavning they manage to flip all of Belushis switchs &<br />

expose all his & his familys bullshit delusions. A tense & point'd<br />

comedic masterpiece.<br />

Sic all, though the fact that Goodyear got 'masterpiece' right but not the<br />

plural of 'switchs' is odd. Perhaps he was not exactly sober when doing<br />

these. Nor is this one of his better meditations, being really only a<br />

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

the timing of) 'Trust.'<br />

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

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

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

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

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

us. I think also this kind of project, this kind of book, helps us get a<br />

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

see if <strong>and</strong> how their tastes match up with his. (For example: Sex, Lies &<br />

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

time!)<br />

Author bio: Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan <strong>and</strong><br />

lives in Oregon. He has worked as a wildl<strong>and</strong> firefighter, deckh<strong>and</strong>/oiler,<br />

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

as a teacher of writing. www.johnyohe.com


YES WE CAN<br />

By Seigar<br />

Artist bio: Seigar is an English philologist, a high school teacher, <strong>and</strong> a curious<br />

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

but trying to give them a new frame <strong>and</strong> perspective. Travelling is his inspiration.<br />

However, he tries to show more than mere postcards from his visits, creating a<br />

continuous conceptual storyline from his trips. His most ambitious project so far is his<br />

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

the shop windows all over the world. He has participated in several exhibitions in<br />

Tenerife, <strong>and</strong> his works have also been featured in international publications.


Music Reviews of Run the Jewels, Death <strong>and</strong> Muuy Bien By Alison Ross<br />

The dynamic <strong>and</strong> dastardly duo known as Run the Jewels have returned for<br />

another round of demolishing mainstream hip hop <strong>and</strong> reconstituting the<br />

debris to form a freakishly fresh subgenre that I call Noir Rap, because it<br />

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

music. Atlanta-born Killer Mike's gruff drawl <strong>and</strong> El P's brash Bronx bark<br />

are a mesmerizing meshing of North-South sensibilities <strong>and</strong> dichotomies.<br />

Not to mention, how fucking cool is it that these indie hip hop legends<br />

represent a seamless sewing together of interracial harmony <strong>and</strong> duality?<br />

I had not heard of a b<strong>and</strong> called<br />

Death until the documentary entitled - you guessed it - "A B<strong>and</strong> Called<br />

Death" came out a few years ago <strong>and</strong> piqued my interest. Death were a<br />

protopunk b<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> an African American one at that. And yet, when it<br />

comes to protopunk <strong>and</strong> punk rock, all you ever hear about is white b<strong>and</strong>s -<br />

The Sonics, MC5, The Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, Sex Pistols,<br />

The Clash, <strong>and</strong> so on. Death hailed from Detroit, <strong>and</strong> yet sounded nothing<br />

like the funk or Motown famously emanating from Motor City black artists.<br />

Death actually had its genesis as a funk b<strong>and</strong> (under a different name), but

seeing concerts by The Who <strong>and</strong> Alice Walker urged a sharp change of<br />

course. Its tunes veered away from buoyant beats <strong>and</strong> into the rough rhythms<br />

which ultimately presaged punk. Death's husky, booming, screeching vocals<br />

<strong>and</strong> amphetamine-fueled guitar slashings helped build a template for later<br />

b<strong>and</strong>s like the Sex Pistols, who are credited with solidifying the sound. That<br />

a black punk b<strong>and</strong> has been eclipsed in music history by white punk b<strong>and</strong>s<br />

should come as no shock to those who pay even scant attention to racial<br />

matters. Death had a hard time gaining legitimacy in its time, due in large<br />

part to the b<strong>and</strong>'s refusal to concede to playing "black music." The b<strong>and</strong><br />

broke up in 1977, but reformed in 2009, <strong>and</strong> has been touring on <strong>and</strong> off<br />

ever since. "Politicians in My Eyes," "Freakin Out," "Let the World Turn" -<br />

these are patently punk songs crafted in a time when the genre was still<br />

evolving its sonic signature.<br />

"$(%.1-!j%/&0*'s1!/5.!A44,!K**%.!1/2%$*2%1!1/4.+1!'!3*$!$//!1*2*8'&!$/!<br />

K8')?!".0%81!#/&!2,!)/2#/&$-!34$!$(%.-!C!$(*.?-!2',3%!2,!%'&1!'&%!./$!<br />

@%&,!+*1)%&.*.07!"#$%&!'88-!K8')?!".0%81!'&%!$(%!/3@*/41!(%*&1!$/!lN1!<br />


The Red Sun<br />

By Bob Heman





It's hard to know how to characterize or even feel about<br />

Kathryn Bigelow's well-intentioned "Detroit." Bigelow has<br />

long been one of my favorite directors, even as I struggle<br />

with the way she sometimes mish<strong>and</strong>les themes of violence<br />

<strong>and</strong> sexism. I don't think she means to glorify or<br />

titillate, though at heart I do think she is more adept at<br />

curating content with strong thriller potential than she is<br />

with the social justice angle. Granted, movies like Strange<br />

Days <strong>and</strong> Hurt Locker, <strong>and</strong> even to an extent, Point Break,<br />

all interweave social issues into their fabric in some way,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Hurt Locker may even have a social justice ideal (antiwar<br />

sentiment) at its crux. But it's hard to tell with<br />

Bigelow. She's either intentionally ambiguous so as to<br />

explore multi-foliate dimensions of a given topic, or she<br />

has a fragile grasp on where her own empathies lie. Or,<br />

it's entirely possible she doesn't want to offend the<br />

overriding patriarchal principles of a misogynistic movie<br />

industry. In any event, the main problem with Detroit is<br />

that its harrowing centerpiece scene - that of a civil<br />

rights-era psychotic white cop barbarically abusing his<br />

innocent black subjects - draws out so long that it almost

ecomes too numbing to properly process through any sense<br />

of sympathy. Maybe that was Bigelow's point, however - that<br />

violence, especially police brutality, that exists so<br />

pervasively - nullifies feeling, <strong>and</strong> that's the way it's<br />

able to perpetuate <strong>and</strong> replicate itself. But something<br />

still feels "off" to me, <strong>and</strong> maybe it's that the movie<br />

fails to resolve anything, even as it heroically undercuts<br />

scenes of savagery with loving homages to Detroit's<br />

burgeoning, emerging Motown milieu.<br />

Kedi is a loving meditation on the mystical allure of our<br />

feline overlords. It captures a cat-topia, of sorts, for<br />

feline fanatics. In Istanbul, hundreds of thous<strong>and</strong>s of cats<br />

me<strong>and</strong>er the streets seeking food <strong>and</strong> affection. We get to<br />

know seven kitties <strong>and</strong> become vicarious witness to how<br />

their daily interactions with people provide a soothing<br />

antidote to human travails. Who needs psychotherapy when<br />

your purpose is to care for such cuddly creatures? At the<br />

same time, these fickle furballs also prove to be fiercely<br />

solitary <strong>and</strong> characteristically elusive when they weary of<br />

intimacy overload. After all, we're just their lowly human<br />


I love Pedro Almodovar flicks, in particular Bad Education<br />

<strong>and</strong> the divinely twisted <strong>and</strong> feistily feminist Volver. But<br />

Julieta, try as it may to ascend to the status of vintage<br />

Almodovar, ultimately fails in its quest - it never gains a<br />

solid grounding on which to anchor its otherwise compelling<br />

narrative. The story is archetypal Almodovar, based as it<br />

is on a trio of Alice Munro short stories, set in the<br />

director's native Spain, <strong>and</strong> showcasing a story about a<br />

mother-daughter rupture. There is a problem with the pacing<br />

in the film - at times too sluggish, lingering over tedious<br />

details - <strong>and</strong> the direction finally proves too lackluster<br />

to bring the dynamic ideas to vigorous life. Usually<br />

Almodovar's films are a whirl of vibrant energy <strong>and</strong> even<br />

the slower scenes are infused with a sense of tension.<br />

Julieta has memorable moments - the climax, for example,<br />

where the mother's disillusionment reaches a tragic apex -<br />

but it's hardly enough to overcome the fractures of the<br />

film.<br />

!<br />

!<br />




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