‘Four Poems’ by Dale Brett

Grecia, Greek

IMMACULATE

Ghost-coloured
teardrops have congealed.

Every external globule has become
hardened, distorted.

Twin orbs shot-through and
sugar-glowing.

Your eyes, immaculate.

CRUSHING

Paw at the entrance of
my translucent being.

Your contemplative eyes
shadow-fucked with ardour.

Heavy grandfeathered
lips tarnished with sweat-ridden
bullets.

Inner emotions laced with promise locked
down and kissed-away.

Any remaining common courtesies
buried and blind-sided.

Hopes of shimmering intimacy
vehemently soul-crushed.

GELATINOUS

Asterism irises align.

Star-shaped splotches
orb-plastered in trans-sclera
illumination.

Rose-quartz facets
flake skyyyward and
peripheral.

Her eyes drowned in
happiness,
still

deeply wounded.

SLEEPLESS

Tenuous dreams float
hollow like fish balls.

Mind slide migration meets an
infinitely

blank state.

Talking logos reveal:
digital secrets of
a hush-licker.

Snacking on sweet nubile legs
& never-deleting

my only mistake.

Dale Brett is a writer and artist from Melbourne, Australia.
He is interested in exploring the melancholic malaise and technological ennui of the 21st century. His debut novel Faceless in Nippon is forthcoming on Expat Press in 2020. His work has been featured on Burning House Press, Back Patio Press, Surfaces, Silent Auctions and many others. Hypertextual artifacts found @_blackzodiac.

‘Special Mention’ by Douglas Ross

Screen-shot-2012-04-05-at-12.57.19-PM

My wife called me a dog in the journal. She said everyone put something there. Her
editor had a pug named Iskra. All she could think of was ‘Brooklyn’. I told her she was
an aunt to four. It didn’t feel earned.

We toured some cages. I spoke up and they got smaller. We learned the different types
of prolapse, how when you saw a bulldog it was either ruined, or somebody’s.

Short of that, I made our front porch hostile. I laid stone cherubs, pots of barbed
succulents, a St. Francis. Mothers came anyway. There were close to a thousand now,
down the street. They liked to sit and smoke together after missing curfew. I bought a
machine for her that put out creek sounds. A pillow for her arms and knees.

From her cycle app it was clear she was padding things by a few days. I came into a tetra
water. Heard a canner and his child rooting through our bin. They checked the bottle
under our porchlight, decided against.

One guy from her unpeopling group showed up drunk. He gained speed, launched a
cart at the Wegmans. What went through my head was: Lenin’s mom helped him. The
doors opened, admitting it inside. She stopped him, helped him to his knees, puke
flowing on the asphalt, over the woodlands and the admirals’ mansions.

My father hit the ground in his own way. I flew to Providence. They scheduled two
machines for his heart. She was home, interviewing an expert on Retreat. She promised
he was gay, he couldn’t want anything. But he’s brilliant, I said. She said, that’s true.
The next morning I did my tests. Squatted, rose. They didn’t put me on a treadmill.
We’ll do this every three years, the doctor said, in case that gene wakes up.

I went straight to the shelter from JFK. Lock the doors, I announced, nobody lets me
leave without one. I’d taken three benadryl. The volunteer led me through. Behind the
wall, a cage popped open. Who’s first, I said. We thought we’d start you with King, the
volunteer said. I asked why ‘King’. Well, they said. He loves everyone.

‘Work Weeked’ By Roy

office-space5-758x404

it’s a thursday night & ive listened to 32 hours of audiobooks this workweek scifi novels there’s gold
in the audiobook content mines. there’s all that stuff about novels being bourgeois, you know the stuff,
what does that mean for audiobooks tho and what does it mean that ive listened to dozens of hours of trashy scifi this week
thru my apple™ earbuds but not the disposable airpod kind working on the spreadsheet farm escapism
is the real escape how else are academics gonna pursue their true passion of yelling at activists on facebook, defending rapists, and donating to kamala harris there’s no time for doing the reading!
the fucking teens are out of control! they don’t want to be learned by war criminals!

Alas it is Thursday tho! No Time! Woe! There are serious matters to discuss! but it is a Thursday! No Time! The teens are mad at JK Rowling! No Time! Australia’s on fire! No time! Fuckaroo!
Tis a Thursday and my eyes grow bleary from the fatigue of pretending to work while posting all day.

Thinking about doing some ‘real poetry’ right now about work like

“floating through an office at eye level / cubicle / trash can
slightly askew / legal box full / of rejections.

Ant traps stacked three high / Newman’s Own pizza box
Thru the window: Squirrels sorting / flower petals.

In the breakroom / a coworker
boiling tap water. Studiously
avoiding the squirrels / outside the window”

you want to know if the squirrels were ‘real’ well well well an artist never tells ok they weren’t real. the flower petals
were damp brown & smelled like mulch the squirrels were stamping on the browning flower petals waiting
for french fries but this isn’t what anyone wanted to hear even in a twenty (20) first (1st) century poem let’s pivot to YouTube the true MVP of Thursday nights
on the couch with a tuna melt & the french fries the squirrels weren’t fed giving dril’s adult swim show a chance

‘i’m an independent journalist covering my own life’ describes a fair number of poets except they don’t understand the ‘independent’ part:
“i’m an independent journopoet theorizing my own locality cosmopolitanally sponsored by the Ford Foundation i’m the Judge Doom Professor of auto-poetics at the Koch School of arbitrage prose”
but it’s a thrusday! I don’t have time to read the Judge Doom Professor’s ode to the American consultants who made a spreadsheet showing touchscreen ordering would be more profitable in western european fastfood franchises!
No time!

There might be time for a quick joke or a quick citation of a poem I read recently uh let me twitter search myself real quick for an appropriate quote to close this poem… Quick!
“Medvedev likes to quote Brecht on writers who “imagine that they have got hold of an apparatus which in fact has got hold of them.”
is listening to audiobooks a ‘lifehack’ or bourgeois affectation? will the poets ever spot their own contradictions? Hit that subscribe button to find out if our sci-fi hero
can speculate himself into & out of a worse poem to finally kill batman & redistribute his wealth!

Fuck it let’s kill batman right now! Boom! Dead!
Enough waiting around for heroes
write your own poem below:

__

write your poems in the reply and follow Roy @creepingmraxist

‘His Favorite Bookless Poet’ by Prince Bush

45696621332_13065c3793_b

He had read it through the gates
Of ivory, less, like a smaller

Amount of, or not as much as
Him—but yet at least his

Favorite. And lower rank is
Archaic, thought Prince the Less,

Apis of Argos. Phoroneus,
Bringer of a price, wasn’t telepathic,

Was proud and worshipped with hell:
That which Apis was thankful for,

Else he’d inherit nothing, and
What’s worse than being

Bookless—far-off, or of the pear
Tree, or contract-less, which is

More important than his name, more
His name than his name—unthankful.

Prince Bush is a poet in Nashville, TN with poetry in Cincinnati Review, Cotton Xenomorph, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Pleiades: Literature in Context, SOFTBLOW, and elsewhere. He was a 2019 Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets Fellow and a nominee for The Pushcart Prize.

‘Two More Poems’ by Tom Snarsky

3492444490_5a0d2069f2_b

MANAGORGER

The air was fragile and traveled so fast
into and out of the cat’s lungs. I felt so sick
then didn’t, light headache, manageable.

That was almost managorger if Autocorrect
had had its say, but I said no w/my thumb
so it came out correct, not corrected

but still changed a little, since if I hadn’t
done anything a hydra would’ve burst
through my head for only two colorless

plus one green mana, starting small as a 1
/1 and then getting bigger every time a spell
hit the stack, eventually trampling everything

including the cat and probably me, my
life, my phantom sicknesses, all the beauty
I’d ever come to know, including the ambiguity

of whether that ’d in line 15 meant had
or would and why, like was it trying to hide
something, or believe it or not trueing

to hide something (when did I type that?
Do you have to type something for it to appear
in the autocorrect dictionary? I don’t know,

nor do I know why it’s sometimes uppercase
& sometimes not) the way lies sometimes do
everyone a favor by keeping a hard truth

obscured from ruining everything under wraps
soft? fuck it no words come close to my lover
’s spit / and I’ve only ever tasted it / in ash

In the quiet water of subtidal habitats,

you have enough breathing room to misread
subtidal as suicidal, your brain predicting
what it sees now will be like
what you’ve been googling, low in your cove
of grayblue feeling. All the arts,
all of them, have led us to this ice. You
mix paints for the sea slush
and you’re out of green—you squeeze
the tube and it gives you nothing, the sides
touching through a thin layer
of dried paint, and instead of giving up
you leverage colorblindness as an asset
and mix in red instead, so the little
cove you’re painting starts to look like clay
so rich and malleable you could almost eat it.

Tom Snarsky teaches mathematics at Malden High School in Malden, Massachusetts, USA.

‘Aztec’ by Bort Champion

23035682325_d150d9a9c2_b

The life of an Aztec sounds pretty cool

The flower war and uh the flower and song

As well as tomatoes, corn, beans, a giant fucking floating city

For real though, it’s like a European painting

But hold up, all these flowers are seeped in blood!

You could switch out blood and flower in this poem and it’d still work

I think, anyway, shouts out to Hungry Coyote.

Bort lives in Springfield where his sister gets all the credit. @Aenurx22.

Interview with Craig Rodgers, Author of “The Ghost of Mile 43”

gom43 promo.jpg

 

I had a chat with Craig Rodgers about his new book that we released that I thought was pretty fun and provided interesting insight into the thought process behind this amazing novel.

—————

Where did the inspiration for Shaw as a character come from? There are hints from a past life he once held before he exiles himself but not many details, did you originally come up with Shaw as a full fledged character and use that as a starting ground or did you just throw Shaw into the wild and feel it out from there?

 

Everybody has those thoughts about just being done, leaving everything and moving off to the woods, or here it’s a ghost town.  But the world comes right along behind, you’re never really leaving it.  Everybody’s lost things or had some straw dropped on them and they just feel done with it.

What events in your life, our lives you’ve witnessed, made you want to tell this story? How does “The Ghost of Mile 43” reflect reality as you’ve witnessed it?

 

A few years ago my identity was stolen, and going through the process of trying to wrangle that, all the calls about debt that wasn’t mine, the idea of up and literally walking away seemed appealing.  This is probably too literal an answer.

From both your perspective and from the perspective of Shaw, do you feel he is better off at the end of the novel? Why or why not?

 

I don’t want to tell anybody what they should or shouldn’t take away from the ending or the story as a whole, but if I were to answer in the most general fashion I would say he is not better off at the end, no.

There are a lot of characters that tend to meddle in Shaw’s isolation. The two teenagers, for example, refuse to give up on helping him. What do you think motivates these characters to get involved with Shaw?

 

Misguided energy.  Misguided optimism or the intention to do good.  Their motives are pure enough, but the way they go about it misses the mark.  This man’s a complete stranger.  They don’t have the tools or the perspective to be the help they want to be.

The ghost car is certainly a rather vague abstraction that readers can apply meaning to as they see fit, but what does it mean to you? Why is it haunting Shaw?

 

Oh I definitely won’t be answering that.

There is a running theme of survival and resilience in the book that I found particularly alluring. Despite wanting to escape from society as a whole, Shaw still wants very much so to live. He fishes, poisons himself with a frog, and scavenges to supply himself with nourishment. He maintains human form and principles despite not being a part of the collective whole of humanity, what do you feel that means for us as a species, as animals?

 

There’s something appealing in this visceral way about surviving in circumstances that are miles outside your norm.  This guy is not an outdoorsman, he has no idea what he’s doing, but he’s doing what he can with what’s there.  There’s a satisfaction in that.

What do you do to clear your head when writing gets to be too much for the day? Are there any hobbies or little moments you like to soak up in order to unwind?

 

The boring things. Cliche things. Drink too much coffee. Buy office supplies. You feel like you’re doing something when you buy office supplies. Someday that spiral notebook’s gonna be full of stories. And you can never have too many notebooks or pens.

As for as artistic inspirations go, whether it be painter, musician, or writer, who has influenced you and how? What artists have you been drawn to throughout your own endeavors?

 

Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Donald Ray Pollock. Who else. Shirley Jackson. Robert Aickman. I’ve been going through a Dashiell Hammett phase lately. I’m spacing the names of painters. Shit. You know Genieve Figgis?  I like her stuff.

What other projects do you see yourself working on in the future? What aspirations are bouncing around inside of your head? 

 

Oh tons of stuff. I’ve been working on a series of short stories that take place in a lake town.  They share some faces here and there and some locations, but they’re each their own thing. At first I wanted to write it for screen as each one being a few episodes in an anthology, a sort of shared universe thing, but that’s all well outside my wheelhouse. I’ve also been showing around another book, so maybe that’ll pop up soon. And other things.  Always other things. But a lot of that I’ll need to pair with an artist for. That’s down the road stuff.

Any final words, shout outs, or random snippets of information you’d like to share with the readers?

 
Yeah, just enjoy the story, tell a friend, you know? Enjoy the next one too.