9 Iss. 4
Cover: “I Knew When I Threw It Up,” a photograph by Brian Hardie. Arif Ahmad Sissy Buckles James Croal Jackson John Grey Brian Hardie TS Hidalgo Stephanie Jones Hart L’Ecuyer Sy Roth Richard Salembier David Sermersheim Olivier Schopfer Dr. Mel Waldman
8 4-5 9 6 cover, 19 10 3, 11 18 16-17 20-21 22 7, 15, 24 12-14
Stephanie Jones | Untitled | Digital Illustration 3
Sissy Buckles | A worn out tape of Chris LeDoux | Poetry The saloon on the desolate hilly outskirts of El Cajon off Olde Highway 80 looked like a barn from the road and still not even sure why I was there with a few adventurous divorced dames from work needing a sanity break from the kids at home but I heard a fiddler wailing the Cotton-Eyed Joe his western invitation moaning high from the parking lot so skirt daring I ducked inside and saw crackerjack sailors on shore leave primping raw muscles and two-stepping in dusty lizard boots sun-creviced they leaned on the rail laughing and rapaciously eyeballing the ladies’ asses in tight jeans and scowling as I strolled by at my sweet Muffy’s B&W saddles (that I wore for pure comfort) while drinking shots of Wild Turkey with the pink-eyed albino his long white ponytail dripping out a tipped Cattleman’s hat and I could feel the palpable tension in the stuffy room taut and sweaty like everybody was just itching for a fight and looking up in awe and wonder at the vast
multi-hued rainbow array of bras hanging from the bar blowing softly like flags from the ancient fan rotating the stale air and asked if it was simple as gifting them one for a free drink but I was told it was that AND you have to “flash your pretty titties at the bar owner too” indicating with his thumb at a rough and randy white haired gent gesticulating at the end of the bar to the country singer looking tired on the wrong side of forty but who could still dish out a ballad of lost love tender enough to make you sob in your beer and well I had plenty of dough at hand so took a hasty pass on that fine offer turning instead to watch exotic bald dancers waving by with fluttering arms like middle-aged branches and a burned man in plaid his rubber mouth a frozen cod’s gash asked me to waltz a nightmare, in my trepidation I completely forgot the old steps my pa had slow & sure taught me as a girl in our family room my mind a panicked whirl (just being polite & all) but I bravely
tried the old step only to be pugnaciously pulled around then pushed, bumped and jabbed with pointed stinging elbows from behind by the legion of indifferent stomping heels.
John Grey | Lifetime Friend | poetry There’s something about birthdays. This year, as you know, we’ll both be having one. One year closer to nothingness except you have the boys of course and I’ve clobbered the internet with my name. We’ve already carved a chunk out of the 21st century. I can remember when it was the future. Time to reflect as they say. How did we ever get where we are? You claim to have been born mediocre. I just remember poverty and hand me downs from cousins. Fatherless at birth — what are the odds? It’s these years between that keep us going back to the beginning. Why did you stay and I leave? How come I can look out at a yard heaped with snow while palm trees wave you in and out of your home in the sub-tropics. Choices? Accidents? One and the same, I figure. But then there was Belinda killed by a drunk driver. And your mother — cancer — and so young. We have lived these losses. We didn’t skirt them then. We do not do that now. We both wrote poems and read them to each other. Your muse departed early. It was never serious. But you still listened to mine just as I heeded all your broadcasts from that foreign country — pregnancy. Man — woman — platonic. How strange the concept. Conversations ranged from recipes to sports. Arid art of course, But also wayward automobiles. “Man is only a reed,” Pascal tells me. “The weakest to be found in nature.” Yes and we all grow together in that same marsh. No surprise then that, with the wind being what it is, some of us touch from time to time.
Olivier Schopfer | Courtyard, Paris, France | Photograph 7
Arif Ahmad | “Me Too” of a different kind | Prose Another mass shooting tragedy in America. We are all too emotional right now; this is thus not the time to talk gun control is what we are told. In a week or so when the pain lessens for most of us, so does the passion for change, so why talk gun control then? Weeks later, the last incident forgotten, wiped off our memories, greed in full control, gun control, what gun control? So my dear fellow Americans as you see there is no good time to be talking gun control. They also cite the constitution which clearly states, “the right of the people to keep and bear semi-automatic turned automatic Arms with high capacity magazines, shall not be infringed.” For me, this remains an example of American Men messing up this issue beyond recognition. Even though the rest of the modern world has found their way around this problem exactly with gun control laws, that is not our issue we are repeatedly told. Maybe, just maybe the gathering American Women power can jump in to wade us all out of this mess. Or and the speed with which the communities and people affected by mass shootings are increasing this may well turn into another “Me Too” movement. So wait patiently America for all the powerful who can but are refusing to protect us from this scourge; wait patiently for enough of them and theirs to become part of this “Me Too” and that is precisely when we would have our gun control laws. It is only a matter of time and statistics. For now, continue waiting America.
James Croal Jackson | Our Cafe As Morning Vacation | Poetry On the patio drinking iced coffee you write a letter to Jane Fonda telling her you always thought you’d be an actress – that distant magical woman with a collection of workout VHS tapes, one of which you bought when thrifting. The sun is out. Lawyers beside us talk about renovations to streets near campus but from straw to lips – you and I, our city infrastructure’s solid. We do not fill our holes with asphalt to build new roads lined with palm trees and your bagel stays fresh in morning cool that feels like Palm Springs, California. I am somewhere old yet unfamiliar: a vacation in our neighborhood, a beach house along the shores of the Scioto river, oldies guitar strumming through air like a boat guided by breeze – fond of the present, sailing upstream.
TS Hidalgo | Ella se fue, se fue | Poetry I asked my girlfriend to leave the house. She took the things I had given her. She took the things she had given to me. She was always very fussy. What was mine was ours (and what was hers, hers). When I came home that night, there was no light. She had taken all of the bulbs. So I turned Buddhist after that breakup. Next time nobody will have anything to take.
Stephanie Jones | Untitled | Digital Illustration 11
Dr. Mel Waldman | Eerie Everlasting Night of the Storm | Poetry (on reading Billy Collins’s poem-The Night of the Fallen Limb) In the summer of ’65, the shattering arrived in the sprawling light & the long barren silence followed drifting into the deep of nowhere — the blackness of the eerie everlasting night of the storm & even now the tempest rushes through my bestial brain explodes with unbearable grief & trauma & smashes the broken mirror of my celestial other-ness — the holy sphere of whirling invisibility within for the shattering arrived & I watched you gasp for air
plummet & sink into the Queen-sized bed like a gold-eyed angel falling from the Tree of Life shriveled up into a cocoon of frozen non-being in the Room of Infinity in the way station of your human home as I rocked back & forth in the cradle of prayer until you returned & rose again & looked up at us wearing a foreign travelerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eerie everlasting mask
Dr. Mel Waldman | Eerie Everlasting Night of the Storm (con’t)
& shrieked, “I thought I was dying” & like a gold-eyed angel you fell, Mother, from the Tree of Life into the House of the Dead but magically I resurrect you each time I tell your story of love & inhale your holy presence each time I reveal who you were-who you are now in the mystical universe you rise again & so do I
Olivier Schopfer | Lipstick | Photograph 15
Sy Roth | Last Trains at the End of an Echo | Poetry The Conestoga wagons littered the wasteland with their spiny bones in search of the comfort of others clattering, grinding wheels singing an unmelodic song laments the guile of the others who screamed a gale of voluminous disregard for them and their emotions sucked the breath from their mouths unfriended them. So sudden their demise, an unwinding of beliefs and closely held credos that peep like golden hinds from behind a lea of blustery grass and suddenly there is a no more. On either side of the mending wall a phubbing, vacuous ending subsists as a contemporary shout-out an electronic melding, a landscape of nothingness, of swollen egos and prideful, self-congratulatory accolades notwithstanding, they gather in the sheaves of like-minded souls to their bosom avowed them friends and just as carelessly discard them without warning no cautionary tales lose themselves in their overblown egos set them adrift in a steady stream of electrons. Wave after wave of waves awaken them to their loneliness a never-ending unfriending for the somnambulists to find sleep â&#x20AC;&#x201D; And it goes on, an unbending gusher of brackish water slicing through canyons building up to a continual gathering of its waters building to crescendo of effusive outpourings of love and adoration where they ultimately meet at some shadowy terminus where the last trains wait at the end of an echo.
They slavishly adhere to amassing their own kingdom like the king in his counting house filling his coffers with beating hearts and an unlimited slew of adoration from uncolored naĂŻfs hidden behind a curtain of bits and byte until ennui overcomes them. And they unfriend like flushed toilet tissue wearing unchanged undergarments in a quotidian dream of newly-donned silken mantels that stop briefly at the end of the cycle back to the watering holes of their non-communicative, non-essence and bid them a hollow adieu until the last one standing a last friend blows lazily in the breach and the wagonsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; wheels can be heard in the distance rolling toward the community of men who touch and sing and play at life.
Hart L’Ecuyer | American Power | Poetry These very groovy kids consciously or not sit in the kitchen, binging on Christmas & had yet to bicycle. The workmen are on a first-name basis with Susan; that’s the way it’s supposed to be. With such names as Rosenburg & Elaine American power was in good spirits. A wreck, I the confidence of a middle-aged painter dissuaded, had difficulty, put forward beautiful paradoxes. Serious Pollock went to the train station the reigning champion & for the first time de Kooning through a literal process didn’t share the pie. Everybody sought him out. It’s a technique: a young Westerner [distant rumble] suffocates in the well-meaning mass of believers America A new & bigger Bronx America Driveway not much to do America Afternoon redoubled like a frog prepared for dissection America
Brian Hardie | “Ralph the Cat” | Photograph 19
Richard Salembier | Sestina For The Homebody | Poetry Within the frames of exposed skin there’s millions to eat the advertised food in the sixty-some seconds between shows, because there will always be millions of people for whom the habit becomes a vice and who will ask what they missed while they were getting sick, and will wonder who’s responsible for all of the sick — fuck, stupid-ass, insult-my-intelligence skin flicks - in spite of which we’ve retained our vices, and our favorite seats, and our food — a nightly feature for all of the people — the youpeople, mepeople, the everypeople daytime game show hosts; the Drew Carey come-on-down shows we watch when we stay home sick and marvel at how all of the people have the same perfect hair, perfect face, perfect skin, and they all eat the same perfect food, and of course they’ve got no vices; for we all know that, aside from soap operas, vices don’t exist in the daytime, the shows are too busy concealing their subliminal messages in food ads that make the fasting, fat, and dieting equally sick, and then we really don’t give a shit about our pimply skin until we realize we’re each one of millions of people; people with reason, people with choices, people who are, unfortunately, indentured to their vices, which discriminate against no skin, and so we continue to watch afternoon and late night talk shows with alarming regularity, and then we get sick in the same proportion to the amount of food we ate that day, same as on any day that our food was gleaned by Spic and Span Merv Griffin people who probably sit and wait for us to get sick so they can laugh at our incurable vices while we inexorably watch every inane show with no plot, and no point, just skin —
the same skin we watch and eat as food during and in between shows; and being real people, with real people vices, we real people get violently sick.
David Sermersheim | They Would be Young and Free | Poetry they would be young clear-eyed and free innocent and naive with sun aglow in their hair they would gambol and frolic without a care full free and in their prime live as if the day had no end time waited to be spent when all was right and in its place unaware the dark face of evil lurked around the next corner the blinding flash of madness struck without warning earth trembled beneath their feet and sound of fear seared the air in an interval seemingly without end the stream of grief runs steady and swift with blood of the fallen and life was taken from a place never to be the same again
History of The B’K
The Bitchin’ Kitsch (2010-present) or The B’K is a compzine edited and published by The TalbotHeindl Experience, LLC in Denver, Colorado. The Bitchin’ Kitsch was created as a monthly zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who had something to say. It was born out of a necessity to create an avenue for editor, Chris Talbot-Heindl, to remain artistic after school, with her subversive style, while continuing to live in Central Wisconsin. It exists for the purpose of open creativity and seeks to be an outlet for people who may not otherwise have an opportunity to show their work. Although the idea was created as a “what-if” brainstorm between the Talbot-Heindls’ whilst in bed and sort of groggy, it has since blossomed into a legitimate publication that has gone international Through the grace of the Internet, The B’K has had the opportunity to create a juried book and the opportunity to publish four juried chapbooks. Here’s to the past eight years, and hopefully many, many more.
Olivier Schopfer | Fragments | Photograph