The B'K December 2017 Issue

Page 1



bitchin’ kitsch

8 Iss. 12 Dec 2017 Vol.

The Talent

Cover: “Rare Love� by Alyssa Havens & Greg Counard. Tim J. Brennan Sissy Buckles Kristen Clark Greg Counard Holly Day Darren Demaree Allen Forrest John Grey Alyssa Havens Donovan James Gabe Kahan KG Newman Martin Pedersen Richard Salembier Olivier Schopfer David Sermersheim Arushi Singh Dr. Mel Waldman

10 8-9 4 cover, 11, 21 14 13 22-25 20 cover, 11 5 3 12 18 26 7, 15, 28 19 6 16-17

Gabe Kahan | The Adult Saunters Up to My Chin | poetry In line with a thousand pigeons. I have no doubt he loves me. All the bones in this fragile moment Tell me so. He hands me calligraphy markers and film negatives And a manila envelope full of scientific studies Documenting all the regrets I will ever have. I smile, and walk my gifts over to the street corner Trashcan. I tell him the photos are disposable in heart, That a pop song or two will do the trick. And his tears Go running like wild dogs Ripping into my chest hair, burrowing home. The rocket cars and sperm whale sky Package up the infinite grin That comes bursting from my lips. I tell him death visits but never stays. I tell him my moonshadow will fill him in on the details. He sighs and lunges into my body, full force. My skin breaks But no blood. The air Ripples. And I sink like a starfish Into a political and pre-historic waterway Of protein shakes and bright mornings.


Kristen Clark | The wise whale | poetry Even the wise whale’s belly is full of plastic and the all-seeing owl’s eyes are cracked with shards of glass. The hollow-boned sparrow is filled with lead and the butterfly’s wings beat against fumes. The careful fish breathes out oil and the fierce tiger’s paws slap against concrete. The small rabbit is split open by the road and the squirrel chokes on trash. It does not matter how beautiful brilliant or bold you are. It does not matter that you lived a life full of kindness gratitude and love. We are all going to die from someone else’s mistake.

Donovan James | Eclipse | poetry Light minute long geometry Coalesces, To cast a satellite sized shadow, Across an organic spaceship. Filaments of solar flares, Dance upon blades Of grass, Cats scatter across living room floors, Dogs whimper and nuzzle hands To assuage inarticulate fears, While humans find comfort in theories And equations, Analogous to their ancestors finding peace In stories and myth, “The Sun God Will Return,” & “Equations predict the eclipse Will last 45 seconds.” Human syntax wrapped around Bottomless concepts, Transmuted into distinct grunts and clicks. “Just enjoy it,” She says, eyes peering upwards, “You don’t have to analyze everything.” Her fingertips intertwined in mine Gift an almost imperceptible squeeze, Those eyes that haunt And inspire, Encased in Black hole glasses, Watching the original god Disappear.


Arushi Singh | Still | poetry in five years the road will be so parched it will almost be a part of us don’t be afraid the fist is just a fist till it kisses your face here is a word with paper under it. After you close your eyes we can pretend it was a Suicide letter whisper softly mother doesn’t wake until the eye of the sun hits the window that protects her in five years these scars will become cat scratches and fade into the flesh don’t be afraid depression is just another word for the body’s enduring will to die you can pass through it like the leaves pass through the wind shaken and unaffected you can turn the radio up a man can only cause a finite amount of pain and father will still be here when the blood stains dig deeper into your shirt don’t be afraid time is still time even when you cannot touch it one of these days darling I swear the pain will feel so invisible you could almost walk by it

Olivier Schopfer

Olivier schopfer | Off-Season | photograph


Sissy Buckles | You have no faith to lose and you know it | poetry And then I thought to offer a late apology for all that religion stuff I used to throw your way, I swear I act like a fucking jerk every day, and it was a weird time in my life caught between a rock and a hard place living amidst the bitter satirical faces of insanity all the while trying to act normal and nothing to stop it except a worthless piece of paper signed by a civil judge ordering him to stay away, the cosmic joke was on me and everybody knew it. And I remember once telling me you had problems that I couldn’t even imagine, but since I was crawling alone through the valley of death, let’s just say there was plenty I could envision, and thought well, I’ll give it a shot then, and if that doesn’t work I would nag/harass/cajole you off that ledge... and why can’t I have myself a small religious moment I mean all the young girls I grew up with had one getting their wet panties bunched riding horses out in Lakeside when they were twelve, so maybe I was just having my moment a little later, who knows.... so here we still are, and things are going okay this week, I had the flu on Saturday which always puts me in a panic but I ran three miles this am, maybe hit the Chico Club with the gang to see some old guys rocking out, and even your friend

up to his old tricks is oddly comforting, as if facing the chaos of universal fear and trembling at least some things remain the same I never minded the mirror being held up anyway, and yeah yeah the usual angst about 9-5 and the eternal rat race, my contract up in 2018 so it’s time to make a move the closest transfer jobs are two hours away in big shot L.A., but I’m all about the money right now and stressed just thinking about it when all I want to do is sit on my front porch in Lemon Grove with a cold beer, was this how Rimbaud felt when he chucked it all to run guns in the scorched badlands of Africa tired of being an asshole poet, and Jesse Dayton’s smoky Texas dance hall honky-tonk on the stereo who I always liked better when he was drunk and fat, and looking up at the happy new year stars.


Tim J. Brennan | Fragments of a Moribund ritual | Poetry My sister asks me to write the eulogy. I speak to the body, not the man. A way to the throat. I imagine his eyes beneath the lids as bronzed coins. If I had them in hand I might toss them into a well. A church choir song begins and my voice floats into the apse like some kind of blue cloud. There’s a buzzing outside but I’m not sure if it’s a bee or a hummingbird. A loose Titleist rolls around one of the vacant drawers in my head.

Alyssa Havens & Greg Counard

Alyssa Havens & Greg Counard | Miss Lemon Head | Multi media on paper 11

KG Newman | Inevitable | poetry The sophistry is at an all-time high and there’s rivers all over the room. She yells and tells me I’m selfish as if it’s an order. I remember her as someone who sent a fruit basket to a co-worker’s ill grandmother yet she must verify our love via Instagram. She thought her boxer was tough even after he pissed on the floor during a break-in. She’s on the poster for reverse evolution, on alert at all times for a woolly mammoth siege. I’d believe it was love if not for the shiv hidden just outside the cave. Now she’s raving about another phantom infidelity and what can I do but put everything that’s ever been us—the rings, this sting, the little bud—into a canoe and attempt to stay afloat through these rivers all over the room.

Darren Demaree | Emily as the woman next to profanity | poetry I caught the blackened bone & the language of the gristle became all I could use for Emily. She’s never minded my coarse nature. She gets upset at church when I go to church because she’s playing the long game. She thinks I’ll lose my taste for it & need something else to taste. I don’t think the lord is what will do it for me, but she is smarter than me.


Holly Day | Out of Reach | poetry the hand comes down and pushes me down and reminds me that the wings that keep trying to break through my skin are not to be trusted, that wings are not for me. I let the hand tear out the feathers, the sinew the brave new appendages that would allow me to fly away let the hand carefully bind my broken skin my bloodied back in bandages that keep new feathers from sprouting, new wings from unfurling overnight.

Olivier Schopfer

Olivier schopfer | lodge | photograph


Dr. Mel Waldman | Ogunquit Rhapsody | Poetry & dancing to the music of rebirth the Ogunquit Rhapsody in the swirl of the dreamer’s dream the sweet phantasmagoria of Delirium Ecstasy flowing fantastically to the eerie enchantment of the Ogunquit Rhapsody I taste the oceanic bliss of the Beautiful Place by the Sea & return to our late summer retreat & the sultry August sun Perkins Cove & a luscious lunch at Jackie’s Too you & I on the terrace by the rocks seagulls resting there & sailing above & after we meander along the beautiful breathtaking Marginal Way by the glorious rocks & granite cliffs & grand Atlantic Ocean the 1 ¼ - mile – long celestial cliff walk that blesses us with beauteous panoramic visions & we, my beloved wife, oblivious of the approaching storm the tempest within rushing across your lovely body,

see but the Beautiful Place by the Sea & hear the haunting Ogunquit Rhapsody before Death stalks you but dies in the winter of despair & we dance to the music of rebirth the Ogunquit Rhapsody


Martin Pedersen | Vietnam | Poetry

Our hair grew out to dress code max bell-bottoms, long pointy polyester collars poppin pimples on the smelly gym mirror Green Bay Packers, All in the Family Off the Pigs, or just more beer. Nobody I knew was killed there just a guy who dropped out of my high school, Curt Rainey, idiot joined the corps rumor was he’s a junky small obit – ODed on war. I’ll go someday I know I’ll go before I die to find his name on the black stone of 58,183, minute tribute, and I know I’ll look for my own name to put my finger tips on what I lost being scared and confused inexpressibly about going abroad in 1970.

David Sermersheim | The Last Gig | Poetry got the gig rented a horn bought a white shirt and tie drove the Outer Drive through snow and ice to a country club on the edge of the northwest side went in introduced myself to the band put the horn together tried to fit in with the group didn’t know half the tunes midway through the second set a warm glow rose from my feet and filled me with enough”juice” to make it through the rest of the night got in my wreck without a heater drove back to Hyde Park and the cell I called home forgot about what I did knew it was over and haven’t missed it since


John Grey | wedding ballast | poetry Call it stupid if you like, snaps the daughter, struggling to give the impression of someone passionately in love. Her father’s lecture drapes immorality all over the affair like kudzu on magnolias. Her mother unloads on her with the sheer impracticality of marrying a much older man. She has become almost a child again in their words, a naughty imp caught in self-indulgence, prime fodder for a slap across the knuckles. Has he any money? What does he do for a living? What’s his family background? Has he been married before? You’re only doing this to spite us, they add. There is no answer to that, merely a pause in the questioning.

Greg Counard

Greg Counard | Empathy | Pencil on paper


Allen Forrest | Eulogy for The Spirit | Poetry & Illustration

Paula Patronski was a woman with a mighty spirit, she had a bawdy wild laugh, she was very sharp, both in mind and tongue, extremely frugal with the purse strings, a good saver and investor, a savvy business woman before it was in vogue for women to be so. Her husband had passed years before. She was living alone in a neighborhood that was primarily black. She was white, Polish, and in her 80’s.

We’d met through her son, I ended up renting a small apartment from her, built as a separate unit at the front of her house. I lived there for ten years. I got to know her very well and we had many ups and downs. In exchange for incredibly low rent, I took her shopping, to the doctor, vacuumed her house, and would visit her in the evenings for an hour or so. She was a good solid person but her personality could overpower you. The others who’d rented the apartment, hadn’t stayed long and Paula eventually gave up trying to rent it, until her son suggested me. I stayed, it suited my needs and ambitions, and I knew in order to survive her I could not let her know all of me. I had to keep something of myself for myself. She sensed this and it bothered her. Never-the-less, we lasted a long run together. Eventually I moved to another apartment, one closer to my day job. Paula’s last years were with her son in his home. She had cancer and wasn’t expected to live long. She passed a few months later. The funeral home which held her service was just across the street from the son’s house. He asked me to read the eulogy he was writing. I came on the appointed day and time of the funeral. Paula’s body was in a casket, dressed nice. Many of her son’s friends and co-workers were there. I asked him about the eulogy, since I had not yet looked at it. He said he was rewriting a part and would give it to me in a moment. I saw all the people assembled there and began mentally preparing myself to read in front of them, but I still hadn’t seen the eulogy. I went and inquired again, he said in just a minute it would be ready.

continues 23

Allen Forrest | Eulogy for The Spirit Continued

The proceedings looked like they were about to begin, still no eulogy. Then he came over and handed me a piece of paper: the eulogy. I sat down and started to read it over, I read the first two sentences, when he said, “We’re ready to begin. You need to go up to the podium now and give her eulogy.” I was about to say, but I haven’t read it yet, when I noticed all these people sitting there looking at me, expecting the eulogy. There was a young woman on piano waiting to accompany my reading, with a favorite song of Paula’s and her son. I got up and walked to the podium. I looked out at all those people, many of whom I knew from work, many I didn’t, the piano started to play, I looked down at the eulogy and began to read. Something happens to us on special occasions that transcends the usual, the unknown adds a risk element, if faced with determination, honesty, and true depth of feeling we live fully in those moments. It can happen to a musician, an actor, a writer, a painter at the canvas, a balance point is hit and it holds. What pours forth is a truth that can only happen once and perhaps that is enough. That one time. To be in control and yet on the edge of losing control at the same time. Raw, uninhibited expression. I knew not where I was going, but I was going there. Paula’s spirit was imbued in this heartfelt composition. There was such drama, such love and sadness, the son’s most precious words to say about his mother. My God those words affected me and all those in the room. Having only read it once, I can only remember a small amount of what it said. The main theme was: the son didn’t want his mother to go before he did. To leave this world before him. The song played on the piano had lyrics, some of these lyrics were in the eulogy.

They said don’t go on before I, that the loss of his beloved mother would be more than he could bare and would feel forlorn and abandoned. He wanted to leave this world first rather than feel the loss of her leaving. When I read these words, these lyrics, I could feel the emotion come up from some deep well inside me. Afterward, there was quiet. I knew something had happened, something we all experienced together in that room: the spirit of love for our loved ones, that crushing sorrowful loss and the thousands of unanswered questions about our parents, our memories of them now that they have gone on and we are alone. Then more people came up, spoke words of remembrance for the deceased. Afterward, I stood outside a side exit of the funeral home, one of my supervisors fixed me with an intense stare and said “That was very good.� It was strange how he said it. Like the eulogy had bothered him, but at the same time he respected the emotion it generated. It could probably never happen again: never in that way, never again so simple, so direct from the heart, but that one time was all we needed.


Richard Salembier | Loose Associations | Poetry A birthday a heart attack on Facebook photos of people in full regalia thank you for your service a crash of guitars a cascade of drums reveille taps in the end what’s the difference will there be anthem protests tomorrow trust the process we’re told but what if it’s flawed look at her raking working hard I hope she’s not overdoing it does the cat like Eno she’s probably thinking karma baby next time you’ll be listening to my shit.

History — 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 seven years, and hopefully many, many more.


Olivier Schopfer

Olivier schopfer | Wall | photograph