The B'K February 2017 Issue

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bitchin’ kitsch

8 Iss. 2 Feb 2017 Vol.

The Talent

Cover: “Devojka” by Gordan Ćosić. Mike Andrelczyk 19 James Bezerra 10-13 Nathan Caine 18 J.D. DeHart 28 Robin Wyatt Dunn 6 E.A. Feliu 23 Chad Fisher 15 Hug Honor 26 Kristian Kuhn 4-5 Rabbi Steven Lebow 20-22 Sandeep Kumar Mishra 7, 30 Debasis Mukhopadhyay 27 Tommy Paley 8-9 A.G. Price 3 Lauren Sartor 16 Emily Rose Schanowski 17 M. Esteban Uribe 14 Dr. Mel Waldman 24-25

A.G. Price | Batmobiles and Black Suburbans | Poetry Batmobiles and black suburbans Prowling and patrolling Blacked out headlights and dark tinted windshields Featureless and non-reflecting Comes in vigilante or homeland security edition Chrome accents unavailable in some areas Summer time clearance sale going on now See your nearest dealer for details Batmobiles and black suburbans Everywhere and nowhere All the rage In a rage filled world Of endless war and escalating threat levels Bulk data collection and predator drones Protecting the body while killing the soul Batmobiles and black suburbans Prowling and patrolling Everywhere and nowhere Featureless and non-reflecting


Kristian Kuhn | Hash-Tagging the triviality of my soft boredoms | Poetry There’s a tiny cathedral lying in the center room of my brain, a sweet tasting sleep aid because tonight I’ve been the spiller of red wine on white rugs. I’ve wrapped barbed wire around my head with gold sequins although it makes no big diff... I don’t know if my mother wants me talking about this kind of stuff in public – it’s a story of the stinging in my palms and the love I shattered and the love I rebuilt. There aren’t enough terrible things happening in my life so I’ll fold the edges of the toilet paper to save the earth and then tell you about my girlfriend’s terrific truffles. Tonight I wrapped my tongue around the whip cream dispenser and prayed for the fate of humanity within all the white balls of fluff. But I’m not very good at prayer. Seldom do I feel anything afterward serenity... no awareness of things. I haven’t changed the sheets in weeks and I haven’t known too many soft angels either. Just yesterday at work I opened the fridge and considered my Tupperware but instead took a brown paper bag with a writ name not my own. And I finally told a priest that I stole money from the church twenty years ago and I think it led to the death of a man. My memories stopped flashing backwards and I’ve begun to see everything in the now, not in some kind of pie-in-the-sky Zen kind of way but in a way that makes my heart stop and my eyes see sparks.

I haven’t started giving my possessions away yet but I feel like I’m going to die young. I have a million strings tied up to so much puppetry but lately I’ve begun to let go. The churchgoers would probably say “Golly, Geez.” The agnostic … “Jesus H. Christ.” I don’t know what to tell you other than the fact that I don’t have a Twitter account.


Robin Wyatt Dunn | running | Poetry rescind the invitation and invent the end begin again to shred the evidence of our untoward genocide so sorry so sorry we’ll do better next time (from inside the bunker)

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

sandeep kumar mishra | Life Angle | Watercolor on paper 7

Tommy Paley | Their Love | Prose He loved her like others loved the rain although he wished she stopped literally showering him with water unexpectedly. She loved playfully chasing after him in a field of spring flowers up until her allergies caught up with her or until he handed over the allergy medication. He loved watching her eat despite her protestations that it was creepy and weird especially when he insisted on recording it for exactly those reasons. She loved invading his space on the couch utilizing the most modern warfare techniques and strategies that she could reasonably afford given their tight budget. He loved standing in long lines with her because of her unique way of making all lines paradoxically appear circular. She loved that he never gave up until he actually turned molehills into mountains. He loved the period of peaceful serenity each morning just after she woke up and just before she started screaming at him for putting lipstick and blush on the dog again. She loved making him lunch for all of the wrong reasons. He loved taking her on long romantic walks to his favourite spots while she argued that his definition of romantic needed a complete overhaul. She loved helping nurse him back to health when he was sick, but she refused to have him sit on her lap while sucking from the bottle. He loved spending weekend afternoons watching paint dry, while she absolutely adored painting him. She loved packing up all of her belongings, leaving abruptly and waiting down by the train station that he built for her in the backyard as she needed a place to play make believe with all of her dollies. He loved her way with words in all of its nonsensical, raving and quite worrisome detail. She loved smashing his sand castles and then intimidatingly standing over him celebrating the fact that her castles were now clearly bigger. He loved her smile and her laugh and, to a somewhat lesser degree, her unrelenting and quite brutally sarcastic satirical love letters. She loved his carefree and whimsical approach to life except in those moments when he was operating heavy duty machinery.

He loved sitting next to her at the table both because it was her, but also because it was just a really fine table which displayed expert craftsmanship. She loved when he first referred to her as his peach, though as time went on, it became more and more concerning especially considering the crazed smile on his face whenever he said it. He loved walking a mile in her shoes equally because of the perspective it gained him as well as the comfort that custom-made insoles provided. She loved his bear hugs which were now thankfully given using 50% less bear.


James Bezerra | Gin | Fiction Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1794 when he was twenty-nine years old and it - sorta - changed the world. Overnight it made Upland Short cotton into ‘King Cotton’ and elevated the Antebellum South as an agricultural and therefore economic powerhouse. It inadvertently kicked off the Industrial Revolution in the United States. By mechanizing and expediting the tedious process of removing seeds from the cotton bulbs, it also intensified the demand for raw cotton. That demand could only be met by an ever increasingly large agricultural labor force, which could have been very expensive. But wasn’t. Not the way America did it. Later in his life, Whitney manufactured muskets for the Continental Army. He died in 1825, when Abraham Lincoln was 14 years old. In the darkest days of the American Civil War, President Lincoln, a student of history, would sometimes mumble frustratedly to his staff, “This is all that damn Whitney’s fault.” An early draft of the address Lincoln gave at Gettysburg included a section where the long-dead Whitney was to be personally excoriated. At the last minute the President later decided not to include the section in his speech, “This is the wrong time to speak ill of the dead,” Lincoln told one of his aids before tramping through the wet grass of the former battlefield to make his address. Lincoln’s erstwhile forgiveness was not felt by all Americans. Sometime in 1867 Whitney’s remains were stolen from the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven Connecticut, where they had laid at rest for 42 years. To this day the Yale-owned cemetery denies that the theft ever took place. Over the years though, scores of students claim to have seen Whitney’s unhappy ghost standing impatiently under the Egyptian Revival gateway to the cemetery. Some students claim that he bummed cigarettes from them. The cemetery officially denied this as well but has cautioned Yale students against smoking, just in case. A precocious and insomniatic Yale undergrad named Fox Luckner made a short-form documentary about Whitney’s ghost. She interviewed him every Tuesday night for four weeks (he tended to be most corporeal on Tuesday nights). The first two sessions were primarily dedicated to figuring out exactly how to light a ghost. Whitney, still imbued with natural curiosity and an engaging mind, offered many suggestions, but owing to his inexperience with electric light, this only served to annoy Luckner. Eventually she lost her temper with him. During the third session Whitney sullenly stood off to one side while Luckner set up her lights. He puffed unobtrusively on the Pall Malls that she had brought him. In the documentary there is a staged shot of him doing this. Then a cut and Luckner’s voice from offscreen, “Were you aware at the time of the massive repercussions that the invention of the cotton gin would bring?” Whitney’s round, smooth face crinkled a little, “I really just want my body returned,” he replied. “I thought you were going to help me get my body back.” “Surely you must have thought about the ramifications?” Luckner pressed. “Don’t be one of those people who blames me for the Civil War, okay? I was dead by then. I had nothing to do with it.”

“But when you patented the cotton gin you set in motion a whole series of events which led inexorably to the institutionalization of slavery and eventually the war.” “Not every place that had slavery had cotton and I kind of resent the implication,” said Eli Whitney’s ghost. “You know, I also invented interchangeable parts, do you want to talk about that?” “No,” said Fox Luckner. “Fine. Do you have any more cigarettes?” The documentary cuts quickly and when it comes back Whitney is sucking down another Pall Mall. He smokes it, it is quite real in his ghost hand, held between his ghost fingers, but after he inhales the blue smoke billows out of his ectoplasmic body and floats away in a thin cloud. “Do you have any opinions on the modern age?” Luckner can be heard asking. “I think that people have no respect for other people’s bodily remains anymore.” “With all due respect, your body was stolen more than a hundred and fifty years ago.” “Probably by Jews.” “You’re anti-Semitic too?” Luckner asked. “I don’t know what that word means.” “It is actually not a word, it’s a compound word.” “What?” “Nothing, forget it.” Luckner can be heard off camera flipping through her notes. “Do you know what the Internet is?” She asks almost as a lark. “Of course I do. You think we don’t get the Internet?” There is a pause as Whitney smokes and Luckner silently composes her thoughts. “I’m sorry, did you say that you ‘get the Internet’?” “Yeah. Sure we do.” “Who is ‘we’?” “You know, all the rest of us.” Whitney gestured out at the cemetery behind him.

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James Bezerra | Gin

Another long pause. Then Luckner can be heard to ask tentatively, “Could you explain that a little more? Please …” Ultimately Luckner chose to premier her documentary at Cannes rather than peddling it as an academic oddity on college campuses. She would later explain in a Slate interview, “I felt that the world at large needed to know about these revelations.” “How did you feel,” the Slate interviewer asked, “upon initially hearing Whitney’s description of the ghost presence on the Internet?” “Well, I was quite taken aback, as you might imagine. I mean, when you watch the documentary, you can hear me stuttering.” What Whitney had described while puffing agitatedly on his Pall Mall, was the remarkable confluence of the afterlife and the Internet. “I can pass more freely from my dead state to the Internet than I can from my dead state to this one, where I am at with you right now.” “You’re not always in a ‘dead state’?” Luckner had asked. “Not at all. Do I seem dead now?” Luckner had not responded. “It is all just …” Whitney took a long drag, thought and then went on, “… energy. It is all just energy. The flicker of a candle, or a ghost or those light things you have so much trouble setting up. The Internet actually easier than all that.” “What do you do on the Internet?” Luckner had asked. “Mostly we watch all of you. It is amazing how much you can be aware of when you don’t have a physical body to limit your perception. We watch you buy things, we watch you type to each other. Sometimes we just watch you.” “What do you mean?” “Well, all your computers have those cameras on them now. Sometimes I like to just sit there and watch.” “What do you mean?” Luckner asked again, her voice had the sound of little creaks and waves in it. “Just that,” Whitney puffed, “we can see you, through the cameras. Next time you sit down at your computer, spend a second to let you eyes flick up to that little camera lens up there above your screen. You can’t see past it, but you never know, one of us could be there. Looking out at you. Watching you. Maybe it is someone dead who loves you, who is watching over you. Maybe not. There are a lot of unpleasants out there, floating in the ether, watching you. All of you.” Luckner said nothing. It is the most tense moment in the documentary.

Finally Whitney said, “Look, are you going to help me get my body back or not?” At that point in the documentary it cuts to Luckner racing back to her dorm room (she always claimed that she hadn’t realized that the camera was still recording, that it was a happy accident discovered in the editing process) where she covers the camera on her computer with a piece of electrical tape. Following the release of the documentary a mild hysteria ensued. The sales of electronics dipped for two straight fiscal quarters. The U.S. Congress passed multiple laws seeking to restrict the access that ghosts had to the Internet, though none of the laws offered clear technical suggestions as to how this might be down. People started unplugging their computers and wireless routers at night. Google promised to make their websites more secure against ghosts. Eventually the hysteria subsided. Luckner went on to make another documentary, this one decrying the habitual properties of high fructose corn syrup. Soured by his experience with Luckner and the newfound modern fame that she had brought him, Whitney refused to grant any more interviews to anyone who couldn’t help him find his body. Interestingly, Whitney’s sudden notoriety gave rise to new debates over whether his invention of the cotton gin had in fact lit the long fuse to the Civil War in America. Without fail, whenever these discussions took place online the websites always crashed.


M. Esteban Uribe | Untitled | Poetry Next to my bed, children’s building blocks, the ones that fit nicely in geometric holes, greet my feet. I wake up with a missed call in a foreign tongue. My neighbors went to the war while I studied literature— we both lost weight and returned more pallid and quiet. I could never sleep at night, when I was young, thinking about Hiroshima, the plantations, or Independiente Medellín losing to Boca Juniors. I picked up candy wrappers and stuffed them in my drawers, and gathered twigs to leave in Ramón’s mailbox. He was an excellent soccer player. My freshmen year in college he stepped on a mine and got blown to pieces. A similar thing happened to my memories. The piece I remember best is in the middle of a traffic jam, the roads snaking down the mountains— descent from a polluted heaven— It’s hard to rub the ghosts of oil off my fingers. We return to the jungle with our lessons unlearned— a while back, the ants remember, everything was hunted in the dark green thick— light scattered on the decomposing floor—a culture of sunbeams— Climbing back into history my murdered brothers were always killers at heart— the land forgot them after drinking their blood— morning coffee.

Chad Fisher

Chad Fisher | You Should See the Other Guy | Ink on paper 15

Lauren Sartor | We’re Children | Poetry We curse and play, pretend to be contagious. We jump from facetious to serious. We discuss the idea of god. We meet half-accidentally. We know each other through mannerisms. We mimic them. We live moment by moment. We get loud. We lie, elaborate. We are honest to the point of dishonesty. We clamor for more, interrupt the people that feed us. We play games in the back, fight over the rules. Our speech is dumb. We dance and climb where it says “Do Not Climb!” We can’t walk straight. We fall. We rip and dirty our clothes. We smear tears and snot all over our face. Somebody has hurt us. We need to go home, but we need someone to bring us. We often get lost or in trouble. We never learn when enough is enough is enough.

emily rose schanowski

emily rose schanowski | Bioluminescence | ink on paper 17

Nathan Caine | Juniper’s Day and Night Came | Poetry Night’s velvet rush and rend As I slide by you on my steel bike with rough cotton grips And you on your old weird Schwinn, trying to keep up, Because we didn’t have any time to lose And never did. The road empty, but for us And the quiet whistle of wind sliced on our wheels, We’re caught up in each other, In our eyes and hair The soft tearing, Stripping away at the warm layers Of the dark. I don’t know where we got to, But we got pretty far Down a road we didn’t know Till dawn and it was late.

Mike Andrelczyk | Nevada | Poetry He looked like an astronaut eating a rack of ribs and she looked like a blackjack dealer. They sat side-by-side in a red faux-leather booth in the diner. The astronaut licked the barbecue sauce from his fingers and the blackjack dealer folded her napkin into smaller and smaller triangles. But, in fact, she was the astronaut and he was the blackjack dealer and after he finished his ribs, he ordered a milkshake and two straws. She recalled how the earth looked from the space station. It looked like the Queen of Spades and the Ace of Diamonds. And he recalled how the whale won enough blue chips to buy a private jet and how each blue chip looked like a little Earth. When the milkshake came the astronaut said, “Wanna hear something?” “Hit me,” he said “Russell calls cyanide Nevada Gas” “Hmm… The state of Nevada,” he said as he fingered one of her folded napkins, “is shaped like a playing card with one corner folded over.” Previously published in The Inquisitive Eater


Rabbi Steven Lebow | Goody Nickstein and the HomeOwners’ Nazis | fiction “Good morning,” said Goody Nickstein to the man who had just rung her doorbell. “Hello,” he said. “I’m Sam Shmuckman, the President of the Homeowners’ Association, here on Asteroid Kepler.” “I’m here to orient you to the community.” he said. “That’s great!” she said. “Let me call my wife down to meet you!” “Shoshi, come and meet the Homeowners’ President,” she said to her wife, Shoshana Levine. “Let me get right to the point.” said Shmuckman. “We’ve had quite a few complaints about your curbside atomic recycler ever since you moved in two weeks ago. It’s not really acceptable and you need to take it out.” “Our recycler?” said Nickstein. “I looked up the model number and ordered it myself. It’s the exact same model and color that everyone else in the subdivision has!” “That may be,” said Shmuckman. “But you failed to go through the appropriate channels. You never filed the required forms to put one in. You need to take yours out. That’s what the home owner’s covenant book says.” Shoshana Levine, who had been quiet, said “Can you tell us why our recycler needs to be taken out, if it’s identical to all the other ones here?” “Why?” said Shmuckman, “Because that’s how we do things here on Asteroid Kepler, that’s why.”

After Shmuckman left Goody turned to Shoshana and said, “What was that all about? Do you think he knows about our gender?” said Goody. “Of course he knows that we’re intersex,” said Levine. “It’s on our ID cards. Everyone else’s card say M or F. Our cards say X, for intersex. We disclosed that when we bought our condo.” “Fine,” said Nickstein. “I’m not taking our nuclear unit out. I’ll just file the paper work and leave the recycler where it is.”

Two weeks after they had unpacked their moving boxes the doorbell chime rung once more. “I’ve had complaints about your door ornament,” said Shmuckman, as he gestured towards the right hand side of the doorframe. “It looks like witches and a castle, like you use to see in the Harry Potter videos from a hundred years

ago,” said Shmuckman. “It’s not a witch,” said Nickstein. “It’s called a ‘mezuzah. Every Jewish couple puts one up on the upper side of their doorframe. It’s got a little piece of Old Testament scripture in it, which talks about why the Jews are sort of special in God’s eyes.” “Special?” said Shmuckman. “You’re not from around here, are you? In a housing colony like this no one is allowed to be special. Every home should look exactly alike. You should have read your covenants.” “But every other condo in the subdivision has Christmas trees and nativity scenes on their lawn!” protested Nickstein. “Oh that’s different, said the chairman. “Everyone on the asteroid celebrates Christmas. That’s just normal.”

“Well, it gets more interesting all the time,” Goody said to Levine that night. “Anti-Semitism and racism is almost wiped out on the earth. It’s nice to know that it still is alive and well on a terra-formed asteroid!” “Well, that may not be the whole story,” said Levine. “Shmuckman stopped me the other day in the commissary and he introduced me to his wife.” “She looked me up and down and said ‘Hello honey! I’m glad to finally meet an intersex couple! We only have straights and gays here so far.’” “I know where this is going.” said Nickstein. “She didn’t ask you..” “Oh yes, she did,” replied Shoshana Levine. “In front of the frozen vegetables she actually said, “Sweetheart, I have just got to ask you! Which one of you is the active and which one is the passive?’” “Great,” said Levine. “Did you explain to that idiot that intersex means we have no outward genitals?” “No,” said Nickstein. “I grabbed my box of steam beans and I walked out.” “Help me understand this,” said Nickstein the following day. “All of the real estate literature that we saw before we came here said that asteroid pioneers were liberal and open to any type of gender and sexual orientation.” “Well, apparently Shmuckman never read that particular document.” said Levine. “I wonder if corporate

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rabbi steven Lebow | goody nickstein and the home owner’s nazis even knows about how this guy is managing the colony.” “Good question,” said Goody Nickstein. “I’ll send a letter to East Indies Asteroid, LLC. Maybe we can get some kind of explanation for this BS.” A month later, at the home owner’s meeting, Nickstein and Levine sat in the middle of the crowd. Some of their neighbors had become friendly towards them and the other colonists were polite, or just left the couple alone. “This meeting of the Homeowners’ Association can now come to order,” said Shmuckman. “Look at him,” said Nickstein. “He’s holding a hard copy of the covenants book like a copy of the Bible in one hand and in the other hand he won’t put the chairman’s gavel down!” “I am disappointed that so few of you have read your covenants book,” he began, when two men in their thirties entered the meeting room. One of the newcomers went directly to the lectern and stood next to Shmuckman on the dais. “Good afternoon,” he said. “I am so sorry to interrupt your Homeowners’ meeting! I’m the new Provisional Governor for the asteroid and I just landed a few minutes ago.” “We’ve never had a Provisional Governor before!” protested Shmuckman. “Well, times change,” said the man. “And I guess in outer space we just have to learn to change with them…” “And just who gave you the authority to be the new Governor for Asteroid Kepler?” said Shmuckman, unwilling to yield the lectern. “I was sent here by corporate. My husband in the back is Isaac Vesper,” he said, as he gestured to his spouse. “And my name is Goldberg. Alan Goldberg,” said the new Governor, as he gently pried both the book and the gavel out of the former chairman’s hands.

E.A. Feliu | Doctor’s Office | Poetry He, too, had a hardback. He held it absentmindedly, as if the words had lost to his impatience. I dipped into my poetry book, astounded by the clarity of its gobbledygook. I sat and pecked at it, feeling my head balloon like an earthworm. The old man transitioned to a bus bench, chagrined. The bus came yesterday, taking his wife’s medication. When I looked up again, he had drifted into a stand of elms, his head bobbing like an errant cloud trying to remember where it misplaced the library.


Dr. Mel Waldman | Nirvana Road | Poetry (on reading Gregory Corso’s poem - Poets Hitchhiking on the Highway) On Nirvana Road, in the high country, I breathe celestial air, a heavenly blend of hallucinogenic bliss, intoxicating & bestial, exploding with ecstasy & bursting with an eerie Eros, I stroll along the cosmic highway, stop by the side of the road & gaze at a glowing opalescent signThe Garden of Dreams, & a soothing seductive voice, oozing from the Void beyond, whispers, Evanescence, vanishing flower in the Garden of Dreams, where do you go after the red sun flows above the Gulf of Nowhere & disappears below the horizon? Where do you go? & at this serendipitous moment, the Beat Poet Gregory Corso comes out of the bushes, saunters to me, & grinning wickedly says, “the sky chases the sun.” & suddenly, a wormhole swallows the beautiful glittering sign

& Corso whispers in my ear, “the ocean chases the fish.” & so it goes & now, he sticks to me like a Siamese twin & immersed in comic visions of the cosmos, we baptize each other in a torrential downpour of existential silliness & Gregory yells, “Let’s catch a ride in a pink Cadillac to Cloud 9.” “Don’t like heights, Corso. High up my laughing gas brain swirls & staggers. High up on Highway Vertigo is too high. So come with me, come, down this Yellow Brick Road to... Dorothy & friends & pink-haired angels.” “News flash, fellow poet, Nirvana Road is turquoise, silly dreamer.” “Am I color blind or a free thinker? Really, this is a revelation!” “It’s a fantastic fact!” “I’m giddy on truth, Corso.” “I’m just plain giddy.” “Let’s blast off.” “We’ll have a blast.” “Shall we jump into the wormhole?” “And fully embrace Nirvana?” “Off into inner space, Gregory Corso.” “Off to see the Grand Poet in the Garden of Dreams.” “Countdown, to destiny, Corso, begins now-1-2-3 & jump!”


Hug Honor | Pressure & Flight: The Adventures of Dr. Tea & Dr. Wang | fiction To move and shake like the ships we take into the great unknown. This is bliss. -Poet/Writer LM The simplicity of the adventure, the goal to forward mankind’s trek into the great unknown was more complicated than simply training and buckling in for the ride. It affected you to the core of your liver, to the blood vessel in your spleen, to the bone sir, to the bone ma’am. Two women who look deep into your tissues and mind. This is the story of Dr. Tea and Dr. Wang. Cousins from Hawaii and Arizona. Tea skinned the dog, and thought about how quickly she had gone from assisting in surgeries to this, as her veterinary medicine work began at the University of Minnesota. Her cousin was taking AP Physics, with her father in her ear about the effects of deep space and the ocean. “Do something great. You and your cousin could corner the market on people and pets going on these adventures. To the very core of them, in the bones and in the minds.” The essential question was, what would deep space and deep ocean travel and work do to the mind and body of people and pets, over prolonged periods of time. Babies were born, old folks lived a long time with nano-tech medicine. These ladies headed up the greatest medical adventure ever looked into, in the places man was not meant to go. Deep, deep into the abyss and the expanses, and as we went to ever increasingly dark and unknown places, the bodies of us were reforming and adapting, adopting the new no-time into the very blood that pumped into our pressured or weightless bones. This was new and never studied, never fixed, never felt, never walked into with open eyes and open souls. Until Dr. Tea and Dr. Wang walked, hand-in-hand, into this darkness to shed light like a pair of candles going to a crying baby or whimpering dog in the night. They had to go there.

Hug Honor is a long time friend of Dr. Wang and the proprietor of Modern Histories and Philosophies Magazine.

Debasis Mukhopadhyay | #bringbackourgirls | Poetry the girls had dropped their head scarves & dropped shoes along the way the hashtag prospered in flaming drifts in the wooden bones of the market stalls filling the emptiness what you heard is just the wind recalling the sewing machines long since gone to rest sparrows sitting along the dusty hay the girls had dropped their head scarves & dropped shoes voices swarming between the walls of reeds in chibok still surprised at the warmth of the smile the girls gave them in life sparrows sitting along their ruptured spine i have Hope said a mother holding on to the cluster in the eyes of her smiling girl the spangling footprints led her up to that photo the everlasting ravine from where she could say she-will-come-back-one-day-or-may-her-soul-rest-in-peace over her head the hashtag blowing smoke along the way the girls had dropped their head scarves & dropped shoes


J.D. DeHart | The Thumbs | fiction You can call them circus freaks. Their faces washed with an unnatural blank white. It’s normal to them. You can throw stones at them (because that’s what people sometimes seem best at). The first time I met kindly Mr. Thumb, I was picking out fruits in the vegetable market. It was one of those days I now remember in black and white. He strolled up to me and the first noticing I made was that he had nothing like eyes. Then no nose. Then no mouth. But the sounds came from somewhere. We became friends, his entire family and I. At one point, I thought about marrying his little daughter. But two things stopped me. One, I was never sure where to kiss her. Two, I wasn’t exactly sure which of his offspring was the daughter. Not wanting to explore these anatomical musings further, I decided not to follow suit. They are blank, the Thumbs, but not as blank as some featured people I know whose opinions tend to the ignorant, who refuse to think and read. They have no expression, but some people have no heart or soul or reason. So it was with great disdain when I found myself denying them in public, like Peter and the cross. “Do you know that man?” “No.” “Have you met them?” “No.” And in spite of having no discernible ears, they heard, and made me all the worse and more snow-covered in my own soul than their washed clear canvas.

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 Stevens Point, Wisconsin. 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 two juried chapbooks. Here’s to the past five years, and hopefully many, many more.


Sandeep Kumar Mishra

sandeep kumar mishra | Sleeping beauty | Pencil on paper