The B'K January 2017 Issue

Page 1



bitchin’ kitsch

8 Iss. 1 Jan 2017 Vol.

The Talent

Cover: “Charlottes” by Emily Rose Schanowski. Anselmo J. Alliegro 18-20 Jon Berger 16 Chad Fisher 13, 30 Daniel Ross Goodman 10-11 Patrick Hyde 4-6 Betsy Jenifer 15 Katiebird Yates 28 Kristian Kuhn 14 Sandeep Kumar Mishra 3, 27 Thomas M. McDade 21 Marina Rubin 22-23 Emily Rose Schanowski 17 Olivier Schopfer 7 Tina Trutanich 12 Dr. Mel Waldman 24-26 A.R. Williams 8-9

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

sandeep kumar mishra | Lost Love | Watercolor on paper 3

Patrick Hyde | THe Insidious Mr. TwinkleToes | Fiction Entry 1

It is Monday. Three weeks ago I came to the realization that my girlfriend’s cat hates me. I’ve been dating her for just under a year now but I finally put the pieces together and arrived at this undeniable truth. I can’t go straight to her with this information; that is exactly what the cat wants. He conspires to drive a wedge between us and, ultimately, he wants me out on my ass. I would not be surprised if this beast has sabotaged relationships before. Emily’s been cagey about her break-ups and now I think I know why. If I plead my case she will think I’m paranoid, delusional, and jealous. No, I must approach this conflict with restraint and cunning. I will build my case slowly, until my evidence is such that she would be hard-pressed to deny the validity of my claim. The only way I believe this can be accomplished is through the creation of a journal. I will meticulously log all incidents in which Twinkle-Toes exhibits his true, insidious nature. Consider this Entry 1.

Entry 2

It is Wednesday. Work was terrible and I could write at great length the frustrations of the day but that would be beside the point. This is about Twinkle-Toes and he has proven capable of manipulating my already foul mood to his advantage. I get home from work about 8:30. After I cook Emily and me some chicken and dumplings I sit in the easy chair with my Kindle. As much as I want to lose myself in the book I cannot for I feel an undeniable presence boring into me. I look up and there to meet my gaze is Twinkle-Toes. Soon I cannot go more than a half-page without checking to see if my relentless antagonist is sizing me up. He always is.

Entry 3

It is Saturday. Emily is at the store with her friend and I am at home drinking a beer on the couch and watching Starship Troopers, though I have seen it many times before. I forget about TwinkleToes almost as soon as Emily leaves but he does not forget about me. After a far-too-hot summer we are rewarded with one of the first truly cool days of the season and it is crisp and gray outside with the air smelling faintly of rain, and I am wearing my favorite fleece for the first time since April. My muscles ache slightly from this morning’s basketball game but the feeling brings more satisfaction than pain. I start my second beer and my head is buzzing nicely and the movie evokes pleasant memories from my youth and my spirits are high in anticipation of tomorrow’s tailgate with my sister and her fiancée. In this moment I am truly comfortable. I get up for a snack. The fridge is barren and taunts me with its emptiness. Then I glance to the back and find my salvation. I grab the dish and head back to the family room as the first fat drops of rain begin to fall. It is the last of Emily’s pasta salad; a culinary tour-de-force of dark-meat chicken, fusilli noodles, rich mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs from her mom’s vegetable garden. It is simply divine. As soon as I enter the room my serenity is shattered and once again I am at war. A sour odor soils the air and there on the couch that was moments ago my sanctuary is an unmistakable

pool of cat vomit. Lightning flashes outside and my mind is consumed with rage. Oh where is the tranquility I had just enjoyed? Where is this damned CAT? I collect myself and breathe deeply, setting the pasta salad by my beer on the coffee table as the rain starts to fall in earnest. It is not so bad, I just need to get the cleaning supplies and soon- for the second time in a minute my heart stops. Emily had the cleaning supplies in the backyard shed last night. I turn my head slowly towards the window. There, next to the thrashing rain sits Twinkle-Toes. He is black like Putin’s soul and his poison-green eyes obliterate my senses. He lets out an enigmatic purr as thunder crashes in the distance. Here I inhabit the land of despair. The lawn is completely saturated with water by the time I am outside and my feet are quickly soaked through to the socks. The rain blows directly into my face and stings, but this is not the warm rain of summer. This is the cold rain of an autumn storm and suddenly today appears to me not as a reprieve from the heat of the season past but as a harbinger of the bitter cold that lies ahead. I get to the shed find the cleaning caddy and make for the house. The scene that I find upon return destroys me. It is a trauma unlike any other I have so far faced in my short life. I am soaked from the rain and the TV is roaring as the naïve and unprepared mobile infantry assault Klendathu in the first act of Starship Troopers’ bloody climax. Hapless marines are torn asunder amidst screams of agony and there on the table is Twinkle-Toes, nose deep in Emily’s signature pasta salad, my beer knocked over and dripping on the once clean carpet, and I am tapped into a cosmic sadness that predates the creation of humanity and will last until long after we are gone. The animal senses my stare and raises his eyes to meet mine, pasta clinging to his nefarious whiskers. For a moment all movement ceases and the sounds of the rain and the movie blend in the dim light of the autumn storm. As the world ends there will be Twinkle-Toes and I dancing in its ashes. The conflict has escalated to complete psychological warfare and today I have been broken. I am on the retreat now. I do not know how much longer I can persist.

Entry 4

The day is unimportant. Double T is victorious and there is nothing left for me anymore. I can no longer call him by his true name. The shape of the letters and the sound of them all together has become an unspeakable curse in my mind, an incantation to some Mephistopheles. As this journal no longer serves a purpose other than the ramblings of a fallen man, I will be brief in the recollection of my final defeat. Emily had been sick for the better part of the week and then went on a four day business trip. In other words, I went a long time without getting laid. It was the day after her return, and we had

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Patrick Hyde | The Insidious Mr. Twinkle-Toes

just got home from a nice but overpriced dinner at a sushi bar. We were a little drunk and she looked gorgeous in her red blouse and long skirt, and I lead her eagerly into the bedroom. As you might imagine Twinkle, I mean Double T was the last thing on my mind. She undid my by belt and I took off her blouse. Her skin felt warm and I appreciated it more than ever after her extended absence. My pants and her bra soon joined the growing pile of clothes on the floor and the warm orange glow of a candle on the nightstand cut through the dark to reveal Emily’s pleading eyes and perky breasts. Suddenly a hiss pierced the room followed by a sharp pain in my left butt cheek. I whipped around with an uproarious anger as the warm drops of blood emerged from the bite mark. Emily was laughing as I am cursing the wretched mother that whelped Twinkle-Toes. As I bound naked around the room I spilt my guts in a shouted monologue about the twisted machinations of this thrice-damned cat. When Emily realized I was serious she stopped laughing. She collected he-who-must-not-be-named in her arms and cradled him. What are you talking about? She asked, confused. Is this some joke? If so it is not funny. In my wrath I made an ultimatum. Me or Twinkle-Toes. There is nothing more to say. He has taken everything from me.

Olivier Schopfer

Olivier Schopfer | Street Art - Berlin, Germany | Photograph 7

A.R. Williams | A Message to you Judy Rudy Farts McGee | Poetry In the spirit of the extraordinary Frank O’Hara who said, Oh god it’s wonderful to get out of bed having just moved back to the city. It might have been a dream, but I think you woke me up with your farts last night, or maybe it was just a draft from the window. If you feel like an empty hallway, let’s walk the Stone Arch Bridge and get misted by the dam on Saturday while watching the kids who almost get trampled by the Segway tours and the hyperactive dogs that bark at the clipped-in, spandexed cyclists. The Jains have a parable that everyone is blind and touching a different part of the elephant, which is true. We don’t know life’s trunk from its butt, but we all live together and we all ride the green line to St. Paul, from the Somalis to the conceal and carries to the field hockeyers in fur coats. A man grins on a park bench when he reads about a five thousand dollar reward for the person who whipped shitties on a Wheaton golf course, and the Pokémon goers go and tumble into one another on their animated hunts. Kyung Lee lives three doors down from me, and his cooking, so greasy and unskillful, nearly burned down the whole building while the cats, scratching and hiding, remained adamant about not being saved.

This year all I want to do on my birthday is sit on the toilet while you’re in the shower, open the curtain and say I think we’re doing something right. Title inspired by the song “A Message to You Rudy” by The Specials, and the first line is taken from Frank O’Hara’s poem “Steps.”


Daniel Ross Goodman | donald trump’s plot against america - and the one writer who saw it coming | essay A famous, wealthy, bigoted, isolationist with no previous governmental experience receives the Republican Party nomination for president of the United States. The Democratic candidate he is running against is a long-time member of the United States political establishment—a candidate whose surname signifies American political royalty—who has lived in the White House for eight years, has served as an elected official of one of the country’s most populous states (New York), and whose center-left pragmatism has received the scorn of the right for being too progressive and the criticism of the left for being too centrist. The Democrats at first do not take their opponent seriously; they are thankful that their opponent is an amateurish showman rather than a more established senator, governor, or savvy lawyer. Sound familiar so far? This is not a description of the 2016 presidential election—although it could be. It is a description of the plot of Philip Roth’s terrifying 2004 novel The Plot Against America, an alternate history wherein Franklin Delano Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to the celebrity aviator— and Nazi Germany sympathizer—Charles A. Lindbergh. When we think of literature that has predicted the future, science fiction, not literary fiction, is typically the genre that comes to mind. Jules Verne (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) predicted the submarine, Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) predicted depression-sapping drugs, genetic engineering, and the rise of the leisure-oriented consumer society, Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451) predicted ubiquitous flatscreen televisions and non-stop mindless entertainment on demand, and George Orwell (1984) predicted the modern surveillance state. But the most frightening literary prediction of all—an unintentional prediction which is being distressingly realized thus far in this year’s presidential election—is Philip Roth’s unintentional prediction of a wealthy, famous, bigoted, isolationist candidate capturing the Republican nomination and sending shockwaves throughout the hearts and minds of all those who sincerely believe that all persons are created equal. Just as this year’s Democrats were initially happy that they did not have to run against a governor with the clout and experience of Jeb Bush or a prosecutor as aggressive as Ted Cruz or a young up-andcoming politician as smooth and handsome as Marco Rubio, in Roth’s chilling novel, Roosevelt and the Democrats are grateful that they do not have to run against “a senator of the stature of Taft or a prosecutor as aggressive as Dewey or a big-time lawyer as smooth and handsome as Willkie.” They don’t take Lindbergh seriously, belittling his campaign as an opportunistic stunt. And when the political novice Lindbergh is out on the stump, his refusal to listen to advisors other than himself, his lack of strategic thinking—criticisms that have also been leveled against Trump—and other political gaffes have the Democrats imagining an easy victory. But Roth’s novel teaches us that both the 1940 and 2016 Democrats should have preferred the devil they knew—and that the devil they didn’t know should have been taken very seriously indeed. Lindbergh, like Trump, wants to disengage America from the world—his slogan, “an independent

destiny for American,” has a similar ring to Trump’s “make America great again”—rails against the press, government, and mainstream media, and spouts venomous hatred against religious and ethnic minorities. Lindbergh’s target is the Jews; Trump’s animosity is directed against Mexicans and Muslims. Lindbergh flies to his campaign stops in his Spirit of St. Louis; Trump jets to his rallies in his “Trump Force One.” Lindbergh reaches a suspicious mutual “Understanding” pact with Adolf Hitler; Trump cozies up with a devious twenty-first century European strongman with possible imperial ambitions of his own, Vladimir Putin. Roth’s Lindbergh speaks proudly of the “inheritance of European blood,” and warns against “dilution by foreign races” and “the infiltration of inferior blood.” The most terrifying aspect of Lindbergh’s sentiments—like Trump’s insidious racism—is that they were held by a larger portion of Americans than tolerant people who thought their country had moved on from such open bigotry “could ever imagine to” have been “flourishing” in this country. Similar to Trump’s denouncing of Latinos and Muslims, Lindbergh condemns Jews as “other peoples” who are brining about America’s ruin. Trump did not mention Muslims or Latinos in his nomination speech in Cleveland, leading some to think that he has either forgotten about his hate-provoking comments, or has started to pivot to the general election, wanting to paint himself as a more tolerant, electable candidate. But Roth warns us that just because Trump did not mention the groups he has been targeting throughout the primary season is no reason to think that Trump has changed his mind about the groups he believes are holding America back from being “great again.” In Roth’s novel, candidate Lindbergh also did not mention Jews in his convention speech, causing some Jews to think that maybe Lindbergh “had changed his mind.” But that was not the case, and the few watchdog journalists seeking to expose Lindbergh’s intolerance aren’t enough to prevent a groundswell of like-minded support from carrying him to the presidency. Michael Moore has predicted that Trump will win the election; in The Plot Against America, Philip’s brother Sandy predicts that Lindbergh will become president. Sandy wasn’t taken seriously; can we afford to make the same mistake with Trump? The Talmud says that after the destruction of the Temple, prophecy was taken from the prophets and given to the fools; it seems that recently, though, prophecy has been taken from the fools and given to the writers. Roth’s novel did not “prophesize” about the past, but in an eerie, frightening way, his alternate history has become a prophecy for an alternate future—a future which we still have a chance at preventing. If we do not challenge Lindbergh’s [ideological] successor at every opportunity, and if we are not vigilant in exercising our right to vote this November, we may live to see the day when it is said that those who have not read Mr. Roth’s alternative history have become doomed to repeat it—not in fiction, but in fact.


Tina Trutanich | Time: A Thing | Poetry “You do not pack a gun unless you’re prepared to use it.” - Clifford Simack, Time is the Simplest Thing To combat green light envy: 1. Realize yellow’s fine in the South, and 2. Bubble universes offer an alternative: eternal inflation. I feign fights and coordinate sensimilla flights, but find lately lament in freeze: *eats ice and suspects anemia* the crunch relieves rejection and love’s lost (nursing) lounge. In the 5th dimension crystal palace, I danced salsa in Fibonacci: down the stairway Familia Sagrada within a cloud of butterflies. At Sunrise Acres, the gait belt is too loose for Harold, 92; My body, between glass plates, is in triangle pose; and to refrain from sternocleidomastoid strain: I breathe. Does the lily pod of breath and busy sustain life? I work on my story - a southern drama starring westerners, (from different subfields) and a packing nurse, who instead of wrapping up a routine dressing change, Pours alcohol over the wound and ignores his call bell.

Chad Fisher

Chad Fisher | The Shell that Feared the Sea | Ink on paper 13

Kristian Kuhn | When I Lived Alone I Could eat all the trix i wanted to | Poetry If you’ve ever seen a jackal you’ve noticed his sideways reproach, his commuter gait making haste in the shadow of the subways, his head-bonk cracking open the lid of eternity’s fantastic illusion. Today I sat back and wondered about the first kid who came up with the idea of rubbing dirt into a wound, his soul freed, his gun fights and the dove backfires. I’ve spent too much time trying to stitch my own heart together knowing that things always fall apart anyway in the end. The soft hardens and the conjectures always denote the puzzled laughter of unspoken regrets. But this isn’t an issue of control. It’s about the hatchet job I’m doing to myself and the polluted brook flowing through me, the busted string of my guitar, catguts and paper creases getting ironed out. Yesterday I sat back and wondered about the first man who enacted cruelty, how he killed the Japanese beetles on his roses, denied the doctor a look at his frothy mouth. If I twist the right way in the morning I can lead a day of healing without the temptation of taking another shot of tequila. In the cabinets of their rich suburbs is the poor man’s revenge. Whatever you start out as you end up as something else, a stream you give up the current to, a hose spraying the slaughterhouse floor. A pile of bricks is in my bowl. The toothpick angels pour the milk. And I regret every spoon.

Betsy Jenifer

Betsy Jenifer | Old Soul | charcoal on paper


Jon Berger | Vassago | Poetry When i sleep dreams of a giant orange snake coiled under my bed is the only creature My royalty is worn Soles From sidewalk Cement. Treasure hunting, i try not to walk home too much in the dark to see the sun blood red or at least cooked pink 4 in the morning working with a pallet jack. Everything is giant concrete and the ceiling is impossible to reach. It’s just 4 walls and some shelves that make the store. It’s easier to realize this when the place it empty the managers laughing in the office with coffee say “pick up the pace” And i can feel the chip on my shoulder evolving into a monkey on my back. Stocking aisles of 50 pound bags of dog food and listening to parrots waking with my lower back feeling like a rubber band about to snap. And the ex-con who trains me using grunts is on homemade amphetamine and probation and is thankful for a job full of animals locked in cages And i think about releasing all the animals on some unsuspecting morning Because i guess this is what I went to school for But i didn’t know that this was what it was for And it wouldn’t make a difference if i did. What does bother me are the six cop cars hanging out In the parking lot of the 24 hour coffee shop drive-thru on the way to work. And i can tell it makes the girl working there alone nervous too So i make a joke about hiding weed and she laughs telling me i’m crazy in the blackness and street lights as she hands me my coffee through the open window like a good citizen. Because when working these hours you make mutual eye contact that says “fuck this shit.” when i’m not working i’m learning how to feel how it is to float going in the woods alone without a cellphone and pedaling until i puke and my legs feel like an impossible machine so that the tires of my bike between me and the natural ground roll over everything that shuts off my brain. And the free hub clicks when i coast filling in the quiet spaces in the woods. And there is this section of the trail where crows caw when i approach and there are deer that used to run around scared and i feel like they know me now because they’ve started to run around less and now just look at me with tilted ears and heads as i ride by. i want to give them back the same look. they know i’m trying

emily rose schanowski

emily rose schanowski | Rabbits and Patterns | ink on paper 17

Anselmo J. Alliegro | Panic and the right wing | Fiction Traffic in Downtown Miami caused delays in a hot and humid October. Dave wanted to get home after a grueling day. Much work to be done before the looming election. His stress mounting, and Dave realized his future wife was taken by the Morlocks! That is what he called the members of the other political party, after the cave dwellers in H. G. Wells’ classic story, The Time Machine. Ellie wasn’t dragged kicking and screaming into the dark cave; she went willingly after being frightened by a terrorist attack. He remembered their exchange vividly, as they strolled down the moonlit boardwalk. Ellie’s hair swayed and turned frizzy with the moist ocean breeze. Perhaps the beginning of the end for them: “I can’t vote for someone that’s soft on national defense - not now in these dangerous times,” Ellie said. Dave argued forcefully, “This great country has a huge arsenal, big enough to knock the Earth out of orbit. Don’t let fear cloud your judgement.” Dave saw her eyes glaze over, the rift between them spreading like venom in the bloodstream. He had planned to marry her after earning his Ph.D. in Political Science. “You’re obsessed with this election,” Ellie said. “Damn right. The fate of civilization is hanging in the balance!” he roared back at her. Ellie walked faster to get away from him. He made no effort to catch up, and was left to walk alone. With 29 electoral votes at stake in Florida, Dave was determined to work exhaustively as a volunteer at the campaign office to get his presidential candidate elected. The volunteers had knocked on millions of doors, registered new voters, run phone banks and campaign events. And his candidate was losing ground. Dave felt like he was swimming against a riptide, with the beckoning shore beyond his reach. Nate Silver, the statistician, now put his candidate at a disadvantage. Silver had a good track record of predictions. He predicted the winner of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the 2012 presidential election. Silver’s forecast spelled doom and gloom! Dave’s constant brooding, some might say raving, dark thoughts whirling in his head; such frustrations were magnified by the sight of gridlock ahead. He pressed his break and got locked in the middle lane. Cars flanked him on each side, and he was trapped with a car on the front and another behind him. The Brickell Avenue Drawbridge opened very slowly. Barricades were down with red flashing lights. The open drawbridge allowed passage for a large, slow-moving schooner;

the type that could take an interminable time to exit the Miami River. He was distracted by his thoughts, but now Dave became aware of the right wing show on the radio. It was necessary to eavesdrop on the opposing party, to assess any dangers and develop counter strategies. Clouds eclipsed the sun, turning the sweltering afternoon dark and gray. Dave looked at his radio dial and it felt unfamiliar to him; this feeling extended to the interior of his car, which now looked like a stranger’s car. For a moment he imagined he had driven off in the wrong car. Then he began to sweat, felt ice burning behind his neck, a slight tremor gripped his body, and the butterflies taking flight like on a plunging rollercoaster. He identified the problem as the beginning of an anxiety attack. The stress threw a monkey wrench into the clockwork of his meticulously ordered life. This anxiety became a surging wave, threatening to overwhelm him. A pounding heart, cold sweat, a peek in the rearview mirror, and he was pale as sun-bleached bone in a far-flung desert. Dave found it difficult to reason his way free. And the claustrophobic feeling, being trapped amid the cars, worsened his sense of dread. Then he heard the rambling voice on the radio. He had forgotten about that toxic political show. He couldn’t be caught dead with the radio tuned to that station! What if he literally died or passed out? He would be discovered with, and ultimately betrayed by that wretched broadcast. Dave turned the dial and that didn’t work; the host continued, persuading his listeners to “take back” America. Dave remembered that, with the heavy rains, water had seeped in and damaged the electrical circuitry. He stabbed at the buttons and hit the dashboard. The broadcast droned on…. He punched the radio, and it finally shut down and shut up. He turned to his left, panting like a rabid dog. A little girl sitting on the passenger side of the adjacent car, about seven years old, had witnessed his outburst. She stared at him in judgment, taunting him with a hand puppet of a creepy, harlequin type clown. Two hornlike extensions hung limp on the harlequin’s hat, with jiggling bells on each end. The fiend’s white face wore a frown, accentuated by cruel, piercing eyes masked by a sliver of black. A malevolent smirk twisted its black lips. If that wasn’t enough to increase his sense of displacement - his surroundings imbued with disaffection and strangeness; to such a degree that he could have been on the dark

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Anselmo J. Alliegro | Panic and the Right Wing

side of the moon – a peacock suddenly appeared in front of his car. The peacock crossed the road calmly, taking its time amid the stagnant traffic. Dave noticed the regal bird, strutting before his car, confident and serene, breast held high, with its iridescent, multicolored plumage. The drawbridge began its gradual descent. The barricades went up allowing passage over the arching road. Dave took deep breaths and stepped on the accelerator. The clouds parted and the sun made things clear. As Dave crossed the bridge he recalled the top of the slow-moving schooner’s tall mast, gliding under the open bridge, ready to catch the wind and speed to the sparkling, cerulean waters of the Caribbean Sea. And now, Dave realized, the harlequin puppet wore a smile and not a smirk. Dave remembers Ellie being upset, striding ahead without him, on the wind-swept boardwalk by the ocean. He imagines seeing her there again, at the opposite end of the boardwalk. He hopes she can meet him halfway. From there, down the middle, they can continue together, and arrive at a much needed compromise. The Founding Fathers didn’t plan for a partisan political system. Although in the 1790s a two-party political system emerged. However, in 1816, after reaching a compromise, party politics ended for a decade: a period known as the Era of Good Feelings. Dave wished those blue states would bleed into the red ones. His party needed a flood of votes to wash away the opposition. He remembered the peacock, crossing the road quite confident, as if guarding some happy secret. Dave thought he saw a splash of purple on its right wing.

Thomas M. McDade | Happy Days | Poetry

We hit ten banks searching for quarters to make a full state set. My friend, a shipmate from decades ago is a collector. “You’re a darlin’,” he says to women tellers who turn over fugitive silver – “Happy Days,” his parting words regardless of success. In front of the Ritz, a historic cinema, he spies a buxom citizen and he swears her cups are no less than 38 C. Strolling past the Pryzm Nightclub and Hotel that would do right by film noir we’re taken by its sign, a cocktail glass forming the “Y” and wish for night to view it neon. Later, we hear the spot is, “The bottom of the bottle.” Still, I pictured its catchy logo on a two-bit piece, flipside an exotic dance star’s bust recalling days the Prysm bragged top shelf.


Marina Rubin | Jupiter | Short Story He stood on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland, a young man of thirty or thirty five, in this town already middle-aged. He had a train of earrings in his eyebrows, nostrils and lips, a bushy beard, a shaved head and a rusted chain around his neck that could have come from a fighting dog, or someone’s bicycle. A Gothic hobo. He was holding a cardboard sign Shitty Advice $1. “Give it to me,” I said. “Pay up first,” he grunted. “Come on, I just landed, I don’t have any local currency.” “Where did you come from?” he asked. “New York.” “That’s still in America and they pay with dollars, too.” “Oh shucks,” I hissed, fumbling through my backpack, “here is a quarter for you and another quarter, two dimes, one nickle, oh a marble. Will that work? “Keep looking,” he commanded. I fished out a handful of pennies and trickled them into his palm. “Alright, starlet, what do you want to know? Will you be famous, will you be rich, is there an Oscar in your future?” he recited like Simon Says. “Just because I arrived in LA doesn’t make me some actress-wanna-be. I am a writer.” “Same shit,” he chuckled, slapping clumpy sunscreen on his face that looked like homemade oatmeal. “What’s your question?” “Oh, you know,” I stared dreamily into the distance. “This love thing… what the hell?” “Love?” The way he said love, gurgling on the l and prolonging the o like a yawn, made it seem like I asked about some mystical out-of-this-world occurrence, Jupiter descending down on us, traveling at a speed of a million miles per minute, a giant plate looming over the horizon then

splashing into some kid’s aquarium, as diminutive and smooth as a glass marble. “Love, pfff.” “Should I look for it?” I asked him. “Make it my God when I find it and carry it around like a flag, or should I just give it up completely, like sugar?” “Hmm,” he tapped his forehead with his fingers as if he was playing a piano. “Yes?” I held my breath. “Run away with me…and become my street wife.” “What? That’s terrible advice.” He just shrugged his shoulders and pointed to his sign Shitty Advice $1, a proud vendor on the street of stars and handprints, a businessman who always stands by the quality of his product.


Dr. Mel Waldman | Away | Poetry (on reading Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem — The Way In) Away, from home my haven my heaven & hell, Away, I go & leave the boundaries of my conscious being & identity I am the dust devil in the desert & the raw despair swirling in the death room of nowhere trapped inside the little space I occupy Why am I here in the ebony mirror of a roasted dream? Why? my Lilliputian universe that I love & loathe the prison that steals my vision & enslaves me the hell I’ve chosen the heaven I’ve lost, Away, I go forth from what I know

outward bound

away the safe & familiar

the space

that soothes me & fills my anguish,

I go forth & gingerly approach enter the world beyond the beautiful bestial world beyond & gazing at the glorious gargantuan universe I discover the majestic sound of sacred colors & listen to a holy symphony as a kaleidoscope of blue butterflies swirls around me & now, I see for the very first time & with blessed vision, I watch monarch butterflies dance below & above & around my blue beauties & me & their deep red-orange wings & black veins & white spots sing to me & I hear sweet celestial revelations & my mind is a prime mover moving my blue butterflies high until they merge with the azure sky but my red-orange monarchs stay with me & soothe my wounded divinity

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Dr. Mel Waldman | Away

while I create the beauty I see & looking outward, I enter the deep of who I am & receive the miracles of the world beyond the beautiful bestial world beyond

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

sandeep kumar mishra | butterfly | Watercolor on paper 27

Katiebird Yates | Forever Young Centaurs at a Dance | Poetry Sappy centaurs sway at the community center’s Remember the 80’s dance they ignore awkward hoof clicks like braces during a first kiss they glance, giddy but shy they’re all blushing, unbridled, spry sweaty hands graze taffeta gowns and ghostwrite poems on the bathroom stalls

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.


Chad Fisher

Chad Fisher | Shell Creature vs The goo Menace, pt. 2 | Ink on paper