The B'K March 2018 Issue

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bitchin’ kitsch


9 Iss. 3

Mar 2018

The Talent

Cover: Untitled photograph by Dana TalbotHeindl. Arif Ahmad 10-11 Christopher Barnes 24 JD DeHart 22 Jonathan Ferrini 3-5 TS Hidalgo 12-13 James Croal Jackson 19 Edward Lee 16 Cara L McKee 6 Victoria Marie Pecsenye 20 Douglas Polk 18 Carla Sameth 14 John Sanchez 21 Olivier Schopfer 7, 17, 26 Rebecca Starkman 8 Chris Talbot-Heindl 9 Dana Talbot-Heindl cover, 15, 23

Jonathan Ferrini | Flight Delayed | Fiction “Place your head between your knees and brace for landing” They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die but I don’t fear death. I was provided the opportunity to turn back the hands of time and experience the glory of my first love. I’m grateful we reunited after so many years, reminisced about the love we shared, and said goodbye. Flight cancelled. Rescheduled for 7am. My flight home to Seattle was the last plane out. It was a hassle to check into a hotel so I decided to spend the night in the terminal. After several tequila shots at the bar, I went to the magazine store to purchase aspirin. I spied a copy of Kerouac’s “On the Road” and purchased it. I found a quiet corner of the terminal where I could sleep until morning. I thumbed through the familiar pages which reminded me of my youth with boundless opportunities and adventures ahead. It also made me melancholy because I’ve led a life of unfulfilled dreams. I’m soon to retire from a lucrative corporate career selling commercial airliners around the world. My loving wife of forty years and I raised successful children and are blessed with grandchildren but the spark in our marriage is gone. We’re financially comfortable and I have provided for my family’s future. The renowned cancer specialist I visited diagnosed me with prostate cancer and told me that I must begin treatment immediately or die. I’ve kept this from my wife, chosen to forgo treatment, and welcome death because my thirst for living died long ago. A Jim Croce song playing in the terminal provokes an idea: Operator, well could you help me place this call? See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded…I think about a love that I thought would save me… I wonder where she is. What life would we have created together? I long for the love of my high school sweetheart I’ve never forgotten. I fondly recall the picnics in the park and planning our future together. Rachel was a painter and I was a photographer. Our dreams included attending college together, marriage, family, and living abroad. My internet search reveals Rachel kept her maiden name and owns an art gallery on the Upper East Side. Did she marry, divorce, or is she widowed? I’m happy she chose a career in art and disappointed I abandoned my dream of photographing nature in exotic locales. Another internet search result led me to a newspaper article, “Successful gallery owner treated for ovarian cancer.”

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Jonathan Ferrini | Flight Delayed (Continued)

I read the article and knew Rachel’s prognosis was terminal. We would both die never saying goodbye. The lights of the airplanes reflecting off the rain soaked tarmac and tequila buzz make me dizzy and tired. I fall asleep and have a dream with far reaching consequences. A young man approaches the airline ticket agent holding his duffle bag with my initials hand stitched into the canvas handle by his sweetheart, Rachel. It’s me at 18. His face exudes anticipation and optimism for his future. I accepted a full scholarship to an elite college abandoning my plans to attend college with Rachel. I broke her heart. I can’t forget my heartache from the “Dear John letter” I received. I shout, “Don’t get on the plane! Home is where the heart is!” Final call for flight. Now boarding. The stewardess hurries the young man into the plane. He enters and the door closes behind him. I hear the jet engines rev up and I run to the window, watch the plane taxi, and take off. I wasn’t able to change my destiny and pound the window heartbroken knowing I made a mistake leaving Rachel. The gate agent wakes me, “Sir, your flight is boarding.” My dream opened a wound never healed. I’m hung-over and heartbroken from the news about Rachel. I walk to the window and the sun shines in my eyes. I squint and watch the passengers file on to the plane. The loading ramp resembles my long path through life I no longer want to travel. Perhaps a stiff drink on the plane will dampen the sad news about Rachel and my resolution to return home to die? I approach the boarding agent and place my smart phone on the bar code reader. The green flash and buzzer jolt me into action. It’s now or never. I must visit Rachel, tell her I love her, beg her forgiveness for abandoning our dreams of a life together, and say goodbye. I rush to the ticket counter pleading, “May I change my destination?” I’m relieved to hear, “Yes, Sir. I hope you make the right choice this time.” As I settle into the first class seat on a non-stop to New York City, I’m anxious to see Rachel and ponder how she’ll receive me after so many years. I met Rachel in the ICU. She was laying upright in bed with IV lines in her frail arms which didn’t prevent her from sketching an unfinished portrait of herself as a teenager. Like myself, Rachel aged, and although the cancer ravaged her beauty, Rachel’s green eyes were as gorgeous as the day I first met her. Rachel recognized me and we embraced. I could feel her heartbeat race. I apologized to her for abandoning a life together and although I married and raised a family, I still loved her. I confessed I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and would die without immediate treatment but welcomed death because life wasn’t worth

living. Rachel whispered, “Life is precious. You have to fight to live and love your family. I’ve always loved you and wanted you to share the sights and sounds of the magnificent world I traveled. We missed the opportunity to walk the same path through life but one of us still has the opportunity to live. You’ll always have memories of those beautiful moments we shared. I’m tired, darling. Thank you for visiting. Good bye.” Rachel’s eyes closed and she fell asleep. The ICU nurse walked me out of the room saying, “She has only a few hours before passing. She spoke of you often and said you shared a special love. She has no family or loved ones. It was beautiful to see you reunited.” Everybody survived the emergency water landing. I’m standing on the long silver wing of the airplane bobbing up and down in the choppy waves. The sun is shimmering off the water creating emotional clarity. I’m grateful for surviving the landing and reuniting with Rachel. The rescue boats arrive with sirens and emergency lights alerting me life goes on. I’m handed a blanket, coffee, and I reach for my cell phone to call home but my first thought is to phone the hospital. I reach the familiar ICU nurse who gently informs me Rachel passed peacefully with a smile a few hours after my leaving. I remain composed knowing Rachel would want me to catch the first flight home to my loving family, live each day to the fullest, and undergo cancer treatment. As the rescue boat pulls away from the sinking plane, I mumble the lyrics to the Croce song I heard in the terminal: ...I’ve overcome the blow, I’ve learned to take it well I only wish my words could just convince myself That it just wasn’t real, but that’s not the way it feels No, no, no, no - that’s not the way it feels.


Cara L McKee | Smaller | poetry My father’s friend hooked his fingers in my fishnets, touching the skin of my thigh. I caught my breath, not in pleasure (did I need to tell you?) but in the shock of transgression. I got to my feet to leave, made for the door while he begged me not to tell. He explained that I had led him on: the short skirt, the slutty tights, I should forgive him this one mistake. In the doorway he was smaller than I’d remembered

Olivier Schopfer

Olivier Schopfer | Treasures & Trash | Photograph 7

Rebecca Starkman | Where to Place | Prose I had that dream where you died again feeling relief woken by despair waiting I fell in black tar—the kind you find at Dolores Park—and it stained my lung I coughed up gilded fighting tooth and nail to hold in rot a little longer, a little longer xanax clouds hold no water but that’s OK because we can go anywhere if you just look to the sky in-between for mercy suicide and how there’s nothing wrong with a little belief in god and punishment and alcoholic comas seducing misery is tricky to sustain you tumble into momentary recovery tripping through rolling fields of landmines and The Flaming Lips facilitate hollow sex tearing soul from frail body yes this is what a little suicide feels like

Chris Talbot-Heindl

Chris Talbot-Heindl | Captain Jamway | Illustration 9

Arif Ahmad | The Reset | Prose I retraced my steps and checked every nook and corner, every which where way except for the ocean floor. It was gone for sure. My pictures, my connection to the internet and the rest of the world, everything. I had lost my cell phone. I felt devastated and my mood went from a high high to a low low. I was out in the middle of nowhere, on day three of this Alaskan hunting and fishing adventure. Constantly shuffling between land and water, I had it in my shirt pocket and never saw it drop or heard a sound. I was on a logging trail when I realized it was missing. The last picture on it was the beautiful red snapper I had caught about thirty minutes ago. It felt as if my life had been sucked out of me. I felt awful just plain and simple. I tried some psychotherapy, telling myself that this is not the worst which could have happened. Still out in the boonies having lost my pictures and not being able to get on the internet using the camp Wi-Fi was a bit too much and all too soon to handle. And what about the daily dose of Facebook? It rubbed in even more that out in the Alaskan wild I had no chance to replace it for the next several days. With whales, bears, and bald eagles against the magnificent backdrop, I was already missing my next selfie. I was withdrawing and clearly showing signs of a cell phone junkie. Day two was perhaps a little better and day three even more so. My friends with me picked up the slack. Thank you, Dave, Steve, Chris and Kyle. And then I surprised myself. By day five and six I started liking it. In some ways coming off this cell phone addiction, I felt detoxified, cleansed and liberated. I felt assured that I controlled my cell phone and not vice versa. It reminded me of the days gone by when there were none. Instead of taking endless pictures it made me absorb and appreciate the scenery. It forced me not to check the news and email for the umpteenth time each day and to not be consumed by the internet. And thanks is due to my friend, Google, who had my back and had saved most of my pictures and contacts.

Now back home I am still riding this wave of empowerment, of control and this time around purposefully delaying getting the new phone. Ultimately I would have to get one though the Alaskan wilderness taught me a valuable lesson. In more than one way, it tested my body, my mind, my spirit. It gave me a welcome reset.


TS Hidalgo | Frictionless capitalism | Poetry Don’t waste any time, Sir, without sharing your bullshit opinion. Although they don’t pay you for it. Be brave. Don’t turn yourself into a mere extra in your own life. Take off the mask. And step forwards. You waste your time, Sir, if you don’t share your darkest depths. Nonexistent time does not generate, among other things, argument, noise, controversy. The world can’t survive without your bullshit opinion. Get out of your comfort zone, to join a war forever. A myriad of prophecies. Any one of your thoughts is crucial. Why, then, check that your brain is switched on? Don’t consider it. Share it. Make it public. Or are you not, perhaps, superior to the rest? With everything set out like this, a face to face conversation, a written letter, even your mobile phone, what are they for? Sometimes everything has to crescendo (spare yourself, yes, that call). “Begin your own tradition” has been the slogan, for twenty years, of a well-known luxury watch brand. That. Don’t let the watch stop. Begin your own tradition. Don’t show up late to your party. And be an example for your race. The masses,

the social networks, they need your bullshit opinion. And maybe accompany it with photographs, with videos, with moments? You, Sir, have a right, maybe constitutional, to share your bullshit opinion.


Carla Sameth | Mornings Still Scare Me | Poetry If I had a wish it would be to jump out of bed like the world was on fire, raining ice-cream sundaes. My body weeping with my wife’s caresses. My heart tattooed with my son’s sweet love. My sides aching from laughter that tastes like sweet jalapeño jelly.

Dana Talbot-Heindl

Dana Talbot-Heindl | Untitled | Photograph 15

Edward Lee | Better, Best | Poetry All of us missing breath, searching for a better life, a fable around the next corner, finding paper desires in the smiles of others ignoring those who would dismantle their souls for a life like ours, a life we are barely living.

Olivier Schopfer

Olivier Schopfer | Reflection - Brussels, Belgium | Photograph 17

Douglas Polk | Dark Night | Poetry snowdrifts outside, Russian music plays on the stereo, darkness battles against the white, and the snow, in the gray cold night, the battle felt and experienced in the soul, darkness battling light, a war, a thousand years old, drafts of wind, through windows and doors, while thoughts darken along with the night, Spring so far away, so much death and dying, before the Spring’s rebirth, Russian music plays on this dark cold night.

James Croal Jackson | Zen of the Clattering Ceiling Fan | poetry These Tinder dates and hookups. Teeth kisses and unfamiliar homes. You count cold days and they are circular. There’s a blue hue from the window. M snores in unison with the universe of her bedroom. I can’t sleep, so I become the fan. After some time, transcendence is the blade that cuts through stale air, makes the room breathe.


Victoria Marie Pecsenye | State of Affairs | Poetry Tongue tied about recent affairs anxious to finish a house that might never be done looking up at the stars in wonder have the heavens gone mad feeling like a small child being bullied by angry giant I’m so numb to it all now news, news and more bad news will it ever stop I feel sick to my stomach like when I was pregnant, dry heaves they call them helplessly reading up on astronomical events for some sort of light and understanding wondering if it is all vanity, as Solomon once wrote our lives are meaningless in the scheme of it all the earth she is an angry mother one not to be trifled with another sleepless night I am so uncomfortable in this skin I feel dirty my sins come to me at night laid out before me like a movie playing back, and forth through time if I die tonight I know where I go will not be bright and cheery an uncontrollable force pulls me into a deep lull praying there is no hell desperately I try to remember my catholic prayers adding a few in there to some other deities just to make sure I have covered all bases still no rest comes for the wicked so I sit and try to scribble some notes Unfortunately, even that is a sad state of affairs

John Sanchez | Science. “Hidden Treasures of Mesoamerica: Communism in Early Mexico.” Journal of Modern Archaeology. 10 April 2016: 25-30. Print. | Poetry Haas and Creamer dug up Carlos in San Bortolo, science says, buried in the early Agricultural period along with: offerings of squash and tobacco, musical instruments, obsidian masks, and shattered pottery. The simplicity of the burial, as well as its distance from the city, indicates a peasant’s tomb - a proletariat mausoleum shadowed by the aphex of the Sun Pyramid. Indigenous groups argue that the bones do not belong to science because traditionally, bones that go in the ground stay in the ground. However, the archaeologists made deals with the American government, promised them precious jewels and bones in exchange for funding. Indigenous groups, including the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca (CIPO) and Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), are objecting to disregard of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Haas and Creamer’s team have been labeled grave robbers, but Carlos’ remains will still hang from museum walls throughout Los Angeles, California, presented as artifact.


JD DeHart | Comedy | Poetry There is a little comedy in much tragedy, I suppose, but not all stories are hokey. The gut-thrum of a life on the edge, the rough, ragged, torn dream. The lost and found. Like going hungry to feed others, like catching betrayal, like the moment friends fold up. Then the chuckle must settle into silent repose and the Jester must wipe away the grease.

Dana Talbot-Heindl

Dana Talbot-Heindl | Untitled | Photograph 23

Christopher Barnes | All Set For Excellence | Poetry Tightgrip™ franchises Champion that macho stir, Bulling up early risers. (Safety helmet, washbasin vapour.) Manipulate our testosterone-glazed razors, Score an edge. (Rashers jiggling in pan.) Blades that strengthen At no time miss the whisker.

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

Olivier Schopfer | All Ears | Photograph