Cover: Untitled digital art by Stephanie Jones.
Arif Ahmad 4-5 Roo Bardookie 22 JD DeHart 14 GiGi Gaczewski 8-11 John Grey 3 Brian Hardie 15 Stephanie Jones cover, 13 Louis Marvin 20 Wannyda Sanghataiaree 12 Olivier Schopfer 7, 21, 24 S. Sushant 16 Dr. Mel Waldman 18-19 Mary Young 6 Jeffrey Zable 17
John Grey | A New Life Between Covers | Poetry You want to live in this book. The love is more passionate, the relationships deeper. And there’s poetry to the words the characters speak. It’s nothing like the drabness of life outside the covers. Everything in the book has consequence. There’s no day to day pointless ritual. Fear has cause. Death is prescient. Danger is no laughing matter. Like reality, there’s lot of nouns. But the verbs are more vivid, more carefully chosen. And then there’s the adjectives: florid or poignant or delicate or succinct. And adverbs. You can’t believe how long you’ve lived without adverbs. How impossibly, infuriatingly, mind-numbingly long
Arif Ahmad | My Brother | Non-Fiction Gun violence hits me close to home. I once had a brother, a younger brother, Abid. He owned a less than perfect life in more than one ways. The place was Lahore, Pakistan; the decade was the 1980s, mother had cancer, the struggle, the suffering, her death and Abid suffered with her, perhaps more than her. She passed on and his struggles and issues, piled on. We all tried to help, we made our own mistakes in the process, we all failed. We explored multiple venues including Psychiatric help and treatment for depression. Nothing worked. Abid succumbed to a selfinflicted gunshot wound. Accident or suicide, we will never know. Mental issues or not, I do not know. What I know is that only one person was hurt on that ill-fated night and no one else. In retrospect, he was probably depressed in a time when the mental illness of any kind was considered a taboo and there were hardly any psychiatrists available. He ended up seeing a General Physician, and the prescribed medicines only made him more groggy and did not help. That mental health is getting blamed for American mass shootings is something which is not corroborated by the available data or by the experts in the field. The available data may even be to the contrary. As a physician, I live my life in the evidence-based world. I will quote two examples of why research is essential. CAST was a landmark trial looking to suppress extra heartbeats after a heart attack with certain antiarrhythmic drugs. The extra beats did decrease, but the death rate in the treated group increased significantly. More recently the drugs to raise the good cholesterol though good in theory either showed no clinical benefit or actual harm. The bottom line, unless backed by quality research, it remains a hypothesis. In the United States, a country on top of the World with its R&D and evidence-based living, where is the research on Gun violence? Well, it is not allowed by a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dickey Amendmentâ&#x20AC;? and financial armtwisting of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) since 1996. Interestingly in his later years, Jay Dickey, the congressman from Arkansas, had changed his position and became a vocal and written
proponent of research into the American gun violence. Jay Dickey and Mark Rosenberg of CDC, opponents, turned allies, cowrote a famous Op-ed in The Washington Post in 2012 and said this, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were on opposite sides of the heated battle 16 years ago, but we are in strong agreement now that scientific research should be conducted into preventing firearm injuries and that ways to prevent firearm deaths can be found without encroaching on the rights of legitimate gun owners. The same evidence-based approach that is saving millions of lives from motor-vehicle crashes, as well as from smoking, cancer and HIV/AIDS, can help reduce the toll of deaths and injuries from gun violence.â&#x20AC;? So who is responsible here? The mentally ill being blamed for the American gun violence scourge on a whim and without supporting evidence and research or the self-professed mentally sane rest of us who have chosen to block research on this issue and have repeatedly failed to implement measures to make a difference? Who are the sane and who are the ill?
Mark Young | Obi-Wan Kenobi may / be getting his / own standalone movie | poetry The clones all have slightly different yet recognizable color patterns, are primarily used for fitting clothing. People are more concerned about taking pictures of the pieces than experiencing them. The Han Solo movie nears the end of its troubled production. It takes serious commitment & effort to be the gift that keeps on giving.
Olivier Schopfer | Pink House, London, UK | Photograph 7
GiGi Gaczewski | Did | Fiction “I should have started this sooner, I know I should have.”
“Sorry. You know how rough things have been. You’ve seen how bad things have been getting at home.”
“Well we should get started, her birthday is in a week.” “So? Doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be done. Now how should I start? Have you looked into caterers?” “Where is this coming from?”
“Yes, you should have and now we’re both gonna go down with the reputation that we can’t plan a simple surprise party for your best friend.”
“Yeah, but you shouldn’t procrastinate. You know better. You’re the more responsible one out of the both of us.” “It’s 11 pm.”
“Do you hate your life?” “Do you hate your life, Kayleen?”
“No. Kind of.”
“Which is it, Kayleen? No? Or kind of?”
“I hate the situation I’m in. I hate that my parents fight all the time. I hate that my little brother is their favorite. I hate having to go to school and be expected to get great grades although all I want to do is sleep and eat Goldfish and cry.” “Yeah. All I want to do is—Why am I telling you about this, we should focus on the task at hand.” “Thank you. Let’s get to work. I’ll look up bounce houses and you can work on a speech or something, okay? You’ve always been super good at that.” “Let’s talk back in an hour when we have all our stuff together okay?”
“Cry?” “You’re right. I’m sorry that we got off track.”
“I’m flattered.” “That’s fine. See you then.”
One hour later “…”
“Kayleen, did you find anything?
“I’m here, sorry. I just got a little busy. What’s up?” “What do you mean?” “Bounce houses?” “Oh. That one.” “Honestly, I fell asleep.” “…”
“I don’t know.”
“What idea is that?” “WHAT.” “No. I’m not doing this. I’ll go down in history as the worst party planner ever. I’ve always tried to be a good person, even with my condition. You hear all these stories about how dangerous we can be, but I’m a normal person, although I think a little differently.” “Thank you for understanding.”
“I tend not to feel that way.” “I’m a good person, Marcela. You’re not.”
“Kayleen?” “What information have you found?” “Any bounce houses or nah?” “Yeah… For your best friend’s party?” “What research did you do?” “Oh.” “So, are we just going to procrastinate another week? The day will be here and we’ll have nothing and end up footing the bill for the Cheesecake Factory and feel fat and poor.” “While I thought you were doing research I came up with an idea.” “We don’t need to plan a party if she’s dead.” “Kayleen. Hear me out, you’re stressed out. Let me help you. Let me help us.”
“That’s okay. If you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. It was just an idea.” “You don’t have to thank me. You don’t have to be so formal with me either. It’s not like we don’t know each other. We’re like siblings almost.” “Oh.” “It hurts to hear that you don’t think I’m a good person.”
GiGi Gaczewski | Did (Continued)
“Yeah, well you’re not.”
“We’ve been through a lot together Kayleen.”
“Don’t you think I know that? I struggle with it every day of my life.” “Why do you struggle? You know one thing that could end it all.” “I do. You suggest it at least twice a week. I’ve held out thus far.”
“How do I get you to shut up again?” “…” “…” “...” “...” “...”
“I’m listening. Doesn’t mean I have to talk back.” “Around 2.”
“Just do it Kayleen. Everyone will feel better once you do. Your parents can stop fighting, your brother can be the only child that he’s always wanted to be. No one loves you. You’ve known that deep down all along. You’ve lived your whole life trying to conceal all the feelings of self-hatred and doubt. We can put an end to all of it.” “You don’t. You’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with you.” “What?” “Are you ignoring me again?” “You didn’t like it the last time you ignored me so I suggest you stop.” “Kayleen.” “I’ll murder them. I’ll murder all of them. Kayleen, you can’t just not talk to me, I’m a part of you, don’t you see? All of your fifteen years, you’ve had to deal with me in your head. I love you. We can do great things together. With your kindness and strong will… and my forcefulness and planning. We can conquer the world. You’ll never have to plan another party ever again. You can sit on your ass in luxury for the rest of your life, you just have to listen to me.” “What time is it now?”
“No. In space.” “…”
“In the morning?” “I hate when you get sarcastic with me. Stop.” “Are you going to listen to me, or are you going to shut me out?”
“I’ll listen. It doesn’t mean that I have to do what you say.” “Kayleen. We have to dispose of those who are against us.” “Who is against us? If anything, you’re against me, more than the people surrounding me.” “How so?” “You tell me to murder people whom I love, which would hurt me. Duh. You tell me to kill myself multiple times a week, thus hurting the people that I claim to love. All you care about is despair, destruction, and pain, and that’s not what I want, Marcela. I want peace.”
“Shut. Up.” “So, what if I do?” “Okay.”
“I’ve been inside of you your whole life, I know your deepest thoughts and many things that you keep hidden from the world, like your stupid little crush on that one boy…” “You want this Kayleen.” “You just need to follow my instructions.” “Do we want to go with the old-fashioned kill and run or are we interested in torture?”
“I don’t know. You choose.”
Wannyda Sanghataiaree | Darkness | Poetry It is in the Darkness that we began. We were embraced by its warmth. We welcomed its enveloping cocoon. It was in the Darkness that we found our comfort. But then we learned to fear the Darkness. We came to shun it for the monsters that lurked within we tried to extinguish it with light. But we also find pleasure in it, it is where we find our dreams, but it is also where our nightmares find us It is in the Darkness where our dreams and nightmares await us. Yet, it is in the Darkness where we end. We feared it for so long, but, in the end, we will welcome it, with open arms and a smile. And it is in the Darkness that we begin anew.
Stephanie Jones | Untitled | Digital Illustration 13
JD DeHart | Retconned | Poetry At last the narrative has been transformed. Handed to another author whose voice nourished the rough psoriasis patches into an aloe surface. In the new film, the former timeline is erased. What you thought you saw you did not see. The protagonist you thought you knew (even paid to visit many times over) has met an unhappy end. Something about the box office. A whiff of corporate greed. Welcome to the new version, the next iteration, and feel free to take this opportunity for a personal genre or platform rejuvenation of your very own.
Brian Hardie | Opioid Loom | Photograph 15
S. Sushant | Kalyug* | Poetry Once a sharp-edged man pierced a thorn The thorn cried out in pain After much effort could the thorn remove that sharp-edged man from his body Only then could the thorn heave a sigh of relief.
(*The present dark age according to Hindu mythology)
Jeffrey Zable | The Explanation | Fiction It was my first birthday, August 19tth, 1953. All of a sudden my parents realized that I wasn’t in my stroller, and at the same time someone looked up near the top of the Plaza Hotel in downtown Manhattan, and yelled, “Hey! Isn’t that a baby crawling along the ledge up there?” Recognizing me immediately from the shorts I was wearing that had Mickey and Minnie faces all over them, my father and mother raced to the elevator and took it to the 18th floor of the building. They broke into a room and were just about to open the window outside of which I was crawling, when a security guard stopped them and said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you! It’s better that you let the child find his own way back. If you bring him in, he’ll grow up thinking he’s entitled; that in every instance someone will be there to satisfy his needs and save him from every obstacle that life presents.” Following the guard’s advice, my parents took the elevator back down, and watched with hundreds of others as I continued to crawl along the ledge until I reached an open window, at which point I flipped myself into the room. I then finished off both glasses of champagne on a coffee table, crawled out of the room, and took the elevator back down to the lobby. Emerging from the hotel, my mother immediately scooped me up and exclaimed, “My God, you had us worried to death! How could you do something like that?” And it wasn’t until years later when I became a famous tightrope walker for the Barnum and Baily Circus that I was really able to explain it, not only to my mother and father, but to the rest of the world...
Dr. Mel Waldman | Celestial Voice of Beautiful Non-Being | Poetry (on reading Tracy K. Smithâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poem-The Soul) Celestial voice of
of wild orchids
& peacock feathers
otherworldly nothingness within the whirling veil of human flesh
bathed in glorious light waves of turquoise
& fragile bones
blue & green
Unearthly voice enchants
floating rushing slowly
fills saturates punctures
in the swirl
the oval darkness
of sweet phantasmagoria
with holy hallucinatory susurrations & visions of
caressed by eye markings of gold & red
the blessing of the divine
pirouetting with dazzling ghosts
amber phantom butterflies
dancing in a dream
wearing see-through wings
beautiful phantoms here in nowhere within the whirling veil of human flesh & fragile bones holy creatures of the celestial voice of beautiful non-being whispering susurrations of unfathomable love sacred emanations from the Ultimate Nothingness
Louis Marvin | 51% /49% | Poetry In the eternal struggles of our devils and angels In helping a little old lady across the street I have inched ahead, past the midpoint of equilibrium Into the good zone Making me a more dangerous man than a truthful/bastard/prick I am, the white collared Church or Wall Street man Who gives to relieve his conscience Of the bloodletting for the board of trustees and/or GOD And other slippery/slimy souls and shareholders
Olivier Schopfer | Sunset | Photograph 21
Roo Bardookie | Point of View | Poetry What if through my black, blank demonized demon eyes I saw an angel in the mirror? What if in a beautiful city of angels, I was seen by them As a pointy tail gal, pointing the point into angel eyes? What if in the dark, I thought I was a light. But, I was only lit? A little fuckinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; shit? Welcome to reality Welcome to banality Welcome to the banister where I can throw me over, Noose ringed neck Welcome to the crushing blow, now never 100% whole Of sugar and spice and everything nice We have our wicked sides We cut off puppy dog tails To spice up our snails Our wicked escargot Where the white wine turns blood red
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 | Wind | Photograph