7 Iss. 10 Oct. 2016 Vol.
Cover: “Broken” by Olivier Schopfer. Mea Andrews Chris Carragher Gordan Ćosić Jude Dillon Robin Dunn Sasheera Gounden Haley Guariglia Gayane Haroutyunyan Eric Levy Jack Phillips Lowe Kole Allen M. Casey Riedmann W. Jack Savage Steve Slavin Dr. Mel Waldman
3 20-21 30 7 22-26 13, 27 6 19 14-17 28 8 18 9 10-12 4-5
Mea Andrews | James | Poetry A name found in Kenny’s Key West in New Orleans belonging to a furious storm of alcohol, car racing, sexual desire, and discipline. The green Saturn he raced—crashed; the sexual desire evicted me from my mother’s bedroom, the only one in our apartment— displaced me to a floral couch where occasionally he would find me half-empty beer in hand. Alcohol broke my mothers nose and left them both passed out by 5pm so they could get back up at midnight and take me to dark parking lots lit only by green burning neon lights. Discipline, a skill he tried to depart on me with kitchen timers and a leather belt. Each bruise a trophy, a fading black and blue realization of my life.
Dr. Mel Waldman | Harlem Blues | Poetry (on reading Langston Hughes’s poem— The Weary Blues) I remember the harrowing beginning & the Harlem blues a wild bestial flower blossoming in me flowing & bending in the storm & singing sorrow I remember the black man’s soul playing piano blues & shrieking like a wounded tree weeping in the wind now & tomorrow & looking back. I feel the strange silence again & the vastness of fear hovering above & inside me the furious prelude before hearing the hissing of the snake & a ghostly voice whisper, WHEN WILL I BE FREE?
& gazing into the shattered mirror of yesterday, I feel a flood of anguish & taste once more a downfall of sadness in the oval beginning far away when the ominous ouroboros swirled around my brain in the heavy rain of trauma—the tempest of inner space
BUT I AM BLESSED, I, A MERE OBSERVER OF THE DEAD & DYING & outside, an eerie evil arrived, & I witness the sudden onslaught of the silent killer invisible omnipotent coming forth from a dark place ferocious force creeping crawling quietly on 125th Street spewing chaos & death Even now in the deep of the night I listen to Harlem rhythms Harlem beatsâ€” the raw melancholy sounds of mourning in Harlem rhapsody & requiem & the music of the soul I hear the Harlem blues on Avenue Anguish long ago in the Lee Building between Lex & Park on 125th early 80s early onslaught Even now in the deep of the night my olive skin oozes the blues & I witness my young patients plummeting into the Abyss obliterated annihilated by IT & I listen to the ghostly voices of yesterday shadows looming in the black hole of my soul whispers in the wind susurrations softly flowing growing into screams cutting shrieks & ululations tearing my spirit-the howling of the dead & AWAY I DIE STORM
FAR WITH MY PATIENTS IN THE OF YESTERDAY &
IT STILL KILLS TODAY
Haley Guariglia | Pyrrhic | Poetry as we skipped down the chute my nightmare spat out chain link destitution circled for group layers cut like hair, that blunt bob you see in the movies have I ever been more famous than to star in this roiling spectacle we eat blue fish on pound cake dithers of coffee grounds licked clean off the dirt floor is there time to stay and say something breath taking languorous cigarette breaks under the red roofed room smoke curls a finger at the mental a gold tooth for a 6 week stay it may or may not be likely men will use all they have to restrain our hearts in thick slices the last thing youâ€™ll hear from the matter on me is volunteer
Jude Dillon | mountains hold the rain | Poetry mountains hold the rain in a fist angelic dust blows out candles on the patio in a city crowded with adjectives shadows speak at once
Kole Allan M. | The First Taste | Poetry 12 years old and chasing adolescence, skimming bikes across the pavement with beer we stole from Dadâ€™s garage, we rode into the woods and sat below the pines then checked the path behind us. Convinced by silence no one followed, I opened up my backpack, revealing golden cans to friends. We cracked the cans, (which burst), â€”bike-ride-shake-beer-rainâ€”choked down foam, pretended drunkenness, with tripping steps to lurching bikes and slurring words. And as a man without the courage to pretend, I swerve these roads still looking for an end.
w. Jack Savage
w. Jack Savage | Trouble in the Far Away Land | painting 9
Steve Slavin | Teaching Avoidance | Fiction Long before the introduction of online courses, thousands of innovative professors found ways to minimize – if not completely eliminate – their contact with students. I would like to tell you about three pioneers in this field who were on the faculty of the Colonel Augustus Schlockman College, located next to the Long Island Railroad train yards in the Woodhaven section of Queens. Although Colonel Schlockman never actually served in the military, he did provide the Zitnik family with a very large sum of money to help establish the college. Now, twenty years later, the college president and most of its administrators are Zitniks, as are nearly all the members of the Board of Trustees. The school’s motto, “It’s not who you know; but what you know,” is included in all official communications. And in its advertising, the college proudly proclaims having “the world’s most dedicated faculty, always ready to go that extra mile for our students.” Before we get started, let me lay my cards on the table. While I do try to cover a decent amount of material in the courses I teach, I am certainly not above occasionally cutting corners. Like dismissing my evening class an hour early; or not showing up for most of my office hours. But you could hardly call me a slacker – at least relatively speaking. The college’s administrators were well aware of these minor transgressions, and they felt the need to draw the line somewhere. Schlockman College did have standards, however lax they might have been. So they decided to check up on all the professors who taught the late evening courses that were scheduled to run from 8:10 to 10:40. The college had a long-time employee who most of us knew only as “the Romanian.” Nobody knew his name, or whether he was even from Romania. He did have a thick accent, but he avoided conversation and looked as if he was hiding something. The Romanian was given the assignment of checking the rooms to make sure that we didn’t dismiss our classes too early. He was quite good at his job. He would noiselessly open each classroom door for just two or three seconds, and then shut it without a sound. There was just one drawback. It turned out that the Romanian also liked to go home early. So he usually came by around 9:15. Clearly, there was nobody checking up on him. My class was in the next-to-last room before a stairway. I quickly figured out that after the Romanian glanced into my room, he checked the next room, and then went to another floor. I soon noticed a pattern. About ten seconds after my door opened and shut, I would hear chairs scraping the floor in the next room, and then voices out in the hall. My neighboring colleague must have kept his eyes glued to the door. Or maybe he listened for the sound of the stairwell door closing behind the Romanian. I wondered if he stopped his lecture in mid-sentence to dismiss his class. I never got to meet this mysterious fellow, or even to learn his name. Still, I admired his determination to do the absolute minimum amount of work. He had my vote for slacker of the year.
My students never caught on to what was happening. Nearly all of them came to school straight from work, struggling to get to their 5:30 classes. They were all as happy as I was to leave early. What I would do, once I knew the coast was clear, was finish up whatever we were discussing, and then ask if there were additional questions. There never were. I was usually on the subway platform by 9:45.
Dr. Samuels was the faculty member with whom I was closest. During my first semester at Verrazano, he kindly taught me the ropes. He was a retired high school teacher who had a doctorate in education, and had been hired here to teach English. The only problem with him was that he was completely burned out after more than forty years of teaching. Dr. Samuels would begin each class by erasing the blackboard. Then he would call the roll. After that he would write some stuff on the board and ask his students to copy it. Were there any questions? No? So then he would take the roll again, and the period was over. Another professor once observed that if Dr. Samuels leaned on the blackboard, his entire lesson would be recorded on the back his jacket.
Finally, we have Professor Cherniak, who taught money and banking. The college owed him big-time. As the human resources director of Third Capitol Bancorp, he had hired hundreds of Schlockman graduates – most of whom would have been otherwise unemployable. Miraculously, they managed not to run the bank into the ground. But it finally dawned on upper management that Bob Cherniak was a complete incompetent. He was offered an extremely generous early retirement package that he could not refuse. And so, at the age of 46, he happily plunged into a second career at Schlockman College. His field of expertise was the Federal Reserve System. The Fed publishes more than one thousand weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual press releases, reports, periodicals, studies, and other printed matter. Professor Cherniak made it his mission to supply his students with each one of them. Every day, cartons of these materials would be delivered to the Business Department office. A student assistant using a hand truck needed three or four trips to bring them to Professor Cherniak’s classroom. Instead of lecturing, the good professor would distribute whatever he found in the cartons. One day, a huge heavily taped carton arrived from the post office. Later, when he was distributing its contents, some of the students began laughing; Professor Cherniak learned that he had been handing out the monthly report of the Southwestern Missouri Horse Traders Association. One student asked if this would be on the final exam. Then another one quipped, “Don’t bet on it.” I remarked to one of Professor Cherniak’s Business Department colleagues that he could have saved time
Steve Slavin | Teaching Avoidance
by placing piles of publications on his desk and have the students file by and pick up one of each. “Yeah,” she added, “and then he could have a huge garbage pail next to the desk.”
You might think that some of the students would have complained to the Business Department Chairman – not that he would have done anything – but they were all delighted that they didn’t have to buy any textbooks or take any tests. They understood the implicit course contract: Your grade was based solely on class attendance. Students who attended regularly got “A’s;” students who never came to class got “F’s;” and those in between got “Bs,” “C’s,” and “D’s.” On his evaluation forms, his students always wrote that Professor Cherniak was a very fair grader. I shared an office with Professor Cherniak and three other colleagues. Each of us had a four-drawer file cabinet. There were another dozen file cabinets that Professor Cherniak had appropriated. There were also hundreds of cartons stacked from the floor to the ceiling. Someone had taped a colorful sign on the wall: The Professor Robert Cherniak Warehouse (If we don’t have it, the Fed didn’t print it.) One day, I got to meet his wife and daughter, who were waiting for him to finish “teaching” his last class. “Can you believe this?” I asked as I cast my eyes over his empire. They burst out laughing. “Dad was even worse at home.” “Really?” “Would you believe that I actually had to call the fire marshal on my own husband? And that our home was declared a fire hazard?” “Well,” I said, “I guess your loss was our gain.”
Woody Allen once said that “eighty percent of life is showing up.” At Schlockman College, three faculty members solved the existential question of how to live the other twenty percent: Be there without being there.
Sasheera Gounden | Business | Oil pastel on paper 13
Eric Levy | The Gambler’s Wife | Fiction My strongest childhood memories concern my mother and her Gam-Anon meetings that took place in our living room. Gam-Anon is an offshoot of Gambler’s Anonymous (G.A.), made up of mostly wives whose husbands like to roll the dice too much. I listened to the meetings from my tent. I heard the same words so often that I eventually memorized the Gam-Anon principles, “The Way to Serenity”: 1. Acceptance 2. Hope 3. Faith 4. Honesty 5. Courage 6. Willingness 7. Humility 8. Sincerity 9. Action 10. Vigilance 11. Spirituality 12. Sharing Mom did not adhere to Principle Number 10. She was, in no way, a vigilante. She spoke the Gam-Anon language, but only practiced a mere fraction of it. The women in the group (and one man, whose wife was the sinner) took turns leading the group. I looked forward to mom’s turn that took place about once a month. She opened the meeting with a call for silent meditation. All these victims closed their eyes with their heads down. “What is said in this room stays in this room,” mom said. I told my best friend Larry (well…my only friend) about all this hocus pocus going on. When mom wasn’t around, we would follow the Gam-Anon Handbook and take turns being the leader. I would overdramatize it when it was my turn. “We are familiar with worry and sleepless nights!” I would scream, reading from the Spouse’s Bible. “And promises made only to be broken!” Oh yea. Mom knew that big time. Dad had accepted his five-year pin symbolizing his refraining from gambling. But she knew different. So did I. For those five years, dad was hunted down by a member of the Profaci Crime Family he owed gobs of money to and spent time and time again in prison for stealing merchandise from electronic stores that he sold to give Gallo the Mobster some cash. “We come to the group feeling alone, frightened, desperate, and ashamed!” I exclaimed. Larry thought my performance was hysterical. He had this hyena-type laugh. I didn’t even crack a smile. This was real stuff that had taken over my life with deep-seated anger. There were four Purposes of Gam-Anon: To grow spiritually, understand the gambling problem, and welcome assistance and comfort from other Gam-Anonians. But the 4th one…to give encouragement and understanding to the compulsive gambler…You’ve got to be kidding! In retrospect, when I saw dad writing down potential winners of ballgames to throw away his money on, I should have grabbed that
sheet of paper and ripped it to shreds right in front of him. And if he dared to slap me for this perceived injustice, I should have taken the heaviest chachka (and mom had a million of them) and slammed it onto his head. But mom and I watched dad like we would a Hallmark Hall of Fame drama, helpless in the face of dad’s compulsion. Another concept that I didn’t agree with was that the Gam-Anon group was being “powerless” over the dreaded “disease.” If they’re all so powerless, then why have such a group to begin with? “Embrace Your Power!” I would tell Larry. He enjoyed when I read the section titled “Are You Living with a Compulsive Gambler?” One of the symptoms was that the gambler has “unrealistic expectations that gambling will bring the family material comfort and wealth.” I would read it with great bravado and then add in a volume that all the neighbors must have heard, “Yes! God bless Gam-Anon for knowing my strife!” Number 11 was the Gam-Anonian “hiding money needed for living expenses.” Mom had money hidden all over the apartment. Dad discovered one of the hiding places and demanded to know if any other cash was being kept from him. “You thief! Where’s the rest?! Tell me now or you’ll see what I’ll do!” and he would go to every cabinet in the kitchen, throwing dishes down to the floor, cracked and unusable. He’d fling linens out of the closet (a good move on his part—a stack of twenties was his winnings). Most all our possessions were removed from their rightful places, until dad found most of mom’s buried treasure. Get this. It is written in the Gam-Anon scriptures that its members have “defects” and “made others miserable” because they “were miserable.” It is also written that they must “make amends to those they made miserable.” Mom must have missed that one. So, alas, I remain miserable to this day. She never even apologized or recognized the assaults perpetuated against me. What really made me nauseous are the slogans. Mom was on the phone a lot, speaking to new GamAnon wives. She often spouted, “Don’t bear the blame—You’re not to blame!” “Don’t despair—we care!” “With hope—You can cope!” “Start anew with the chosen few!” And the phone call itself had its own slogan: “Don’t be alone—use the phone!” I couldn’t hear what the new recruits were saying on the other end of the phone, but apparently not much, since mom did most of the talking. Slogans would save them all! The line I heard most often was “Everything in moderation.” As far as mom was concerned, nothing was in moderation. In fact, everything she said was overdramatized and recited over and over again. Every weekly meeting ended with the serenity prayer. Larry liked this best, when I put on my preacher voice and chanted: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Larry, who was a very quiet guy and not prone to the dramatic, made an exception (through my prodding and rehearsing him) and would follow my prayer with “Amen Reverend Barry!” and then pretended to be speaking in tongues, spinning himself around and shaking like an epileptic. As his performance was
Eric Levy | The Gambler’s Wife
perfected over several months, I went into a stampede of hysterical laughter. And God knows I could use a laugh. One evening, I listened from my makeshift tent to Loretta the witch, who was the meeting’s leader. She frightened me. In retrospect, I think she was goth before there was goth. Guess you could say she was progressive in that way. She dyed her hair jet black and had so much hair spray on it that it looked laminated. Loretta’s eyelids were painted dark purple with matching lipstick. Her nails had to be at least two inches long, painted with some witch’s brew. Even when she wasn’t the leader of the group, she acted as if she was. “Joan—you’re talking out of turn!” “Francis—we don’t judge each other in this room!” and a billion other admonitions coming out from between her purple lips. So I wasn’t surprised when it was the witch who finally caught me. She stood up from her seat on one of the wooden chairs mom had in the living room, pulled me out of my tent, pointed her glowing fingers at me and exclaimed, “Young man! This is a confidential meeting!” She scared the crap out of me. I literally had nightmares for weeks with Loretta on her broomstick flying above my head. In one of my mind’s more creative nightmares, she tied me down to a Gam-Anon chair and in front of all the spouses poured black die on my head, applied witch-glow paint on my nails, and as I screamed, she held my mouth closed as my lips were smeared with purple paint taken from my Children’s Artist Set. But the reality of my being caught that night was worse than any nightmare. After Loretta blasted me, mom grabbed me by the arm and in front of all her Gam-Anon buddies, made me apologize to them all. One at a time. She pulled me by the arm and stopped in front of each of these unfortunate souls. “Sorry…” I said to the first gambler’s spouse. “Sorry who?!” mom shouted. “Sorry… lady?” I said through my tears. “What’s her name, Barry? You’re such a snoop, you should know everyone’s name by now!” I couldn’t remember any of their names, until it got to Loretta. “Sorry…crazy witch lady!” I screamed so loud that my throat ached. Loretta was livid. She was the only one standing through the entire say-you’re-sorry ritual. Her goth face came within an inch of mine and she spoke so quickly and loud that I couldn’t make it out. It sounded to me like some witch chant. I only caught the end of her rampage: “Joan,” she said, moving her head slightly towards mom. “Joan Schwartz! What are you going to do with this spy?!” I thought I had lost mom as a member of the Barry and Joan Duo Against the Horrible Injustices Perpetuated Against Us By Dad. But then she proved me wrong. She pulled me away from the witch, held me in her arms and declared to the group, “This meeting is adjourned!” And one Gam-Anon wife who I had thought seemed like a kind soul during my espionage, ever so softly said, “I second the motion.” I found stuff in the Gam-Anon handbook that was never spoken in mom’s group. It was stuff that described me. It was about the effects a compulsive gambler has on his family. For instance, there’s one that says that people who grew up with a compulsive gambler often stay home alone so they don’t have to explain their home life to anyone. And even more shocking is one that says the gambler’s family members avoid bringing friends home. For me, it wasn’t that friends would find dad making bets on the phone, but that they would notice how dad’s gambling affected mom. How nervous it made her. How overprotective she was toward me. The book also zeroed in on mom as someone who uses her kid as
a “sounding board.” I swear it seems like the author was writing about me when he asks, “Do you feel more like the parent than the child?” Oh yea, definitely. I was mom’s parent. I took care of her, not the other way around. I consoled her when she cried. I put my arm around her and felt creepy when she rested her head on my shoulder. Then there’s the one that lasted into the present, that the kid finds it difficult to trust people. When you’re betrayed by the very people that are supposed to protect you, to care for you, how could you ever trust anyone ever again? Mom’s most nefarious betrayal was when she took me to a child psychiatrist. The shrink took out from his desk drawer my 86-page comic book, “Dinky Day,” that I had created on stapled sheets of looseleaf paper. I was shocked and angered that mom had given the comic book to the shrink without my permission. “What is this?” the psychiatrist asked. “My comic book,” I answered, without letting on that my head was smoking from this unjust action taken against me. “What is the comic book about?” “A kid, Dinky Day. And his mom. Mostly.” “What happens between the mom and the son?” “She screams at him a lot.” “What else?” “She thinks he does a lot of bad things.” “How did you come up with the ideas for your comic book?” “I…ah…I don’t know. I just made it for fun.” “Your mom told me you gave it to her to look at.” “Yea.” “Did you give it to her because the mom and her son in the comic book are similar to your relationship with your mother?” As a 10-year-old, I told him “no.” though it was quite obvious. He didn’t know, or ask, about Gam-Anon. Forty years later, I realize mom didn’t want to reveal that she was a gambler’s wife. About ten years ago, mom admitted that the psychiatrist told my mother that she needed therapy, not me. It was prophetic. She spent much of her later years on the couch.
Casey Riedmann | Probably the sullen silhouette I saw through the Back Windshield | Poetry on one of those numbered highways: CHEVROLET spelled out across the rusty tailgate with the paint nicked off so all that remained was HE RO : the broken kind
Gayane Haroutyunyan | Why I am not a writer | Prose After Why I am not a Painter by Frank O’Hara I am not a painter, I am a poet. I met a painter once. When he was broke he sold paintings of clowns holding lilacs and other unseemly things. I still have a painting of a fool hanging in my bedroom. He is mostly red, yellow, and green. I think he says Picasso was fat! every time I walk by. When the painter decided that it was beautiful to love me he’d spent his nights convincing me to pose nude for him and drawing my face with an ink pencil many times over. I have never been so many unhappy women. My complicated name maimed every portrait, looking off the page the way the painter sounded it out – like every letter burned a goblin into his skin. He did paint me once but I no longer own the portrait because when he visited, he saw it wasn’t on my wall and took it back the next day. His other work was chair-bound decadent insanity. I lit a cigarette every time he’d show... I still dream cabaret women with Armenian features, half -naked, the way he wanted them as he says: What kind of writer are you? Yours hands are always clean...
Chris Carragher | Detrius | fiction
His day began at four in the morning, as it had the day before and would the day after. Today, Rush County fell under his sway, including the outlying Yellow Run, Stevens, and Conway developments. These suburban paradises had been erected back in the forties, and had stood in place resolutely since, making use of resources, accumulating damage, and producing waste. The closest development to the landfill was Yellow Run, so that would wait until last. He would start with Stevens and work his way up. His steed grumbled to a stop in front of ninety-four Albany Avenue, and he jumped off the back. Sparing a glance for the two-story rancher at the end of the drive, he grabbed the trashcan and dumped its contents into the back of the truck’s yawning jaws. The truck was impartial as to what was being loaded into it, but he was not. Holding the can and shaking it so as to loosen its contents, out fell the usual fodder: Two white Hefty bags of trash, a cardboard box, and Devon and Courtney’s decision over whether or not they could afford the new medicine their ten year old corgi now needed. He hopped on the back of the truck and signaled to his compatriot, who glided down to the next house. Ninety-six Albany Avenue was a remodeled-rancher. Jim and Sarah had added space onto their living room three years ago, along with another bedroom upstairs, after the birth of their third child Elijah. Elijah’s birth had heralded much celebration and an increased export rate of waste from Ninety-six Albany Ave. he stepped off the green ledge of the truck as it glided to a halt, and walked over to the two cans sitting on the curb. Spilling the first into the back of the truck, out came a black Walmartbrand Heavy Duty trashbag, a white Hefty lemon-scented trashbag, Jim’s drunken stupor that his daughter and wife had found him in three days ago, and a milkjug. The next can held less within, having only one white Hefty lemon-scented trashbag and Jim’s night on spent sleeping on the couch after his and Sarah’s big blowout over his drinking. He shook his head in disappointment as he replaced the cans upside down on the street. After finishing Stevens, he and the driver moved onto the Conway development. Conway was much more affluent than Stevens, and was home to many business owners, stockbrokers and well-to-dos of Rush County. In relation, the homes were bigger, and thus created more refuse. At four Surgeon lane, he deposited six garbage bags, three boxes of waste, and Bill’s unwavering guilt over the affair he was having with his secretary. Meanwhile, eighteen Meriwether had produced three
garbage cans worth of trash, Nancy’s breast cancer scare, an old wornout ottoman, and little Jane’s nervous-tic that the doctor’s couldn’t properly diagnose. No matter the amount of trash, or its origin, it all ended up in the same place: the back of his truck. The end of his shift ended with him and the driver arriving at the landfill next to yellow Run. The truck would be emptied by other employees of the department, and then returned to the storage lot, ready to collect more waste the next day. He always took a minute to look at the packeddown garbage heap, and appreciate all that truly went into it. He was thinking of that as he pulled into his driveway after work. He got out of his car, and walked not to the front door, but around the side of the garage, and pulled one pristine garbage can down the length of the driveway to the curb. He made sure to keep his wandering eyes from accidently glancing inside.
Robin Dunn | Sors immanis | Prose Sors immanis, fate is monstrous. It’s right, the reasons I do it, on the afterforge of the midnight, when all are gone away. I have two hours until I’m out of gas. Two years until I’m dead, they say, like they all do: enjoy it while it lasts. The sky is a thousand colors, gamboge and silt. I am in flight, over the Atlantic. We’re attacking England. I bring with me a dozen robots in suits. The finest bankers. In each of their polyurethane suitcases, enough nanobots to cripple the infrastructure of the City of London in the City of London. In their eyes my doom waits, shining dimly, warm. ‘We have a bogey at 3 kilometers, Dan,’ Rachel says into my ear. Fire, fire, burning spray. Training is a strange thing, for it gives no reason to circumstances, or any solution—it is, after all, muscle memory, and muscles do not have any much sense of time. I dive, and fire the little beasts who’ll kill a man over this bright grey water. Each suit was made in Italy. Each brain in France. The eyes in Syria. It is the eyes that reveal the soul, so my little bomb-bankers have Syrian souls. I will land at Dover and take the train. Like a theater troupe. Like a hostile corporate takeover. Anarchists playing noblemen playing anarchists. My name is Daniel and I am afraid, but it is no matter. I have no name but what my flesh says. It says: live. Burn the contract. Settle in London. — The City is in the City.
We in the City in the City. Of London. Of Lud. My boys are cutting-edge Luddites. Contradictions don’t matter that much, you know. They show a rich soul. “Everybody out!” I announce on the sand, and my men follow me, briefcases in hand, like little Nazis flicking their eyes overhead to look for the RAF, to look for information on the weather, the day, the time and place, this disaster coming, part of their mental framework, for a period of 36 hours to destruction, and in the infinite life of history, eternal. On the train the British people show us two fingers, and I practice my best stoneface, Stoneface Killa, Stonewall Jackson, defending the civil war within the peace within the civil war, within the peace, within a civil war, swirling round the sun. Information as a system—an ecosystem—depends on complexity, rubber bands of rhythm to defend the system against outlier threats, to remain a living thing, this pool of life, we know, and thus the biggest fish must be eaten by the small. He takes up too much space. Bombs are old fashioned but they worked on 9-11. The rigor of the pull of flame. “Go, go!” I tell my boys at Piccadilly and they swarm like ants on legs, moving, moving to the buses, to head into more medieval districts, under the moon, the sky falling towards us…I am only a man but what a feeling, eh? Worth writing about. I don’t care how you judge me. Well, I do. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Judge me well. I am yours. I laugh at you. I will burn these men, and give you your freedom. For an hour. For a day. A week. A month, even. What can you do with a month of freedom? Information as a system of complexities also mirrors the arc of this universe, moving towards more madness, more separation, and more unity, more of everything absurd and painful, beautiful strange and unheard of, unclassifiable, rich, mellifluous, and unafraid, I am not a London man but this is the genius of London, to know what the
Robin Dunn | Sors Immanis
Italians knew: bank only means table, and what you lay on it is bullshit. The shit of the bull, richer than other animals, can be used for the finest greenhouses. It can build entire peoples, out of the sand and dust and stones, make music from centuries, give your children their names. Banca, banca, banca, like an African drum. “Dan, you still with us, there?” “I’m here, Rachel. It’s a beautiful night in London.” I take a room over the Circus. I buy some cotton candy. I hire a prostitute and we play checkers. Black and red, black and red, the colors of revolution, aren’t they? “You might want to get out of London tonight,” I tell her, after she wins the second game. “Thanks love but a lass has got to make a living somehow.” “Death to the City of London.” “You got that right. Even though they’re some of my best customers.” Death to the City of London of the City of London. Her magnifying spiral serene and unbent, now shadowed, by my men and their coats. Anarchism does not mean no government, you see. It means no rules. Man governed for a million years with no rules at all. Any man with the right key may be admitted. In whatever frame. Under whatever face. The City does not even know who they themselves serve now. In their anonymous cycles of digital love. They serve me. I am their magister. With my stick. Man 1 crawls under a desk. Man 2 crawls into the mainframe room. Man 3 crawls into the toilets. Man 4 crawls into the Old Chancery, still there, despite appearances, and its scrolls upon
scrolls upon scrolls... Man 5 gets in the offices. Man 6 gets in the lobby. Man 7 gets in the basement, by the boilers. Man 8 gets in the freight, shipping and receiving, shipping and receiving, shipping and receiving, our tabernacle, of thermite: Man 9 gets in the roof. Man 10 gets in the door. Man 11 gets into the substation, underneath the substation, underneath the heart of the City. Man 12 is me. I get on the phone. “I want to report a bomb. In the City of London. Death to our overlords. Long live the revolution. My name is Daniel Ingson. I am 47 years old. This report serves as your notice. Get out. Get out now. Live, and help us defeat our enemies.” “You’ve got a mad sound to your voice, love. Do you know how many mad bombers I speak to a week now? You need to get yourself some help.” “Sweetie, I love you. Turn on the TV.” Fire in the stockade of our heart. — Each bomb can be understood as a small sun, brining light to its small world. The death is incidental. There was a city before the City in the City of London. We are looking for it. “Dan, I have an interview scheduled for you at eleven. You going to go to it?”
Robin Dunn | Sors Immanis
“I do whatever you say, Rachel. You know that. What are you wearing now?” “Nothing, love. It’s CBS and Channel Four. They want a character piece on your early years, before the bombings.” “I want to do in the nude.” “Ha ha ha. That’ll cut down on our viewership. How about in a speedo?” “All right. I look great in a speedo.” “No you don’t. Ha ha!” “How many bodies from the attack?” “It might be zero. Not many go into the City at night any more.” “Good. See if you can put the explosions on infinite loop and project them over Buckingham Palace or something. You think?” “I think. And you do the same. Some of our backers may get leery if they see how much of a gut you’ve grown.” “I love you.” “Hurry home, little revolutionary. Momma’s getting antsy.” O Fortune, like the moon you change, you wax and wane, hateful life oppresses and soothes as fancy takes it, poverty and power; it melts them like ice. Fate, monstrous and empty, you whirling wheel, you are malevolent. Well-being is vain and fades, shadowed and veiled. You plague me too. O Fortune turn my heart, key to mainframe, and rid the world of my voice, so I may be heard in other worlds, other dimensions like this, where big fish take big shits, awaiting our teeth... The angle of incidence of sunlight at this latitude is a striking blue, like a Carribbean Sea, thrust over the pavement. I am going to order a latte. And buy my swimsuit.
sasheera gounden | BAth of parts | oil pastel on paper 27
Jack Phillips Lowe | the surest remedy | Poetry Tony stepped out of the clinic, smiling and walking on clouds. His physical exam and ultrasound had come back negative. Dr. Hasbrook attributed Tony’s symptoms to what he called “mental stress.” As soon as Hasbrook delivered his diagnosis, Tony’s symptoms melted away faster than the last patch of snow in a spring thaw. In the parking lot, though, a suddenly-recalled detail sparked a tension headache which smoldered behind Tony’s eyes. As of this year, the receptionist said, Dr. Hasbrook—a physician Tony had sworn by for nearly a decade— was no longer covered by Tony’s employer’s HMO. The exam, the ultrasound and the peace of mind they provided came to Tony at “out of network” prices. Behind the wheel, Tony twisted his key into the ignition and glanced back at the clinic. At that moment, on an upper floor, the billing department was issuing him a statement which brandished four digits and change. To treat this malady, Tony aimed his car toward the surest remedy he knew: twenty ounces of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
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.
Gordan Ćosić | Oasis 1 | Digital Art
Published on Sep 28, 2016
The B'K was created as a monthly zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose...