Volume 6, Issue 5 May 2015
The Bitchin’ Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open creativity. All submissions are due on the 26th for the following month’s issue. Please review the submission guidelines on our Submissions page (www.talbot-heindl.com/bitchin_kitsch/submissions) before submitting your work.
Stevens Point readers, sit down and read The Bitchin’ Kitsch at our community locations: zest, the coffee studio, tech lounge, and noel fine arts center.
The Bitchin’ Kitsch is offering crazy low rates. Order ads on our Shop The B’K page (www.talbot-heindl.com/support_us/shop_thebk).
donation and acquisition:
Printing costs can be a bitch, which is why we continuously look for donations. Any amount helps and is appreciated. We also sell back copies of The B’K. To do either, visit our Shop The B’K page (www.talbotheindl.com/support_us/shop_thebk).
On top of being the best publication ever created by human hands, The B’K would also like to present other opportunities that may be helpful to you as creators. If you have suggestions that could improve our list, please let us know. Resources we are privy to can be found at our Resources page (www.talbot-heindl.com/bitchin_kitsch/resources).
table of contents.
12-16 – The Boy Who Loved to Dance, Adreyo Sen
31 – Untitled, Brian Hardie
18 – Goodbye, Blue Monday., James Riley
32 – To The Insomniac Neighbor Who Keeps Me Awake, Kushal Poddar
19 – Untitled, Brian Hardie
33 – 2am 9th Coffee, Adam Ward
20-21 – There’s no crying in baseball, Sissy Buckles
34-38 – Trespassers, Les Bohem
22-23 – An Unholy Revelation, Dr. Mel Waldman
41 – heartstrings, Wlkn_Fire
40 – Lash LaRue, Nels Hanson 42 – you are, i, Jonathan Dick 43 – PLK, JoAnna Michaels 44 – Bi Fujian on Chairman Mao, Li “Web Crease” Du
W. Jack Savage - pg. 11
45 – Untitled, Eryn Edlebeck 46 - Donors and Index 48-49 - May Calendar Shot
On the Cover
Woman Packing Coffee Beans from Fair Trade Coffee Allen Forrest Oil on panel
On the Back Cover A machine that doesn’t want to be a machine Skerdi Brahimaj Graphite on paper
In This Issue
Brian Hardie - pg. 31 24 – Dusty Mannequin, Floyd Houston 25 – Time #2, Tendai R. Mwanaka
4-6 – Thus Spake Hector, Kenneth Hickey
26 – One of the Dorset Six, MJ Duggan
8-10 – Maybe Indeterminate, Michael Prihoda
27 – North Carolina Tenant Farmer, Allen Forrest
11 – But There Was Something Else, W. Jack Savage
28-30 – Down Where the Birds Sing, Alan Semrow
Wlkn_Fire - pg. 41
kenneth hickey. Thus Spake Hector
By: Kenneth Hickey
Achilles’ baneful wrath - resound, O goddess. I. Shock and Awe
Remus, whitewashed rapper, MOBO winner 2011, Gold disc hanging high, Halcyon sepulchre against grey grey sky, Demanding gas for his humble humvie hunger, Sends bright Benny Blanco from the Bronx, One hell of a pizza chef, To lose an eye in Faluja, Six hours and twenty four minutes, Before the young village girl catches the stars from a smart bomb shower. Prickly pear, prickly pair. They grow dumber by the day. Schools out. The Prime minister has a special relationship you understand, Ambassador over for afternoon tea, Debates whether to have one lump or two. Leader of the international community court, States disaster is imminent. Rouge Russia vetoes, Protecting foreign policy imperatives, Important diplomatic links. Nothing left to do, But settle down to plates of escargot, ‘My hands are tied don’t you know!’ CNN weren’t available to cover the village girl story. Broadcast priorities the executives say. Cyclops Benny watches from his bed. Somewhere the defence secretary is showing videos of precision carpet bombings, Flanked by his favourite ribboned general. ‘Watch ‘em go Norman.’ Cue applause.
kenneth hickey (con’t).
Israel grabs more desert. Old Glory fluttering over Texas. great Britain still values its free press. Little girl succumbs to her injuries. Unavoidable collateral damage. II. Endgame
Minor mini-clad models - moulded on media’s martyr Moss, Sniggering supermodel, snapped snorting charlie from ceramic cistern surfaces, Tomorrow’s trout trappings, tossed to tarmac and towpath amble ably on. Each a Helen in herself. Rugby’s running Ruairis, rampage round ruined revellers, Blackrock’s borstaled boot boy battalions bend to batterings bright. Proletariat papers’ prejudices, Passed proper for painted pardons. Poor peoples’ perplexed panting piles polished plight on plight. Mother’s maiden meadows mashed mangled for mortar monstrosities. Green grass gorged by greed-fed growling granite giants. Yet we wage the wigged warriors working wonders for wealthy wranglers. These tycoons to trite tribunals trape tying TD’s to trinkets tight. The land has paled to darkness Such are the things you see. Turn wasted eyes to wasted skies, Where empty words smile wide for thee.
continues on next page... 5
kenneth hickey (con’t). III. It Bleeds
Rust blooming on patchy pile, Cauliflower red stained bedroom bile, Drip by drip, Draining from me. Left the last seeker stranded at Australia’s heart, Aboriginal activists pleading backpackers not to rise, ‘It is sacred.’ No one listens to dark skins. ‘Where’s the souvenir shop?’ So they tear oil in my pop up book country from the heart of peoples’ rosary gardens, Ancestral houses. The leader’s painted face crying, Dark eyes lined with mascara too expensive to run The not yet perished ready for the blender, Mashed beans far too costly for the King of clowns to afford. Fiscal limitations abound. ‘He’s not that bad really.’ ‘Sufficient satisfaction!’ rating polls declare. Bring out your dead. Nothing but corpses now, Sending auditions tapes to the newest TV show, Celebrity Slurry Island. They tear the sad shepherd from the hill, To burn in their bright twinkling bonfires. There is no poetry anymore. I blame Paris. It bleeds.
Maybe Indeterminate By: Michael Prihoda
I have a choice. You have a choice. Maybe indeterminate but there it is, before us, almost blinding and revolting, disgusting in its girth and width, spread like a desert infinite in that terrifying way. Nothing is what you think. Unless it is. Because of this thing we call choice I can tell you about a real-life, in no way fictional character: a bear, constant, lacking demeanor, relatively effortless in his existence. He smashes plates continually in a forest, the dull ceramic destruction barely reaching the leaf conglomerates of the nearest branches as the bear picks one plate at a time off his endless stack
michael prihoda (con’t). (about thigh high as the bear squats on a stump cut crooked, a bit offkilter in places as if the lumberjack responsible for the wound hadn’t ever quite decided where or how to fling his ax properly with the exact angle, dimensional-spatial-metaphysical lean, and correct bodily posture as the whole process became utterly spiritual and almost frightening/ paralyzing/gigantic in such a way as to make him question the whole endeavor’s value/worth/substance and so the lumberjack felt pushed toward every new chop and yet restricted, hesitant, cognizant of the irreversibility latent in his task, almost guilty at the effect noticed with each swing, more noticeable than his effects on most days; and, as insult to whatever meta injury he semi-consciously suffered, although completely unrelated to anything else, his beard felt scratchier, as if it had developed more substance and presence than usual; because of his beard’s subtle phase change, or perhaps only catalyzed by such, he began an incantational thought procedure wherein, in decidedly convoluted fashion, he promoted a philosophy of beard with a tertiary structure not unlike some chemical decomposition equations he had foggy notions of from days spent in rigid desks in a past that felt far removed from his body, as if his past and everything he’d experienced somehow were a phantom limb, amputated but paining him nonetheless; eventually, he finished and the wildly grown oak crashed with the sound of everlasting, permanent death on a final bed of tangled undergrowth, ferns, and moss along with mushrooms like vacantly staring eyes that consistently reported on everything yet saw nothing; seeing it fall, almost slower than normal life except not because life never slowed down, if anything it sped up; that became the only tree the lumberjack felled that day because it essentially ruined his day and even the day after walking through the woods wasn’t quite the same in the comfortable way jobs were supposed to enter sameness and mobile stasis after an employee reaches the right level of engaged disengagement) and raises it above his head, pausing slightly as if he savors the moment, tensed for the future as it speeds him along his personal temporal trajectory and then, at precisely the exact second when only that could happen (i.e. smashing of that unique plate held by bear paw) because fate and the bear’s participation in fate’s guesswork coincided, the bear smashes the plate on the ground, the forest floor around his stump already cluttered with the shards of white ceramic plates from a contained infinity of prior deaths.
continues on next page... 9
michael prihoda (con’t). The bear continues. Perfectly engaged disengagement. He exudes purpose, almost staggering for his envelopment of the concept, as if he were a worshipped idol to the abstraction. He fulfills the need of his being and does nothing more while thinking of nothing and he, in his isolation, attains solidarity with the world surrounding because of his bleakness, his continuation in a process perhaps worthless in its scope, maybe even harmful in its effects as ceramic fails in a competition of decomposition comparatively to banana peels or apple cores. The bear continues always (thoughtless?) and never once in his time of smashing plates, all diligence and heartbreaking indifference to what else might consume his time and being, has he considered the confluence of variables to land him in such a position. He doesn’t question the minimalistic, almost Zen clearing in the dense forest. He doesn’t consider the past behind the stump (its story, if you will, and who can blame the bear because as much as people crave the story behind the scene, it can all be too much sometimes), the origins of its scars and dissonance against its surroundings, which retained that zany imperfect perfection nature oozes toward any available ocular reception with the speed of a drag race through lava. The thing you have to understand about the bear is nothing. You have a choice to understand or not. You don’t need to understand anything about him the way you have to eat almost every day or the way you need to drink water to keep your body from experiencing a host of unfortunate curvilinear effects and you obviously don’t need to understand anything about him the way it is seriously vital you get your eight hours of sleep every night to avoid being more or less the grumpiest, most egregious example of an antisocial caterpillar the next day (that existent state being with or without three shots of the blackest espresso this side of the equator). The thing you may or may not need to understand about the bear, insofar as understanding becomes necessity as recently discussed in what may or may not amount to annoying, almost perverse authorial interjection, is that the story is about the bear but also not because stories are never just about their characters. Stories are about everything. By the way, don’t forget the lumberjack.
w. jack savage.
But There Was Something Else W. Jack Savage Painting
The Boy Who Loved to Dance
By: Adreyo Sen
When I was a child, my relationship with my mother was often strained. I was five when she signed me up for lessons at the Maharashtra Lawn Tennis association. But I was scared of my coach, who was critical of my “sissy” handling of the racket. One day, I was in tears and his fellow instructor bought me a bottle of Pepsi. My mother drove me home in silence. When we were in the living room, she began to beat me with my tennis racket. “We paid so much for these lessons and this is how you repay me?” she yelled as I sobbed. Later, my maidservant held me and made me a cup of tea when I was finally cried out. She let me play with her brightly-coloured bangles.
adreyo sen (con’t). When I was eight, I scored above 90% in my final exams. My mother took me to buy a book. When we got home, she took the book from me. “I feel you didn’t put in your best effort,” she said, “What do you think?” I went to the bathroom to cry and she stood behind me. “I have no sympathy for you,” she said, “Crying over spilt milk. Dry your eyes and come and do your lessons.” I often cried those days. When I was five, I was brave and bold and bright. But by the time I was eight, I was scared of everything. My father was unable to protect me from my mother’s slaps. He was a quiet man. But he often took me out for a drive and something stirred in me as I saw maidservants returning home from shopping, clad in yellow or red or pink tunics. I told myself I was attracted to them. But I knew I, too, wanted to be a bright bosom, to be crushed in some man’s strong arms. I began cross-dressing that year. My father was often on tour for his engineering firm and my mother would join him. While they were away, I would sleep by my maidservant’s side. She would let me wear her blouse and petticoat and sing to me till I fell asleep. This took me a while because I loved the feeling of her soft, worn garments against my skin. Sometimes, in the mornings, before I went to school, still in her blouse and petticoat, I would don her bangles and her silver anklets and dance for her in the style of the heroines of the old Bollywood movies we watched together. She was loud in her appreciation and would kiss me when I finished.
continues on next page... 13
adreyo sen (con’t). My maidservant and I were allies. My mother was angry with her all the time and the reason for this was that our maid used to invite her lover, a security guard, into the house while the rest of us slept. I was only four when my mother caught her letting him in. Even now, I like to imagine my maidservant’s slenderness in the ardent embrace of her lover, her melting into the rough body that smelt of tobacco and sweat and oil. When I was twelve, I was sent away to boarding school. My mother worried about my dreamy and soft ways and the tendency of my early friends to dismiss me as a hijra. My friends were really teasing me for my clumsiness, for my inability to catch the ball during our interminable cricket games. They despised me and thus threw the word at me as a criticism for my useless girlishness. After all, to be a girl in India is to be a burden and the sum total of the dowry with which one is transferred into another family. But the word hijra really referred to India’s transvestite community, a group of men who eked out a living by begging and by dancing in sarees and salwar suits at marriages and other occasions. Even then, I felt these “degenerate” men were women because they saw themselves thus. As I confided to my maidservant, who cooked me all my favorite dishes before my departure, I longed to be a hijra myself, to break free, as these once-men had, from the constraints of their unsympathetic families, to lose myself, as they had, in dance and singing. At boarding school, I was a failure. I could not play sports. In class, I dreamt of being transformed into a woman by some act of courage and winning the adoration of a tall and muscular man. When my seniors scolded me, I dreamt of kissing their rugged faces. I was often beaten up for my untidiness, for my poor marks and horrible sports performance, for my tendency to dream, for my effeminate ways. When I was eighteen and just finished with boarding school, my mother threw my maidservant out. She said that she was too inefficient and lazy. I cried for days till my mother slapped me. I slapped her back and for the first time in my life, yelled back at her. But my father took her side and threatened to put me in a mental hospital if I didn’t calm down.
adreyo sen (con’t). I went to the only engineering college I could get into with my poor marks. I felt guilty about my behavior with my mother and I studied hard. I was lonely, but my effort paid off and I made it into a reasonably good engineering firm after my graduation. The three years that followed were hard. At home, my parents and I rarely spoke. I was still a coward, but I made it clear I would no longer tolerate my mother’s constant criticism. To taunt me, she complained about my ingratitude to the neighbors when I was within earshot. At work, I was taunted for my quietness, my excessive neatness, for the way my eyes would fill up with tears whenever I was criticized. When I was twenty-four, I’d had enough. I locked myself in the bathroom and slit my wrists. At the hospital, my parents didn’t visit me. I was placed in a psychiatric ward and among the other unhappy souls who’d found their way there, I made many friends. They saw me as a woman because that’s how I saw myself and one of them told me I was so beautiful he’d like to take me out on a date. My mother took me home when I was discharged me and mocked me in front of our neighbors. But her words had ceased to have an effect on me and I laughed at the ridiculous woman. The next morning, I left my house for the last time and went to a shopping mall. I bought myself a salwar kameez and changed into it. People stared and called after me as I walked down the street. But I didn’t care. I felt beautiful. I felt finally myself. At the intersection near Victoria Memorial, I found the two hijras who normally begged on that route. I knelt before one of them, a tall and wise woman, who must have been kind and beautiful even when she was an unhappy man.
continues on next page... 15
adreyo sen (con’t). “Guide me,” I begged, “Teach me to be beautiful.” She kissed me and I felt myself blessed. I won’t say that the last year has been easy. My parents still live in the same city as I do and often try to drag me home, or to have me committed. One day, I was in a train on the way to a shrine beloved to the hijra community in a new floral salwar kameez when some of the passengers took offence at my presence. A man caught hold of me and took me to the carriage door. He was about to throw me out when the ticket collector saved me. He sat me down next to me and put his arm around me. He told me how he, too, had always felt trapped by his own body. That was why he took so little care of it. I think he did see me as a woman. Bless him, dear man. The police frequently raid the house in which ten other hijras and I live. If we don’t have enough money to give them, they beat us with their canes. Once upon a time, all this would have made me miserable. But even if there are hard days, I am always myself. And thus, I know happiness. My maidservant, now married, has been to see me and has gifted me some new salwar kameezes, as well as those bangles and anklets I always loved. I wear her bangles and anklets and sing and dance to earn money. I was always creative, but my parents saw my creativity as another example of my “sissy-ness.” In the evenings, I tell my sisters, I mean my fellow hijras, the stories I used to tell my maidservant. Sometimes, the children from the neighborhood join us. And sometimes, their mothers and their aunts join us too. When I was a terrified and captive boy, I was scared of the world. But now I have been set free by my flowing sarees and lovely salwar suits and know there is much to love everywhere. And so I know to carry my anklets and bangles wherever I go. So I can dance to the beauty of the world.
james riley. Goodbye, Blue Monday.
By: James Riley
at the tattoo parlor i overhear Tom the tattoo artist talking about writing with this curly-haired girl in his chair. she’s sitting next to me as i wait for Tre to size my stencil and i’m thinking she might go to Berkeley, and she’s looking at Tom with these wide, wincing eyes as he stabs through her skin and babbles into her ear about how Hemingway was shit, and everyone writing today is, too, shit, all of ‘em, and i notice this girl with the curly hair close her eyes, but i don’t think Tom does because he keeps rolling along, denouncing one author or style or time period as “shit.” “YOU HAVE TO BE SHIT TO SELL THESE DAYS!” Tom snarls and there’s Marlboro on his breath and beard, and this girl with the curly hair, eyes still shut, every once in awhile i watch as she bites her lip and bobs her head in agreement with the words, while Tom’s ink bleeds from the lines she had thought she wanted before they began to sting.
Untitled Brian Hardie Photograph
sissy buckles. There’s no crying in baseball
By: Sissy Buckles
On my last quarter mile downhill dash Honeygirl fast cuts in front of me scent chasing a squirrel aww man I love that sprint tripped me up falling flat on my face well, more on my boob and wrist/elbow my whole arm a bruised road burn gravel ground hard into tender knees abraded flesh soon to be blossoming scabs shakily get up my butt landing hard on a handy log feeling like a damn fool and had a dumb little girl falling off the kindergarten swings cry which suddenly boils up a sizzling dam bursting with all the old heartaches, regrets, and fouled up stuff that could possibly ever go wrong and then did my bully boss who delights in public humiliation that long gone creep who lied and said he’d take me where the iron crosses grow, but ended up slapping me around for kicks back when I was younger and didn’t know how to defend myself losing in amour because I couldn’t
sissy buckles (con’t).
keep my big fat mouth shut then wracked, anguish seeping into quiescent abyss after someone I loved upon reading my latest poem called me a dirty slut. Now laboring to calm the tempest choke back sobs flatten to even breaths with supreme effort as I’m sitting in the middle of a rural neighborhood trying once again not to make a complete spectacle of myself desperate to conjure some pitiful consolation, then chanced upon that Claude Van Damme ‘B’ movie I’d happened to watch on cable last week “Lionheart” and the scene where he’s at the fight club and goes down with his ribs broken oh, but you just know he’s going to come back with a roundhouse kick or two or three and finish off his opponent and I got up right then and there wiped away scalding tears grabbed her leash tight to my side and we might be alot of things my Honey and I, but at least we’re not fucking whiners and that’s got to count for something.
dr. mel waldman. An Unholy Revelation
By Dr. Mel Waldman Lost in La La Land in the vast country of Schizophrenia,
the little man stares vacantly into outer & inner space & vanishes inside the swirling sphere of stillness,
the monstrous landscape of the Chimera, the indecipherable conundrum riding on the whirligig of the wilderness, & in this unfathomable unreality, he hears an alien voice shriek an unholy revelation that blasts a hole in his broken-down psyche
dr. mel waldman (conâ€™t).
& still his fragile flesh is motionless & frozen & his battered brain on fire & the eldritch voice howls,
& mercilessly, it
â€œLife is death & death is life.â€?
shrieks the murder of the shattered soul &
& it commands, something ineffable evil apocalyptic
the mutilated flesh, unleashing unspeakable evil into the wasteland & the little man vanishes, perhaps, forever
By: Floyd Houston
I listen to recordings of rain because my country is dry I watch video documentation of famous musicians because my own music bores me I eat faux meat because real meat sickens me I wear fake fur for the same reason I crave paper bags but plastic will do I am not a sedentary ape but a dusty mannequin
tendai r. mwanaka.
By: Tendai R. Mwanaka Time, like dreams open forgotten realms of creation Time, like space separates us from events Time is a torn cloth Time flogs us with its vicious seasons Time takes all the time Time eats time, not us We don’t waste time Time doesn’t waste us It doesn’t waste love Time can’t tell love Time is Transitional It’s an object on the move To enter I said, inner Sadly, tenderly Time might mate With me
mj duggan. One of the Dorset Six
By: MJ Duggan
I remember that unfortunate day dew stuck to leaves like crystallised sticky diamonds, I only wanted fairness for rights and pay yet branded as some revolutionary tyrant, In these battered chains of Assize a planter of the Union seed, the crime a lexicon of closed lies I, yet another victim from Whiggery. Iâ€™m not plotting blood lust insurrection they Curbed and imploded the union of working men, sentencing me to a colony for transportation no matter how much the mob displayed their own objections, I held the union close to my chest from Tasmanian cell of sweat brown pit, my name is Mr Loveless Iâ€™m one of the Dorset Six.
North Carolina Tenant Farmer Allen Forrest Oil on canvas
Down Where the Birds Sing By: Alan Semrow
Elijah paid for the all-inclusive trip to Jamaica. He could afford things and I couldn’t afford shit. He told me we needed to leave for a while, take an inventory of ourselves, the relationship. He had been feeling down. It was making me feel down, like I had failed in everything I had ever dreamed of. We left our two Shih Tzus with my mom and dad. We boarded the plane. And we arrived, greeted by one of the Jamaican wait staff holding two passion fruit rum drinks. We spent most of the first day at the beach. I kept telling Elijah how beautiful this all was, how I could really get used to it. He didn’t reply. He hadn’t been replying for some time. I put my toes into the soft, hot sand and exhaled. In the afternoon, we walked back to the hotel room and he got me onto the bed. He touched my cock and I told him that we should go to the bar and have another drink. Elijah rolled his eyes. I had been getting used to the eye roll.
alan semrow (con’t). At the bar, I watched as he scanned the poolside. I spotted a man, halfnaked, sporting a six-pack. Elijah eyed him and then I watched while he attempted to eye all the other men that didn’t necessarily look like me. “What do you want to drink?” I asked him. He told me he was just daydreaming. I grabbed inside our beach bag and handed him his sunglasses. He said thank you and I ordered two double margaritas. After attempting to make innocuous conversation for close to an hour, I suggested we make our way down to the resort’s music shack. I read in the brochure that the night’s feature presentation was a steel drum show. We stood in the back of the crowd, watching as two Jamaican men pounded a mallet upon something that looked like a garbage can. They played “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan. Elijah only clapped in between songs. He didn’t smile. He hadn’t really smiled all day. We ate dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants. There, we had two small lobster tails. I drank a lot of wine. Elijah and I went to the poolside dance party afterwards where we met Matthew. He was tall, very attractive, with an almost-bald haircut. From across the party, he smiled at me and I grinned back. He approached and I looked at Elijah as he looked at him. As he neared, he put his hand out and said his name was Matthew. I told him, “I’m Wes. It’s nice to meet you.” Matthew drew close to my ear. He whispered, “You guys are really cute together. I’d honestly date either one of you.” As he moved away, I felt my dick fill with blood. Elijah excused himself to use the restroom. By the time he got back, Matthew and I were already into our third shot. He swiveled up to the bar and at me. He seemed more excited than he had in over four months. He asked me, “Having fun?” “Oh you know it, baby! You want a shot?”
continues on next page... 29
alan semrow (con’t). Matthew ordered a shot of whiskey for Elijah. We drank. We drank more and more and more. We danced and Elijah looked on as I grinded against Matthew’s ass on the dance floor. I clapped my hands. Elijah’s eyes grew brighter. His face turned red. I wanted to stop. But I could not. At around two in morning, Matthew left to go sleep with some twink who had been hanging around our vicinity all night. This was when Elijah and I retreated back to the hotel room. We sat on the bed. Elijah said, “I haven’t been very good to you lately.” I patted his bare leg, replied, “Well, I haven’t been very forgiving.” “I shouldn’t have done what I did.” “Well,” I said. “Maybe I should have been more open to a threesome.” “I’m the bad guy.” “But I love you so much. If you ever left me…” “Kiss me.” Elijah and I kissed. We kissed and we groped and then we fucked. I fucked him, just like I almost never did before. As he came, Elijah whispered into my ear that I was the best thing that ever happened to him. And I cried. It used to be so innocent. We met young and then we bought the house young. Our friends, they always said they were so envious, that they had never met a couple like us who were so obviously perfect for each other. They said I was the nurturer, the one who kept the glue in place. They said Elijah was the wild one, who brightened days. We lay on the bed afterward, drenched in sweat—naked, panting. He grabbed a cigarette from the bedside table. And he asked me not to judge him. Like it used to be, I simply told him I would never have it in me to judge a doctor. He laughed. “Good to hear, baby.” And then he said we should see if we can find Matthew again tomorrow. I said I was certainly open to that. The next morning, I woke to a note on the bedside table. It read, “At pool with Matt.”
Untitled Brian Hardie Photograph
To The Insomniac Neighbor Who Keeps Me Awake
By: Kushal Poddar
Early sleep suits you. Rising in the vague middle of the night suits you. Appeasing insomniaâ€™s hunger suits you. I heat up a cup of something dark and watch you there, small in your window, your sleep suit floating alight.
2am 9th Coffee By: Adam Ward
I am starting to blink with the cursor. A smeared sort of English dribbles across a leafy clinic. My phone: a blank siren seducing my desk: the rock whereupon it lampbathes -waiting for me to crashand pushes against my elbows, propping up my jaw, as I start to blink with the cursor.
By: Les Bohem
Hans knew that the man was an American before he had ordered his first drink. He had been working in the club long enough to be able to spot the Americans, the English and most of the Italians. The man sat down on a barstool and looked at Hans as if making up his mind whether to speak in English or to try to order in German. “What would you like?” Hans asked in English, deciding to help the man out. “A bourbon and soda,” the American said. He looked visibly relieved.
les bohem (conâ€™t). It was often that way with Americans unable to speak the language. Each encounter with a bartender, a waiter or a cab driver seemed to be an ordeal to be overcome. Hans thought that it was because they were so used to being understood; that they relied entirely on the power of words. To come someplace where their words were useless was something out of a nightmare. And now that they no longer felt that they owned the world, they seemed to get timid rather than angry. He poured the American a strong drink and watched him look around the room. It was about three in the morning and the club was beginning to fill up. Hans had been a bartender here for nearly a year. It was the most popular club in Munich. That meant that a group of stylishly dressed young people came there almost every night of the week, dancing and drinking until dawn. He had lived among these people for a long time and he knew them. There were the children of the rich, pampered through school into useless jobs or no jobs at all, and there were the ones without rich parents. They worked long hours and came every night in the same clothes. The two groups had little in common; just being in the disco, and their desperation. Munich was in many ways a small town. In Paris or London, you imagined hip, young, endless hoards, converging every night on some perfect spot, each night totally different from the one before it. The promise of some new adventure shining in every face. Here, in Munich, everyone had slept with everyone else long ago. Their nights were something that had been set in motion and continued now without much feeling, a routine followed as rigidly as the routine of a factory job. When a stranger came into the club, he or she was set upon and quickly devoured. The strangers were mainly American and Italian fashion models working an off-season in Germany or members of visiting rock groups, mostly English, who came to Munich either to play or to record. Among the regulars in the club were a group of girls who were called by a bizarre assortment of English names: Albina, The Rash, Horseface, Little Hitler, and so on. There was no particular logic to the names. Albina, for example, was a very dark, very pretty girl with sunken green eyes, while Horseface, did have a large, horse-like face. Various English musicians had given the girls these names and they wore them proudly, as if coming back from the Munich Hilton on a cold, hung-over morning with the name â€œThe Rash,â€? were some sort of badge of distinction.
continues on next page... 35
les bohem (con’t). These girls did not like Hans. Once, drunkenly, he had asked one of them, who had had an unsuccessful evening with a Scottish drummer, to come home with him, When she had refused, he had answered that all she or any of her friends thought was that if they lay on their backs and spread their legs once, they could lie on their backs by a California swimming pool for the rest of their lives. Now the girls bought their drinks at the other end of the bar. None of them spoke to him at all. He really did believe what he had said, although not in such a harsh way. Munich was a place you left. A place just big enough to give you visions of someplace bigger. The sense of fashion came from Paris, the taste in music from London, the sense of the good life from an America still somehow pictured in the perfect, giant gloss of a Hollywood movie. Hans was not interested in leaving and perhaps because of this he saw that interest in others more clearly. He understood that what you were went with you and that it was better to be a German in Munich than a foreigner as lost by his Los Angeles pool as this American was now at the bar. “This is your first time here?” he asked pleasantly. “Yes,” the American said. “I’d heard about it from some friends.” He hadn’t turned to look at Hans. “I don’t really like night clubs,” he said, “but I keep coming back. I don’t know what I think will happen. If I were to go back to the hotel now, I’d be sure I was missing something.” He smiled then, clearly a bit embarrassed to have said so much, and sipped his drink. He watched a girl dancing by herself on the dance floor. It was the girl called Albina. She had obviously noticed the American when he first came in. Now she shot several glances in his direction, all the while dancing as if she had no idea at all that he or anyone else was there. Hans watched this ritual. He had seen it many times before and now it made him sad. Albina looked old. Her eyes seemed to sink into her face, the skin around her neck loosened, and the tired lines of her smile deepened until he was looking at the woman who waited, lonely, behind the face of the dancing girl. He moved down the bar to get some other customers their drinks. When he came back, the American was in the midst of a conversation with a handsome blond young man named Wolfgang. Wolfgang’s perfect face was in the midst of a perfect smile, and his hands were punctuating his story with precise rhythmic movements on the bar. This Wolfgang was another of the club’s regulars. A friend of the disc jockey’s who sold bad cocaine to the clientele and gave it to the DJ and the owner, and any man or woman in whom he took an interest. Dealing
les bohem (con’t). was Wolfgang’s link with the bigger world outside Munich. It made him a part of a different lift, a resident of an international city that existed in late-night clubs like this everywhere. He treated the other regulars coolly, carrying himself like a visitor among them. Hans knew that he was as desperate as the others, and that he clutched at a stranger as quickly as any of the girls. But he had no sympathy for Wolfgang. There was something too sinister in the young man’s clinging, too deadly in his careful approach to pleasure and escape. For a moment, Hans saw clearly the expression on the American’s face when later Wolfgang would run a hand gently up his thigh towards his groin. “And my name is Wolfgang,” he was saying now. “It is a very German name.” He turned to Hans and ordered drinks for himself and for the American. He ordered the drinks in English, smiling, condescending and distant, at Hans. The American laughed lightly, and at the same time caught the eye of Albina who was still dancing by herself towards their side of the now crowded dance floor. “You are here with Vampire Weekend?” Wolfgang asked the American. “They are making a big concert here in Munich last night.” “No,” the American said. He was watching Albina, then he remembered to be polite. “I’m sorry, no, I didn’t come here with a group. I was visiting a family in Vienna, and I stopped here for a few days. My return ticket is from Frankfurt.” Wolfgang had lost interest in the conversation as soon as the American had said that he wasn’t with a band. Hans knew that he was disappointed. A member of a rock group or its entourage was an almost guaranteed adventure. They would buy his drugs. They would want to do something exciting. Woflgang would almost surely be able to bury himself for a time in their world and emerge the next afternoon with another badge of his difference to be worn like one of the girls’ nicknames when he returned to the club. Still, any American who came to the disco was a possibility. He kept on. “This girl you are watching, I know her,” he said. “She is from Austria. If you spoke German you would hear it in her voice. There is an accent there that is so depressing. It is always as if they are about to die. You know, in Vienna they stand watching for people to jump off the buildings or shoot themselves in the head. It’s crazy.” He looked at the American.
continues on next page... 37
les bohem (con’t). “And this other girl here, you would like her, too. I am sitting in school next to her for five years. I know her.” “Everyone seems to know everyone here,” the American said. “It’s like coming in on the middle of a conversation.” Wolfgang didn’t seem to understand. “Well, it a small fucking place,” he said, trying to sound American. “Not like L.A. You see this shirt? I got it in L.A. I was there. On Rodeo Drive. I saw the Polo shop and it was the same as in the film, ‘American Gigolo.’ Do you know this film?” “I never saw it.” “You must see it. I like it very much. And when I pass by the shop on Rodeo Drive, I had to buy something, and so I bought this shirt.” “It’s a nice shirt,” the American said. He was still watching Albina. Wolfgang followed his gaze towards the dance floor. “I will get her,” he said, nodding to Albina and then leaving the bar. Hans watched as Wolfgang pushed his way across the room and leaned over to say something to Albina. The girl smiled and the two of them started back towards the bar. “So,” Wolfgang said, coming back up to the American. “This is Albina.” “Alex,” the American said. He and Albina shook hands. “Maybe we will go to another club for a while, if you like,” Wolfgang said. “Just to have a look. It is better here later, anyway.” The American shrugged and turned to Hans. “What do I owe you?” he asked. For a moment, Hans thought of asking the American to stay, of trying to explain to him about the girls with English names and the bad cocaine and the smallness of a town in which everything was copied. But there was nothing to explain. You had to live in a place to know it. It was, as the American had said, like the middle of a conversation. “It’s nine Euro,” Hans said. He took the American’s money and also his unnecessary tip.
r.t ve se um lb
ta es at re
www.ta lb o t - h ei n d l . c o m r.c bl um om “Dancing Girls in Colourful Rays” Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
nels hanson. Lash LaRue By: Nels Hanson
Roy Rogers, Tim Holt, Gene Autry, Lone Ranger—only you and Hopalong Cassidy wore the bad man’s ensign. Strange Zorro, you tangled villains’ knees with bull’s stinging tongue, in a flick bit ready trigger finger, silver pistol twirling harmlessly in air. Aloof among bland heroes you demurred from Colt or Winchester, your will’s sharp judgment the lashtip of darting eye, flashing wrist, Higher Mind’s razorsudden arrow. Lightning crack ripped veils of vain pretense, entered instantly to warn, expose, chastise, condemn. Not rawhide but Raw Truth burned low culprits, the emblem of Final Justice gathered in a great loop at right hip. Twenty-gallon sable Stetson, raven whitepiped tunic, black pants tucked in boots knee-high spurred with wheeled stars, swiftly you strode alone into legend, past sheriff and outlaw, citizen, rustler, jury, judge, all the ranks of mortal, un-conflicted men.
wlkn _ fire.
heartstrings Wlkn_Fire Watercolor on paper
jonathan dick. you are, i
By: Jonathan Dick feeling the societal pins-and-shanks, i am lucky am i, that these feelings still exist within the jupiter waters of our hyperbolic nationhood, the smile would die. it has to die, it will bore the world and then die. i die, sometimes very fast and sometimes the orgasm beats me.
joanna michaels. PLK
By: JoAnna Michaels It’s usually around this time that I wonder, do you think of her as I do? Do you imagine her on your shoulders, walking through Central Park, or are you busy clanking glasses with your mates– your brothers, boasting of bullet dodging? Both are equally as plausible. I’d like to believe you feel that same twinge of regret, not for our separation, but our decision. I would have died trying, bleeding out on some sterile steel, fists pounding my chest as my last breath is taken while her first cry rings through an operating room... Perhaps nothing would have happened, that darling septum, an unnecessary border between two hemispheres, would have simply remained, as those countries widened and expanded to accompany the new inhabitant. I still maintain you would have been a good father, hell, we would have made great parents, just not… together. But I think about her, Ms. Pearl Lila Khan, and I wonder, every day, if you do too.
Bi Fujian on Chairman Mao By: Li “Web Crease” Du
Bi Fujian, the host of CCTV’s New Year’s Show, the most watched TV program in the World, on video has sung a song on Mao Zedong. It was a parody on Chinese op’ra’s Taking Tiger Mount By Strategy. He changed the lyrics, singing, “We have suffered long enough,” and called dead Commie Chairman Mao, “that old son of a bitch.” His audience guffawed. But that was too much for the State, commanding websites to remove this “video of hate.” How could one speak so vulgarly about a figurehead whose Great Leap Forward left so many Chinese millions dead.
By: Eryn Edlebeck everything met nothing the two fell in love joined and made something infinite and one the one missed the two so it pulled itself apart everything and nothing regrew with an end and a start enfolding while expanding outward, inward pushed is pulled a wanting lost getting a telling heard untold from behind to ahead time drew round its ring and upon itself fed in the death of growing a flame forever glowing without fuel or smoke casts shadows of knowing the secret love spoke
donors, index. artists Bohem, Les Brahimaj, Skerdi
Du, Li “Web Crease”
Savage, W. Jack
Mwanaka, Tendai R.
Waldman, Dr. Mel
we love our donors!
We love our donors, and to prove it, we’re going to let you know who they are. Without their generosity, the Bitchin’ Kitsch would probably not make it through the year. If you would like to become a donor and see your name here, email email@example.com and make your pledge. acquaintences of the bitchin’ kitsch ($1-10) - Colin Bares, Casey Bernardo, Teri Edlebeck, Stephanie Jones, Eric Krszjzaniek, Dana Lawson, Jason Loeffler, Justin Olszewski friends of the bitchin’ kitsch ($11-50) - Charles Richard, Kenneth Spalding, Tallulah West lovers of the bitchin’ kitsch ($51-100) - Scott Cook, Keith Talbot partners of the bitchin’ kitsch ($101-1,000) - Felix Gardner, Jan Haskell parents of the bitchin’ kitsch ($1,001-10,000) - none yet, become a parent! demi-gods of the bitchin’ kitsch ($10,001 & up) - The Talbot-Heindl’s
A machine that doesnâ€™t want to be a machine Skerdi Brahimaj Graphite on paper
The Bitchin' Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open...
Published on Apr 26, 2015
The Bitchin' Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open...