THE LITERATI QUARTERLY POETRY, FICTION, ART & MUSIC ISSUE NO. 2 | AUTUMN 2014
THE EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE
FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joschua Beres ASSISTANT EDITOR Eli Epstein-Deutsch POETRY EDITOR Jonathan Hobratsch FICTION EDITOR Laura Cowan DIRECTOR OF ART ACQUISITIONS Ethan Ayce Ramirez
ÂŠ Copyright. The Literati Quarterly. The Literati Quarterly Press. September 2014. All rights reserved. The Literati Quarterly Press, an imprint of The Beres Publishing Group The Literati Quarterly P.O. Box 2504 San Marcos, TX 78667 http://www.literatiquarterly.co ISSN: 2373-1494
CONTENTS LEGENDARY HEAD by T. R. HUMMER 09 NIGHT SUREGEON / ARM NEIGHBOR: A BICOASTAL ROMANCE by DAVID RICE 10 I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS, BUT I CAN SING EVERY SONG THAT WAS A HIT IN 1980 by JOHN GALLAHER 12 A COLD DESIRE by JEROME ROTHENBURG 14 LITTLE RED LUNG 16 THE ART OF CRISTINA BERGOGLIO 20 WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK by CAROLYN GREGORY 28 ON ALFRED CORN’S UNIONS by CHRISTOPHER CADRA 30 TOSSING AND TURNING by NATHAN WELLMAN 33 WHEN IN ROME by JOHN PARM 35 INTO THE MIND OF CARL HEYWARD presented by ETHAN AYCE RAMIREZ 36 APOCRYPHAL by LISA MARIE BASILE 41 DEAD AIR by MICHAEL C. KIETH 42 FREUDIAN SLIP by T. R. HUMMER 50 WHY IT WOULD BE GREAT IF WE HADEYES IN THE BACKS OF OUR HEADS by JOHN GALLAHER 51 HB69 by RAY HATCH 52 JEAN JEAN presented by presented by Joschua Beres and Linda Akinkunmi 56 OUTLAWS by CAROLYN GREGORY 59
FOGHORN LEGHORN SHILLS FOR ZUCKERBERG IN THE LEGENDARY P TOWN HORSE BRASS PUB by DENNIS MAHAGIN 61 THE SKIRT by BRANDON BECK 62 COLD CASE: EASTER, 2014 by T.R. HUMMER 63 ODE TO BEING IGNORED by JOHN PARM 64 ROOM #9 by LISA MARIE BASILE 66 WHEN WE SAY WHATEVER WE SAY WE MEAN “PEOPLE” by JOHN GALLAHER 67 LIPSTICK by BRANDON BECK 68 DRAWING STARS by MARY HARWELL SAYLER 69 SWOON by CRAIG KURTZ 71 THE ELOPEMENT NOTE by CRAIG KURTZ 72 A COLD DESIRE by JEROME ROTHENBERG 73 THE TOP 100 CONTEMPORARY POETS presented by JONATHAN HOBRATSCH 74 THE WARLI VERSES by USHA KISHORE 78 I DON’T SLEEP MUCH ANYMORE by PAUL STROHM 84 IN MY WANDERING OF THOUGHT by PAUL STROHM 85 ELIOT’S TRAVEL LOGS by RICH MURPHY 87 HER ROSARY BEADS by MAIRE MORRISSEY-CUMMINS 88 WINTER BLUEBELLS by MAIRE MORRISSEY-CUMMINS 89 THE LITERATI QUARTERLY PRESENTS 92
THE LITERATI QUARTERLY POETRY, FICTION, ART & MUSIC
ISSUE NO. 2 | AUTUMN 2014
Between Jazz (2014) by Dr. Ernest Williamson III
LEGENDARY HEAD In a hatbox left on a broke-back bench
in a station of the metro;
In a gym bag abandoned on the courthouse lawn at midnight, marked by the dominant X
Of starlight, a little blood leaking from a raveling seam.
Visionary: as though the ripening eyes
Were infused with napalm and mescaline.
Somewhere a torso, fragmented, stumbles,
Groping for its pedestal. Museums are choked with bodies.
They are victims of a life that can never change.
by T. R. Hummer
Who was he? We will never know. We do not want to
see him there, a lost effect, a crime, a severance package.
by David Rice
NIGHT SUREGEON / ARM NEIGHBOR: A BICOASTAL ROMANCE
When Art was three, he was visited. First it was no one, night, the usual sea of nonentities. Then someone. Crept right in. It, upon entering, permitted a sort of rasp of greeting to exit into the space outside its head, or it was just catching its breath after a long time in transit through a welter of stations. Art promised himself where he slept to remain still, such that what would happen at the hands of this someone, too dark to call a monster, would merely happen, for otherwise … Almost soft, the way it went in. Its hand or extension. The groan of sharpness and tearing was nowhere to be heard, perhaps not even to be felt. It slipped inside him, medium, all in, and out. And eased something out with it, working it free as from a ground. Something the boy’d been equipped with at birth and would now die without, though not for many years. It wrapped it up nice in a frosted fabric package, Lady Godiva, and whispered, leaving, “I’ll call you.” Clicked the door snug. Long nighttime hours then, in service of the dawning rest of Art’s life. In bed he probed his hull, steeled for discovery. To face facts. What is gone from me? He tried to ask and wish to know. He guessed: a bulb of gut he hadn’t known he’d had. He could live without it but could tell it wouldn’t be the same. Maybe this makes me one of very few, he fell asleep thinking. ___ In the morning he presented himself among his fellows as if at another day, and the next day after, and onward, polishing off what’s for dinners and how’ve you beens without asking to be told twice. “Something happened to me,” he tried out saying, and could tell he’d used up his chance to say it without having been heard. The teen years: middle material, fluff. Through all such, the site of diminishment thrived as his main spot, but no one back then, too enmeshed in themselves to see much, admitted to seeing it. All over high school Art scrounged for its call. Days before prom he lay prone and praying, checking his phone with a washing repetition. “Please,” he begged. Prom night he soaked in the tub. He heaved up, toweled, talcumed, and pulled the plug. ___ College were days when Art no longer believed in the beginning. He changed his number, read their syllabi. ___ When he turned older still and dimmer of bulb he took a job splitting him up between New York and LA. He rode Business Class with a man named Clem. This man was termed his colleague. In New York the company booked them into a tower at 42nd and 2nd. Private adjoining rooms, breakfast from six to eight each morning, and then one meal comped and for one they were on their own. So much for what they usually did.
___ Until, between clients, they surfaced in the Quay Brothers exhibit at the MoMA, November of 2012: nice pup-
pets and awful, moody automata, perps and victims, wire and string. They roamed the halls, past the twinned childhood outside Philadelphia in the 20th century, lookalike boys pouring rare love onto horrible numen. When Clem got enough Art persisted alone, into the Room of Early Quays. There, one frame cast the die: A Quay-illustrated short story in a Czech or Polish magazine from the 1980s, a chronicle of The Night Surgeon, who’d slip in in the night and “silently diminish” sleepers of his choosing, or to whom he’d been assigned. So it was a he, was Art’s first thought. He juddered with recognition and had to sit down, nearly crushing a sketchpad student, his side about to burst with relief. ___ At LAX they parted ways like strangers, rode parallel taxis to the same place. Purged of one capacity and ingratiated into the next, Art and Clem were neighbors. Each had separate lands, debts, smallholdings. They watered their lawns, fried their lunchmeats, waited for the next call from New York to come. There was a single paperback – Post Office – that they traded back and forth, recommending it each time with an honest “I almost finished this one.” Art stood in his Dalmatian boxers looking at the man next door. He waved the paperback: it was his turn to lend it over. When Clem drew near, Art called upon the Night Surgeon. “I’m ready,” he whispered, despite the daylight. The Night Surgeon rushed up from Art’s side, growing stronger, seething down his arm, pooling in his fist. He shoved it hard into Clem, through his shirt, into the part of his gut beneath the lowest hanging branch of rib. The side opened wide and bright with hardly any puncture hiss. It softened enough to go further, making the necessary moisture. Art’s fist was gone to the hilt, far enough in to incubate. His face was against Clem’s neck and he could not retreat. Sparrows still sung, buses honked, lost children in the neighborhood remained lost, etc. But the sameness stopped somewhere. Art, without any need to check, knew himself as a different man. He grabbed the bulb in Clem’s gut, bigger than his own, at age three, but otherwise identical. “My own motives, it appears, are opaque even to me,” he whispered in his neighbor’s ear, smoothing over the stress of the moment, as if they were still on the same side, talking things over, trying to figure them out. But his motives were crystal clear; he only feared they were too private. He grasped Clem’s bulb all the harder, just as the Night Surgeon had that night, fingers practiced from years of work. “Let’s go for a walk,” he whispered. Thus induced, the Clem-puppet began to stroll. ___ After ripping it fully out – this took several trips around the block – he helped Clem back into his house as if they were drunk at the end of a long night out, settled him into his chair by the TV under a blanket and the sureness that all would, once he’d slept it off, again be well. ___ LAX let Art and his Lady Godiva package straight onto the plane, First Class. Upward they went. “It’s a good one,” he practiced promising the Night Surgeon. Worked on his quaver and plead. “Please take it as a token of my sincerity. Proof that, after all my years of straying, I am ready to be with you for real.” Art cherished the box and looked out the window: cloud cover, stray planets, flocks upon flocks. He leaned back on his leather headrest, shoes off and blanket over his knees, and pictured himself inside himself, standing on a small but sturdy ledge of skin surrounded by space, cool but not cold, dusty but not choking, and he gathered in his edges, densening his center, lessening his dispersion, locating himself on the vast map. He pulled the sleepmask low. The package sat on his lap, the center of all inward pull. The place in his side where the removal had occurred ached in sympathy, certain some conversion was near. 11
I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS, BUT I CAN SING EVERY SONG THAT WAS A HIT IN 1980 by John Gallaher
99% of the things people worry about don’t happen. That’s the first premise of the most recent version of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” that I came across the other day, which makes me wonder two things: first, that perhaps people just aren’t worrying about the right things, and second, what about that 1%? Maybe this worry that I’m having right now, right here, is precisely that 1% thing I should certainly be worried about. Don’t worry about meteorites, and then a meteorite burns through your roof and tub of popcorn. You’re in the middle of the blaze of your former life without a plan. I’ve read other studies that say people who worry about things tend to be more prepared and cautious than people who don’t, and therefore have a greater chance of getting medical attention, or having a tissue handy, or some other version of quality of life and health and welfare. Sure, but who’d want to live a life like that, of constant worry? Captain Kirk gets the choice to live a year as a lion or ten as a lamb, and he chooses a seven movie deal. We’re at one of those parties where they trot out The Book of Questions, and you’re faced with the choice between “If you could know the precise time of your death, would you want to know or not?” Discuss your answers, and pair off in horror. I’ve also read that making a funny face makes you 20% stronger. A “fierce face,” I guess I should call it. And setting your jaw seems to be the critical element. In first grade once, I missed the bus and tried walking home. It took two or so hours, during which time no one could find me. I should feel bad for that. I was told to feel bad about that, and I would tell my kids to feel bad about that, but I rather enjoyed the walk. Each moment opens its envelope as if there were a sender as if there were a message. It says “doing these things makes me feel my life is meaningful and worth doing.” They’re trying to help. Listen to the room, the advice goes. Match your voice to the voices around you. Or better, call these things “stations of the cross.” Gild the frame. Hello the invading army. The people look like dots.
But I Canâ€™t Dance (2014) by Dr. Earnest Williamson III
A COLD DESIRE by Jerome Rothenburg for Charlemagne Palestine they have returned to where they started still in the little streets called Europe the old men dancing crazed like children casting their clothes aside to celebrate their last hurrah & still the mind is sharp enough to dream the past in recollection walking without sense from one small street into the next yet feeling on my back the burden of a lifetime all are victims of a cold desire too indifferent to be true & still the thoughts keep coming, stumbling tumbling when I think them small like me for which I search out other means to cope with time* so long ago a cold desire overwhelms the real
The Cloud Caster by Alexandra Khitrova (2014)
presented by Joschua Beres
LitQ: How did each of you first get involved in music? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: I think generally, we were all attracted to music and started playing from a very young age. But as we got older, it became a much more prominent focus. Our bassist, Rob Hume and drummer, John Broeckel have been playing in bands for over 20 years. Our guitarist, Ali Nikou also played in bands, but was much more active as a session musician as well as producer and audio engineer. As for me, I was always singing, but I didn’t get serious with music until I was 20 or so, after graduating from audio engineering school. LitQ: What was the goal of the solo project Little Red Lung and how did it evolve into what it is today? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: The project started with just me in a studio apartment in the East foothills of Tennessee near Knoxville with one microphone, a keyboard and a laptop. I can’t really say it was intended to be my life’s focus. That year I dealt with a lot of tragedy and really just needed some kind of creative outlet to keep my mind busy. So I just started writing and recording. Most days I would start around 7PM and go till 5-6AM. Then I’d sleep a couple hours, go to the local coffee shop and edit what I’d done the night before, then go back home and start the whole process over again. Basically, the project was intended to replace grieving 16
with productivity. It’s become something so different, intricate and vast now. Somehow, I was lucky enough to get these three incredible guys on board pretty much within a month of returning home to Los Angeles. They’re each so different when it comes to musicality, but they’re each so amazing at what they do, and the combination of us all is something really special and exciting. They each bring out something different with every song, and with that I feel like every song I ever wrote alone has expanded and become so much richer with their influence - completely different songs even. When I started this, I didn’t really have any idea how to write songs. I just kind of did it blindly. But since the four of us have been together, I feel like they’ve really taught me how to write and collaborate. The songs we are writing together now are so much more substantial than I could have ever imagined back when it was just me in a room by myself. LitQ: What is it like to go from small LA venues to Bonnaroo? Also, which venues would you perform in? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: It’s pretty insane. We love playing small venues, medium venues, and larger venues. But Bonnaroo was something completely different. There’s a very specific feeling when you’re walking around a festival where some of your biggest idols are playing and thinking about the fact that you are, even in a small indirect way, sharing that festival with them by performing yourself. I think more than anything we were all so thankful and amazed that we were given such an incredible opportuni17
ty to be among our heroes, as well as thousands of people who came because they love music so much they were willing to brave the heat and the mud for a few days to get it. LitQ: How did Netflix/Hemlock Grove approach you, and what was the experience like? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: We are very fortunate to be represented by Platform Music Group here in Los Angeles who reach out to music supervisors on our behalf on a daily basis, and who are genuinely excited for us when one of our songs gets placed. They got our song on both Netflix’s Hemlock Grove and The CW’s The Originals. Both placements had an amazing impact. We had a huge influx of fans from overseas as well as in the states. LitQ: How has your music evolved over the years since Little Red Lung began? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: I think when it started it was a bit of a hodgepodge as it was just me thinking I was making music collages that most people would never hear. But over the years it’s purpose and focus has gotten very serious, and as a result the songwriting as well as the production and recordings have become much more deliberate. We all really put everything we have into every part of record making as well as live performances and are very focused on keeping the standards of our work high. LitQ: With the new album being your first full-length one, did you approach it any differently than the other albums you’ve produced? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: We definitely took a lot of time to explore every section of every song very thoroughly before committing to any particular idea. I think we are always trying to step up our game in any way we can, one of the most important of which being the album making process. We are lucky enough to have our guitarist’s studio (Blaster Master Productions) at our disposal whenever we need to get things done. That kind of amenity has taken a lot of the typical pressures of recording an album away and just let us focus on the music itself. LitQ: What and or who are some of your inspirations? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: Yikes…well, we’re all very different when it comes to musical tastes. I grew up listening to a lot of older music like The Beatles, Van Morrison and Crosby Stills Nash & Young. My mom, who wanted to make sure her daughter knew that women could be powerful in the world, always made sure to introduce me to female fronted bands and artists like Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin, and Janis Joplin. My dad and I used to drive across country every year to visit my extended family in Kentucky, and we would always listen to a compilation of 60’s garage rock songs, as well as The Shirelles, Michael Jackson, Nirvana and the first Rage Against the Machine album. When I was a teenager I was completely enamored by Chris Cornell’s first solo record “Euphoria Morning” as well as Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” (and I still am). I think more than anything, those two records taught me how to write melodies and lyrics. As for the rest of the band, Ali is an eternal Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix fan. He pretty much learned exactly what kind of guitarist he wanted to be from listening to their records, as well as the amount of dedication and musicality learning to play like that takes. I’ve honestly never met anyone who values and exercises practice as much as him, and it really shows. Rob is also a big Pink Floyd fan as well as Nick Cave, The Smiths and Blonde Redhead. You can really hear it in his playing, too. He’s very melodic in the parts he writes, not just constant 1/8th notes. His bass lines are just as melodic as the vocals sometimes. John came up as a drummer during and in the center of the Seattle music scene when it was at it’s peak so he’s a Nirvana, The Cure and Violent Femmes fan all the way. He’s also into a lot of the classics like Led Zeppelin. Again, you can really hear that it his playing. There’s a lot of drive and intensity with very classic sensibilities and finesse. 18
LitQ: What was the inspiration behind your aesthetic? In general, I think our aesthetic is the complete opposite of modern… Most of the artwork has a very prominent macabre, low-brow, even antique feel to it. I connect to the look and feel of the Edwardian and Civil War eras the most, especially the photography and text books(anatomical ones are my favorite), so I tend to end up creating artwork that has a thick layer of that. That kind of aesthetic wasn’t really planned, it’s just what naturally comes out and it seems like it’s a perfect match with our music. LitQ: How do you see music evolving? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: Honestly, I’m not quite sure. It seems like music has reached a very strange place where there is so much of it that no one quite knows what to do with it all. That is an amazing thing but also kind of a scary thing for a lot of unknown bands that are working really hard to make a life at music. The only thing that seems to hold true no matter what the circumstances of the industry is that you have to make sure you are always creating music you feel to be authentic. That’s pretty much the only thing anyone really has control over. LitQ: What is some of the equipment you use? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: Nord Stage II keyboard, TC-Electronics Voice Live 2, Ludwig drum kit, Suhr/Gibson guitars, Divided by 13 amps, Fender Basses, Ashdown bass amps, Orange bass amps as well as lots of novelty instruments we use during recording. LitQ: What advice do you offer those aspiring to make music? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: The biggest thing is to not get caught up or discouraged about how popular you are or whether or not you’re “blowing up.” It’s such a strange scenery right now when it comes to who gets big and who doesn’t and whether those high points are short or long lasting. Bottom line is that you have no control over how popular you are. The only thing that is completely in your hands is creating music that you believe in and that fulfills your own creative itch. For the most part, I think if you’re truly passionate in what you’re doing, you’ll always find others along the way that will believe in it, too. The key is to put your heart into the work, and stay out of the results. LitQ: What are some of the hardest things about forming a band and writing an album? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: Honestly, the hardest thing has been the organization of it all. We aren’t the type of band that can just walk into a studio and bust out 10 songs in a few days. When it comes to production, we are very nuanced with tones and musical content. We rarely ever record the exact same parts that we play in our live show because it’s important to separate the two experiences. So, we are essentially re-writing every song during the recording process. I think we all love it when a band we like puts out a record that we really dig into, but then when you see them live, it’s a totally fresh amazing experience. With that in mind, we approach writing and recording in a very deliberate way by dissecting and expanding upon each section of each song with each instrument. Finding the time to do all of that when we each have day jobs is certainly a challenge! But in the end we get something that we all feel really represents what we’re trying to accomplish, and something that we are very proud of. LitQ: Your tour page is blank, could Austin be on the list for your future tour? Zoe-Ruth Erwin: Absolutely. In addition to being a great city for music, it’s also our favorite city for breakfast tacos. There are no breakfast tacos in Los Angeles! 19
THE ART OF CRISTINA BERGOGLIO
Cristina Bergoglio was born in Córdoba, Argentina in 1967. Her artistic and literary vision was developed from a very early age culminating in a degree in architecture from the National University of Córdoba. Cristina´s artwork is inspired by the city, her work is mysterious and sensual drawing you into a world where beauty can be found in every element that surrounds us, a universal quality that she captures in each of her paintings. Using a diverse range of media Cristina ﬁnds a unique perspective of the urban landscape, she explains: “The urban phenomenon fascinates me for being a living organism, mutable, indecipherable. It is the place of attachments and addictions.. I like to capture the chaos and cosmos of each moment” The work doesn’t focus on the details of the building, the cars or the people, but rather the living, breathing atmosphere of the city “They are ever-changing scenarios” explains the artist “The city is always a thing of vitality, of movement and sensuality. What I care about is the movement, the urban dance, and capturing the moment in a single brush stroke” Having exhibited in Spain, Belgium and France, her South American roots and her childhood in Argentina have also helped to shape her artistic persona. Her work can be found in museums and collections around the world.
Cristina Bergoglio poses in front of her painting El Motorista de la Gran Via. 20
Almas de Nueva York (2014) Cristina Bergoglio 21
Metlife y Taxis de Nueva York (2014) Cristina Bergoglio 23
El Gran Via Desde El Taller del Prado (2014) Cristina Bergoglio
Nieve en la Gran Nueva York (2014) Cristina Bergoglio.
Brooklyn Visto desde la Intencidad de la Lluvia (2014) Cristina Bergoglio
Leves Niebla en la Manana de las Cuatro Torres (2014) Cristina Bergoglio
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK by Carolyn Gregory for Tom Fountains spray dazzling white against bright green trees. Saturday June opens a big peony growing through stone. Hare Krishna bells clink over the verbal mantra waving above saris and a damn good trio plays â€œGreen Dolphin Streetâ€? as a flock of dachshunds glide. Shaded by umbrellas, women walk under the heroic stone arch, fountain water spraying even the most earth-bound.
Mummy, Sheri Wright (2014)
ON ALFRED CORN’S UNIONS a review by CHRISTOPHER CADRA
Harold Bloom says of Alfred Corn, “He has had the skill and courage to confront, absorb, and renew our poetic tradition at its most vital.” After reading Corn’s Unions, the words “courage” and “tradition” stick out in the Bloom quote enormously. The word “skill” would too, but Corn’s skill is so apparent so early on that the use of the word in the Bloom quote is somewhat muted. The title Unions is apt for a variety of reasons, and Corn could be seen as the perfect author of such an aptly titled book as he personifies poetic and literary unions. An American student of European languages and literature, Corn studied French literature, first at Emory and then at Columbia, where he received his Masters. He is also the author of the eBook, Transatlantic Bridge A Concise Guide to American and British English, a book, published in 2012, discussing, comparing, and contrasting the use of the American and British English. The poems featured in the book also create a union. They range in length, subject matter, style, pretty much everything, yet there isn’t a single poem in the book that feels out of place. For example, “In the Grunewald Café”, a short poem, is so lyrical, so musical, that I actually had a melody going along with the words in my head the first time I read it. It’s proceeded and followed by poems hardly resembling it, yet, again, nothing feels out of place. Yet another union, and this harkens back to the Bloom quote, is that of poetic tradition. Allusions to the Romantics, Eliot (who appears a great deal, perhaps due to his own American/English identity, or perhaps simply because the long poem he appears so frequently in, “Eleven Londons,” needs him), and many other canonical writers allow Corn to become a part of the poetic tradition. His courage allows him to cut out a piece out of that tradition and make room for himself, for his own vision, a vision that is sometimes far from happy and optimistic (see poems “The Great Pessimists”, “Best is Never to Be Born, and if Born…”, among others), but a vision that is distinct, and not just among contemporaries, but among the whole of the English poetic tradition. At his darkest, Corn can become an abyss. “The Great Pessimists”, which almost reads like a survey of the Western Canon’s greatest pessimists, beginning with a quote from Ecclesiastes, we go from Shakespeare’s Lear and Macbeth to Schopenhauer, Eliot shows up, as does Kafka, and the poem ends with a line, in italics, “Nothing puts and end to emptiness but nothingness.” Truly bleak, as bleak as Macbeth himself it seems. But throughout the book, I always sense here and there a light shining, even if a dim, dull light, a repelling of full on pessimism and/or nihilism. There’s always something, there are always these cracks of light, and maybe these are the unions, maybe these are what it is that keeps the poems together. Many poems seem to reflect the quoted Macbeth soliloquy in which life is nothing but a tale told by an idiot. But these poems are reflections of life, and Corn is no idiot, no poor player. What keeps this from dipping deep into pessimism for me is that even if life is nothing but a tale, it’s not just full of sound and fury, and it’s not told by an idiot, it’s (at least here) told by a virtuoso, and the beauty of the tale alone gives it meaning. Perhaps as a counter to the darkness, whether intentionally or unintentionally, there is a good deal of colloquial language that appears throughout the book that seems to lighten the mood a bit when need be. e.g. The phrase “Bob’s your uncle mate,” used commonly (how commonly I’m not sure) in the UK to sum up simple directions or orders. I was not familiar with this phrase when I came across it (in the poem “Bob”), and though its meaning became apparent almost immediately upon reading, its oddness caused me to crack a smile. The poems and the work at large are sometimes very elliptical, sometimes experimental, but are always extremely readable and re-readable. There were very few poems, during my initial reading, that I simply read through before moving on to the next. Sometimes this was due simply to an instant love of the read poem, but often this was due to a needed rereading to get a little closer to the intended meaning of the read poem. However, the mentioned ellipses of Corn’s poetry and of Unions never feel like a showing off or anything like that, but always rather feel like a sort of bravado, or perhaps said better, as Bloom did, “courage.” 30
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ilda Elizabeth Poe was having a good time. She was having a birthday party and everybody was there, hanging upside down from the ceiling and holding purple balloons. They were happy that Tilda was happy. Even grandpa was there. He told her that she’d picked a fine husband and had produced perfect, sparkling children. She blushed. Tilda was sitting with her friends from her past, present, and future. All of them secretly confided to her that nobody could stand to be around her, and that if she ever lost her money she would be all alone. Tilda said thank you. Tilda Elizabeth Poe was in the jungle hunting a monster of unspeakable power. Beside her was a grizzled old man she’d never met but who smelled like switchblades. He whispered to her that if they didn’t kill this beast, she would never wake up. Out came Patrick Bateman from that awful psycho movie that had scared her so much, her husband guffawing as she covered her eyes. Tilda mustered her courage and shot him, but the bullets bounced right off. Bateman was walking smoothly, calmly. Like a shark. Tilda knew it was no use, and left the grizzled man to be hacked to bits. She’d tried, hadn’t she? Nobody could blame her. It was every coward for themselves now. Bateman promised that she would be next. Tilda Elizabeth Poe was passing notes in class again. Do you like me? Check yes or no. The five foot nothing Mrs. Tate towered over her in Baptist rage. Drew was way on the other side of the class and would never get the note now. He was looking out the window and dreaming of the basketball court. Tilda told him that he would grow up to be a banker. Mrs. Tate dragged Tilda to the principal’s office by the pigtails and confiscated her iPhone. She told the principal that Tilda had been texting again, and the principal asked Mrs. Tate to sit and watch while he touched Tilda’s breasts, just so things wouldn’t get too inappropriate. Mrs. Tate laughed and gave him a D.
BY NATHAN WELLMAN
TOSSING AND TURNING
Tilda Elizabeth Poe was sitting on a bed, listening to the sound of crickets instead of Tom’s voice. The time was centuries from now, after her husband. Tom told her that he wished he’d had more money. Maybe then they could have… But he was too scared to finish the maybe. They talked about how they missed the days when unconditional love was a breathing thing that didn’t care about Pentecostal churches or empty wallets or a stray curse word in front of her mother. They smiled at each other. They didn’t ask where they’d gone wrong. (“She woke up and it was all just a dream.” Just a dream? JUST a dream?) Tilda Elizabeth Poe was running, sort of. Behind her was what didn’t exist in daylight. Her subconscious had a dark, ragged cloak that only just failed to conceal long crooked fingernails. She couldn’t look behind her, it was unthinkable. But still she knew that the phantom was getting closer and closer. Terrible things would happen if it caught her. That is, when it caught her. If only she knew how to run! She forced herself to remember. One foot pounds the ground as hard as it can and the next one does the same thing. Over and over until infinity. Right? But the ground was molasses and Jell-O with a touch of quicksand. Grandpa was sitting at a glass table. He was beckoning for her to sit down, but Tilda Elizabeth Poe was afraid. She knew with fanatical certainty that this was real, even though all around them was nothing but gray. Grandpa took her hands.
“You can’t keep going through this night after night, darling.” “I’m taking medication.” “It wasn’t your fault.”
“You should have just given them your money. He had a knife. A switchblade.” “I’m sorry.” “Why didn’t you just give them your money?” “What a thing for a seven-year-old girl to see.”
Tilda Elizabeth Poe was holding hands with Adam, a construction worker who was an acquaintance of her husband’s. They’d met maybe three times. Maybe. But now they were in bed together, looking into each other’s eyes and laughing. They were well aware of all the people they were betraying, but there was a stronger, purer feeling that compelled them forward. To ignore their feelings would be the greater crime. He whispered into her ear and all the secrets of life made perfect sense. It seemed so easy to believe that all of us are connected in ways we can’t begin to fathom. She felt like she was light-years away from the confusing place, the place of waking. She felt like she would never live there again. Tilda Elizabeth Poe was trying to explain things were alright to her three sparkling children. They kept asking questions that made her tongue feel like a brick. Where’s daddy? Eventually the children ran off to play on the jungle gym, and Tilda felt like she’d never see them again. (Sometimes I wonder why it’s necessary for our minds to forget our dreams before we wake up. We reboot. What is so important or terrifying that we need to forget everything but stray glimpses, over and over?) Patrick Bateman was back. Tilda Elizabeth Poe tried running but still couldn’t remember. Tried pleading, but he wouldn’t listen. Tried stabbing, the knife just bent as though it were plastic. Now he was wrapped in a dark, ragged cloak and reaching for her. Tilda stopped and looked at it full-on, at last. No word for it. Not horrible. Not wonderful. Just is. The groping fingers lifted her until the cloak was far below, and Tilda was floating. No, flying. Tilda had never flown before, ever. The ground seemed so small now, and it made her laugh brilliantly. Her clothes burned off her radiant skin and, for once, she didn’t cover herself up. Even when alone in the bathroom, she always stayed behind a towel - but not on this night, with the sun shining this bright and no chance of sunburn. She had to fall back into gravity’s embrace eventually. That was alright. It happened to everyone. Tilda Elizabeth Poe was exhausted. Hopefully she could wake up and get some rest soon. She was sitting at the glass table with grandpa one last time. They clinked their cups of tea together and talked like old friends.
.EL FIN. 34
WHEN IN ROME by John Parm
Confident with lust in passing We were in Rome An interlude ---- too great. Painter, Poet – hustlers for pleasures From one another. Arms wound round waists Skipping across the Piazza Playing our games Paying penalties with l o n g k i s s i n g, (We played good games.) Blowing smoke and sipping beer –– Talking of Danielle Steele and Louis L’amore – of who’s modern rock and who’s pop – We disagreed and did not care. We agreed they’re not playing our song “Always we’ll be…” not just, but, less than eternity for which this city is named. Once we hid in the extravagant vineyard And I conned you out of your Second hand Italian summer dress. All this weeks ago. Last night estranged By circumstance of trains We meet this morning for tea. We ask, “What has become of the painter, the poet?” Honestly we ask, “What has become of the hustlers?” Timidly we ask, “What has become of us?” The disaster inherent in the ideal. We seem two children in confusion Newly dressed – in matching jeans Uncertain in Love – now lasting.
INTO THE MIND OF CARL HEYWARD presented by Ethan Ayce Ramirez
Has art been a part of your life since the beginning or is it something that took time to really take place in your life? CH: Some sort of creative impetus has always been present in my life; my father’s scientific notebooks amazed me with their schematics and formulas. He was an epidemiologist. The first art that I am aware of seeing were paintings by my Aunt Edna in our Washington, DC home; abstracts and landscapes. I grew up with them and always pondered how art making was done...what was the process? How do you do that ? Why do you do that? Make something out of nothing but the imagination and there seemed to be no relationship to this “artifact” to anything else in the world. Similar questions arose later when in my teens when I began to play music and puzzled over the structure and factors that determined what was called jazz, or any creative highly evolved music that depended upon an incredible knowledge of music and the parameters of discipline and freedom all at once. What is it about using mixed media in your pieces that really speaks to you? CH: Working in Mixed-media allows access to all the tools in the box; the challenge is to harmonize those materials, those instincts and possible directions into something coherent. I have said that all experience is collage or mixed-media and it is: our collective experience is composed of warehouses of data, thoughts, impulses and sensibilities whose presence or exertion into a forefront of consciousness is based upon a necessary bias that reflects a need to categorize experience. The flood line of experience keeps us from being overwhelmed; but those experiences do exist and matter; they are inescapable and appear perhaps in emotions, attitudes, animosities, fears and uncertainties. We have to agree what reality is and what matters and what brand of new car to buy so to speak; mixed-media offers another mode of transportation of the senses by indicating a force-fed kind of aesthetic that is both crude and callous but is also elegant and true. In our previous encounters you have brought up your association with the Global Art Project (GAP), could you tell us a little bit about that and how that has possibly affected your artistic process? CH: I am a social hermit convinced that I would, like the Burgess Meredith character in the Twilight Zone episode, be content to live a completely solitary life bereft of any human interaction, more or less. This comes from fears, disappointments, discouragements, disillusionment; all the “dis-es” of existence filtered through an Afro-American striving middle-class up bringing in a 50’s - gonna-change in the 60’s culture...I mean who needs it? Paranoia, whack and skewed values, war, racism, a fading anglo empire of male ego and just plain mean-spiritedness a cultural wrongness that permeated the American psyche, and the thing is: PEOPLE BOUGHT IT! ... for decades, there is even a resurgence of stupidity with the USA, as always, leading the way with nasal-voiced yuppie gentry consuming their asses off while Rome burns ( again)....what cha gonna do ? Hide out is what, or martyr yourself or do the ONO - LENNON thing and conduct yourself as if WAR IS OVER which is as brilliant and impracticable as it is noble and empowering. 36
So after a number of years and several projects using online platforms and the mail as a delivery system, I approached Australian artist Lorna Crane, Vered Gersztenkorn ( Israel), Akiko Suzuki, a brilliant textile artist specializing in contemporary quilt making and mixed-media artist Laura Oh of South Korea with an idea about a group interaction where we would produce new works, exhibit together, travel and conduct workshops in our areas of expertise. First, GAP is a group for people who normally do not associate themselves with groups; a gathering of studio - hermits who all took a risk, a chance to meet and live together for one month for the sake of realizing in real time the experience implied through our virtual interaction, and we were not disappointed. Our process in Venice is and was so rewarding on many levels, not just enhancing our personal art practice, but also in terms of meeting kindred spirits who lived, worked and enjoyed every minute of an experiment in a setting of unreal beauty surrounded by eager and supportive staff and a public hungry for what we had to offer. As far as its effect on my own process, GAP in Venice allowed exposure to a variety of work modalities practiced by supremely talented fellow artists who A Two Enso Evening (black) by Carl Heyward intersect in the area of mixed-media; of cobbling together an expression and manifestation of global existence through any means necessary, using the materials at hand toward a harmony of cultural observation beyond language or nationality...it was pretty much perfect. It is always gratifying to witness such humility and willingness to take a chance; to step outside of habitual comfort or work zones and find a strange comfort in what you already knew but was unaware of that knowledge,something like that. I gained new confidence in my arsenal of technical tools, learned some great new ones, especially around paint application and am seriously looking at purchasing a sewing machine !
Over the course of your career you have touched upon a vast amount of different art genres. Are there any you would like to revisit - be it television production, set design, visual improv, etc.? CH: I have recently taken a look at a galeristâ€™s observation around the over-saturation of images on social media and how it has had an adverse and ironic effect on the promotion and exposure of artists while paradoxically having also advanced it; there is an a endemic decline in galleries throughout the states; the same galleries that we hoped to access through use of face book and saatchi online, etsy, artslant and a myriad of other sites are falling by the wayside as a result of this phenomena as well as the rise of the international arts festival which has gained incredible public purchase in this decade. Artist initiated projects are absolutely important to my process but the sense that one vehicle for exposure and communication must usurp another is a disastrous notion. 37
People look at the work online and feel that they have actually “seen” it and have no need to go the next step and have the actual “living-breathing” interaction with canvas and senses through the gallery experience, which is a shame.This should be the “tease” and not the “strip”. The idea, for me, has always been to advance the art by any means necessary incorporating the best of all techniques and tools available in a working relationship relying on confluence and innovative promotion, presentation and access. It is a strange time to be an artist ,without doubt. Resources can be borne and vanished overnight with glossy replacements, which, in the final analysis, only distract from practice if not mindfully attended. To see venerable galleries that I respect and even covet close after generations of existence is both heartbreaking and disheartening. This relates to the question in this way : immediately after the GAP experience I made a decision to not expose any new works online except photography which serves as a touchstone with my original medium of expression but also stands as a journal of my day via series such as BUS PORTRAITS, BUILDINGS, WINDOWS, and STREET ALBUMS .These are eye-exercises and social buffers that allow me to protect, express and exert my interpretation of my encounters and daily perspective as well as develop narrative that later informs my mixed media work. It is a version of always paying attention and reflects my life long preoccupation with change and expectation; with surprise making sense of what I see. I long for a reel-to-reel tape recorder to mix analog tapes of sounds in the same way that I work with photography, as verite documents to be synthesized and re-worked into concrete music realizations. This is a throwback to my days as a percussionist and radio producer . I worked with a band called Looney Tunes, where between sets of 45 minute improvisations I would run my tape loops of multi-track audio imagery in concert halls and outdoor arenas juxtaposing the sprawling spaces at hand with whatever jet plane-to-cymbal roll-to-homeless person-on-a-bus-manically-announcing-over-and -over : ‘TODAY MY BIRTHDAY’ with a little slowed-down Chet Huntley thrown into the mix . ‘TODAY MY BIRTHDAY’!
Living with Others (1987) by Carl Heyward
from Hay Stacks by Virginia Worley
apocryphal by Lisa Marie Basile our fathers and mothers make us holy in their form. the form is my fingers inside myself & then in your mouth. you put them there, you did it. you drink me, a little hair, a little salt. my body tastes like the afternoon & Iâ€™m bent in the shape of a woman, but I am not a woman. you decide what I am. my mother gave everyone one guess. her skinny stunning body & the hair the hair so thick so high so brushfire.
Color Eyes by Virginia Worley
mothers, fathers. they are the dead weight, always on me, these people, these strangers, they are fat with haunting. they taught me poor religion. when I wake up, rosary light. the thick of the thigh in the morning sticking to the edge of a long clean wooden table, or begging Javi to make me feel I matter, on top and teardropped, as Iâ€™m peering, gazing, through to the next room.
by MICHAEL C. KIETH
I have a radio that won’t play until there’s someone around to listen. –– Jarod Kintz Jake Pendleton had waited for this moment most of his life. From an early age he had dreamed of being on the radio, and now it was about to come true. He had graduated first in his class from Northbrook Broadcasting School in Philadelphia, and he was first in his class to be hired by a radio station. His parents were justifiably proud of their son, who had suffered a less than stellar high school career, due to an ongoing series of bullying incidents. These had resulted in a record of absences that had made it impossible for him to do much more than scrape by academically, thus dashing his prospects for going to anything other than a vocational school. From the start of the bullying, Jake’s father had urged him to speak up in his defense, but he remained silent, too fearful to say anything lest he be treated even worse. “You got to show these kids that they can’t screw with you. When they hit you once, you hit them back twice. That’s the only way they learn to leave you alone. You can’t just stand there and take it. They’ll never stop picking on you if you do,” advised his father, every time he came home bruised or bloodied. But Jake did not have the heart for confrontation, or even self-defense, for that matter. It was not in his makeup to engage in physical disputes, especially not with kids bigger than he was. However, he did fantasize about getting even. In these reveries of revenge, he would annihilate his foes with one powerful blast of his fist. On one occasion, he even came close to acting on his imagination, but in the end, he took the punishment doled out to him, holding back his tears the best he could. I’m a coward. A sissy, he despaired. The kids think I’m such a chicken. I’m never coming back to this crummy school! Being the first person in his small class to get a job filled Jake with pride as well as trepidation. The radio station was over 200 hundred miles from home, which to him seemed like another universe. He’d never been more than 20 miles away from his parents his entire life. “You’ll be fine, honey. Just work hard and maybe you can get work here in Philly . . . maybe even at WIP or KYW.” “You have to be really good to get a job here, Mom. This is a big market.” “Well, you’ll be really good soon, Jake.” “Thanks, Mom, but the guys on the air here have been working in radio for years.” “Think positive, son. They told you at that school that you have a good voice. Don’t forget that. Don’t doubt yourself. That will get you nowhere,” chimed in Jake’s father. “I know, Dad,” said Jake, having heard those words a hundred times before. “People think of you the way you think of yourself. You act afraid, they’ll step on you. You should know that by 42 now.”
“Okay, Carl. Let it go. He knows what to do,” added Cindy Pendleton. “Just want him to hold his head high and believe in himself. You’ll do that, right, Jake?” “Yeah, Dad. I’ll do that,” replied Jake, half believing it.
A week after graduation, Jake’s father dropped off his son in Shelton, Ohio, a drab coal-mining town on the eastern Ohio border. They quickly found the address of a place that rented rooms in a neat three-decker house less than a mile from the radio station. “Decent walk to work from here,” observed Carl Pendleton, peering out of the third floor window of his son’s new home away from home. “Well, I’ve got to go. It’ll be dark by the time I get back to Philly. Take care of yourself, son, and stay strong.” Following a few more words of encouragement and a quick embrace, Jake’s father was gone. For the first time in his life, Jake felt completely on his own, and the idea excited but also intimidated him. The next morning he was scheduled to sit in with the station’s program director, Will Stein, during his show to familiarize himself with the equipment and transmitter log and then take over the on-air duties on the midday shift. He had spoken with Stein on the phone a couple times––once when the PD had called to offer him the job and again to nail down details pertaining to his start date at the station and to give Jake information about possible places to live. Jake awoke fifteen minutes before his alarm was due to ring at 4 AM. He was to be at the radio station at 5 AM to join the program director on his morning show. His excitement outweighed his apprehension, and he quickly showered and dressed. It took him fifteen minutes to reach the station, which was located just beyond the edge of the town in a modest structure next to the station’s blinking antenna. The building was dark with the exception of a dull light illuminating from deep within. Jake pressed the doorbell and waited anxiously. A second press of the bell brought Will Stein to the door. “Morning . . . Jake? I assume you’re Jake, right?” asked the plumpish figure standing before him. “Yes, I’m him,” stuttered Jake. “I’m he would be the correct way to say that. C’mon in, Jake. Just getting things set up for sign on.” Both men entered the station’s control room, which struck Jake as not that much different from the studio he’d trained in at the broadcast school. “I’ve pulled the carts for the commercials, and I got my records set up for the first hour of the show. Have the signon cart in the machine and my news copy pre-read for the first local newscast following the network feed at the top of the hour. Take a seat next to the turntable there and observe. You should be able to take over at ten for your shift after observing things for the next four hours. Don’t worry, you’ll screw up a few times until you get the swing of things. Then it’ll all seem routine.” Jake said little during the hours that followed. He was impressed with the ease that Stein demonstrated as he read commercials and operated the audio console and turntables. “Probably the biggest thing you need to learn is backtiming to the network. You’ll get a cue tone on the line ten sec43
onds before the feed. This is the input right here. Everything is labeled. What you need to do is make sure your last song ends just before the net comes in. A little dumb math is required. If the song is 3 minutes long, you get it rolling at 56:45 so you can do the lead in––a time and temp check and intro. You’ll get the hang of it quickly.” Hitting the net feed was the one thing that caused Jake concern. It was not something he had practiced at school, since they had no setup to do so. “So you have to back time the other songs, too, in order to start the last song so you’re not cutting into it?” asked Jake. “Yup, you have to work it a little. You don’t want to run a vocal into the news. That sounds like crap. At the same time, you don’t want to run out of record before the tone, because you end up with dead air. And that’s the worst. I’ve never ever had dead air on my show. That’s radio’s mortal sin. Here, watch me,” said Will, as he spun the last record and hit the network feed perfectly. “That’s how you do it, Jake. Nice and tight. You want to keep it clean. Sounds shitty when you miss it.”
Ten minutes before Jake was scheduled to take over the broadcast, he gathered his records and stacked the commercial carts for the first hour of his shift. I’m ready for this, he told himself, as Stein brought in the network news at precisely 10 o’clock. “Okay, it’s all yours. I’ll be in my office listening if you need me. Good luck,” said Stein, on his way out of the control room. Jake took his seat before the console and put on his headset. By now, the first record was fading and he segued to the next. Just after it ended, he read his first 30 second commercial ever over-the-air. All went well as he released the back-timed record before the incoming network news feed. He put the network input on cue to await the 10-second prompt, but when it sounded he discovered his record was still not about to come to an end. Did I miss-count the length of the cut? he wondered, feeling panic sweep over him. He prayed that the song would end before the network news theme came in, but it did not. With no other options, he was forced to cutaway from the record. Shit! shit! shit! A few seconds later, Stein entered the control room. “What happened, man? You got to hit it clean. That was a freaking mess,” grumbled the program director. “Sorry, Will. I must have miscalculated.” “Okay . . . okay. No sweat. We all make mistakes our first day on the air. But, really . . . try to nail the feed the next time.” Stein’s sudden appearance had rattled Jake, and he flubbed up the wire copy during the local news he was scheduled to read after the network feed. When he went to the next record, he fully expected Stein to reappear, but to his relief, he did not. As the clock moved toward the top of the hour, Jake’s anxiety about hitting the network feed without screwing up grew. He carefully calculated the back time necessary to go national and began to feel confident he could do it. As his record faded, the 10-second network cue-tone sounded and he opened the mic and gave the time and temperature and introduced the ABC News. Perfect, he sighed, as the network feed promptly followed his last word. 44
Jake expected Stein to come into the studio to give him an attaboy, but he didn’t. Jake still felt pleased with his performance. He would do equally well with the next feeds, but would botch the last one of his shift when again the record he was airing ran longer than he calculated. While Stein did not burst into the studio to chide him, Jake spied him through the studio window shaking his head with displeasure. The next day was pretty much a repeat of Jake’s first day on the air, except that Stein really ripped into him when he missed the 1 PM network feed. “C’mon, man. This ain’t rocket science. Can’t you count back like everyone else?” Jake left the station for the day in a deep funk and wondered if he was suited for the radio profession after all. The next morning he considered quitting his job but then knew doing so would expose him to the wrath of his father. Stay strong! Jake, he told himself, the entreaty of Carl Pendleton echoing in his ears. Don’t let Stein bully you like the kids at school did. I can do this. I will do this. All went as Jake had hoped––that is, until the last network hook up. This time he had not blundered the backtiming of the record, but he had inadvertently hit the wrong input switch on the board, causing a public service announcement to air in the place of the network news. The instant he realized what he’d done, he faded out of the PSA and cut into the news feed. To his horror, there was no sound. Dead air! Dead air! Oh, God! After a few seconds, he realized he had the pressed the wrong button, and he hit the correct one. The network news poured from the speakers. “What the hell are you doing, man?” screamed Stein, charging into the control room. “That’s it, the next time you screw up the network feed you’re out of here.”
Jake sat in his room staring out of the window as the gray sky turned to night. His thoughts were filled with the countless incidents of bullying that he’d experienced during most of his school days, and now he felt Stein was the biggest bully of them all. That bastard is like all the rest. He’s ruining my life. He can’t do that to me. My career will be over. I can’t let him fire me. Everyone will think I’m a loser . . . Dad, too. An hour before he was scheduled to go on the air, he entered the control room where Stein was doing his show. “What are you doing here already? Oh, you want to see how a real radio pro works. I doubt that’s something you’ll ever be.” “I came to give you something,” said Jake, in a near whisper, as he removed an object from behind his back. At fifteen minutes before ten AM, the Shelton Police Station received a call from an agitated listener reporting a problem at the local radio station. “What kind of a problem, sir?” inquired the deputy sheriff. “On the ‘Will Stein Show.’ Something isn’t right.” “What isn’t right, sir?” “There’s nothing on, except . . .” “Except what, sir?” 45
FREUDIAN SLEEP by T. R. Hummer Wherein submarines glide among iron nets and rusting mines spiked with kelp. Wherein vicious sexual morays probe the vents. I do the dead manâ€™s float, predictable, Oedipal. Full fathom five among coral and whelks, my father does it too, a depth charge and a pearl In the riptide of his subconscious. In the twentieth year of his being dead, I drift bloody-handed in the dark Body of the world, Nazis in my periscope, MamĂĄ, O ma mer.
WHY IT WOULD BE GREAT IF WE HAD EYES IN THE BACKS OF OUR HEADS by John Gallaher Turn around and look behind yourself. Whatever you are, all your life has been leading to this. Oh good. It’s all part of the epic. A little row of buried fathers and mothers, with mostly days of “save me from bad smells.” “This is a music show” I heard on the lunchroom radio just now, walking back to the office while talking to Randy, the nurse to whom I was giving permission to assist in performing an intra-aortic balloon pump on my father, who they don’t expect to live. His heart is weak and leaking. A literal bleeding heart. He’s not conscious and he has no will, but he does have a wife with Alzheimer’s, who’s at a friend’s house asking again where John is. We perceive by jump-cuts. For a long time, she would confuse the grandkids, then my brother’s and my wife, and then me and my brother. They say that statistically it’ll happen to all of us if we live long enough. So we think about other things. I was a boy scout for a while, a couple years, for instance. I stayed in long enough to get some valuable life lessons. Lesson One: How fast can you run when you really need to run? We were on a campout weekend, being eaten alive by mosquitos, when, one night at camp inspection, the camp next to ours—the group I should say—was docked points for putting oatmeal or grits or something in a trash bag and hanging it from a tree limb that then started leaking out. When the inspector scout took their points, causing them to lose, perhaps to my group (I don’t remember the details), I laughed. I laughed quite loudly and indiscreetly. The other camp then said I had perhaps planted the grits or whatever, or that I maybe punctured their bag or whatever, and that they were now going to perform unspeakably upon me. As they came after me, I took off running. They took off running. And I discovered I was quite adept at eluding capture. Only in the short run, however, as we all have to go back to the campsite at some point, right? Like someone who says they’re looking for truth, and you think, what the fuck do you think all this is? Disneyland?
by RAY HATCH
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Recently this august body saw fit to enact a law, the result of which, is that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of our female citizens will be denied reasonable access to birth control and abortion. If the chairman will recall, I argued vehemently against that bill, claiming that the main motivation for it was fear of womenâ€™s sexuality. I quoted, and I quote again today, a great American of a century ago, H.L. Mencken. He defined a puritan as one who has the lurking fear that someone, somewhere might be having a good time. Many of you solemnly averred that puritanism had nothing to do with your vote, that the real purpose of the bill was the sanctity of human life, and the protection thereof. Today, my fellow legislators, I am going to give you the opportunity to prove the sincerity of that claim. I rise today, Mr. Speaker and esteemed colleagues to discuss a grave problem in our state, the maldistribution of orgasms. I now introduce legislation to correct this imbalance, House Bill 69, The Orgasm Equality Act. Allow me to read the main provisions of the bill. ARTICLE ONE: Before engaging in sexual relations with a woman, a man shall be required to view ultrasound trans-clitoral image sequencing before, during, and after orgasm. He shall further be required to learn that though orgasm sometimes occurs in women during intercourse, direct stimulation of the clitoris is often required, and that said stimulation may be performed by finger, tongue, vibrator, or other means agreed to by the two parties. He shall be required to demonstrate proficiency with at least one of these methods. On completion of this training, he will be issued a license indicating the level of his ability. A Class 3 license will be issued to those who use only intercourse as a method. A class 2 license will be issued to those who exhibit dexterity with the finger or in the operation of a vibrator. A Class 1 license shall be reserved to those who demonstrate proficiency with the tongue and lips. 52
ARTICLE TWO: On meeting a woman in a romantic/sexual context, a man shall be required to show his license on demand. Should intercourse follow, and should the man fail, through either intent or neglect, to bring the woman to climax, he will be issued a warning for Dereliction of Ecstasy. The second offense will result in the suspension of his license pending attendance at a remedial sex workshop. Upon completion of this workshop, and upon signing a pledge to bring a woman to climax in all future sexual encounters, his license will be provisionally reinstated. The third offense is punishable by lifetime revocation of his license. The penalty for the fourth offense shall be one year of solitary confinement so that he may contemplate his self-centeredness without the distraction of others. None of the above should be construed as making orgasm mandatory. Any woman may waive her right to orgasm, provided that the waiver be made in writing with two witnesses, at least one of whom shall be a woman. The waiver must be notarized and submitted to the county clerk before intercourse may proceed.
ARTICLE FOUR On reaching age 14, all boy and girl residents shall be required to take sexual education courses. Boys and girls shall both be taught the anatomical and physiological components and functions of both the male and the female reproductive systems. Boys and girls must both pass an examination demonstrating knowledge of these systems. Boys must be able to name and locate on an unmarked chart, ninety percent of these elements, and failure to identify the clitoris shall automatically disqualify a boy from sexual contact with girls. Since this bill is about equality, girls are subject
Ode to Starry Night by Virginia Worley
ARTICLE THREE All insurance policies covering Viagra and vasectomy, shall be required to offer vibrators on equal terms. As a concession to fiscal conservatives, batteries will not be included. On reaching the age of 17, all boys shall be issued, free of charge, a) one carton containing two dozen condoms, and b) two tubes of personal lubricant. On reaching the age of 14, all girls will be issued a starter kit including a) two tubes of personal lubricant, and b) a vibrator INCLUDING batteries. Both boys and girls shall be issued, free of charge, one copy of the Kama Sutra.
to the same penalty if they are unable to identify the penis on an unmarked chart. Now, before I continue with ARTICLE FIVE, I wish to address a complaint that I’ve heard from some of my esteemed male colleagues. Some of you good old boys say that you’re just too tired after your own orgasm to help your partner get hers. Gentlemen, where are your manners? Let me remind you that this is one situation where traditional etiquette still applies – ladies first! My co-sponsor, Senator Clitworth, planned to enter an amendment to this bill when it reached the Senate, but after conferring, we have jointly decided to insert it into the bill itself as Article 5. It reads as follows: Medical research is now being conducted on the implanation of artificial wombs into men. By all accounts they are on the verge of a major breakthrough. When this becomes possible, any woman denied an abortion shall have the right to have the fetus transplanted into the abdomen of the sperm provider, and he, with the appropriate hormone therapy, shall be required to carry the fetus to term. The right of abortion shall be denied him, just as it was denied her. I urge passage of this bill today. Orgasm equality is an idea whose time has come. It’s not a zero sum game. Women’s orgasms do not subtract from men’s orgasms; they add. Studies show that women will want to have sex more often if they know they will be having orgasms. Let me remind those who preach against promiscuity that couples that come together, stay together. Let’s make the Lone Star State a state of joy for all it’s citizens, male and female alike. This legislation will teach men that helping their women have orgasms is an act of enlightened self-interest. See to it that the discovery of the clitoris is a rite of passage for our boys on the way to becoming caring, responsible men. Support the Right-to-Come! Pass the Orgasm Equality Act today! I yield the floor.
presented by Joschua Beres and Linda Akinkunmi
Jean Jean is a French band that recently toured the US. They also played Rock En Seine alongside St. Vincent, Blonde Redhead, Blondie, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age and Lana del Rey.
LitQ: How did all of the members in the band meet? Sebastien: Edouard an I met in high school around 2003 or 2004, but we only started playing together in 2008. We started as a two-piece band. Jeremy joined the band a year and a half later. If you could do a collaboration album with any artist past or present, who would it be and why? Sebastien: Hard to answer ! I guess I would say Warpaint. This band is amazing. There is a some kind of magical aura around this band, almost mystical. I have seen them live once, in Paris, a few months ago, just before touring USA, it was so good. I am really obsessed with this band. Edouard: James Blake and Lana del Ray together on the same song, would be orgasmic for me. LitQ: What is on your playlist on repeat right now? Sebastien: Warpaint, Lana Del Rey, Sia. Girls Voices are the best !!! Edouard: James Blake, Banks, Sia, ALMEEVA LitQ: Besides music, what are your interests and hobbies? Sebastien: I have always been into drawing, since I can remember. I started around three years old, and never really stopped since then. Edouard is into photography. And he is really good at it. LitQ: Why is most of your songs instrumentals? What is it about instrumental music that is appealing to you? Sebastien: Because we started like this, we were influenced by all those European and American instrumental bands. And we never had enough guts to try to sing and write lyrics. I guess, on our first EP, we screamed on a part of a 56
song called “Bayonnette” and on “Elli Lilly”, I came up up with a strange sentence that I recorded on a 4-track recorder, just to remember the harmony. Not even in a real language ! It says “ Kolmayna Letraya “. We kept it, cause it was funny to have such a stupid lyrics intervention. On “Symmetry”, we only sing “ La la la la la la la Ooo” on “Coquin l’Eléphant”, and asked a good friend of ours to sing on “Laser John”. This shows how bad we are as lyrics writers in Jean Jean ! LitQ: What kind of equipment do all of you use? Pedals? Guitar? Sebastien: I use a few Fender Telecaster and a Fender Jazzmaster. I play on a Fender Deville 410. About the pedals, I have a tuner, an Harmoniser, a POG, an Overdrive, two or three differents delay pedals, and a huge reverb. LitQ: What is your dream equipment setup? Anything on your wishlist? Sebastien: I don’t really have a dream setup. I feel lucky to have all that and to have fun wrtiting songs with it ! I used to have a lot of pedals a few years ago, twice as big as what I use now, and one day, I felt stupid about it and decided to use only what is relly important for me and for the music. Less is more. LitQ: Where are each of you from? Sebastien: I have a lot of Spanish and South American origins as my lastname tells it. My family is a huge mess of moving and travelling. Edouard: I have Spanish roots, but i’m mostly a Frenchy. LitQ: Your new music video titled Love has a lot of nature imagery and themes suggesting nature conservation. What musical elements did you use to reinforce this message? Sebastien: We just love nature and forests. We shooted it near our places. We have the chance to have quite big forests around here. We just thought it would be cool to hang on trees, with no story, no point, just us telling to the trees that we love them. Edouard: When we were younger, we used to toss branchs in the forest. It was one of our favorite hobbies. LitQ: How did each of you get into playing music? What was your first instrument? Sebastien: I started music at the age of 8 with the piano. I took some lessons for a year. But I decided that I wanted to be Elvis, so I quited and had an electric guitar. But I really started playing around 13, and fell in love with it when I moved from Sweden to France and had no more friends, playing Nirvana and Silverchair tracks all day long ! Edouard: I seriously started in music with Sebastien, when we started Jean Jean. I’m not a real drummer, I just really love do shows. LitQ: How was your first year touring? Any tips and advice for bands leaving there country to tour? Sebastien: A dream come true ! We toured Europe since 2012 and toured USA for 65 days a couple of months ago. It was amazing ! Everybody has to make its own experience of touring. I believe that it’s a gift to tour and to travel, to meet people and to see other things and places. Especially when you have the chance to visit other countries. I have no tips to give. Just open your eyes and your ears, enjoy it and don’t lose your passport ! Edouard: Take care of your body, specially if you are the drummer, and do everything you do with passion. Always be positive, in every kind of situation. 57
LitQ: Who recorded your first album and why did you pick them? Sebastien: Edouard did it. We recorded the drums in an empty house, the guitars at our rehearsal place, and the keyboards at my place. We wanted to do it by ourselves, with no pressure and because it was cheaper ! We recorded the first EP in four days in a chalet in the mountains. All live. For the album, we wanted to have more time, that’s why Edouard and I did it that way. Edouard: We may record the next album in a real studio, just to be only musicians. I’ts hard to focus on music when you have to be “sound ingeneer”, “producer” at the same time. LitQ: How do you know Ikey Owens from The Mars Volta/ Jack White? Sebastien: First time I’ve heard Ikey Owens playing was on The Mars Volta’s Deloused in the Comatorium album, I guess it was on “Inertiatic ESP”. The Mars Volta is one of my favorite band of all times. Our American tour manager, David Isick Dead Foxx, introduced us to Ikey Owens just before touring USA. Imagine how excited I was ! We were supposed to record a little EP with him during the tour but we never really had the time to work on new material. I hope we will be able to do it soon cause it would be such an honor for a little French band such as us. LitQ: How is your music significant to the progression of this music era and culture today and what sets your music apart from other artists? Sebastien: Beside the instrumental aspect of the band, which is not so original nowadays, I believe there are only a few bands in France who have had the chance to tour the USA, and it shows that now, it’s possible, even for country-side-french-dudes ! That’s a huge progression in our music era and culture. Musically, I don’t believe that we are really original. LitQ: When each of you are in band practicing, how are your song structures created? Sebastien: It depends, but most of the time I come up with some guitar parts and Edouard and I jam on it for hours until something good comes out. Or sometimes, we start from nothing, only jams. We have the chance to have our rehearsal place, so we have a plenty of time to try stuff. We usually have a lot of different parts in our songs, so we try different puzzles ! Until the best comes out.
for Dr. George Tiller Ignored, they get tattoos declaring a cause, surf the Net for friends and spend hours popping cans off a fence, followed by squirrels. Then the field opens up.
Over time, they learn which fuses fit into the right cylinders, assembling Sunday to build bombs. They will wipe out the enemy, especially if he is famous. Not good with books nor clever with girls, nor the favorite sons of absentee fathers, They roll up their shirtsleeves, showing off bold white crosses on arms pink as sausages before the cleaver cuts.
by Carolyn Gregory
Sunrise At Milkyway, (Detail) Sheri Wright (2014)
FOGHORN LEGHORN SHILLS FOR ZUCKERBERG IN THE LEGENDARY P TOWN HORSE BRASS PUB by DENNIS MAHAGIN There’s a two-drink minimum in this sad, sad continuum. One sits up next to the stage and listen to me bomb and listen to me bomb and listen to me listen to me so bad, I petition the rafters for the Nth Nth nth time -- our seafood memory arrives on a platter or one of those long rolling ladders like dead pyres they use in libraries, flint sparks oh dear Michigan after dark . . . in fact sans all tact in memoriam day -- . . . my first bit’s a wish I’d say I’d act your age
THE SKIRT by BRANDON BECK
I hope you become a teacher who fights for a future fit for all children – a place of peace and justice. (Inscription from Bill Ayers in To Become a Teacher, 1998) The child was born in the year of Title IX. The mother was concerned with her own new pants, so the father liberally decorated the child’s room in yellow and green. The young child went to school in tube socks, athletic shorts and a Star Wars t-shirt. The child received high marks for creativity playing Father during games of house. Yet, school confused the child with boy lines and girl lines and no coloring outside the lines. So out of school the child taught school in a new way in the closet with stuffed animal students and shoe box desks But the child grew up Society clamored with its claws “To teach, you must wear a skirt” SHE was told SHE returned to the closet to the shoebox desks and stuffed animal students and made yelling sounds “I am I, not SHE; See how I will teach.”
COLD CASE: EASTER, 2014
by T. R. Hummer
The print is atavistic, spatulate—an arch, not a whorl, at its center—of the kind palmists call The Murderer’s Thumb. It graces a stained stone, still out of alignment, thrown an eon ago, collecting A tracery of now near-fossilized skin cells in its grain. And here we discover rust-eaten nails, and here A few rotted threads of linen our forensics reveal was soaked in sour wine vinegar. They lie Beside a circlet of brambly material, rotted almost to nothing. History has hidden the motive, but the means Remain discoverable to one who has a little faith in methodology. Yonder is the garden. Here is the hill Of the skull above a little plain where the witnesses scattered. If you listen hard, you can almost hear The lamentations released by hammering—for hammering there surely was. Too long a sacrifice can make a stone Of the heart. And the blood that has spattered this stump of a rough-planed beam: was it ever even human?
ODE TO BEING IGNORED by JOHN PARM
She may flow in here Wearing slender dress Or jeans so tight I could read the date On the dime In her back pocket. Nineteen seventy-seven When she comes She will ignore me Eyes frozen forward Like a soldier on parade But swaying her Womanly fluidity Making water seem clumsy. That voice I joy to hear Wills not to speak to me But drifts, buried in a book, Distant across time and geography Sitting and giving me The slope of a snowy Cold shoulder That my fingers Would ski over And caress up from That cool white A warm dusty rose.
Between Jazz The Blues by Dr. Earnes Williamson III
ROOM #9 Lisa Marie Basile
I feel I have made a mistake. I feel a shame inside me that is as rotten as the morning after, which is the morning after the pool has filled with urine and lemoncello, which is the design of a night of sorrow. We never take our clothes off when we are happy; we take our clothes off for the memory of it, as if we are too dull for life’s real life. This is why we stay in motels we have to prove something but we we know not what it is. We only know there is a lock box of hundred dollar bills and a girl named Lucia in room #9 whose husband went missing. Let’s find him. Let’s fuck him, just for the experience. Let’s break her heart like we do, because we are longing so hard even the night hurries through us.
When We Say Whatever We Say We Mean “People” by JOHN GALLAHER Let’s ask ourselves desperate questions and then scoff at each other’s answers. That’s certainly not the sort of thing we ever say, but there are many things we don’t say. I’m sitting here, for instance, on a bench, looking across the parking lot, watching a guy at the Burger King change the sign. It’s a tall sign, and he’s using that sort of grabber thing they use that almost looks like a magnet or something. He’s bringing the letters up, and they mostly fall back down again. Maybe there’s some wind. I’m in St. Joseph, MO, and it’s often windy. Maybe it’s his first time with the grabber. This could be a rite of passage, or an honor. Or maybe it’s a set-up, and the rest of the crew is watching from the drive-thru window, laughing. He’s gotten as far as TURN UP, and he’s taking a break. What comes next, only he knows. And the corporate office. And the manager, I guess. I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, as fine points are versions of desperate questions, like the two women behind me talking, as I’m sitting here on this bench at Dunkin Donuts, where one says, “We’re sure it’s a girl.” And then, “It’s an old French name. Emmanuelle Delaphine, we’ll call her.” All we really know to do is to say what comes next, and who among us wouldn’t agree that when we’re talking about people in general, we’re not talking about ourselves? “Hell,” as Sartre had it in his play No Exit, “is other people,” which is a little shop worn, I know—it’s been sitting on the shelf awhile with a little tower of price tags accumulating with ever lower prices. It’s almost free now. And not really a tower, either, more a molehill, if you’re feeling up to it, and who isn’t up to a bit of charades and bitters? The lottery van is driving down the block. Quick, act humane. 67
LIPSTICK by BRANDON BECK
I used to steal my mother’s lipstick, use it to write on the walls, to wound the soldiers in my GI Joe collection why they didn’t come with blood I never understood I knew they needed blood, belonged in blood; I grew up watching Vietnam. My mom took me along always running to Mary Kay buying more blood-red lipstick. I didn’t understand why she needed so much lipstick. What was wrong with her own lips? Didn’t Daddy want to kiss her? Once, I tried the lipstick; it made a mess; I looked like a clown; it did not taste like bubblegum. I cried over world injustice a little girl understanding more about makeup than the adults whose lipstick fades like the sunset over distant shores. 68
by MARY HARWELL SAYLER
The dully dressed woman at the checkout stand reminded me of Drew Barrymore, and so I told her so. She looked pleased and said she used to hear that a lot but not for a long while now. Then she gave me a beautiful Barrymore smile, and we talked about how well Drew had done and how far she had come and how lovely she’d become, and the young woman in faded clothing began to fade into Drew Barrymore and look like Drew Barrymore and beam like Drew Barrymore and draw her shoulders up. So now when you go to a store, ask the clerk if she’s kin to the Barrymore’s, then let me know how soon her sorrow lifts and if she begins to believe she drew you into her legend.
Owl who gets the moon every night from the river2, Alexandra Khitrova (2014)
SWOON by CRAIG KURTZ
No one knows how many stars are in the sky but there’s only one that I would marry. So few are really habitable; so rare, condign affinity. Only you are indefectible to an unconventionality of ken. Who could ever count all the fireflies in the night when they code for love and as they mate their lights? These creatures must convoke carnal galaxies in trees, commingling in pairs a unitary plea; thusly why not we? Bright star, would I were numinous as you are, a consonant signal would I through all azure convey. Steadfast, stern, immutable, I’d transmit these words as singular streams of light through every arbor, every spiral seen, and unseen, every night.The Elopement Note To all you clever people who don’t believe in love: They’re fixing the numbers on the
THE ELOPEMENT NOTE
To all you hipster intellectuals who don’t believe in fate: The verities come in vending machines & destiny is a programming code. The muses are but brummagem, kismet is cajolery; free will’s wrapped in cellophane, conation is downloadable. For all this ignominiousness here’s your prize — epic abyss. To all you supercilious cynics who don’t believe in anything: Romance is anachronous & arete is démodé. Sincerity is a double cross, matedness a despotic plot; marriage is the in-&-out, loyalty a sucker’s bet. Hip hip hooray for your ironicalness, & boo-hoo (ha-ha) on my dumb happiness.
by CRAIG KURTZ
To all you clever people who don’t believe in love: They’re fixing the numbers on the public clock & they falsified the weather report. The sky is rigged, the clouds corrupt; the sun’s a slut, the moon takes bribes. From all this invidiousness I heartedly efface myself.
— Your most humble servant,
the luna moth stuck to your windshield.
A COLD DESIRE by JEROME ROTHENBERG for Charlemagne Palestine they have returned to where they started still in the little streets called Europe the old men dancing crazed like children casting their clothes aside to celebrate their last hurrah & still the mind is sharp enough to dream the past in recollection walking without sense from one small street into the next yet feeling on my back the burden of a lifetime all are victims of a cold desire too indifferent to be true & still the thoughts keep coming, stumbling tumbling when I think them small like me for which I search out other means to cope with time so long ago a cold desire overwhelms the real
The Top 100 Contemporary Poet’s compiled by Jonathan Hobratsch
The following list is an expansion of my Huffington Post blog entitled “On Poetry Awards: Figures and Questions,” which was published on August 16, 2014. In the blog I had promised to list the top 100 poets who have won the most awards among the thirty most highly valued poetry awards in America. The following are the top 100 award winners with the number of awards won in parentheses. The list of awards considered will be listed at the end. Please consult the blog at The Huffington Post after viewing this list for the full experience. The list is not an index of poetic greatness, but rather, only a list of the poets with the most major American poetry awards. The List (as of August 16, 2014) 1. WS Merwin (20) 2. John Ashbery (13) 2. Charles Wright 4. Louise Glück (12) 4. Richard Wilbur 6. Philip Levine (10) 7. Frank Bidart (9) 7. Charles Simic 9. Galway Kinnell (8) 9. Robert Pinsky 9. Gary Snyder 13. Billy Collins (7) 13. David Ferry 13. Marilyn Hacker 13. Donald Hall 13. Richard Howard 13. Gerald Stern 13. CK Williams 20. BH Fairchild (6) 20. XJ Kennedy 20. Yusef Komunyakaa 20. Mark Strand 24. Mark Doty (5) 24. Rita Dove 24. Robert Hass 24. Alice Notley
24. Mary Oliver 24. Marie Ponsot 24. CD Wright 31. Robert Bly (4) 31. Carl Dennis 31. Stephen Dunn 31. Linda Gregg 31. Brenda Hillman 31. August Kleinzahler 31. Lee Yong-Li 31. JD McClatchy 31. James McMichael 31. Paul Muldoon 31. Carl Phillips 31. Pattiann Rogers 31. Frederick Seidel 31. Alan Shapiro 31. Edward Snow 31. James Tate 31. Jean Valentine 31. David Wagoner 31. Franz Wright 31. Jay Wright 51. Rae Armantrout (3) 51. Anne Carson 51. Fred Chappell 51. Henri Cole 51. Alfred Corn 51. Carolyn ForchĂŠ 51. Alice Fulton 51. Albert Goldbarth 51. Linda Gregerson 51. Fanny Howe 51. Rodney Jones 51. Carolyn Kizer 51. John Koethe 51. Charles Martin 51. Khaled Mattawa 51. Lisel Mueller 51. Sharon Olds 51. Ron Padgett 51. Michael Palmer 51. Lucia Perillo 51. DA Powell 51. Mary Ruefle 51. Kay Ryan
51. Michael Ryan 51. Gjertrud Schnackenberg 51. Tom Sleigh 51. Robert Wrigley 51. Richard Zenith [The following poets tied at 79. To include them all would exceed the 100-poet limit; therefore, the tie-breaker will be the Pulitzer, National Book Award and Nation Book Critics Circle Award, which are traditionally considered the most prestigious awards] 79. Jorie Graham (2) 79. Terence Hayes 79. Edward Hirsch 79. Laura Kasischke 79. Ted Kooser 79. Nathaniel Mackey 79. Philip Schultz 79. Tracy K. Smith 79. Henry S. Taylor 79. Natasha Trethewey [To round out the list, I have selected the remaining twelve poets among the contemporary poets with two major awards.] 79. Cyrus Cassells (2) 79. Eduardo Corral 79. Clayton Eschleman 79. Lyn Hejinian 79. Ilya Kaminsky 79. Jane Kenyon 79. Heather McHugh 79. Thylias Moss 79. Kathleen Peirce 79. Cathy Song 79. Chase Twitchell 79. Gary Young The 30 major poetry awards considered for these figures are the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, Aiken Taylor, American Academy of Arts & Letters, Arthur Rense, Bess Hokin, Bobbitt, Bollingen, Frederick Bock, Griffin International, JF Nims Memorial, J Howard & Barbara Wood, Kingsley Tufts (excluding the discovery award), LA Times Book Prize, Landon Translation Award, Lannan, Lenore Marshall, Levinson Prize, National Book, National Book Critics Circle, PEN/Voelcker, PEN Translation, PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (somehow different than the other award), Poet Laureate, Pulitzer, Robert Frost Medal, Ruth Lilly, Shelley Memorial, Wallace Stevens, Whiting, and William Carlos Williams.
THE WARLI VERSES after the paintings of Sandhya Arvind
by USHA KISHORE The Warli Verses are a set of poems that form a part of my Ekphrastic project entitled Prerna (translated from Hindi as “Inspiration”) with the Indian artist Sandhya Arvind, who uses the indigenous Warli and Madhubani repertoires for expression. Warli art dates back to the cave paintings of the Paleolithic rock shelters of Bimbetka (Madhya Pradesh, Central India). The paintings are very rudimentary, using a basic geometrical diction of triangle, circle and square. They are painted with a bamboo-stick brush on red ochred (geru) backgrounds on mud walls, smeared with cow dung. The paint mixture is made up of rice flour and water and the paintings are usually done by women. The human and animal figures in this art form are repetitive and are motifs of animistic beliefs and ritualistic traditions.
Village Scene Red earth, blue well, serpent ladder, a new path to trod on; life flowing in blessed prayer – your work is an echo of tribes that crossed the rivers of centuries, unabated, untarnished and unrecognised. Your canvas is an eternal narrative feminine: women drawing water from humanity’s well, women threshing, milling, storing their thoughts, women stirring their hearts into cooking pots on fires of resilience. Tendril trees sprout their dreams in laughter and village talk, as an unseen sun solemnly stalks the red earth and blue-wingèd peacock spirits punctuate the tranquil air with their klaxon calls; while outside your frame, the real world lives and dies.
Waghya God Was it man or woman, in the caves of Bimbetka, who created the Waghya God? Was the sighting of this divinity in thought, whisper word or metaphor? Or is this an oblivious creation of the human mind that some possessed psychic re-enacts in trance? This celestial being dwells in some subliminal plane, radiating an aura on which the sun rises, around which birds fly in circles. Syllable by syllable, unfurling itself on the chroma of your canvas is this spirit of twilight, around which tiger, peacock, horse and human dance. Creeping tendril trees unravel themselves in leaves and birds and flank the deity meditating in codes of stone, under a flowing sky; its dreams falling in monsoon cloudburst, in flaying lightning, in laughing thunder.
Celebration This man plays the tarpa; under his feet, earth spirits meditate in song for tiger, snake, peacock, cow and horse that unite in the analogous colours of your rustic palate; their music exorcising ghosts, demons and ailments in geometric chants. This man sips life from a gourd. This woman in the foreground, dances with that man in the background, their lilting cadences bridging distances. Their scintillating reels, choreographing heartbeats. Twin triangles meeting twin triangles, to entwine in rain and shine, in storm and calm; their emotions flowing from your fingertips. Your art is a ritual, an imagined rhythm, an x-ray vision between inside and outside, pulsating with their twists and turns, always moving, never stopping, like the cycle of seasons. Your brush strokes mimic their gay abandon, the pale white blending into their ochred world, poised in the matte shades of your desmesne frame. The woman is Palaghata herself, her body made of clouds, her eyes made of dew, her hands made of wind. She rises from the ground, turns into a tree, hair unravelling, like lightning, flowing into the air. After the rains, she will raise an entire cornfield, covering earth and sky. The scent of soil, that quivers at the monsoonâ€™s first kiss permeates your pictorial frame. Tarpa â€“ wind instrument made of bamboo and gourd Palaghata â€“ fertility goddess of the Warli people
Lagna Chauk Inside the lagna chauk,
a couple, astride a horse
amble on a journey across life,
adorned with strips of sky.
Around them, a collective of forest
blooms, crisped by rice flour.
On cowdung smeared mud walls, laden plants throw their flowers, the tarpa plays, the village dances.
High above, the sun shines
on a strange landscape spilled on your dreaming geru canvas that anchors the physical world
to an unmanifest outer realm,
where birds and beasts come in pairs to pour their fecund souls. In the distance, the tiger god roars
in a litany of woods, streams,
plenitude, wedded bliss and auspicious beginnings.
Lagna Chauk - translated as wedding square, is a symbolic graphic depiction on the mud walls of a newly-wedded coupleâ€™s hut.
by Paul Strohm
I DON’T SLEEP MUCH ANYMORE
I don’t sleep much anymore there’s too much to do so I’m up early looking for things to fix now I’m working on the pressure washer the engine is great like most Honda’s are it’s the pump which sucks, or not last week I replaced the uploader it worked for a couple of days then broke like my daughter, good heart but no commonsense works a low wage job studying anthropology at 38 years old who’s going to hire someone like her she has 4 kids too if only she could see the world like I do learn a craft fix things make a living what kind of life is that for a girl later today I start on the carport the headers are slagging nothing too dangerous, nothing critical it will get to a point and stop, I think so I will pull all the facing boards most of the trim will go too jack up the headers one at a time install 1/4” metal across 18” put bolts every 16” that should work one granddaughter wants to forego college travel the world for a year, see things what things she doesn’t know yet not a dime to her name a beautiful girl with wonderful gifts I put money aside just for her now there’s some doubt what will she do tomorrow I’m painting the soffits best job an old man can still do up on the ladder slowly one step at a time sanding the surface, opening the pores preparing old boards for looking like new wife has another appointment doesn’t think I should worry or fret she can drive herself perfectly well I need to hear what the specialists say her best years behind us new drugs are being developed each day I don’t sleep much anymore there’s too much to do so I’m up early looking for things to fix
IN MY WANDERING OF THOUGHT
by Paul Strohm
In my wondering interest of thought I am male, not lord, but a white personality not a jewish person worshipping one Yahweh three entities in one, male, white, over 18 years of age saying things like I am a man, a thinking man working, paying my taxes as little as possible disagreeing with things because I am who I am wondering about other things like blackness a guy who looks not like Malcolm X saying things which I can’t understand a man like person standing his ground who won’t be moved however proud he says by any means which I understand move over nigger I want my seat at the table bending in together for the same speaking word however different your child however different your music not naturally like my father’s speaking speaking about honor, patriotism, flag your lack of a glorious flag, your dad a slave pulling chicken wings, sucking a melon I too shed the same hungering light but my mother’s sister thought you so raw the sweat different, your body sways differently not the gravity of whiteness have you read Plato, have I or her or them but a legend we share not with you we don’t know Langston Hughes that Jackie Robinson could run we live it America, do you right from the beginning I believed but does God have a son, an emanation a first child with a back to break, whip it beat it, though I as an ordinary white man have a representation of a father I find it so damn hard to change do you if I were to ask?
ELIOT’S TRAVEL LOGS by Rich Murphy
England 1927 For the hesitant strollers traveling from the Cathedral to the laboratory, the road diverges with many avenues leading to dead ends. The amazing straddler left the basilica with a map, he thought, and a taper for burning at both ends to heat a beaker. A split personality apologizes for both ways in thought without turning back, but the baggage wouldn’t budge under the steam. No litmus test was needed. England 1921 Two worlds collided, and only one emerged: Dante fades on the page. From theology, glands emboldened. Protestants made stands here and there on shifting “and.” A cosmos lost the luster that superstition exposes and obtained a rocky edge, a gaseous fog: Na+H2O. At every street corner, middlemen mixed old with the new and produced mutant rationales, metamorphic rituals, and monstrous acts. England 1948 Egg shells choreographed commutes to work to repair London Bridge. Scientists were hungry then also. The omelet swallowed cities and towns: No one from the Volga west escaped. In particular, scapegoats found themselves captured while pretending to be furniture or worse, woodwork. Beaten, the citizen followed the wisp or was mistaken for a bull’s eye. Rites perverted secular routines. The joke was deadly: Fence-sitters provided the cover for a biological divide, a nuclear solution, a dash for extinctions peppered with hope. Somewhere between New England and England 1914 Swimming against the current.
HER ROSARY BEADS by MAIRE MORRISSEY-CUMMINS In the week that my father died I went to church with my mother to partake in her daily rituals, be closer to her. She still sat in the same pew, one we filled as a family years ago. She had her leather bound missal on the slot in front of her, smiling photos slid from pages, bookmarks of her favourite psalms. Her rosary knotted her fingers, she caressed each bead in prayer. Soothed by her lisping whispers I watched her pray. Eyes closed face raised in adoration to some uncharted world. Her belief in the mysteries became tangible in our shared grief. Intertwined by an invisible string, the links on her rosary became a connection to an afterlife, a place I could not accept before. My mother, closer now, the thread of life, so strong. My fatherâ€™s death, still trying to unite us from beyond. 88
WINTER BLUEBELLS by MAIRE MORRISSEY-CUMMINS
East winds drive snow showers across slate skies, the bleakness of January deepens. Snow lies comatose between barren branches, roads and paths lost under a mantel of white, the village impassable, lifeless. I picture a pale sun, wish I could cradle it, staving off these icy days of Winter. Nights nip, snap at wrists and ankles numbing pallid flesh. I burrow under the duvet, shiver myself warm with images of Spring. I colour the dim light with sun-filled daffodils, and scent them with fountains of glassy green, and in my dreams I find you, frosted bluebells in my hands.
Robot Tree by Virginia Worley
THE LITERATI QUARTERLY presents
Coming soon: Wendell Berry This Day (Counterpoint) Billy Collins Aimless Love (Random House Trade Paperbacks) Michael Fried To the Center of the Earth (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) John Gallaher In a Landscape (BOA Editions) Jack Gilbert Collected Poems (Knopf) Richard Howard A Progressive Education Ted Kooser Spilitting an Order (Copper Canyon Press) Les Murray New Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Mary Oliver Blue Horses (Penguin) Frederick Seidel Area Code 212 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Mark Strand Collected Poems (Knopf) Caki Wilkinson The Wynona Stone Poems (Perseus) Christian Wiman Once in the West (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Want us to review a book? Send us a copy: email@example.com See a book missing from our list? Please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW IN POETRY
John Ashbery Collected French Translations (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Rosetta Ballew-Jennings Is the Room (Jaded Ibis Press) Anne Carson The Albertine Workout (New Directions) CA Conrad Ecodeviance (Wave Books) Alfred Corn Unions (Barrow Street Press) Nick Courtright Let There Be Light (Gold Wake Press) Kendra DeColo Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia) BH Fairchild The Blue Buick (WW Norton) Tarfia Faizullah Seam (Southern Illinois University Press) Louise Gluck Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Matthea Harvey If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? (Graywolf Press) Fanny Howe Second Childhood (Graywolf Press) TR Hummer Skandalon (Louisiana State University Press) Saeed Jones Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press) Laura Kisischke The Infinitesimals (Copper Canyon Press) Eugenia Leigh Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books) Patricia Lockwood Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals (Penguin) JD McClatchy Plundered Hearts (Knopf) Joshua Mehigan Accepting Disaster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Michael Mlekody The Dead Eat Everything (Kent State University Press) DA Powell Repast (Greywolf Press) Claudia Rankine Citizen (Graywolf Press) Spencer Reece The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Robin Richardson Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis (ECW Press) Sasha Steensen House of Deer (Fence Books) Afaa Michael Weaver City of Eternal Spring (University of Pittsburgh Press) Charles Wright Caribou (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Jake Adam York Abide (Southern Illinois Press) Kevin Young Book of Hours (Knopf) Mike Young Sprezzatura (Publishing Genius Press) Matthew Zapruder Sun Bear (Copper Canyon Press) Rachel Zucker The Pedestrians (Wave Books)
NEW IN FICTION
Mr. Mercedesc by Stephen King All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes China Dolls by Lisa See Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell Burnt Tongues by Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas and Dennis Widmyer Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
Mick Burson www.mickburson.com Lee Jinju www.artistjinju.com Android Jones www.androidjones.com Jenny Morgan www.jennymorganart.com Lisa Nilsson www.lisanilssonart.com Graydon Parrish www.graydonparrish.com Chad Pierce www.websta.me/n/chadpierce David Rapoza www.davidrapoza.blogspot.com Tomasz Szyrwiel www.tesz.pl/en
ARTISTS TO WATCH
Allison Boesch www.allisonboesch.com
Sweet Dreams,(Detail) Alexandra Khitrova (2014)
CONTRIBUTORS LISA MARIE BASILE is a poet, writer and editor. She edits a micropress, Patasola Press, and an online magazine, Luna Luna Mag. Basile’s poetry and essays can be seen in Best American Poetry, Coldfront, Poets & Artists Magazine, PANK, The Nervous Breakdown, Huffington Post, La Fovea and others. She is the author of three chapbooks. Noctuary Press, run from University of Buffalo, will publish her full-length poetry collection, APOCRYPHAL, in 2014. She also teaches poetics online for Johns Hopkins’ Eckleburg Review and for Luna Luna. She was the February 2014 feature poet for Poets & Artists Magazine, and has been named a top contemporary NYC poet to watch in features by The New York Daily News & Relapse Magazine. She is a graduate of The New School’s MFA program for creative writing. BRANDON BECK is a trans man with a MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. CRISTINA BERGOGLIO is a South American painter who was born in Córdoba, Argentina. She graduated from the National University of Córdoba. Bergoglio’s work can found in museums and collections around the world. She is the niece of Pope Francis. JOHN GALLAHER is an American poet and assistant professor of English at Northwest Missouri State University, and co-editor of The Laurel Review, supported by Northwest’s English Department. He is the author or co-author of five poetry collections, most recently, In a Landscape (BOA Editions, 2014). His honors include the 2005 Levis Poetry Prize for his second book, The Little Book of Guesses (Four Way Books). His poetry has been published in literary journals and magazines including Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Field, jubilat, The Journal, Ploughshares, and in anthologies including The Best American Poetry 2008. Born in Portland, Oregon, Gallaher has lived in Missouri, Kansas, California, Alabama, Long Island, Texas, Arkansas, and Ohio. He received his MFA from Texas State University and his Ph.D from Ohio University, where he worked for a time as an assistant editor of The Ohio Review. He currently resides in Maryville, Missouri, where he teaches creative writing and composition courses at Northwest Missouri State University. CAROLYN GREGORY is a writer whose poems and music essays have been published in American Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Cutthroat, Bellowing Ark, Seattle Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Stylus. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is a past recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award. Her first book, OPEN LETTERS, was published in 2009 and a second book, FACING THE MUSIC, will be published in Florida this year. RAY HATCH has been writing for decades but has only recently began to think about publishing. He is at work on a multi-volume nov-
el, The Austin Threesome, the first volume of which, I Always Go to Oaxaca After a Divorce, will be published in October. During the last few years he has also been writing poetry. He has lived a nomadic life with sojourns in many places, including New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Oaxaca. He says that he is now “an old fart who divides his time between Con Can and Can Cun,” with a crooked smile that seemed to say, you can believe that or not, as you choose. T.R. HUMMER is an American poet, critic, essayist, editor, and professor. He has published poems in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, and Georgia Review. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, inclusion in the 1995 edition of Best American Poetry, and two Pushcart Prizes. Hummer was born and raised in Mississippi, and graduated from University of Southern Mississippi with a B. A. in 1972 and M. A. in 1974. He studied with Gordon Weaver and D.C. Berry. He graduated from the University of Utah with a PhD, where he studied with Dave Smith and was editor of Quarterly West in 1979. He taught at Oklahoma State University, where he was poetry editor of The Cimarron Review. In 1984 he relocated to Kenyon College; there, after visiting positions at Middlebury College (where he guest edited New England Review) and the University of California at Irvine, he became editor of The Kenyon Review. In 1989 he returned to Middlebury as editor of New England Review. He relocated to the University of Oregon in 1993, where he directed the MFA Program in Creative Writing. In 1997, he taught at Virginia Commonwealth University. He taught at the University of Georgia, and was editor of The Georgia Review. He teaches currently at Arizona State University. MICHAEL C. KEITH is an American media historian. He has served as a member of the Boston College communications faculty since 1993 and is the author of some two dozen books on media. He is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the social impact and role of radio in American culture. He has lectured in Russia, Spain, Tanzania, and at several institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Keith served as a visiting professor at George Washington University and Marquette University and Director of Telecommunications at Dean College. He frequently appears in both American and foreign media as an authority on electronic media. Keith’s substantial published output melds his own experience, an excellent network of contacts in and beyond the radio business, and careful research, to produce solid analysis of what a growing number in and out of the industry see as the growing crisis of broadcast radio. A number of his books have been co-authored with Robert Hilliard, now retired from Emerson College.
Keith has been a Stanton Fellow of the International Radio & Television Society and received the Distinguished Scholar Award given by the Broadcast Education Association and the Achievement Award in the Humanities by the University of Rhode Island. ALEXANDRA KHITROVA lives in Moscow, Russia. She began drawing concept art in 2013. She received academic training in art at S.G. Stroganoff University as well as a ten-year art school. She is a product designer by trade and a motion designer by profession. Alexsandra is currently working on film concepts along with a team of multipliers, artists and writers. Aside from art, she is an avid competitive archers from which she also draws artistic inspiration. USHA KISHORE is an Indian born British poet who currently residees on the Isle of Man. Usha was educated at the University of Kerala in India, Sheffield Hallam University and Canterberry Christ Church University College - both in the United Kingdom. Her work has been translated into German, Spanishand Gujurati. CRAIG KURTZ lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously handcrafting hammocks. Recent work has appeared in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, The Blue Hour, Outburst, Regime, Indigo Rising, Harlequin Creature, Reckless Writing and The Tower Journal. His music work featured at Fishfood & Lavajuice. DENNIS MAHAGIN is a poet from the Pacific Northwest. His latest book, Longshot and Ghazal is forthcoming from Mojave Press: http:// mojaveriverpress.com/mrp. MAIRE MORRISSEY-CUMMINS is an Irish writer and artist who has lived abroad for the past 30 years mainly between Greystones, Ireland and Trier, Germany where she currently lives at present. Morrissey-Cummins recently retired from the Financial sector. RICH MURPHY was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. He raised four children and taught writing and literature for 26 years at Bradford College, Emmanuel College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently, he is writing program director at Bay Path College in Western Massachusetts. His credits include two books of poems Voyeur (2008 Gival Press Poetry Prize winner) and The Apple in the Monkey Tree; chapbooks Great Grandfather, Family Secret, Rescue Lines, and Hunting and Pecking; and poems in hundreds of journals, including Rolling Stone. He lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. JOHN PARM was born in Dallas, Texas in1968. From 1988 to1995 he worked as a stage manager in a small college theater. Since 1995 Parm has worked as a janitor, which gives him time to read, write, and paint. He likes a good pen and a really good thought. Parm’s work has appeared in The Gulf Breeze , San Marcos Underground, For Better or For Worse (an anthology put out by Poet Works Press). DAVID RICE is a writer and animator currently editing his first novel. His stories have appeared in Black Clock, The Last Magazine, Identity Theory, Birkensnake, Spork, Pithead Chapel, The Bad Version, NACHT, The Harvard Advocate, and The Harvard Crimson. Rice was a Finalist in Glimmer Train’s Nov. 2011 Short Story Awards for New Writers.
Rice writes the web fiction series A Room in Dodge City (aroomindodgecity.com) and the graphic novel Lazy Eye Stories (lazyeyestories.com). His reviews and essays have appeared in The Believer, The LA Review of Books, Salon, The Millions, The Rumpus, Rain Taxi, Bookslut, Entropy, and HTMLGiant. See more at: www.raviddice.com. JEROME ROTHENBERG is an American poet, translator and anthologist, noted for his work in the fields of ethnopoetics and performance poetry. Rothenburg was born in New York City to Polish-Jewish immigrants. He attended the City College of New York, graduating in 1952, and in 1953 he received a Master’s Degree in Literature from the University of Michigan. Rothenberg served in the U.S. Army in Mainz, Germany from 1953 to 1955, after which he did further graduate study at Columbia University, finishing in 1959. He lived in New York City until 1972, when he moved first to the Allegany Seneca Reservation in western New York State, and later to San Diego, California, where he lives presently. MARY HARWELL SAYLER has 26 traditionally published books, including Living in the Nature Poem, published in 2012 by Hiraeth Press, and Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books. PAUL STROHM is a freelance journalist working in Houston, Texas. His poems have appeared in HuKmag.com, the Berkeley Poets Cooperative, The Lake, WiND, and other literary outlets. His first collection of poems entitled Closed On Sunday is scheduled to be published in late 2014 by the Wellhead Press. NATHAN WELLMAN is a writer whose previous publications include short stories and poetry in Arkham Tales, Midwest Literary Magazine, Tales of the Talisman, Daily Science Fiction, Full of Crow and The Western Online. His play Ryan is Lost is about to be produced as a part of the New York City Fringe Festival, and received the Spirit of the Fringe Award for Best Writing at the Hollywood Fringe last year. His horror ebook, The Scarecrow, can be found through Amazon. DR. ERNEST WILLIAMSON III has published poetry and visual art in over 450 national and international online and print journals. Some of his visual art and or poetry has been published in journals representing over 50 colleges and universities around the world. Dr. Williamson is an Assistant Professor of English at Allen University. His poetry has been nominated three times for the Best of the Net Anthology. He holds the B.A. and the M.A. in English from the University of Memphis and the PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Seton Hall University. SHERI WRIGHT is a two-time Pushcart Prize and Kentucky Poet Laureate nominee. She is the author of six books of poetry, including the most recent, The Feast of Erasure. Wright’s visual work has appeared in numerous journals, including Blood Orange Review, Prick of the Spindle, Blood Lotus Journal and Subliminal Interiors. Her photography has been shown across the Ohio Valley region and abroad. Currently, she is working on her first documentary 98 film, Tracking Fire.
Lisa Marie Basile, Brandon Beck, Cristina Bergoglio, John Gallaher, Carolyn Gregory, Ray Hatch, T.R. Hummer, Jean Jean, Michael C. Keith, Al...