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4.7: the day’s dissolutions | Mike Cole–poetry & poetics

the shape of years Mike Cole 1080 x 349 pixels ©2021

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4.7: the day’s dissolutions | Mike Cole–poetry & poetics

the shape of years
Mike Cole
1080 x 349 pixels
©2021

 

introduction by krysia jopek:

I fell in love with the prose poems (in from Innuendos in a Minor Key) that Mike Cole sent me—the six seeds that morphed and evolved into this full-grown, granulated, virtual poetry show, a day’s dissolutions. The selections from the six unique poetry manuscripts that Mike chose function like six movements of a sonata, unified by his signature, seemingly-effortless tone and style that subtly carry the reader across the surface of precise language and syntax into new poetic territory again and again: “patina of offal,” “distillation of crushed star,” “where party lights are the eels’ fluorescence,” ”a galaxy of meanings/that look like stars,” and “birds were swept up in dust devils of spirit/that rendered them silent with dizziness.”

The selection of poetry that follows exemplifies Mike Cole’s versatility with short, discreet prose poems; poems that utilize line breaks and complex enjambment/syntax; prose poetry (in the two selections from Missives) with a Beckettian even-keeled tone and discursiveness; poems with very short lines of ten in a perfect column structure; and very short poems. The statement of poetics that follows this extraordinary mini-ouvre allows readers to look through the window of this poet’s writing cabin and watch the poet wait for poetry to breathe itself into (human) being.

Please enjoy!

poetry by Mike Cole:

from Innuendos in a Minor Key 

What Was Intended
37 You can, in fact, know what was intended. You can see it in the way the breeze makes of leaves and limbs such easy and graceful sweepings through the light of almost any day. It is there in the way a child regards the dance of dust swirling through a band of morning sun. In the whispers and then breathless and wordless urgency you hear through the wall between your solitude and love.

xxxxx

Waning Light
23 We had hoped for something almost other. We had been both to and away. We were making sure we hadn’t been followed. We had left passion of the old sort to those who could still use it. We were developing the habit of sitting in the waning light watching the leaves and shadows move, and we caught ourselves repeating what had never and now even less mattered.

xxxxx

The Taste
25 It tastes like the air that only a long climb gives the mouth to breathe. Like her hair caught on your lips. Like her fingers after she has peeled an orange for both of you. It tastes like something the apothecary gave you to share: a clear mixture that will convince you both that you are gods before it quickly kills you.

xxxxx

Come and Go
27 Something of the other and much of the more met and became lovers. They whirled and then tangled, they wanted and then had, and in the end, because it is never something that can go much beyond its beginning, they smiled and went each his and her way feeling what had been was what was meant to both come (as they had) and go (as they would).

xxxxx

Probably
44 Probably when the tides turn on themselves and the moon rises up and eats the sun. Probably in the next century when you and I switch places behind our faces and your smile becomes my grave expression. Probably in a Never that has become Always and at the depths of a mountain that is standing on its head at the bottom of the Mariana Trench where the party lights are the eels’ fluorescence.

xxxxx

Euphoria
60 It felt like walking across a lake next to a floating moon. Like drinking the distillation of crushed stars. It felt like taking up residence in a daffodil and having all the light warmed and yellowed. It felt like playing “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago on a balalaika as the background music for the coronation of the archangel of a just re-gilded heaven to which only the homeless were admitted. Like riding a unicorn that had borrowed its wings from the daughter of Pegasus and whose horn was a neon orange that was recognized in the next universe as a herald of the arrival of euphoria.

xxxxxx

 

from The New Alchemy:

Waiting
There is always the possibility
that something quite celestial
will arrive in a blue stretch limousine,
wearing the same sandals that bore Christ
out of the desert with a song so simple
even snakes were charmed into praise,
and birds were swept up in dust devils of spirit
that rendered them silent with dizziness.

The chauffeur will be the poet who was estranged
from her muses when they tempted her to jump
from so high above the Styx that she suspected
subterfuge and chose instead to weave her gowns
of metric and sonal intricacies that ended up
having the exact character of a cast iron
chastity belt from which the only escape
was looking hard and long into the eyes
of this savior of sorts who found his rhythms
in the air above a canyon over which he waltzed
on a slackline dyed and woven by virginal chorus girls
who watched and wondered how this divinity’s
tattoos could fluoresce in broad daylight and all move
in directions dictated by a power neither they
nor the updrafts that lifted their deliverer’s waist-length
dreadlocks into a cloud of breakdancing medusas
could ever explain.

xxxxx

Re…. 
Relax
Realize there’s no hurry
Realistically you won’t
reach an end anyway
Rest
Reassess what you are
Renegotiate with mortality
Read
Reconfirm your resignation from the real
Reap only what no one else needs
Reach
Reason with the residue of dreams
Recount the way you realized your
redemption
Realign your reflexes
Re-educate your regrets
Refuse
Refocus recollections
Recoil from rationalizations
Relax

xxxxx

Advice To a Friend Suffering From Disillusion
I would say
that you are
in the last aisle
of a delicatessen
that stocks every
variety of fatigue
next to the blue cheese
and feta and just beyond
helplessness that permeates
the lavosh so completely
that hope cannot be restored
even by grape leaves
perfectly rolled and stuffed
or olive oil
so virginal one drop
on the tongue
conjures the most nubile
and willing Greek goddess
any soldier fresh from Troy
or Ithaca could envision
stepping toward him
out of a doorway
filled with steam.
But that shouldn’t suggest
any absolute resignation
to eternities of starless
nights or loveless
dawns, but rather
the need
on your part
for calculated naiveté
garnished with an astonishment
of saffron and sage
and washed down
with a flask
of elderberry wine
entombed with a king
who was so infatuated
with eternity
he forgot what the living
had given him for his
journey.

xxxxxx

 

from A Bouquet of Stars:

Clarification
Let’s make it clear now
that his is a way of singing
that has a strange appeal
only to the dispossessed
and as such will be heard, if at all,
as a theremin’s distant moaning
by an audience that isn’t listening
but is nevertheless eased
by his song
toward the numbness
of both clairvoyance
and death.

xxxxx

Advice He Received from the Experts
She or he or they
said, or seemed to be saying,
“You aren’t trying hard enough.
You have to study the intricacies
and be able to recite the rules.
You have to bend both yourself
and your materials in ways
it would have seemed
such things could not be bent.
You have to break before the impossibility of it
and then try again with even more abandon.
You have to lose the only thing
you were sure you couldn’t be without.
You have to know that if you arrive
at the end you seek,
the way back
will have dropped away.”

xxxxx

He Receives This Response
            From the Editor:

We are looking for structure
that gives evidence of a rigor
that could only have caused
a discomfort not unlike torture
of the type that those clever
machines of the Crusades
or the British Court might have
exacted upon the bodies of the
too pure of heart whose last
cries were echoing anthems
that both terrified and inspired.

xxxxx

Upon His Interrogation by the Canon
And what do you think will happen
as a result of your lack of rigor?

I think
the day will split open
right here beside me
and a voice from before
even your time
and that at first seems
exactly air moving
will cross through
the translation of this
first of morning’s light
and tell me in my own
simple language
what to sing
to make time
step back and wait
for my permission
to begin again.

xxxxx

Lost
There was a poem
he couldn’t find.
It was nowhere
and everywhere.
It had a body
that had no shape.
It was outside of gravity
and slept near an unnamed planet’s core.
It rode a dream from one star to the next
in a galaxy that housed the imagination.
It was dressed like a child angel
and like an old man dead on the street.
It sang once to the tune of a great river
in a country it would never visit.
It ate only the dust
that arose and dispersed
when a bristlecone pine
beginning its 2000th year
was pushed to its repose
by a hundred mile an hour wind
that moved even rocks across the faces
of the White Mountains.

xxxxx

Aflame
He thinks of Vallejo eating almost nothing,
smoking hand-rolled cigarettes,
spitting the shreds of tobacco
between his dried lips,
crazed by the black horses
thrashing through his waking dream,
and of Lorca smelling the slaughterhouse
and the Hudson River with its patina of offal
and setting it all to the rhythm of metal-flanged heels
on the moon-fringed tiles in Barcelona.
He thinks of the unnamed and never to be known one
aflame from so far within that what she becomes
or how she is regarded cannot shred the fist
that grapples her to the thrumming engine
carrying her back into a galaxy of meanings
that look more like great fires than stars.

xxxxxx

 

from Missives:

25 Knowing the day of the week has come to be of almost no importance to me. I am pleased when I don’t know the day of the week. The next to go should be the hour of the day, though there are indicators that make an estimate of the hour all too possible. If I had developed other skills, I would have something more tangible and possibly more beneficial and useable to show for my time making whatever it is in this case that happens to be made of the only medium with which I have learned to work—words. I drank a beer because that sometimes loosens the flow of words, but after the initial stimulation, it can also bring about lethargy and then even sleepiness, which become inhibitors of that same flow. In the long run though, I may be led toward, or, through no conscious sense of direction or clarity of purpose, stumble upon the kind of revelation that in the religious context seems only to be discovered by the poorest and most desperate souls who have no reason other than their simple and absolutely blind faith to hope. Think of the status attained by the miracle, whether imagined or real, of the Mexican peasant whose sarape was stained by roses with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It is time for me to quit today. There shouldn’t be a time to quit. There should only be a time to go on. The need to do other than the one thing that might lead to what has not manifested itself before and will only assume tangible form in hands that are intent on waiting for as long as it takes to shape whatever the air hands them should be set aside so that the waiting can be as pure and purposeless as the miraculous demands.

xxxxx

26 Evidently Emily Dickinson carried scraps of paper and a pencil with her all the time and used them to record lines or snippets of lines intended for possible later use in poems. Many of those bits and pieces have now been published in small books. One of the things that seems to have also been true is that flies, though possibly not as big as the one I am presently hearing, buzzed where she was writing too. As it turns out in my case, the fly is trapped between the screen door and the outside door here. There is a hole in the outside door where there was once a doorknob when the door was in use in a Bay Area house from which it was removed when the house was torn down, and the door was brought to the salvage yard called Urban Ore where I bought it along with several windows and brought them here to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to install in the cabin I built of rough-cut lumber milled from beetle-killed pines. I need to cover that hole so flies and bees and even on occasion small birds don’t get in here through that hole and then through the space around the screen door. Emily Dickinson was equally concerned throughout most of her day with such practical matters. It was reported, though, that she recited lines of poetry aloud while she was in the storeroom skimming the cream off of the milk which may have come from a cow that her father owned. More likely the milk came from the cow of a neighboring dairy farmer. Had Dickinson lived in the first third of the 20th century, that dairy farmer could have been my grandfather who was in North Hampton only a short way from Amherst where Emily was cloistered (for a little more than half the century before) in her father’s house and at night in her upstairs room composing poems and sewing them into the little fascicles that she knew would be found after her body was taken away to the family plot. The fireplace in her bedroom was bricked up and fitted with a small wood stove that kept her room warm through the night so she could sit at her writing desk, reportedly 18” square, and be transported to a realm that was not inhabited by any other human of her time and place but seemingly by the spirits and possibly echoes of poets who came both before and long after her—if such things are possible, as they probably are not, but it might have felt to her, as it sometimes feels to me, as if such times can be inhabited by such voices and presences. My mother would have only been vaguely, if at all, aware of the poet who would have been nearly her neighbor, and it is certain that they would have had nothing to talk about, except that Emily would have no doubt been interested in and maybe intrigued by the fact that my mother played the baritone in the community band that gave free concerts in the North Hampton town park on Sundays and that she sometimes marched with that band in town parades. But my mother would have found Emily too strange to be of interest and would have regarded the poet with the same wariness as she did the Smith College girls she said she saw walking too close together and hand-in-hand along North Hampton’s main street. My mother would not have found the line “I heard a fly buzz when I died” to be anything more than strange.

xxxxxx

 

from The Glad Oblivion of Light

She still doesn’t know
exactly how it happens
or how it happens that sometimes
it does
and other times it doesn’t
though it seems it eventually will
which is why she must
at least sometimes
stay there longer
waiting to be taken up
by whatever hands or wave or dustless dust devil
that arrives to elevate her to a place
where she can
at least for a moment
see

xxxxxx

 

from A Distant Place:

50
there were always
near the end
things abloom
that seemed they should be
far beyond their season
and he would pause
put down the heaviness
he had been carrying
too far and for too long
and sit for a while
maybe beyond a while
where the delicacy
and brightness
of the unexpected
flourished

xxxxx

And Finally
I would recommend
denying you ever wanted anything
and then drilling a hole
in the forehead of dawn
and crawling in to watch
what shadows do
to prepare for the day’s
dissolutions.

all poetry ©2021

 

post-introductionfinding my way back [poetics]:

I became involved in writing during the poetry renaissance that Philip Levine and others brought to Fresno State College and the dusty, hot, foggy San Joaquin Valley of California in the late 1960s. I have been hunting down poems for the more than 50 years since, though teaching high school English, Spanish, Creative Writing, and other subjects for over 30 years severely limited that effort. But in the past 11 years, I have spent most mornings waiting on the arrival of poems. Though over the years I have written and published carefully-constructed narrative (and some lyric) poems, I’ve never enjoyed that approach to writing—beginning with a topic or experience and building a poem from that central idea—so I have gradually returned to an approach to writing that actually served me best as an undergraduate when I first discovered poetry. That process involves allowing a flow of words to gradually lead me toward a state of mind in which poems take shape on their own, a process in which I serve only as the receptor and recorder of that voice. I know that this approach to finding poems is anathema to most of the poetry establishment of the day, but at this point in my life (at 73 years old) that no longer matters.

The section titles between the groups of poems published here refer to the titles of book manuscripts I have assembled of my poems. I have one manuscript of poems from the years 1968 to 2010, and 10 more manuscripts for the years 2011 through 2020. The selections included in diaphanous micro 4.7 are taken from the manuscripts covering the years 2012 to 2017. Many of the poems in these manuscripts have been published in various print and online magazines, but none of the manuscripts have been, as yet, published as books. My intention is to publish selections form all of my manuscripts in a single book at some time in the future (or not at all). For now it seems more important to go on following the trail of words wherever it leads.

Thank you to Krysia Jopek for accepting my work for publication in diaphanous micro. She is doing something truly unique and important in this online magazine. It’s a valuable forum for amazingly varied and thought-provoking approaches to literary and visual art. The featured writers and artists push our perceptions and approaches to our own art in many new directions. I hope my poems serve that same purpose for diaphanous micro readers

 

Mike Cole reading “Therefore, Sing”:

 

biographical note:
Mike Cole’s poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Laurel Review, Stirring, and Red Savina Review, among other literary journals, as well as in the anthologies Highway 99 (Heyday Press) and Some Yosemite Poets (Scrub Jay Press). He holds a Master’s Degree in Poetry Writing from Fresno State College. For 30-plus years he taught high school English, Spanish, and Creative Writing. He lives in the California mountains near Yosemite and is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley

Yosemite Poets: A Gathering of This Place

self portrait
©2015

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4.6: groundid | Kristine Snodgrass–visual art (digital glitches)

burnish digital glitch 565 x 750 pixels ©2021

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4.6: groundid | Kristine Snodgrass–visual art (digital glitches)

 

burnish
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ARTIST STATEMENT: FEMMEGLITCH

Intuitive. Sign. Deletion. Obliteration. Constructive. Beauty
These pieces are glitches (digital) using three different subjects or topics that are all interrelated: t-shirts appearing in social media ads, images of the sound of my voice, and images of my body. My work concerns the intersections of sexuality, voyeurism, performance, Capitalism, and gender more broadly. I am influenced by asemics and abstract expressionist women like Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler.

The glitch is not the environment of the thing, it is the thing itself. I am less interested in exhausting the definitions of asemic writing (if the glitch is ultimately denying meaning from a semantic form is arguable) and more interested in seeing the possibilities of the glitch. I wrangle the “data bending” on phone apps until I get the desired image. That is creative and productive. This does not impede, however, the obliteration of the original image.

Most of my glitches start with ads on my Facebook (on my phone) that offer new complexities when considering its form. I am now introducing Capitalism, data mining, privacy infringement, assumption, targeting, and an inextricable combination of those that can only begin to attack the implications of a thing. I screenshot the ads for t-shirts that appear in my feed (based on the above) that usually show “positive” messaging for and about women, or perceived “feminist” messaging. Glitch apps then layer, destroy, and rebuild what I have consumed. Then I can resist or subvert by taking ownership of the whole mess. I make it what I want it to look like.

I use glitches to break down patriarchal structures. I think of the glitch as a sex act. It is a dominant/submissive binary. There is intention in glitching that is beauty. We know it is not ugly. The ultimate infringement of the digital—our human mistake of knowing and understanding.

Femmeglitch: I have used this moniker or description that includes gender. I think identifying the gender in the act is claiming the social and cultural implications of oppressive systems and the glitching is bending those systems, often to their demise. This makes glitching an art form.

biographical note:
Kristine Snodgrass is an artist, poet, professor, curator, and publisher living in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the author most recently of American Apparell from AlienBuddha Press and Rather, from Contagion Press. The proud founder and curator of Women Asemic Artists & Visual Poets (WAAVe), Snodgrass searches to create an online space for women in the asemic and vispo communities to share work, offer support, and network. Her asemic and vispo work has been published in Utsanga (Italy), Slow Forward and featured in Asemic Front 2 (AF2), South Florida Poetry Journal, Voices de la Luna, Brave New Word, and Talking About Strawberries, and forthing coming in Street Cake. She is the art editor for SoFloPoJo. Snodgrass loves collaborating and is always searching for new projects with artists and poets. You can find some of her writing about collaboration at TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism. She is excited about her newest chapbook, zero-zero, poems in collaboration with Maureen Seaton. More about Kristine Snodgrass at kristinesnodgrass.com.

self-portrait
©2020

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4.5: Scant Moments, Heavy Coats | Gordon Hilgers—poetry

Dale Houseman morphograph #8: Instead of Waiting . . . digital art ©2004

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4.5: Scant Moments, Heavy Coats | Gordon Hilgers—poetry

morphograph #8: Instead of Waiting . . .
digital art by Dale Houstman
©2014

new poetry–Gordon Hilgers

ETERNITY BESIDE A DOOR 
I think I finally reached the human
inside myself. He was no homunculus,
or simulacrum. But bitter sun-yowling
that echoes inside the uncertainty of
dreams, and deeper cries; primitive
homilies—of utterance, about utterance,
how the first word burbled past the lips,
the fearful lunge beyond loneliness,
a hair-in-the-butter spectacle whereas
where became nowhere, meadowlarks
whistling beyond the windowpane: this
was me. Only for an instant, no lilies,
no blooming, no real sky, a point where
a song squeezes back when you grasp
its hand in the dark, yellowing cotton
adrift in the absurdity of daylight. I am
early morning, I follow footfalls of future,
I knife at the shore like a glint shooting
from a brook, then I go, or went, waking.

THE GOD OF DIRT CLODS
Lividly lost, you lie here
beneath starlight’s lost shimmer,
memories of blistered walls
disrupting your delusions of lucre,
your fiction kindling a laughter
that is unnecessary and black.
Dream of your ashen Avalon now,
all its gray angels barking at the sky,
your own breath hollower
than usual. Who looms over
innocence at the wrong end of day?
Who knows its funny flaws,
its dustpan verbosity, its secrecy
the chambermaids clutch?
You whittle intrigue until razor-thin,
your lust a mountain retreat,
ghost moments everywhere,
no cure for lack as galaxies creak
or shiver, a listless, murderous
whim of reasoning. To dream of it,
heartlessness, mosquito’s reflex,
twitching in bleeding dawn, this life
your alien landing in the peat.

AT THE EVE OF REVOLUTION
Oblivious before the Marxist unknown,
a future-perfect noun gone library-blind as
expectation of the letters will come
amid rumors of rubbish, a jail-cell alive
with endings, water-fountain full of running
small children from the rain because
the myth of the lighthearted is rutted and
raw under the noonday light: Oh, I live
so confused. You do not need to tell me
what I never will know, this endless
trick of all, the most luminescent hour
ever studied, furrowed bandages singing
right where death begins: I start-out
desperate to begin again and condemn
what never was, a saying of solid ground,
ground of being, ground of dream, love.

WAVE-TIP REVERIE
I remember roots
finding water, celebration
out there in the underground
some somnambulists missed
as thorny slivers shipped-
in from Albania, possibly Naxos,
broken berths, harbor locked,
beachside beer-stand neon-lit
and looking for girls.

What repairs are there inside
the uncertain future? Leavening,
ventriloquists vanquish all
the hopeful flowers, out where
the absentee bedside calls
via coincident clues.

Flat faces hint all night, a braille
lividly commercial and on TV,
scratchy beneath hands
smoothed like paved roads
where bumps have fun. This
is the good error, her brevity of
whip-snap sighs, oozy
bits of blink

as ancients chatter into history.

LEFT BEHIND
You’re wandering, lucidly apart from
various dreamlike confusions where sleep
tugs at one stranger’s clothing strangers
might dub a mind, others an animation
or holographic image. Emanating
from your life’s fantasy, you are
the breath of a Chinese dragon,
the creature known as Lung or Long–sign
of good luck, power over rainfall. Groaning
in childbirth, your mother dreamt of you.
Your father tells you her eyes flashed as if
carp, gold flecks lurking in a vexed pond.
Now you simply go. Perhaps some watch;
no matter. Ten thousand miles from home
is but a step in a sky of gloaming grief.

THE CLOCK VERB
A so-called dove with a stick alerted you
deluge or the end was nearing for a black season
which had brimmed an unintentional metaphor
for chalice with a celestial ocean. How the flecked birds
swiftly neared Columbus’ tiny boats, too, that ache
akin to this day,

only warmer, a desert gone to abasement, all this
from a muddy sky of clay. One day, our forsaken worth
will crack apart, first kiss, sudden grief, a saddened wish
unfulfilled, this thingness of myself gone to below
the way bodies fall, an invisible ephemerality brightly
left to dream. Now you lift,

loving blush wind, sails muttering in codes of old linen,
then olive Sargasso fondles greening keel, new nativism,
pressure’s end, an octogenarian child, a shied grasp
feeling from the shallows if the unreal is tactile,
her fingers wet. I took a breath of this, a long whiff
when my life had gone crazy

into the blizzard. Then I began again, as I always have,
as I plant my grapes late and by the stars and moon,
my back to undertaker’s smile at a black road’s dead end.

EDITORIAL COMMENT
Go. Write more mangled approximations
as if to immortalize how the ancient madnesses
sought to tunnel into what breaks the heart open
into goodness or mooniness. Tonight is a sight
of shepherds scanning the sky in a search
for higher treasures

or of a barroom Romeo searching for the right glint
in a sleepy girl’s eyes. Pyrite mistakes itself
for gold, and uncultured accommodations of Sartre
or Camus rock, each part of the desire trip. Love is
now a gangland protection racket, how Crips dub
their dope murder a cap when reason must
be destroyed,

where a life is the stone that finally fills the sea.

SACRED BOOK
Out here in the whitened barrens,
you seek to reinterpret eccentricity with sand,
which isn’t easy. It’s the way we all
sleep in our shadows, or how we do not know
whether anything means more than
the one crowded dream we remember best.
I’ve never reached the Barrens here,
at least not in my sleep. I met a sassy beauty
with black hair, and people I don’t know
kept telling her, Do not trust him! because this
is how revolutions are supposed to be
a stammer into starting like locomotives lost
in the cold. I met one stranger, said,
This is reality, that is civilization, and this is
the people’s will, and over here it’s
merely me and the girl
. I held-down the room

for nearly an hour. Then the cops came
to arrest everyone but us. Beyond a circle
resides more circles, and then the Barrens,
which watches us always from far places,
quick to kiss suddenness, everyplace
a grim new adventure, small days we learn
each unsure step deeper into infinity.

TELL ME
What proof would lie in night’s remains?
This thing, awakened by insistence-as-being:
What is a discovery that all has been forgotten?
Nightfall, typically becoming in red roses
where darkness rises in the east–this mystified
tendency to name it birth–belongs to no one,
even if the man downstairs turns-up his hip-hop
as if he’s waiting too, or if the dove sees
exactly what a coo might mean.

Tell me why there are moments when sleep
brands me with embers, when emptiness is my
final recourse–as if the future is shipwrecked,
the sea presently bloody yet implacably peaceful.
Say to me, There is light in being buried alone,
as if the angels can sleep through insomnia, as if
airport gates mysteriously open,

or as if no one could dare to own an empty life.
I’ve worked around the nonexistent clock, have
danced to broken radios, have deafened
all I could speak beyond grasping, Nothingness
unwilling to hear. Sometimes, unpleasant pain is
the pleasant gift because nobody comprehends
because unseen faces enthrall entire worlds–
those that insist on belonging.

I admit it. I am part of some vast loneliness,
all the foregone galaxies, way out there beyond
the speed of light, persisting as ghosts because
their light is homeless after they’ve gone dark.
Any lunatic can bear this moonlike honesty
like teeth,

and no one says anything, especially not me.

all poetry ©2021

mission statement (poetics):
I’m not one for missions. Paging through recent editions of The Best American Poetry, I discovered I’m apparently not marching in step with those who advocate poetry as a device bent toward social commentary. But then I’ve never had much for what I call the Poetry Billboard 100. That’s not to claim I’m not interested in poetry’s role in effecting social change. I am confronted with the world, and with its sometimes-antithetical human concoction of a world, daily. I often end confused by both, especially by how their collisions shoot out sparks. That’s where I begin: right in the middle of the confabulating and mystification. Sure. I could go with this: “This poem is thinking of ‘creating’ itself (pome) as manifested as a Chinese Pidgin English translation from an American English translation from the Malay, and that from Pashto by way of a number of ancient French translations of a compendium of ‘monad theories of ontological hypotheses’ shoved through a bowdlerized ideation of Derrida’s theories of deconstructionism about some bird I saw that almost got hit by a transit bus this morning at around 10:37 a.m. CST. The versification will be 99 percent Google translator and less than .0001 percent imagination, the rest of the 100 percent pure energy dominated by keyboard strokes,” but why bother?

This is why I am sometimes vilified.

I want poetry that plays as it demystifies, poetry that releases me from the 21st-century’s spellbound infatuation with factual information. After all, if I wanted to be a newspaper columnist, I’d have dwelt on punditry. Is it irritating when someone extols an op-ed familiar as “a poet”? If not, perhaps it should.

biographical note:
Gordon Hilgers has published in Cimarron Review, Red Savina Review, Sequestrum, Chiron Review, and elsewhere. He has a degree in news writing. Go figure.

 

156
4.4: a love song to chaos | Sylvia Van Nooten—asemic art (multimedia collage)

Text Tango ink and watercolors on paper asemic collage 18 by 24 inches ©2020

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4.4: a love song to chaos | Sylvia Van Nooten—asemic art (multimedia collage)

Text Tango
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches
©2020

introduction—Krysia Jopek

The moment I saw Sylvia Van Nooten’s “Tango Dance” in a Facebook group, I knew I wanted to feature a virtual show of her asemic art in diaphanous micro. Her multimedia collages utilize ink and watercolors on the two-dimensional surface of paper to contrast and play with indelibility and fluidity, permanence and timelessness, sculpture and dance, product and process. Her titles contrast the linguistic with the purely-aesthetic language of asemic writing. The reader/viewer is actively involved in the human construction of a multiplicity of subjective meanings against the backdrop of potential existential meaninglessness. Her abstract compositions, like that of Kandinsky, create shape and flow while invoking color as “a power which directly influences the soul” (Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Über das Geistige in der Kunst, 1912. Translated from the German by M.T.H. Sadler, 1977). Please enjoy this sequence of Sylvia Van Nooten’s beautiful visual art in A Love Song to Chaos.

Experimental Angel
ink and watercolors on paper
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Anatomy of a Flightless Bird
dip pen and ink on paper
8 by 24 inches
©2020

 

Arbitrary Protocols
ink on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Imagination Discarding Filaments
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches
©2020

 

Internal Map of a Bird
dip pen and ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Love Letter to Chaos
ink on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Mermaid Language 1
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Mermaid Language 2
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Orbital Whale
ink on paper
asemic collage
15 by 22 inches
©2020

 

Poem Denying the Banality of Sunsets
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches
©2020

 

Saint Goddess Bears the Burden of Red
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Saturnalia
ink, watercolors, and silk on paper
asemic collage
15 by 22 inches
©2020

 

Speaking Ship Sales
(Collaboration with Dixie Denmam Junius)
ink on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches
©2020

 

Text Ballet
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches
©2020

 

Text Dance
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches
©2020

 

Text Gavotte
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches
©2020

 

Text Tango
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches
©2020

 

Voicing Nebulae
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 18 inches
©2020

 

Writing Outside Of Time
ink and watercolors on paper
11 by 15 inches

artist statement

My work has little to do with consciously deciding to create a specific thing. Rather, I will find a shape or a color and see where it takes me. I love ink and watercolor because or the way they blend and create interesting drips down the paper. One small drip of blue might turn into a goddess with silver writing. Collage gives me another point from which to start. By suspending my need to “control” what I am doing, I’m able to create organic forms that often speak to people of different elements of their own thought processes. Asemic writing is what, to me, pulls the pieces together into coherency. Although the writing has no specific meaning, it still has the authority of the written word. Thus, I can be obtuse and concrete at the same time.

biographical note

Sylvia Van Nooten is an asemic artist living in western Colorado.  Asemic art, with its pastiche of “language” and images, allows her to merge texts and painting, creating a hybrid form of communication, which is open to viewer interpretation. Her multimedia collages have appeared in The South Florida Poetry JournalExperiment-O Issue 13, Raw Art Review. The cover of the Summer 2020 edition of RAR features her visual art.

more on Sylvia’s art

She can be contacted by email: [email protected]

If interested in purchasing any of Sylvia Van Nooten’s visual art, please contact her by email.

You can also find her on instagram:

 

photographer, Sylvia van Nooten
©2019

139
4.3: annulets | Gerard Sarnat—new poetry & poetics

published in Inlandia: A Literary Journal The Official Literary Journal of the Inlandia Initute Jul 1, 2020 ©2020

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4.3: annulets | Gerard Sarnat—new poetry & poetics

published in Inlandia: A Literary Journal
The Official Literary Journal of the Inlandia Initute
Jul 1, 2020
©2020

introduction by krysia jopek, Founding Editor of diaphanous micro

It’s a pleasure and priviledge to feature new poetry by the nationally-acclaimed Gerard Sarnat. The first section “from WIPING 2020 SLATE CLEAN  [5+],” a section “from KAFKACETERA  [3], the second section of “Irregular People: M-W-F,”  from his book HOMELESS CHRONICLES: from Abraham to Burning Man (Pessoa Press, 2010), a brief statement of poetics, and previews to four of Sarnat’s published collections of books, all available for purchase on Amazon.

Sarnat’s post-postmodernist, experimentalist poetics builds off and beyond L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry. The short lines “from WIPING 2020 SLATE CLEAN  [5+]” scroll vertically but cannot be read quickly because of the surprising jumps within lines and from line to line, the composition’s superimposition of original imagery (abstract and representational words) and contemporary political references. Sarnat critiques the highly-complex, disturbing political reality—skewed by former, twice-impeached president, Donald Trump, his refusal to concede to president-elect Joe Biden, and his dissemination of fake news to his equally-delusional followers. The first line with its apropos reference to Shakespeare’s Macbeth parallels the doomed Macbeth and Trump, especially now as the Senate Impeachment Trial is due to begin in just a few days.

In “Transformation,” the second section “from KAFKACETERA  [3],” the poet utilizes longer lines to create a creative, poetic narrative for the reader to experience as the event of the poem unfolds horizontally versus vertically as in the first selection of Sarnat’s poem featured in annulets. This section of Sarnat’s longer sequence juxtaposes Ashberian everyday American idiom (rooted in the important modernist poetics of William Carlos Williams) with provocative, philosophical inquiry. Sarnat incorporates references to our shared American TV and film tradition with references film heroes: “this latest loopy as if I metamorphed / from Tarzan to Charlie Chaplin.” The second stanza begins with “Daddy, I loved you as the sea horned moon” and speaks to the poet’s close relationship to his children and grandchildren.

Please enjoy annulets! We eagerly welcome comments, shares, and new followers of our diaphanous micro Facebook page. Thank you for reading / spending your valuable time here!

new poetry:

from WIPING 2020 SLATE CLEAN  [5+]

      1. Out Damn Spotify

Mac music faced

ending a weird year

 

perhaps Pence,

acting as President

 

not of USA

(unless Trump quits,

 

is pardoned)

but rather of Senate

 

rules in favor

of motion to throw

 

out Electoral

College results…

 

but no entity

has standing to sue

 

so then Flynn’s

martial law ensues.

 

Today you ‘n

I maintain minimal

 

expectations

beyond making real

 

sure garbage

trucks still come here

 

plus filling up

the bronze birdbath so

 

at least robins

can feel clean: males

 

(they’re much

bigger and redder)

 

one-by-one dip

in while their ladies

 

hang back

waiting to use what

 

could be

maybe considered

 

this Jewish

family’s mikveh*.

 

* ritual purification

from KAFKACETERA  [3]

     2. Transformation

Doors just opened. But this latest is loopy as if I metamorphed

from Tarzan to Charlie Chaplin. Obsessed with onomatopoeia and

assonance boxed sets?  Give me a break: no Hemingway Left Bank

celeb seductee, if muses stalk moi, a Cheeto-eater in underpants

they might stalk anyone. Exceptionally dedicated never to publish

medically (Pops’ published over 400 so far), here I am at 64.

 

Daddy, I love you as the sea the horned moon.

The sun unconcerned continues its arc.

A she-wolf calls me home.

Martini glass near bare

one last golden egg, the germ I must grow and share

releases.

©2021

from HOMELESS CHRONICLES: from Abraham to Burning Man (Pessoa Press, 2010)

1. Irregular People: M-W-F, 

i. Monday 

Head of the queue, once proud pro QB, traded his rifle 
for a gun, bizarro ex-con Gerardo charms my inner Howdy Doody,  
     “Hey, Doc Gerard, my brothas don’t buy we’z cousins!”

A hooligan calls hisself Morphyne on the clipboard, 
just in from the tulies, bullshits a med school bud from Willets, 
name can’t recall, wrote him Vicodan, dog ate ‘em – orders more.

“Sorry, Sir, we don’t do pain scripts here. I’m no shopkeeper. 
      Community clinics work better that way 
              for most everyone in the long run.”

     “Screw you, dude, I was told you was different, 
           but you’re a prick like the rest.  
Better be careful – or …”

Covering my back, big black cuz puts an end to that, 
      taunts the outsider, “You’re on the nod, tomato can, 
      – it’s time to move on, and make it quick.”

       Injecting her weekly STD cocktail 
through vermilion slattern Capris, I remind flaming Maria Diana 
      this ain’t the place to transact charnel house commerce.

My Chi-town chum Sam unhooks his bike from the train’s eco-rack. 
       Boom box atop paraphernalia balanced on handlebars, 
                     crossing the ties, he rides over his latest paranoia. 

         “Ger, I’ve definite proof your smirks fibbed all along 
about us both attending O’Keefe Grammar School – why screw  
  my head up the butt of your cryptic uncathartic clinical shit?

 If you closed your eyes, maybe you could finally see something. 
I’m gonna sic Legal Aid on your fucking friendship lip service ass 
                   should you refuse to cease and desist.”

Alma Rose, all kindhearted lard and grins, heartache and breakdowns, 
fiddles brilliant water color beach primitives of now foster twins: 
 I’ll buy one for rent money, try to get some into Stanford’s Fair. 

 My fave Mona Lisa sashays in, mustache trimmed, cig hung. 
      “Doc, is you collecting gutter art or buyin’ runty people? 
In any case, them free sample shemale hormones sure work great!

Ain’t it time you start ooching them Christians 
to raise that long green, get me on the tits and cunt fast track? 
          By the way, what color is they, Poles or Italian?”

A charming diabetic OCDer, Jill’s sexy ex-librarian fingers 
   finger Braille while sipping Styrofoam tea and sugar 

– no NutraSweet ‘til we reopen day after tomorrow.

2. 67% Hopperized Bathos, from Melting The Ice King, 2016

Freshboy eye candy larva, after Latin class in the Harvard Yard, this puerile grub 
put out 2/3’s the hard yards required to acquire Life Magazine’s worn mustachioed 

thrift-shop-Brooks Brothers-tweed-jacket-torn-leather-elbow-patches + pipe persona

An apostate commonly caught up in the wash of a sunny big square state, 

I got taught nodding Yessir to Pops and Gramps about pumping gas, slopping 
the hogs then squeegeeing their crap off the pickup, in the end is what really counts.

Absconding self-conscious introvert, I bathed in Waldorf Cafeteria shadows 
of cigar circles whose prodigies fueled my piggybacking doom: Disregard pale fools
who raised you, kiddo
. That’s what this damaged rube from the other side of the Rockies 

did while the splintered men’s room mirror futilely attempted to dispense PEZ. 
50 years later Nordstrom redoers impart, Crayon remaining hair. Bleach teeth. Switch
out bifocals for contacts
 — which preps this moldering fart for a less than gala college reunion.

a brief statement of poetics:

“Real” life  suffuses my work. High-stress medical career, leisure around family in a forest, confronting climate change. Humor and poetry interact with each other to keep this mid-septuagenarian feeling energetic, happy, and useful. Brave poetry is important to me because such gyrations elevate life, both by reading others’ work (think Rumi, Sylvia Plath, Frederick Seidel, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen)  and creating my own which expresses Sarnat’s voice, makes me happy, perhaps keeps me young(er) Gerry.

more poetry collections by Gerard Sarnat:

 

Gerard Sarnat’s website

more information on Gerard Sarnat

biographical note:

Gerard Sarnat won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest, the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize and has been nominated for handfuls of 2021 and previous Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published including in Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Northampton Review, New Haven Poetry Institute, Texas Review, Vonnegut Journal, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, Monterey Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Review, New York Times, London Reader and Review Berlin as well as by Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Chicago, and Columbia presses. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry is a physician whose built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently he is devoting energy/resources to deal with climate justice and serves on Climate Action Now’s board. Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons and is looking forward to future granddaughters.


at 70th birthday party
©2015

97
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4.2: ink-antation | Tina Barry — new hybrid writing

“Family”
Tina Barry
mixed media on paper
©2021

new hybrid writing by Tina Barry

The pieces below are part of a series in-progress. I envision this work of fiction eventually appearing in two parts: one-part interview and one-part hybrid writing. The interview, which is set in August 2020, is conducted by James Linette, the editor at Skin Deep: The Magazine of Tattoo Arts. Linette’s guest is Sasha Daniels, the daughter of Rachel Daniels, a famous Russian Jewish tattoo artist, shortly after Rachel’s death from Covid-19. Rachel’s book Tattoos and Other Tortures, considered a seminal work in tattoo literaturewas published in the 1960s and re-released in 2019.

Some of Linette and Daniels’ conversation relates to writing of Rachel’s that appeared in Tattoos and Other Tortures. A lot of the conversation, though, is Sasha describing growing up with Rachel, and the aftermath of the book’s publication. Rachel’s writing begins with awkward English and evolves as she ages.

Some excerpts from the interview:

James Linette: Can we talk about the fallout your family experienced after the book’s publication?

Sasha Daniels: I think about that time now as a tsunami. A wave that appeared suddenly, this great, darkened shadow blocking the sunshine. Then the deluge of destruction that happened immediately after the book’s release, and kept happening, one seismic tremor after another. When Rachel was outed as a tattoo artist, she stopped being seen as a wife and mother, and became this subversive thing. She had kept the tattooing a secret from everyone. Even me. I felt betrayed. Her friends felt betrayed. What little family we had were aghast. More than aghast. Sickened. Wounded. They felt like the book was a mockery of everything they were. And the letters. The antisemitism. It was utterly blatant.

There had been tension between my parents for weeks. Rachel had been agitated. She could barely sleep. She’d go to bed with my father around 11, and by 11:30 I could hear her footsteps in the hall, and then down the stairs. The tea kettle whistled. Sometimes a short blast; other times she’d let it shriek and shriek, until either I’d stand on the stair landing, and I’d scream “Mom!” or my father would run down the stairs and turn it off. Night after night. A couple of times, I’d stand on the landing and look down on her in the living room, pacing back and forth, back and forth. Once I called to her, and she jumped, as if I’d woken her from a trance. She came back up the steps; I have never seen her face like that. Any face like that, really. Huge, dark circles around her eyes — and the eyes. I still shiver. Just empty. Nothing there at all. “Mom,” I’d say, and she’d walk right past me. Never looked at me. Never said anything. I’d go back to bed utterly shaken.

You look skeptical.

JL: Well, I have to wonder if anything is ever really a secret. Especially something as visual as a tattoo.

SD: I didn’t know. Really. You have to understand. At first, Rachel didn’t make tattoos because she liked them, they weren’t an art form for her at all. They were a compulsion she couldn’t control. Something she had to do. She talked about it in Tattoos. Rachel was so conflicted. She was an atheist but the lessons her family taught were ingrained. “You shall not make gashes in your flesh…or incise marks on yourselves: I am the LORD,” which comes from Leviticus, I think.  And here was mom: a cutter and a tattooist. She carried a lot of shame. A lot of secrets.

I think what drove Rachel was much like a cutter’s need to slash open a space and let the anguish out. She tattooed her body for the same reason she cut it: if she didn’t, she’d have gone mad. People see the later photos of her, when she was out as a tattoo artist, and covered from the neck down with her weird drawing-like tattoos. But before I found out, Rachel had kept the tattoos confined to places no one, well, maybe my father, but that’s a whole different conversation, could see. Under her breasts, behind her ears so they’d be covered by her hair, near her crotch, and while I don’t know, and certainly never saw, possibly on or even in her vagina.

Rachel’s writing:

I am in memory  no  not memory

not to remember

we like that in this place

call rooming house   in this room in house

we make forest around skin   keep wolves

out   sometime birds and light

stories same   different

no one say do not talk about before

but we do not     just make little

talk  dog and cat

boy dance with crazy bent arms

like chicken   we laugh

dream of food we miss

sturgeon   herring    cabbage borscht   blini

how our skin now color of sauerkraut

Want cold rain

to numb

—-

Sharp rain

on skin

here   is first time

I feel sting

no    on train too

but not know

not know what sting is

it badness gathered

like black swarm over pond

I want to cut out    not want   need

to cut    must

open little hole in skin

free bad stories from prison

bring file    also poison

 

——-

One bad story itch

if I get up from bed someone

will lay down on warm spot

warm spot gift    I turn on side    push feet

against sleeping person    press against

me    I tear off long piece of nail

with teeth   it sharp

like small knife

reach hand under shirt

feel for poison spot   push nail deep

blood on fingers   scare me

story leap out and hang there

it scream bad things   then drift

away like poor little boat

 

JL: Did you ever ask Rachel why she stopped cutting and started tattooing?

SD: Rachel didn’t start inking her body until years after her book came out. She was a cutter up till then. I did ask her once. “Oh, Sasha,” she said. “I make cuts, then I make pictures to cover cuts up.” When I pressed her, which she didn’t like; she would ball up her hands into little fists; she said, “Sasha, it is better way to remember.”

JL: Can we talk about some of those pictures?

SD: Sure.

JL: The igloo.

SD: Journalists and tattooists called that tatt the “igloo,” but Rachel never did. The theme of ice tunnels and paths appear early in Tattoos. Later she started drawing and writing about ice blocks with that orb-shaped, crawl-through entrance, but she referred to it as the “icehouse” or “ice palace.” One winter when I made an igloo on our yard with a friend, Rachel referred to it as a lednik, which is a really crude, old-fashioned ice box.

As Rachel got older, the igloo appeared in different forms: the crude one I mentioned. But there were other ice houses and ice palaces, that originally looked like what they were, and then morphed into chandeliers, and then a single crystal. Mom had a picture of a woman named Anna, who had this elaborate, lacy looking castle that Rachel inked on her back. I asked her why a castle, and she said, “Anna like tsarina.” Supposedly, in the 1700s, there was a tsarina named Anna, who created an insane wedding, where she had artisans carve ice sculptures of swans and deer and fox, then load them onto giant sleds. She made all the guests climb onto the sculptures, and then they were dragged around the castle grounds. I don’t know if it’s true or some kind of folktale, but whenever I was being a pain in the ass, Rachel would say, “Stop complaining, Anna.”

 

Is ice palace today

with lady of house and daughter

sip tea    two tsarinas

me on knees with wash bucket

scrub floor  little circle  little circle

tsarinas bend together   talk

wedding soon   daughter   want

white dress with long piece behind

to drag down floor   out door        want

snow ball diamond on fat finger          want

violin  flute   piano with many candle     want

opera woman sing   Here is Bride     want

pond full of cherries    want

cake like big white building   touch ceiling

my nails black

in soapy water

 

—-

Daughter like Russian folktale

tsarina Anna   big mink hat

fur coat to floor   this tsarina

have man face  dark moustache

legs thick logs like in fireplace

daughter say Hel-loooo Ray Chel  Ray Chel

name shutka  little joke

tsarina in folktale make man dwarf marry

stranger lady   spend wedding night

in giant ice palace   guests ride

ice swans   wolf    deer   camel

not warm bed for man  wife

couple sleep on ice in ice palace

bride die

wish cold bed

for this daughter tsarina

 

JL: In Tattoos, Rachel seemed obsessed with bees. Can you talk about Tailor Bee?

SD: You picked the tatt with the most weighted history, and the one with the most literal interpretation. Briefly, Tailor Bee symbolizes Rachel’s father, who was a tailor in Russia. Under her breasts and in her arm pits, and high up her thighs near her vagina, and possibly on or in her vagina, were tiny upraised spots. She literally sewed “him” to her skin.

After the book came out, she showed me those spots. You know the expression seeing stars? I did. I had to run and vomit in the bathroom. That she did that to herself! It only took 20 years of therapy, but now I understand why, or I think I do. There were times when Rachel sat quietly on the living room couch, or at the dining room table when she thought she was alone, and she’d be completely lost. She’d make these gentle circles with her fingertips over her shirt and under her breasts, as if she could feel the thread beneath her clothing. It scared me as a child, but as I got older, I realized that this trance-like state was something she needed. A way of self-soothing. I’d see her lost there and just walk away.

(“Tailor Bee” comes later in Rachel’s section)

Tailor Bee

I never think before tonight about Papa sewing needle and my inking needle. Why is that? Maybe Papa needle just instrument to make money. One hem so many kopeks. Two sleeves so many rubles. It just thing for him. That is all. Papa not need to hold needle. Like me in basement when Tailor Bee hums in my head so loud I think Sasha and Marty hear it. I feel Papa hand on mine. I see dark hair like barbed wire on knuckles. “Like this, Rachal.” I hear his words, but voice I am forgetting. To forget voice is to forget. I hold needle. Not tattoo needle, sewing needle like Papa use, with thread. I say “Papa.” I do that with family. Feel for spot next to a Mama Bee. Papa Bees are hives under skin. There are many, under breasts, inside legs up where no one see. I like to feel them and know Mama Bee near too. Mama—dot, dot, dot. Papa—stitch, stitch. It hurt, yes, to push needle into skin. To feel thread pull. The first stick make me cry. I want that. It good pain. To take Papa. Stitch him to me. It only time I hear his voice.

 

published books by Tina Berry:

Beautiful Raft is the fictionalized story of the artist Marc Chagall’s lover Virginia Haggard, and Haggard’s five-year-old daughter Jean McNeil, told in the women’s voices. The story is set in the 1940s, when the family lived for two years in the hamlet of High Falls, New York.

excerpt from Beautiful Raft:

Raft

Make my body your raft. A black raft drifting down a slow, bumping river. A happy raft. Your useful raft. Climb on, please. Am I big enough? Are you comfortable? How do I look against the blue water? Should I change color? Should I change the color of the water? I want you to look at me and think, Beautiful raft.

Water

Ida arrives in her city clothes: a hat with a tidy veil, a nipped jacket and tight skirt. I have told her my plans for my afternoon alone: Café. Coffee. Book. Shoo, she tells me. Go! Go! as the children hug her legs. I don’t reveal my real intentions; until I drive to the dirt road and park, I don’t know them myself. I walk along a path that twists and twists deeper into the unknown woods. The stones beneath my sandals guide the way. Trees heavy with emerald fringe a rock-trimmed oval of water. I undress with no shame. No fear of being discovered. Cold circles my knees. Then waist. Then neck. My skin contracts, nipples tighten. I’m a long white eel dividing the dark pond. My laugh, high and keening, a child flung into the air.

Exhausted Opera

The neighbors know me here. “Tall gal.” A toot of the horn. A wave. Eyes on the road, moving on. If they got close, they could probably smell me, as I smell them. The fraught air of chickens. Cigarettes stale or burning on the breath. Always, the fat scent of meat. Can my neighbors smell the man, the children, who feast on me, ticks on a fat hound? Shouldn’t the blue of delphiniums dim in the dark? Shouldn’t the roses’ blousy heads bend beneath the leaves? Crickets hoot a hypnotic opera. Frogs bleat lovelorn laments.

 

a conversation about writing between Tina Barry & Krysia Jopek—JANUARY 2021

When did you first begin writing hybrid and micro? What is it about the genres that attracts and challenges you?

I started writing memoir pieces about 15 years ago but I had a difficult time telling the truth. I always wanted to write in service to the story, not about what actually happened, so I turned to fiction. About a year into that, I decided to participate in a reading. The readers had no longer than eight minutes each, so I had a great deal of editing to do. What emerged was so much better than the original story. After that, I challenged myself to keep writing shorter and tighter, to express what needed to be expressed in as few words as possible. I was curious at that time too, to see if others were writing very short, under 500-word pieces, and discovered the flash and micro community whose work inspired me.

As my writing evolved, it became more lyrical, more poetic, and I just allowed it to be whatever it wanted to be.

What are you striving to do with the type of persona you construct?

For the past few years I’ve felt the need to do a deep-dive into other people’s worlds, so I’ve focused on the persona prose poem, or some form of it. That’s what I did with Beautiful Raft, which is based on Virginia Haggard, the lover of Marc Chagall, and Haggard’s five-year-old daughter Jean McNeil, who I discovered after I moved from Brooklyn to the hamlet of High Falls, in upstate New York. Chagall and Haggard had lived in the hamlet for two years during the 1940s, and researching their time here, and all the questions that that raised, inspired the writing.

Ink-antation (working title) is fiction, although I’m drawing on my family’s history as Russian immigrants too. Again, I’m exploring a mother/daughter relationship, but this time the daughter is in her sixties, an adult looking back.

I guess what I’m striving for is what any fiction writer strives for: to invite readers into the characters’ worlds and to make those worlds compelling.

How much time do you typically spend each day writing? Do you have any writing practices, habits, or rituals you’d like to share?

I wish I could say that I was a disciplined writer who adheres to a schedule. I try to write for a couple of hours every day. Sometimes I’m successful but often I’m not. On the flip side, I can sit for hours just lost in the work.

Like most writers, I carry a notebook. Often an idea, something I’ve overheard that I might want to use, or a word that I’ve been searching for pops up when I’m away from my desk, so having a notebook helps me to remember. I keep a notebook near my bed too.

Can you speak to your writing process—from the conception of a new piece of writing through its completion.

I sit down with an idea and start writing. Usually, my original idea morphs into something different, and I try to stay out of my way and let the writing go where it wants to go. Then I rewrite until I choke the life out of the piece, go through the earlier drafts, see that the work was most alive at draft 10 or so, and go with that.

How has your experience been with publishing your two books as well as shorter pieces of hybrid and micro in literary journals?

Robin Stratton at Big Table Publishing, who until recently published the Boston Literary Magazine, was the first person to accept my short fiction. When I finished my first manuscript, I sent it to her and was thrilled that she wanted to publish it. That was a great experience, so I wanted her to publish Beautiful Raft too.

A few years ago, I sent a piece to a literary magazine and received a reply from the editor. He said he really liked the work but he wasn’t sure if it was poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction. He published it as fiction, but really, he could have published it as any of those categories. That kind of “What is this?” doesn’t happen much anymore. I see more and more literary journals that ask for hybrid work; the boundaries of what makes a poem a poem, and fiction fiction are blurring.

How do you find which journals to publish your work?

Duotrope is helpful for finding venues to send your work, but there are free sources too. I find Newpages.com and Entropy.org really helpful, as well as Trishhopkinson.com and ErikaDreifus.com. A good way to find information is to join a Facebook group. I’m constantly reading and responding to the posts in the Binders’ groups. The writers there share a lot of information about literary journals, deadlines, concerns about particular publishers; it’s a great resource.

Do you have any advice for writers now navigating the fiction-publishing seas?

My advice is to just keep plugging away, which is easier said than done, especially during those lulls when you’re struggling to get anything down on paper. I try to think of the down times as part of a cycle. The struggle hurts, but it’s the only way to get to better, more fulfilling work. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, find a writer’s group with people whose work inspires you, and who support and challenge you. I have one that meets once a month. I don’t know what I would do without the writers in that group. As for publishing, try not to let rejection derail you. If you believe in a piece, it will find a home.

 

biographical note:

Tina Barry is the author of Beautiful Raft (Big Table Publishing, 2019) and Mall Flower (Big Table Publishing, 2016). Tina’s poems and fiction have appeared in numerous literary publications such as The Best Small Fictions (Top 13 stories, 2020, and 2016), Inch Magazine, Drunken Boat, Yes, Poetry, Connotation Press, The American Poetry Journal, Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology of Subversive Verse and A Constellation of Kisses. Tina holds an MFA in creative writing from Long Island University, Brooklyn (2014). She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has several Best of the Net nods. Tina is a teaching artist at The Poetry Barn, Gemini Ink and Writers.com.

Tina Barry’s website: TinaBarryWriter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tina.barry.5/

Twitter: Tinabarry188

Email: [email protected]

Photographer: Anya Barry
©2020

266
4.1: RE-CONSTRUCTIVISM IN THE ABANDONED FIELD | Kristen Anderson — Architecture

Elevation | North Digital 8.5” x 5” ©2019

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4.1: RE-CONSTRUCTIVISM IN THE ABANDONED FIELD | Kristen Anderson — Architecture

Elevation | North
Digital
8.5” x 5”
©2019

Cutting-edge Architecture and Critical Social Relevance—brief introduction [Krysia Jopek, January 2021]

I’m privileged to feature young architect Kristen Anderson’s vital architectural project in diaphanous micro‘s first issue of 2021. Please enjoy her professional architectural designs that propose a highly complex and artistic way to utilize abandoned buildings to create a place of community for those displaced by poverty. Her innovative designs incorporate contemporary architectural theory and practice to envision a feasible, beautiful structure and site where a displaced community can thrive in the natural environment that is incorporated and honored.

RE-CONSTRUCTIVISM IN THE ABANDONED FIELD: The creation of a new architecture through the process of demolishing and repurposing abandoned structures

ARTIST/ARCHITECT STATEMENT: 

Re-constructivism in the Abandoned Field is a conceptual project that is concerned with the development of a new architecture that demolishes and repurposes abandoned structures left behind by temporary enclaves. Abandoned sites are not always a result of the temporary enclave condition; however, many large fleeting events leave behind architectural and structural ruins. By using the remaining residents of Vila Autodromo as a test community, this project expects a successful method of repurposing a site that will attract other people with the drive for a similar lifestyle. The strategic process utilizing a single crane derived from the grid analysis of the past site—creates a clear organizational strategy for how the other abandoned arenas could be manipulated at a later point in time. With the successful implementation of this strategy on the Cariocas Arenas using the local test community, similar success when applied to the rest of the site would be expected. The design strategy for this new hybrid landscape created from built materials can be applied to other abandoned sites as well. Demolition breaks these buildings down to merge with the site once again, while simultaneously repopulating and bringing a revitalized spirit to a once barren site.

The temporary enclave, an enclave that arises when there is a need for a zoned cluster of structure and infrastructure in response to a fleeting event that exists as both a boundary condition and as a porous entity—inspired the development of this project that simultaneously acts as a barrier and as a means of intersection between communities. The intent is to explore the ways in which intersection space derived from a glitched grid can be used to design hybrid structures of architecture and landscape for communal and recreational use. Specifically, this project impacts the past inhabitants Vila Autodromo, a favela that was largely displaced by the construction of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Barra Olympic Park by Wilkinson Eyre. The concept of the inhabited “wall,” or boundary space, would achieve the porosity necessary to fulfill this unifying task by manipulating the existing site plan until it achieves the properties of a field condition. The hybridization of architecture and landscape into one coherent whole ceases to be a barrier; rather, it becomes something that knits the community together as a self-sustaining entity.

The proposal is designed for communities that need open shared space to grow. Landscape, park, and other agricultural programs will be the catalyst; businesses and homes propagating outward from developed zones is the future goal. The design swerves the principles of landscape urbanism, or urban conditions developed through landscape design, to fit into a new mold: to create an artificial landscape condition within by utilizing elements of architecture that serve as a driving force to repopulate the site.

The 20 families that remain in Vila Autodromo will act as a test community for this architectural catalyst that will eventually attract other past inhabitants back to the site. An analysis of the former site plan of Vila Autodromo led to a strategy for how to manipulate the existing architecture. In this analysis, a seemingly unorganized favela site plan became one of multiple grids overlapping and intersecting each other. The particular moment when multiple paths crossed created a radial language that inspired the placement of a single crane on the site to be used for both dismantling and reassembling the buildings in a systematic process. The successful reuse of the Cariocas Arenas will result in a new architectural system that creates a solution to human displacement and new agricultural space while incorporating the abandoned architecture resulting from the existence of temporary enclaves.

Displacement | Migration of people in Rio de Janeiro
Digital
25.5” x 16.5”
©2019

 

Conceptual Grid | Former site plan of Vila Autodromo
Digital
9” x 6”
©2019

 

Zoning Intersections | Conceptual field condition manipulating the existing plan of the Barra Olympic Park using sequential rotation operations
Digital
17” x 11”
©2019

 

Zoning Intersections | Conceptual field condition focus area
Digital
17” x 11”
©2019

 

Crane Placement | Strategy
Digital
33” x 16.5” 
©2019

 

Design Iteration | Radial Language
Digital
33” x 16.5”
©2019

 

Program Diagram | Agriculture
Digital
18” x 33.5” 
©2019

 

Final Design Proposal | Axonometric
Digital
52” x 34”
©2019

 

Final Design Proposal | 50% Project Completion
Digital
26.6” x 67”
©2019

 

Final Design Proposal | 100% Project Completion
Digital
26.5” x 67”
©2019

 

Detail | Cariocas Arena 3 in the process of demolition
Digital
17” x 11”
©2019

 

Detail | Formal soccer field to remain in Cariocas Arena 2 despite the demolition of its surroundings
Digital
7” x 11”
©2019

 

Elevation | East
Digital
8.5” x 2.5”
©2019

 

Elevation | South
Digital
8.5” x 5”
©2019

 

Elevation | North
Digital
8.5” x 5”
©2019

 

Vignette | Cariocas Arena 3 in the process of demolition
Digital
17” x 11”
©2019

Vignette | Recreational soccer field that remains in the location of Cariocas Arena 2 with agricultural terraces located in the periphery of the field
Digital
33” x 33”
©2019

 

Vignette | Agricultural terraces located in the remains of Cariocas Arena 1
Digital
33” x 33”
©2019

 

Fragment | Perspectival Section Model
Digital
8.5” x 5”
©2019

Kristen designed RE-CONSTRUCTIVISM IN THE ABANDONED FIELD: The creation of a new architecture through the process of demolishing and repurposing abandoned structures in her fifth year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Bachelor of Architecture program.

KRYSIA JOPEK’S INTERVIEW WITH KRISTEN ANDERSON—January 2021   

What aspects of architecture excite you the most?

Architecture has always been a passion of mine. I love how a single building can have distinctive impacts on different people. What excites me the most about architecture is that it is an ever-changing, often experimental, form of artistic expression that builds up our surroundings. Like all forms of art, not all architecture will be loved and praised by everyone, but buildings are fundamentally a part of our daily lives. Architecture can be thought of as beautiful, thought-provoking, controversial, lasting, etc. and what means nothing to one person may catch the eye of another. Personally, I enjoy knowing that I can use my creativity to positively impact the world around me.

When did you know that you wanted to be an architect?

When I was a little girl, my mother worked from home as an electrical engineer. She would “bring me to work with her” in her home office where I had a small table set up next to her desk. I would spend hours at this table drawing elaborate scenes of buildings and houses (or so I am told, as I was too little to remember!). Somewhere along the way, my mother asked if I wanted to be an architect. From then on, I told people that I was going to be an architect when I grew up. This is all before I really knew what being an architect meant. As I got older, learned more about architecture and had the opportunity to take drafting courses during high school, I knew that pursuing architecture as a career was the perfect choice for me. Architecture school was nothing like I expected, yet it only helped solidify my lifelong decision to continue on the path of becoming an architect.

Do you think you were born creative?

Like all skills, my abilities to draw, paint, and build needed time and practice in order to become as strong as they are today.  I do believe, however, that being creative is an intrinsic part of my personality. From as early as I could hold a crayon, I was doodling and drawing pictures, but creativity is far more than artistic talent alone. Being creative also means being imaginative, and from what I’ve heard of myself as a very young child, I have always been quite original and silly. My creativity and my ability to see the world a little differently has definitely shaped me into the unique, sometimes quirky, person I am today.

Did your childhood surroundings influence / cultivate your proclivity for artistic creation?

My childhood surroundings played a major role in cultivating my artistic ability. My parents have always provided me with support and encouragement in my artistic endeavors. They instilled in me an understanding of and appreciation for the creative process and encouraged me to create beautiful things.

How was your university experience at RPI in the Architecture program?

My RPI School of Architecture experience was amazing! The five-year program continuously challenged me and helped me grow both academically and creatively. Now that I am working in the industry professionally, my appreciation for the strength of instruction I received at RPI has only increased. The encouragement I received from my instructors and peers helped me realize the extent of my abilities and the work I am capable of producing. The mix of technical and artistic education provided throughout the program was a great balance for my skill set. Looking back on the five years, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to attend RPI’s rigorous program—and I am very proud of my degree in Architecture.

Did you have certain professors who mentored you?

My professors definitely had a profound impact on my education. Many of the professors who taught my introductory courses and studios were also my professors in later years as the curriculum became more focused. This allowed my professors to see not only my work ethic and my technical skills, but also how my designs transformed and improved as I advanced through the rigorous program. The personal level of which these mentors got to know me helped guide my work to reflect more of myself. They provided much-appreciated guidance and support as I transitioned from being a student to an employee of an architecture firm.

How were your peers? Was the atmosphere and environment supportive and/or competitive?

My peers in the School of Architecture contributed heavily to my happiness at RPI. I was friendly with so many people in my major, both in my class and in the classes above and below me. The environment was supportive. Because of the many collaborative group projects, lasting bonds and friendships were formed. That’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of healthy competition!

How did your semester studying in Italy impact your creative work?

My semester abroad in Italy changed my life. It was the first time I had ever traveled to Europe, and I immediately fell in love with the new world that this opportunity opened up for me. Studying abroad was always a dream of mine, so I took every moment to learn about and appreciate my surroundings. The architecture in Italy is so different from what I was used to in New York. The semester in Italy studying Architecture helped strengthen my love for ancient and classical architecture. One specific example of the impact the experience had on my architectural eye was mastering the act of “looking up.” The ceilings were works of art in all of the spaces I had the opportunity to explore. So often we forget to design certain parts of a building that might seem insignificant, so the architecture in Italy taught me that when I design I must think about every angle, view, and experience that a person can have in a given space. My semester in Italy also strengthened my sketching abilities and the way I look at the descriptive geometries of a building or space.

Can you describe your process from idea to finish product when designing a project?

My design process usually begins with analyzing the surroundings of a site where the project is to be located, including using grids and projection lines to understand existing spatial relationships. My designs are usually products of this initial study, which leads to sketches, study models, iterations after iteration—until I find a form to work with the program and parameters of the particular project. One aspect of designing a project in RPI’s architecture program is that none of those design projects were ever really “finished.” Even after a final critique, we would be asked, “What are the next steps?” or “Where do you see yourself taking this design further?” Although I have “finished products” in my portfolio, a design project is never truly finished; more can always be done to enhance the design and function of the conceptual work.

What media do you prefer to work in?

I typically use digital media for my architectural drawings, including AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. I particularly enjoy building physical models, which allows me to see a project come to life in 3D.

What are your favorite schools of architecture, time periods, and why?

My favorite time periods in architecture are largely influenced by the time periods I was able to study in-depth at RPI. For example, I have always enjoyed the classic elegance of the Renaissance and the opulence of the Baroque periods that I experienced in Italy. In addition to the Italian architecture I studied while abroad, I have a strong appreciation for Gothic architecture with its monolithic forms, gorgeous stained-glass windows, and complexities with technical innovations such as flying buttresses and vaulted ceilings. I am also a very big fan of Victorian houses. The whimsical design elements create a unique character for each Victorian home, which really speaks to me. I have a dream of owning a beautiful Victorian someday with a wraparound porch and elegant tower.

My own love of architecture grew out of my doctoral studies; my primary areas of interest/focus were twentieth-century American poetry, postmodernism, and post-structural theory (deconstruction, specifically). How much theory did you study at RPI and on your own? What theories most influence your work?

We studied a fair amount of theory and history in our courses at RPI. Deconstructivism played a crucial role in my thesis design by inspiring me to deconstruct, reconstruct, and create a fragmented architecture based on the process of reusing parts of existing architecture. RPI professors did a great job leading us to precedent projects that could influence our work. Rem Koolhaas’ thesis Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture, PV Aureli’s A Field of Walls, and Peter Eisenman’s Rebstockpark were all precedents that greatly influenced my thesis design and concept.

How are you enjoying your first job as a professional architect?

I have really enjoyed the first year and a half as an employee of Hoffmann Architects. We specialize in the rehabilitation of building exteriors; therefore, I work on restoring existing buildings and get to contribute to a critical niche in the architecture field. I enjoy working on older buildings and learning how to create innovative, effective solutions to existing problems that buildings face. My coworkers are great, and the firm has exactly the environment and culture I was hoping for. The firm as a whole is also very supportive towards my ambition of  becoming a licensed architect.

What is your typical workday like?

My typical workday starts bright and early with an hour-long commute on the train into Grand Central and a 10-minute walk to my office in Midtown. Typically, I work on project representation through drafting and other necessary paperwork for different phases of a project including writing field reports, editing specifications, and reviewing submittals. On a really exciting day, I partake in site visits where I assist in inspecting the roofs, facades, and plazas of old hotels, churches, and university buildings around New York City. I was a bit nervous the first time I had to climb a scaffold (19 stories high!) but the nerves subsided, and I now look forward to the days when I get to be out in the field. My typical day also consists of lunch breaks in Bryant Park with some coworkers or a good book, and most recently, ice skating at Bryant Park’s Winter Village rink.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of architecture?

Outside of architecture I enjoy many other artistic forms of expression, such as drawing, painting (using mostly watercolor and acrylic), crocheting, and anything that can be made crafty. I enjoy reading and being outside, especially in nice, warm weather. I love trying new things, and right now I’m doing my best learning how to ice skate during my lunch breaks. I have become more adventurous and have started to travel more since my semester abroad. I was supposed to take an exciting trip to see the gorgeous castles and churches of Germany and Austria in September 2020, but then COVID happened. I can’t wait to reschedule that trip!

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:

An honors scholar and recent graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Bachelor of Architecture Program, Kristen Anderson is pursuing her lifelong dream of working as architect. She is currently enjoying her first full time position at Hoffmann Architects in New York City, where she works on the rehabilitation of building exteriors. The passion she has for renovating old architecture stems from her interest in classical buildings and her studies in Rome. Throughout her career so far, she has participated in historic preservation work, educational, institutional, and civic architectural projects. Kristen is also an active member in her community with a commitment to service. She dedicates her design and community action experience to many volunteer activities.

LINK TO KRISTEN’S ONLINE PORTFOLIO: https://kristenanderson39.wixsite.com/portfolio

photography by Raina Page
©2018

93
3.16: moments of rest | Ariel N. Banayan — new hybrid/short poetic fiction & interview

n a Lonely Place on Beverly Glen Boulevard Ariel Banayan digital photography 1851 x 1388 pixels ©2019

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3.16: moments of rest | Ariel N. Banayan — new hybrid/short poetic fiction & interview

In a Lonely Place on Beverly Glen Boulevard
Ariel Banayan
digital photography
1851 x 1388 pixels
©2019

new hybrid/short poetic fiction by Ariel N. Banayan—introduction by Krysia Jopek

In the seven short hybrid texts featured in moments of rest, Ariel Banayan skillfully and seamlessly fuses prose poetry and literary fiction, thereby erasing the boundaries of each genre. I find his hybrid writing to be exciting and inspirational. It’s as if he’s taking James Joyce or Virginia Woolf into the 21st-century, adding in dollops of poetry and contemporary cultural references to his long, complex, and beautiful sentences that mirror the complexity of human consciousness and experience. His craft is meticulous.

In the interview with me that follows his new hybrid writing, Ariel discusses his writing process, literary influences, the MFA program in which he is currently enrolled, the contemporary publishing world for fiction, and the challenges that he faces as a writer.

It was a pleasure putting this issue of diaphanous micro together with Ariel. Please enjoy moments of rest!

 

new short fiction [hybrid]

Solitude Sentence

. . . an empty vessel lay in the room’s darkness while beyond the night’s blurred gaze, draping over the world like some dull blanket, waited the iPhone blinking with drowsy glimmers that dimmed, shined, dimmed and shined, again and endlessly again, into the dismal room while thoughts of sleep and time taunted via glowing rose spirals until dusted glasses worn beyond the bed and glared at the red iPhone reflecting by the tint of a moonless sky; an icon, at last, was tapped on, and the night’s darkness brooded over once again into the empty room while the hollow eyes, mocked by those glowing rose spirals, still gazed at the screen dimming in unison with its own soft light, forcing the dismal body to turn away from the device once a blank piece of paper and pencil excavated themselves from the room’s darkness, letting eyes mind go numb by the night’s endless silence still sketching its pencil with paper to write an empty vessel lay in the room’s darkness while beyond the night’s blurred gaze, draping over the world like some dull blanket, waited the iPhone, blinking. . . 

 

An Incident

The wind felt sharp as it swirled through his hand spread wide like a plane’s resting wings, and his fingers impatiently tapped while hanging outside the car window. The other cars, basically parked in the middle of Wilshire, watched an ambulance swallow the poor pedestrian bemoaning his broken rib bones and missing shoes tumbling—practically striding down the street like some restless ghost figure cursed with a howling past—perambulated throughout the streets of Los Angeles thanks to the unsettled Santa Ana winds forcing hot air to swing traffic signals to swing like a haunted metronome. It is such a shame the expensive traffic cameras, looming over every street corner, never caught the victim’s state of mind, an infernal epiphany of pain, when steel struck flesh and an internal bone snapped in two.

 

Sea Glass

A speck of the glass’s luminescence peaked above the beach sand and pierced the gaze of a collector endlessly watching the shore for misshapen objects, hoping they would return joy to the wildflower-picking hands now wrinkled like some old coat. The collector could not fathom any time spent alone without some special someone to hold and share the discovery of that shining sea glass miraculously smoothed over by years of whipping sea torrents into an amulet of dull colors. It was more than a mere kaleidoscope of light beaming onto the sand once that sea glass, held to the sun like some astronomer’s telescope, reflected out onto the overcrowded Santa Monica Pier.

On a brisk Saturday morning, the usual sounds of carnival games chimed over the performers singing their typical melodies. And as the beam traveled over each performer carefully using a hand to block the stray ray piercing their left eye, it roamed towards the boardwalk roller coaster, rife with screaming passengers zooming by to dip near the ocean like a flying beast aching for a playful splash or two. The sea glass then reflected its ray of light onto the very edge of the boardwalk where a young soul sat alone in the silence of the extended Pacific, thinking about its vastness while chanting the sea was not a mask to nobody in particular. In a sudden fit of curiosity, the sea glass’s beam irked the right eye, forcing her concentration, as well as a neglected book held by a loosening grip, to slip into the depths of the ocean and ruminate in murky waters. It may loom for an eternity, thought the reader, or perhaps until the tide bloomed during a full moon, churning the shores stronger than the other nights, bringing all the other misshapen objects to spill onto the beach. They’d spill to shine their bright or dull or even radioactive specks of light towards the lonely beachgoers hoping to find the glory of lost glass pebbles molded by the sea. Some may claim that a mighty artist sculpted it like a piece of marble, thought the reader. Others may forget to use the right words when describing that tidal sensation of surprise.

 

Piano Dust

The thick layer of dust on the piano seemed more like a thin plastic film, Marie thought as she swiped a damp towel across its dark, wooden frame, recalling the moments when her father would sit on its bench, calloused fingers curled over the same keys, playing some notes while her mother, standing in the kitchen with a sponge, scraped a metal tray fused with burnt lasagna. She would sing along to his renditions of that one Errol Garner song, “Misty,” which, at the time, felt like a gushy melody of grown-up love that children such as herself would never understand, her mother would say. Until now, Marie realized, once the dusty air’s scent, lingering the living room, brought tears to her eyes, and she finally understood the beauty of those romantic duets. During those shoddily-crafted dishes, and her parents would eat and do nothing else but give off an awkward orchestra of loud chewing noises and heavy-nostril breathing. That was when she and her siblings, in their blessed innocence, distractedly gazed at the television without having the faintest clue of the dire finances her parents never maintained yet somehow convinced others that all was well. Her father would lie to the teachers, telling them everything was alright. The children were not worrying and bickering their rosy little cheeks over the used toys and inherited clothes. Especially the ripped jeans Marie had once loathed since they did not merely belong to her older sisters, but her mother back in the 1980s. Ripped jeans were now in style, he would claim proudly. Those were the days, thought Marie once she opened the piano cover to find hidden between the piano’s keys an aging photograph of her mother sitting on her father’s lap; both with a rare smile only seen in glossy photos like this one, reminding Marie of the purpose of her visit to the now empty house. She tapped two white keys down, listened to the out-of-tune piano, and let her mind flood with seemingly-forgotten memories of her former home filled with books, now decaying on some dingy bookshelf next to the flowers. The Flowers were still everywhere. They were the ones her mother admired so much, especially the silly daffodils her father secretly loathed. He loathed them all, she remembered, except for the bright pink orchards. He always refused to smile at the flowers, but Marie knew he loved it when her mother brought them home, giving the living room a sense of color; they were all dried now, wilting in the vases placed delicately throughout her empty home now crowded with dust lingering in the air like stray words forgotten by a grieving mind.

 

A Moment of Rest

After sitting in the sun for an hour, Edith felt the skin on her hands stiffen against the park’s summer heat. The muscles in her left arm, despite feeling strained after holding a book near to her face, remained sturdy. She did her best to focus on its sentences despite skipping over a few words now and then. A squirrel, carrying some trash in its mouth, scurried in front of her feet. She felt a new sense of motion irk in her peripheral vision, so she lowered the book and watch the squirrel’s route back and around a distant tree rife with flowers. They were grand floral spirals, she imagined. A mild breeze blew around the large plant, forcing its foliage to tremble. Edith’s left hand, now shaking from holding the book, eased itself closer to the grass as her tired lips murmured the only passage she recalled from her reading.

“But Lot’s wife looked back, and…”

She slouched her spine deeper into the curve of the bench and felt its concrete warmth radiate into the exposed slit between her shirt and trousers. Her eyelids began to droop, and her heartbeat eased, letting the wind overpower her breathing. The skin on her face, veiled by an indescribable peace, continued to stiffen against the sun’s warmth.

“And she became a pillar of salt.”

Her body, now sweating against the summer heat, felt the tingling of a ladybug crawling on her forehead. Edith smiled while motioning her right hand to flick the insect away from her scalp, but her body refused to obey. A numbing sensation filled her hands while each blood cell, tumbling in a clumsy rush throughout her veins, hardened to the rough texture of sand scraping and colliding in the slowed circulation beneath her skin. Edith’s muscles, once flexible, stiffened into smooth, plastered cement; her skin, no longer warm, continued to harden against the summer heat until she felt her pulse clang, bringing the now ceramic heart to a shattering halt. Her many bones, seeping in a glossy marble, no longer kept a spongy inner consistency. The lungs froze in a crystallized web of quartz and shining stalagmites, becoming the only space left hollow and damp from her last inhale. Her stomach solidified into a well of obsidian, pouring into the intestines to create a catacomb of food, preserving the excrement as fossils stuck in amber. The sweat on her forehead, now converting into small crystals of salt, felt delicate enough to be shoved off her body by a mighty breeze.

She suspected her chalked liver feeling soft if it somehow grazed against her other organs, but a chilling feeling distracted her in this moment of rest. She frantically visualized every microscopic cell and molecule in her body alchemizing itself into sedentary matter until her soft brain disintegrated to sprinkle fine diamond dust in the hollow portions of the skull; her vision of the sun evolved into a blank screen of soft light while the eyes, still half-covered by two immovable concrete eyelids, would harden into two spheres of speckled granite before the sun set.

A gray pigeon flew by the immobile body, landed on the polished head to nuzzle inside a nook behind the left ear as another ladybug, this time wearing a pure red color without spots, crawled up from the book still clenched in the unmoving hands. Despite the sharp incline of the slouching pillar-body, the animal moved at a calm pace, braving a few spiders stitching a sticky web around the knees and ankles. After recalling the existence of its wings, the ladybug flew off, and a squirrel eventually wandered over to the body. It cautiously sniffed the book, climbed onto the still torso, then fled to a spot in the park with less sunlight.

 

The Homeless Fart

It was near a lonely tree when I first let my wind out, out with the sound of the rustling leaves chiming over my own senses, chiming beyond the mere lawn of Rancho Park and further than the gathering places where people picnic and play recreational sports like tennis, golf, basketball, football, soccer, badminton, tag, capture the flag, baseball, flag football, swimming, Frisbee tossing, croquet. It all evokes cheer inducing activities with crowds to collect the vague notion of unity and the senses. I always adored those senses but only truly felt them once the particles of my gut, dispersing in pollinated drafts of fecal trumpet sounds, erupted at the sight of a rainbow appearing in the sky and my heart. It was not just me leaping at the glow of Old God’s promise and the Calamus tribe flag. I floundered in a stupefied yet restless palpitation at the oneness mentioned earlier with the world once words failed. I babble to the world, and nobody hears those words. Words, with their naive smiles, could never possibly grasp that feeling except only in the passing of gas in short, subtle toots to the park’s pine trees still growing quietly across this entire park after so many years of residents toiling over useless affairs such as the conflict regarding who really owned the oil seeped deep into the earth. That damned oil fermenting in the nearby land before the dawn of humanity. The damned oil asking residents where the dividing line should be placed to define where the a golf course begins and a public park ends; now I feel a gust of wind, hidden as some sublime force, sweep up my brown draft of personal air as my hand, still leaning against the pine tree in a fit of gasping exhaustion, stroked along with the shift in the gentle breeze. I am brushing a new touch. I am changing the mood of the world with my farts. What was once my holy scent is now carrying itself out and over the well-trimmed grass fields fenced off for those golfers patiently aiming with a careful eye towards a bulls-eye shot. It was a goal I already gifted them with my homeless wafts curling up their noses. I hope to burn nostrils and seep my chemical affairs into their white clothes. I hope to dirty their scent of fresh laundry detergent and liberated sweat, tinting them all my microscopic brown shade.

For now, the wind is careless and cold. My bones even ache as if it may rain sometime soon. I hope I may find some shelter tonight against the mighty air.

 

The Mirror

It was difficult for Jacob to look in the mirror at any moment of the day, especially when he brushed his teeth and, instead of merely watching himself massage prescription toothpaste over every single tooth in a calm clockwise motion, kept noticing every detail of his face magnified and stretched out beyond everything the dictionary defined as hideous. His pores felt visible and his nostrils, flaring and breathing and untamed like some horse snout, flared as he grazed the opaque scars on his skin and recalled when Big Benjy barged into the silence of the bathroom during their younger years. Jacob was very aware of the dangers from shaving, forcing his hand to tremble, both then and now, in fear at the sound of that foul beast of a brother. He still felt hatred as well whenever naming thinking of that monster. He hated all his tricks, especially when Big Benjy tried to convince the younger Jacob that the reflection in the mirror, that one right there in front of him, was the real Jacob. It even shivered with a hand clenching the very same toothbrush while the other Jacob was the actually reflection of that real boy. The real Jacob was still walking around somewhere in bliss while the fake Jacob just meandered like a stunt double always waiting to look back in the mirror and confront the true Jacob face to face.

While he examined the skin under his eyelids, Jacob recalled another moment when Big Benjy, in a horrible attempt of teenager humor, told little Jacob of the legendary Bloody Mary. Her pallid face always loomed in the mirror’s peripheral spaces like some semi-transparent photograph and haunted all the poor souls staring at themselves in the mirror for more than 16 seconds. The grotesque Countess, who apparently watched everyone with bleeding eyes, had fallen into a similar trap of vanity on the day before her wedding once her own reflection brought shameful tears of shameful to crawl down her face and, at possibly the worst moment, her soon to be husband, Septimus, marched in to witness Mary’s smeared face. Apparently, he tossed himself right off the balcony in the midst of London’s warm summer night and she was forced to wait and wither in shame while horrendously grasping at the mirror with a stained red hand for eternity so all those like the grown Jacob, who just realized he was still staring into that mirror, would hoped the foul woman would come and finally rescue him from that mirrored world at last.

all short fiction ©2019

 

a conversation with Ariel N. Banayan & Krysia Jopek [November, 2019]

When did you start writing fiction seriously?

Well, I’ve been writing both fiction and poetry since the end of high school in 2012, but I only began writing seriously towards the end of my undergrad in 2017. I like to think that was when both reading and writing became a vital and powerful space for me to explore the world around me. There were so many things I wanted to read and explore, especially as a native to certain parts of West Los Angeles, as the son of Iranian Jewish immigrants, and as a person living during an unprecedented technological boom.

What inspires you to write?

Right now, I can honestly say that my biggest motivation to write comes from exploring the limits of other art forms like film/television, photography, and music. I really enjoy the idea that storytelling can convey a different shade of an emotion just based on the presented form and medium. Writing then becomes such a thrill since I get to navigate through my own relationship with what the written word can show and tell to an audience, as well as what it can’t do for them. Sometimes I fail at it all, and I at least hope for a graceful landing. Other times, it becomes such a thrill just trying to see how I bring that sense of novelty to the written word. It’s fun.

When did you first publish and where?

My first published piece appeared in Anastamos, which is Chapman University’s graduate journal. At the time, I had just started in its MFA program, and I didn’t really involve my writing with people in the program. But I was given the opportunity to submit some horror of mine, and it was accepted just in time for Halloween, 2018.

What is your experience of the current publishing world for fiction?

So far, the publishing world seems both open and unforgiving for contemporary writers. I still feel really inexperienced to even consider this question, but I’ve heard stories from people who have been rejected countless times and were on the brink of giving up their hopes and dreams, only to have their work finally accepted. However, I also think that the world of writing is shifting as well. I’ve heard agents and publishers explain the importance behind a writer’s social media presence and how those numbers give the work a better pitch on a marketing perspective, which might push a YouTuber’s ghostwritten memoir over writers. No disrespect to those YouTubers and online personalities with published pieces of work out there, but I still believe that good writing is good writing. Readers will always want writing that moves them and accomplishes everything promised by the writer, even if certain levels of experimentation are pushed aside.

Can you talk about the value of your MFA? What have you learned that you wouldn’t have learned elsewhere?

So far, Chapman’s MFA program has taught me the importance of organizing my time to write, how to really engage with the world of writing beyond the workshop, and the overall reality of the writer life. I used to think a person could just write a single piece and throw it at publishers or websites or whatever to accept and share at their liberty. But that’s never been the case. I now know a person needs to be much more open-minded and involved around those types of opportunities. I’m also grateful to be in an MFA program that provides a class about the writing world at large. I never imagined how writers like ourselves are situated in the publishing world until it was openly discussed in that class.

How are your peers? Is there a sense of community in your MFA program?

Community is the most significant value of an MFA program, and I’m so happy for the one at Chapman. I understand how people can hold a particular brand of skepticism towards anyone voluntarily paying more money for more schooling. However, the specific MFA environment at Chapman University forces one to understand how vital a community is for the writing process itself. Pretty much everyone in my program comes from a unique background and identity that gives every interaction so much life and variety. Every workshop becomes an exciting and vital environment where we can all just lean back to see how and why different tastes affect the audience. I’ve realized parts about my style and taste that I would never have imagined without my MFA crew. And the support we lend to each other makes a difference, too. Sometimes writing becomes such vacuum of one’s energy and time that I begin to worry if it I’m just letting waste flush down the toilet. I know those moments of panic are based on my insecurities, not on my actual ability to write. Still, the way we support each other as writers in my MFA (or any community, to be quite honest) becomes the best motivation to keep on writing, no matter how much the words and stories “stink.” And I know I would probably get the work finished anyway, but the community makes me feel less conscious about those flaws while also helping me understand the best way to overcome those insecurities and keep on writing.

What have been some seminal texts that you’ve studied in your MFA classes?

The Completed Works of Wallace Stevens, Guillaume Apollinaire’s Alcools, Forrough Farrakhzad’s Sin—are the some of the most recent books I’ve finished that have given me a unique outlook on my writing and thought. Along those lines, I think working with Carolyn Forche and reading her memoir, What You Have Heard Is True, has shaped how to value my place of a writer and explore what that all means in our weird, contemporary atmosphere.

Will your thesis be a collection of short works or a novel? Do you write novels as well as short fiction?

My thesis is starting to solidify as a kind of hybrid. It’s going to fall as a collection of short stories inside a novel or a novel containing short stories. Either way, it’s going to be a compilation of connecting shorter works placed within a context of an outer narrative structure like One Thousand and One Nights. I definitely have some novels planned that I hope to get to one day, but I guess I need to tackle one task at a time for now.

Outside of your MFA program, do you have a community of peers with which you exchange ideas and/or work?

A good majority of my closest childhood friends are involved with the arts in some way. As consumers and producers of all these different kinds of expression, we bring such a unique perspective to everything delivered in front of us. I’m so grateful for that dynamic and their friendship even when our tastes diverge. It’s such a perfect situation since we also mostly come from the same cultural background and love to celebrate and explore what we have to offer for each other.

What do you typically read on your own?

I’m such a bore when it comes to reading anything other than the plain fiction and poetry books piling up on my never-ending reading list. I’ll always love defining works within genres like Gothic fiction, but I’m not too particular about what I read. Good writing can come from anywhere at any time, and as long as the writing blooms from a valued place/perspective and it’s well written, I’ll want to read it.

Who are the writers that have influenced you the most?

Joyce and Kafka, definitely. Both writers speak to me on a more personal level that enters the realm of the ineffable. I don’t know how to accurately describe the phenomenon of reading their works, but it’s something like an epiphany of recognition, like a piercing spotlight shining onto my body. I’ll never forget the first time I read their works and realized I wasn’t alone. I hope one day I my writing can bring others to that similar moment of recognition.

What is your process from the inception of an idea for a work of fiction to the end product? Do you have any specific writing habits or rituals?

Sometimes I just stare at a wall and mentally explore whatever feelings come to me and how that could be contextualized as a narrative until I feel like I can write it thoroughly. Other times, I force myself to write and shove through whatever cluelessness that’s taunting me not to write, which is a skill I’m learning to develop. Typing with my eyes closed is a habit I’ve recently picked up. My laptop screen sometimes strains my vision, so I just let my fingers take control. That then becomes an excellent excuse to edit the work as well.

What is the goal for each piece of fiction that you create? I realize that each piece is different, but is there a specific goal (or goals) that you have for the reader of your creative writing?

With these specific pieces here in this issue of diaphanous micro, I really wanted to explore how language could enhance or limit the reader’s perception. I wasn’t really insisting on presenting a solid story with the typical moments of storytelling found in most fiction. While those traditional aspects may be present, I was more concerned in situating a perspective based on whatever mental circumstances the pieces themselves allowed. If there isn’t a character there to perceive or enact on those feelings, I still wanted to press my hand against the invisible walls of those constraints and feel them, if that makes sense.

Do you have any hobbies that complement your writing life? That provide thinking time for writing and/or a needed break from linguistic experience?

I can honestly say that playing an instrument and playing video games have such an essential role in my well-being and artistic output. I can’t imagine my life if I never played the piano or picked up The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as a child. I’m so glad I never stopped experiencing those other art forms. They both give me that space away from writing and the linguistic experience while also making me engage with a non-verbal form of storytelling.

Do you think it’s essential for a contemporary writer to be engaged with social media? Why or why not?

While it certainly helps, I don’t think it’s important to have a huge presence or sense of engagement on the various social media platforms. Like I mentioned above, social media presence can really “sell” you well and give you an outreach to a larger audience. However, I do think it’s important to have some sort of involvement with social media, even if you send out a few tweets a month or upload some random stuff onto Instagram every now and then to experience whatever the hell a meme is/can become. The culture that’s emerging on social media platforms and the internet overall are, in my unqualified opinion, going to become a zeitgeist for the next few generations of content creators and audiences. I couldn’t help to think of Fitzgerald when I read this question, and how so much of his writing is just reacting to whatever the 1920s retrospectively meant to him. Even though I don’t believe in cyclical time, I think still that everything going on nowadays, particularly in social media and content platforms like YouTube, falls under the same cultural high you’d find in a Fitzgerald novel.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Read everything you can. Read whatever makes you think, makes you confused, takes you out of your comfort zone, brings you back to that comfort zone, makes you angry over its incompetence, shakes you to your core, makes you feel like you’d never accomplish a great piece of writing, and makes you realize you could do it better. And take the time to watch a little Seinfeld now and then. It’s good for your soul.

Are there any challenges that you personally face or find you need to overcome as a writer?

I really began reading and writing to see how I could break past all the fear and guilt I always felt in my life, even if that meant getting lost in more abstract, outdated language or just giving up. While the discomfort never stops, I know my reaction to that discomfort can change and adapt for the better. I know that challenging oneself in this day and age is probably one of the most energy-consuming things a person could ever do. Still, I guess that’s the only way we grow as artists and people even if it means failing, dusting yourself off, and rising to start again.

How did you learn about diaphanous micro?

I had brought in one of the pieces published here to a fiction workshop, and it was not well-received at all. I took a step back and asked myself where I could submit this type of experimental writing. I began searching for more hybrid and experimental places to publish. Then on one chilly California day, I received a notification on my phone from Google. It was like some digital divine providence.

Is there anything else that you would like readers to know about you as a writer or fellow human?

There’s a quote that really resonates with me, and I feel like it says more than anything I could ever write: In reality, I’m actually very fun – Nathan Fielder.

 

Ariel N. Banayan tours “Tehrangeles”

Los Angeles Review of Books — Ariel N. Banayan

A Burning Itch by Ariel N Banayan — Anastamos

So you’re in an MFA program–now what? by Ariel N. Banayan

Ariel Banayan [Arlel Ban] on Twitter

Airel Banayan [Arlel Ban] on Instagram

 

biographical note:

Ariel N. Banayan is an emerging writer born and raised in West Los Angeles’ thriving Iranian Jewish community. He received a BA in English from UCLA in 2017 and is currently pursuing an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing at Chapman University in Orange County. He also co-hosts the monthly reading series, Write to Read, where emerging and featured authors throughout Southern California are invited to read their work and drink a beer in front of an audience. Previously, his writing has been featured in The Los Angeles Review of Books and Anastamos, Chapman University’s graduate literary journal. Most recently, Brilliant Flash Fiction long-listed his writing in their Fall flash fiction contest.

 

color portrait sketch of Ariel Banayan
Yoni Keynan, artist
5 inches x 7 inches
©2019

 

 

 

279
3.15: bleeding backwards | Heath Brougher — new poetry, visual art, & poetics [aesthetics]

Asemic Haiku #3

diaphanous micro
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3.15: bleeding backwards | Heath Brougher — new poetry, visual art, & poetics [aesthetics]

Asemic Haiku #3
billiard balls and map
650 x 487 pixels
©2018

introduction to bleeding backwards Krysia Jopek [November 2019]

Feast your eyes and brains on diaphanous micro 3.15: Heath Brougher’s bleeding backwards, the most mammoth diaphanous micro to date! This issue will actually be printed as a physical book by a different publisher in 2020. I’ll let the poetry, visual art, and statement of poetics [aesthetics] speak for itself. Enjoy!

> > >

pliant verse: new poetry

Flac-Id-I-ty

 St(upid)ate sponsored stale bread  ,,

death-de-fin(e)alellà

striven d0wntowne d®own wa-

ters  ,,  shuttered streets

of youth  ,,     ß~~~~~~~~~à     sca(rry)rs

of an (Om) eternal ethno-oracle

fugal(ism)ist  ;;  bombdust  ,,

[howdy horn heisGordon]

suey slop(ed) surgical(ogical)ly orn(amaste)amental ;;

a manna his wor(l)d  ;;

proof pops out(whorled!!)ward

polar(bear)oid snappen

snatchery drownt in wat(tons)er soupà

the naked thighs of Janeà

fully tempted Kierga moon

lusty 99 thousand y(onder)ears

br(right-here!!)ought for a(n) Apex [WHOOOOO!

ash W(ittnessing)ednesday [trash     =     this;;

bottom of the 9th

for a broken oriole

            otrawise  =

                              finite;;.

 

[[[[[———-DO NOT USE IN POEM!!————]]]]]]

[[[[[[dopers worship Uranus, strung o(ooooohhhh!)ut a(ha)tta ho(we)me plate!—

h(ipster)it me a gr(h)and sala[om?]i]

[a haircut in the 8th inning [(?????)]

[dopers like baseball but baseball likes to fuck with the doper’s head with infield fly rules and what(ever!)not]]]]]

 

Confidence of the Many

 Accidents—happen

(faux)stance

of   a   hid-

e(i)n

haph(ologram)azard

we(eek)akness ;;.

 

Stir

Fr(om out)eak coleslaw frisk  ,,  om high down

Apis quopom of tin  ,,  of tin(n)y~~~~~à  ,,

,, ;; ,, !! .. • ;; € ,, [%~& = +] ,, :: ,, ^^ {*****}  ,,

plaintiffs Walpole  ,,  Oakland vapor

doorknob Wicklow  ,,  weeblow lapidary

 

—we’re gonna g(oogle)obble up the mustard seeds the i(diots)ngrates spit out—!;.

 

Orb

Monroestopsis    Montreal

 

Bloodpoisoning  ”  BloodFlint

 

Op(youless)ence    Omnibus

 

Thrombosis   Thumb(at)tack

 

Nearing Asparagus

Original ingre(e)d(y)ients à[0Oo oO0

rhutabeggar rutaugular  ,,  rheu(barb)my  ,,  r(hoo!)ooms ,, 

nearing asparagus says a road sign  ,,

typo-tato  ,,  sq(i)sh soon ripe enough

to sizzledance with olive’s oil(spilt)y veggies rife with Vitamin Z (vitamin z)

cooking up what was dug upà     (0à[om]ß0)

from s(z)ounds of b(lowingup!!)ursting seeds planted in dirt months before; ;.

 

[—-DO NOT USE IN POEM!!—–]

 [[[[[Wel(l that’s about it, folks!!)come signs direct brief inhabitant(sentience-full)

straight to the Ex(ist for a short amount of time)it sign before

the li(v)fe-forms barely catch one of those breaths of Oxygen

this p(eculiar)articular planet is famous for!!]]]]]

[[[[[“’Nearing Asparagus” is honestly a sign my dad once saw while driving down some old country road around Lancaster County. He even had a plastic reprint of the sign made that I own to this day. Apparently, story goes: He was driving down some backroad and saw a sign that read “Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Ahead.” After a few more miles the sign reappeared, this time with an even closer mileage attached. THEN, apparently, a sign appeared that read simply “Asparagus in 5 miles.” Then “Asparagus in 2.5 miles.” And, finally, the fixer: a sign that simply read “Nearing Asparagus.” If you ask my dad he will tell you to this very day how much he regrets not stopping right then and there and “borrowing” that final sign. It’s a regret he’ll have to take to his grave. He DID remember exactly the color, shape, and size of that Billboard so he could have replicas made and this explains why I’ve had a “Nearing Asparagus” sign hanging somewhere in my bedroom since my mid-teens. It was a diamond-shaped sign, all in white, with the words, in big bright green font, spelling out “Nearing Asparagus.” And let us not forget that the sign had a green, curvy outline at its edges. In fact, IF the publisher lets me show you this sign in this book, I WILL show you the sign. True story.]]]]]

 

W(r)ench-eater

Noonish grindle

girth obituary  ,,

 

elder aura time pressure /à

unwrapped Ea(terofacid)ster/

Mendoza line Freakfest/ {Freedomfest}

ripe lice/

liquorish blood  //—àà

 

San Antonio guit-tar(0)-feedbac(rack)k(wards)  ;;

Pavlovian response to hummmmmmm(anesque)mmmm  ,,

humm(om)mmmnmmm(mmmmm)mmmmm(um! um! um! um! um!) of motors  ;;

indent(ured)ed interstate/demonstraight~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~> [ode to odd uncles!]

frail white sneakers   //|\\   tennis shoeless Exist(ential)ence

revels in the real re(V)eal of a Multiverse of black sox and white holes  /

apply pressureà

gaseous drainà

land of rotten spicketsà

 

we are     n o t   (t) h e r e     anymore  ,,

we are (un)officially among the Elsewheres

of Sentient Existence—death of course always

a very(muchquiteso) possibility of a wormhole

into another dimension of perception of creation

of such heavy Suchness in this current realm of 8 sensations

are more than likely rendered useless to the fathomlessness

of a denseness of Multiversal fullness which likely feeds us

a continuation of its Continuum of an Eternal Essence

founded in Endlessness of various senses ;;.

 

[———DO NOT USE IN POEM!!——–]

[[[[[I’m talking E.D.s! Extra-Dimensional-being type-Elsewhere, motherfucker!!]]]]]

[[[[[when a Human, with their 5 of 8 senses known of on this planet, all tuned to just the proper setting, looks out onto the sunrise/set we do not see the magnetic field—this is accepted and usually shaken off with a sort of cavalier ignorance that has become the hallmark of human arrogance as we gaze with perfections made of purest personification, instead of meekly dismissing the EGO, we actually argue whether or not the Dimension stacked atop ours even exists to begin with  !  We were fine to dismiss the fact that we  were eyeless to the magnetic field but DID NOT go so far as to dismiss, or call into question, its very Existence, since Science has assured us of this with an such endless recurrence that we wrestle not with its Thusness but have formed a nearly latent acceptance of its presence. YET… when that idea holds heavy ignorance or flat out unknowingness of Existence, humanity will hold out a resistance, and, at a usually dangerous insistence, ask as to why it was never completely informed of this during its usual indulgence of useless information so oft eaten of to find their spot among the weak obeisance they’ve come to call Existence only to find out that their own weakness and lack of curiosity when matters turn to all subjects concerning Science, that this information, once relentless, was muted and hushed due to the dull and dim and dumb observance that Science and Scientific arrogance that human perception usually finds boring as if its Multiversal acceptance is more of a nuisance—thus it becomes unwanted, careless and obsequious in these all-too-human perceptions that thrive on the convenience of their utterly false Manmade obsessions and, instead of removing these horrid repressions, would rather gather comfortably in the warm, deceitful pockets of obvious  IGNORANCE  instead of embracing the utter Truthfulness of Human Existence and instead sit facing the wrong direction simply because it’s tilted to a more Truthless spot of convenience concerning their ULTIMATE duty of embracing the Truthfulness abound that is not nearly as easily accessed but is, at the end of the day, the   only    direction for the human mind, its perceptions and proclivities and unperspicuous tendencies, to sway among this multitudinous Multidimensional Mulitiverse;…]]]]]

 

Another Orb

 

diiiiiiiiiippin dots  €€  iiiiiiiiicecreeeeeeeeam  ,,

 

diiiiiiiiiiiimpling dots  **   iiiiiiiiicecreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam  ,,

 

dumpling dots  ¥¥  I scream!—;

 

Summer Murder

S h (r) i n e s er(adicated)ected/ / / / /

in a glitt(t)er-I mutt(ttttt)ering murmur

            ing moment-0(mori)

of fa(t)ede(a)d memori(a)es ([(memory-YAH!)])  ;;.

 

[[[[[————DO NOT USE IN POEM!:———–]]]]]

[[[[[[“cut your nose upon the spansule]]]]]

[[[[[[“impressionario Gn(om)es  =  GiANT  laWN shamE]]]]]

[[[[“tacky {though I’ve always thought in a good kind of way = like something you’d see in a music video for an alternative band from the early-mid 1990s}]]]]

[[[[[“eighteenth inning grass”]]]]]

[[[[[“it is twenty-nineteen-84!!”]]]]];;,

 

Technocracy

Radio legs

lay the television’s eggs

all warped… (wh)rip-

ed ed ed(en) e(n)dà

w h o r l e dà      /     whooshed     /

[back in b(l)ack singing sugary songs of surgery]

 

Aleece             al(l)live  Phifee ;;;;; FeeFee

tonal vibratory soundt(r)ack

 

bite      bit        biting               offa(l)  ,  a little

…………………………..atta boy

,,,,,second

circle   of   a   stitch

on road(t)/rip(t)

ricknamed       “what/what?”~~~~~~à

every;;

prod of gray thumbp(rint)ick

or appeal~~~~à~~~~~~à

dust in one’s grieving

cha cha grrrrrupt

&                                                         explode into erupt

& then(n)

NON-EXIS(?)-TENCE!!.

 

Off-White Autumn

Iscariot sparrow  =

wildamounts of melted waxwings   |

lunged through aisles of orch(id)ards  ,,

cr(u)ashed crisp

into fold of dishevel,..;

     .            ;         .         ,

&/or

litmus test————à

mucus penetrated, perturbedà

……….deflated……….

 

a human in wolf’s clothing

@ aisle #8

instead of cloud #9  ,,

#9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9… ((et-cet-era))  ;;.

 

Protocol(d)

Re(re)c(h)ord the grapefruit juice

in its midair tan(TrulyTantamount)trum ;;à invi(nc)sible

 

Hear ye! Hea(he speak so wrongly)r ye! Hea(d spun so crookedly)r ye!

 

Parliamentary      P-r-o-c-l-a-m-a-t-I-o-n-s     State     a (@)

means to an end

of Humanity

is officially

with(in)ered visibility;.;.

 

Primarily Draining

Crushed crimson;

flowers drink

from the sky

until their heads turn to dust;

a blood-red powder

rides the tail of the wind;

infecting; this is not blood;

blood of years; of yore;

of crisp age; taken on

more pallid and dry formations

shaped as crooked-looking wizened wizards;

 

remember it! ;

it wafts through post-postindustrial air;

as; you; read these very; words;

 

Spark

Longface; Harvard bomb;

not hungry; saddletoes; pick

your shape; scrape the sky;

atomic Yale; infectious mediocrity;

joker card; bent secret; missiles

take out menstruating teenagers;

this is thus—the thusness is this;

slow diver; flawless dream; copacetic

cotton candy; blink; blunk; bloonk; faded paint

gets a second coat; wolverines

and snapdragons giggle; chaos

rises and erupts; babies strung out

on Gerber; the Earth rolls out of its cage;

 

All Eyes Elsewhere

Your many mopey ideas

at least I failed every time you asked

at least we still have eyesockets where our eyes used to be;

to go; to fit;     all connected just like a computer’s visceral wires;

veinlike; red/purple strings singing swinging in the wind;

we feel around; but don’t find;           our eyes; that is;

maybe just plywood for no reason;

notthatitwouldmatteranyway;            how in the whorled would we reconnect them?;

how’d; we; implement them in a fashion befitting of usefulness;

re-implant them

to bring forth a lost and gone sensation  that it’s tantamount to BEYOND FUCKED UP

in how we took it for granted; grunted; gradual grudge; grunge

is what; we will eventually find ourselves; neckdeep in;

whatever hazard          there will be   waiting for us;

like all the fairytail books say; an ending is inevitable;

though YOU knew this from the get-go; right?;

of course you did!;— which is funny;— since you don’t

even exist and never have in among these endless existential

that run so Multiversinally amuck!;

 

The Churning Of

Rainy whispers stab through fog;

tumble of seasons; humid; inhuman;

difficulty drawing air;

overflow; noise of rasp;

the destruction of all—

ceaseless; distortion persists;

the burden of unseen things;

unbreathable air thrives—

hangs as if stapled to the sky;

 

slouching hominoids everywhere;

 

Hollyward

These vain I watch

talking through thrust jewel;

they lay on their personal island;

secret tropical privacy; flashing;

the mental patients—; they want us to know;

“I’m angry that you see me

on the island where I wave”;

lies through thick air; diamond air;

sparkles flick chaotic luminosity among starry daylight;

the hollow and their conformity—

their contest of and for popularity;

you eat the baby salmon eggs on the noon porch

next to the street with all the busy camera shops;

through the years it will of course

collapse and bloom the true monster of You

turned headward toward the light— now your enemy—

Nature’s redemption; hollow cracks undeniable; waves of wrinkles;

pristine tablecloth acned with stains of bright karmic mustard seeds;

 

Downrose

I am a peripatetic [not the bad kind]

in the adjective form of the noun—

that is, I pace while in deep thought;

I’ve burnt trails in my livingroom carpet

during times when the headpressure hits

and all thoughts aflutter;

I’ve been to plains of thought with my own perceptions

no one else has ever been to;

[should I thank my slight epilepsy?];

seen the world; reality just a word

from such a boiled-down standpoint

of strippedback horror and

and how nobody really knows anything

and there is no such thing as real intelligence

that people fake and flaunt every day—

and living in this everpresent Manmade reality

even those who are fact-filled

and those who are philosophy-filled are left wondering;

 

every doctor should take down their degrees

from the walls of their office;

sit back and say;

“Yes, I don’t know”;

 

Those Vegas

Humble air not here

—only the squalid dry

and the monotonous plantlife it breeds;

sucked so deeply dull into boredom

that we wager for amusement;

trading snakes for cherries;

building and building over the years;

bright row after row; See to shining See;

eyes rapidly jumping; scattering here and there;

 

observe the electric colors we have wrought—

 

we dot a wicked luminescence among these meadows;

bright and hollow; steeped in the belly

of our parched moneyfade streets;

sins invented to control the herd;

the seeds of sin afoul the plasticlife;

planted by the drunken rapist preachers who harvested this town;

 

Tin Foil Wings

Time flies on tin foil wings

into the not-so-married face of a mirror fracture;

old lady weepen in the garden big teardrop rain

feeds the flowers, birthing only bugs from the dirt—

 

so many children and not one removed from her womb—

 

the foggy house no one visits;

juice orange swallow lonesome morning

reverberates only echoes and shadows as fiends

are scraped from the walls where they bounce

the rapid cuss through the air;

 

days turned non-tepid—the bitter rush of bonechill comes,

regular as newspaper; the eyes flood

smearing ink—a frail blurry life

never lets a focus peek through;

daisies are dull flowers on the cracked linoleum bathroom floor;

she full well knowing, reflected in many-faceted mirror,

that hope can’t fly far on tin foil wings.

 

Sick; Overly Soft

Foodstove unused; no need—

fastfood reign supremely high;

foodstave infected; calorie and trans;

tired bodies; arms reach for

the apple; its purity;

 

unattainable;

 

the gelatinous generation— laying stagnantly

in the chair; the weight of the world;

even blubberbones searching for health

can find none; no oasis; just chemical greasedrippings;

bodyfails; no movement; soured malnutrition;

human interference; trapped here

in this toxic cage; softerskin;

arms are still reaching

for that apple;

 

unattainable;

 

Languish

Stuck; I’m;

now; nowhere

to move; to

think; the random society

has forced this on me;

 

I feel I’ve nothing left to give;

nothing left to offer of

my own broken

insides; battered;

drained, I’m;

 

also;

fuck you;

I’m standing up;

might even spread wings;

 

Catching Cancer

Their highest love-meeting fool

by fool-their cackling laughs mingle

<with the content><candles blow out>

electric stoves (l)amps and razors go on

~someone lives again~  #s are given

to decipher the dead from the alive

[on a metaphysical level],

all coated [in the glistenings]

of a blood{bath} ripe with tumors

[timorous fruit><tumescent fruit]

festering in dense cancer: fun with the monkey

[take the mind off]

——-keeps wiping snot on your shirt——-

as you catch the sickness

in the palm of your lungs.

 

FUBAR

My God!; my gash!; I’ve

never seen a wound of such syphilitic

magnitude than the one you carry in your mind!;—

a truly poisoned person, not by

 

the toxic flowers and air; instead mangled

so deeply by society, hearsay, propaganda—

the confusion machine perplexing the confounded masses—

 

humans shackled and caged by technocracy’s easy essence;

building their Insane Army founded in delusional states of manic static;

amassing; spreading through infection to infection misinformation—

a play upon emotion and any/all rationale is wiped clearly off

 

for most people; hence this personified cauldron is stirred,

and the disease effects the great populace—

similar to mercury-poisoning, thought-poisoning

swims in phantasmagoric waters; the waves

 

soon breaching the land, dark wakings

and black eyes and minds asleep in permanent limbo;

simple robotic slaves of the talking moving picturescreen—

 

the greatest slave empire Mankind has ever known;

 

Sarin Gas for the Soul

Human flesh and burning ventriloquists

are as human as human and what it is to be alive

among the Oxytocin addicts constantly

popping out more life for the death by natural selection;

 

smug glob and hungry for heroin you bite

into not flesh [not human flesh, at least] of the Mayapple,

and I just let you know that you’ll always be in my hurt;

throat thrush talkinghush and drink

the rubies in the Robitussin, the not-healing flush

of shiny toy landmines or the sowers of lemons,

but of the jar of immortality sitting right next to

the machinegun, and as you fall asleep you wonder,

“are there guns in heaven?” and wake to

a farewell, the cleft, the cliff—    two diverse

energies flowing at a simultaneous constant;

 

human flesh spouts its patriotism

sprouting patriotism [war’s main catalyst]

not seeing the filth of the future, instead

I yelled let’s make this the Rulemaker’s Reckoning

in which we swim through oceans of teeth

and mansions of whores to pry the dagger

from their cold dead hands; we eat not

of terror pie but of mint julep

in the fiery nights while the rest of the populace

are forever spun by the spin doctors;

not a true thought to be had; mangled mumblings;

their arrogant smashmouthed words; for we

know that life is rain or shine;

 

all’s strangely quiet at the bustling marketplace;

the professional bridgeburners down the road;

rigging explosives so the bridge will tumble inward; downward;

like falling elevators and flaming lemmingdrops;

vile cakes of human flesh; bullets and babies;

big bloodclouds on the horizon;

tomorrow tickets go on sale for the extinction; smackdab

in america, where everything is never enough;

insatiably always reining supreme; the rug never fully wrung dry;

more always wanted; more always gotten; the scent of sound

conjuring umpires and apes to make the call;

thinking forward toward the present;

slouching toward ataxia day by day

as the clocksucker engulfs more time; slowly but surely

we will have our death guaranteed by american suffocation;

nine more years of winter; all the knives and molars in the world;

the entire heath!;— the vast wasteland!;

america run amuck with cakesuckers who waddle the streets

cracking the cement; did they brazen me out in high

school or did they devour me whole?; Truth be told I checked out

of my own volition and devoured them all!; simply by not playing their games

it turns out every last one ended up selling out except me!;

I am actually grateful for these yuppy idiots; I love every one of them;—

just as I love all the child molesters and rapists before them—

those scumbags made me fucking Invincible!!;

I don’t even “think” for now I KNOW that nothing can destroy me

and that I can destroy and overcome ANYTHING!…

I enter states of ecstatic transcendence when I think about how

no one has even begun to see what I’m going to do to this Human Race!;

I am grateful to each Genius whose eye I may have caught only to let them down;—

for now I have a clean slate for what I am Truly going to bring

and the gifts I have Truly been sent here to offer the world;

for I am the Ubermensch gone terribly misunderstood—

now, I will be able to show you a purer form of me—of Human—of Genius—

that sparkle that caught your eye but was never fully investigated;

my only mistake was in trying to be understood; after all that Plato and Emerson

said about that you’d think I’d have known!;— no more worries now;

no holding back; nothing but my purest Truth to share;

 

biting deeper into human flesh and thought;

incessantly incessant; pantomimes of pensiveness;

the reality of Postmodern Bleeding; humans are always bleeding—

we go suiciding as the suicidish tourguide shows us

the Kill-Yourself Collection deep into the overtone of night;

the scent of silence; of nothingness; black

as a hole; not even stoneflowers bloom in this kingdom of endless eclipse;

sickly jet-setters of the white trash are the ones out scalping tickets

to the extinction just hours, maybe minutes,

before our self-inflicted meteor hits;

feeds us our suicidal dose of starvation;

poisoning ourselves every day; what else can be done

when the Annual Apathy Awards become a daily occurrence?;

ghostshadows acned with acid scars scalp tickets to the extinction—;

 

ravenous masses wave huge handfuls of money in a panicked frenzy;

[an earlier version of this poem first appeared in To Burn in Torturous Algorithms]

 

A Zillion Miles Sublime 

Let there be light

so we can howl at the sun!

 

Let there be warm tendrilesque days

upon which to kiss the flowerpetals

 

strewn across the street

and yards like softpink snow!

 

Let there be bloodflowing and rejuvenation

and a rush of euphoria through the veins!

 

Let there be moons so bright

they cast shadows on midnight’s grass!

 

Let there be wine-soaked life blooming

and yelling belligerence into the fullyalive last bit of pure Earthly air!

originally published as a Poems-for-All book

 

Im

Parasitic world;

hands of wombhoused preborn eat;

drink through the nuzzletube

the vicious fluids that nourish the fire;

so discordant yet discreet;

the heartbeating in repetition;

muffled; veinhead hears through the plasma;

steals the blood; will soon suck the milk—

yet ancient evolutionary birdbrain instinct rouses a tell of connection;

a soppy bellyhoused sponge;

the outgrowth in the bush—

mere and unsevered; stalwart existence;

head throbs;

eat, very eat; every angle a violent angle;

wolverine nights, wolverine days, wolverine skies—

yet still the flickering and taming—

[evolving beyond?; suppression of nature?;];

unborn ravenous glare; alienglare;

the slicing of tubes; inner makeshift plunder;

dehumanize the species; every angel a violent angel;

occupier of the wombhouse

ready to enter the violent circus of existence;

physical!; physical!; physical!; bite off the heads!;

plunder!; rob!; deplete!—

ready to rage and survive;

no longer a bodily parasite;

the Earth is the new victim;

a new wombhouse to so carelessly raze!;

 

[first ever “Spiralist” poem ever written back in 1997 when poet was seventeen years old: “I don’t know WHY but poem made me feel differently when I reread it—it reminded me of an Aura before a seizure—random bits and pieces of facts and emotion, all stringing together—although, I admit, there is WAY too much of a theme to this one” —HB]

 

Deliveries (Random Short Poems Written on Tip Recorder in 1998 or 99 while Delivering Pizzas for the Summer)

Delivery #1

Valley Acres Drive—

It was an Indian Summer

/felt like May again

/I latched the creaking gate

and stepped onto the street

near my Grandmother’s youth.

 

Delivery #2

Sweetgum Court—

Here is the stale cinnamon

for your daughter’s birthday.

 

Delivery #3

Shoehouse Road—

I knew you years ago

as a junkie

/now your voice is smooth

/without the rasp of narcotics

as you pretend to be a Total Stranger.

 

Delivery #4

Lincoln Highway Women’s Health Center—

You are

the thrice mistaken counter

and my name is not Hugh!—

 

I hate train tracks—

 

the Vague is alive.

 

Delivery #5

Marlow Drive—

You sooth

my ears

so soothingly—

your Russian voice

reminds me of Springtime.

 

Delivery #6

North Sherman Street—

I came so far

through clogged rainy streets

all the way to your blurry house—

it’s hard for me to see

past the dollar signs in your eyes.

 

Delivery #7

Bradley Academy for the Arts—

A roomful

of twentyfold applause

and I am

in the arms of the girls.

I will never know

what caused a spontaneous outpouring

of hugs and French [yes, FRENCH!] kissing,

to erupt as I walked in the door

although I’ve heard that “The customer

is always right” and I had the distinct feeling

that whatever this unsupervised roomful of girls

were doing to me, they were most definitely right!

 

You GOTTA love art school girls!!

 

A House Chaotic

Chaotic house;

negativity flowing, disrupting

newly opiate-parched nerves,

hollow heads open and shut

drawers and doors

day and night endlessly

 

up and down steps,

confusion seeping from the drill-hole

in the cranium; electric house,

through high voltage this house courses

electroshock and hyper hands

in a state of permanent fiddle—

 

these bodies that gather

shrouded by wall, have drunk

of this modern electric juice

and the thoughtlessness of noise

is its high hangover—

these are the bumps, the loud bruises,

the certainty and proof of a house chaotic.

 

Hole

I will once again claw

my way out of this hole

I have fallen into,

just as I have many times before.

It’s when those foggy February

eyelids descend, my Spirit seems

to dim a bit. But, as I said,

I will, by means of pushing outward

in a swirling smiley Spiral of mindset,

climb my way back out

and onto the land of the purest

primary colors known to the mind.

 

Hinge Ether Poems

 

Hinge Response to Heller’s Email

                          inspired by Heller Levinson’s Hinge Poetry

Tetra-hydraulic helium teaks homogenized tombstone homebone totem histrionically

correctly upsetly in room vroom dead motion of emoticon emotion

leapless thus far from the materiality of lied languageà

no cucumberian air sockets yet fill the womb

of a plastic garden’s unoriginationà

a therefore refrigeration of forwardable motion is held at bay

the automatonious populace still

not quite ready

to rise and roar

 

The Road to Regretful Road (Hinge Ether)

thinking

to words          sounds

ground down sounds

sound wound unbound round Worldverines

self-reliant Emersonian regret envelops         [gone unlicked]

for waiting so long

to sound          to send

mined words

out into the nounfound newfound land’s cape

of previous decades

seen                 verysimilar verisimilitudeinal             mined words

said by another                                                            and others

who didn’t flounder around

instead                                                             speaking them’s sounds unbound

undrowned by time                             them’s sounds

now abound                mounds and mounds

of other’s sounds

on paper

in book

onscreen

all around

 

hole most twenty years worth of seizure-esque despair

catalyst of stasis          to send mined words

instead swirled

downdrain

headpressure

stare at wall

downdrained of decadal timeframes               lost, found

the screechingclawed silence of inertia

 

More Hinge Ether

How much of

 

Gaia

 

is

 

landscape

 

unveiled Vale

 

big pieces of oxygen

 

postpostpost-Jurassic winds blowing

 

personification of nature

 

since Cosmos is energetic vibration

 

is smelling eternal

 

is heavy with Pineal flow

 

Maya deflation

 

energy crackles up spine

 

bloated lotus blown up

 

Chromosomes wiggle

 

seashells and galaxies

 

all gathered

 

realclosetogether eyes

 

flow with multidimensional flipflap aura

 

Attempted Burroughsesque Cut-Up of a Hinge Module (written 4-25-17 on flight to London)

Bloodbath   omnidracual

Motherwell swells heart well , . ; —it jerks outward

black ‘n’ white seals boulders

unless piss is Rimbaud’s “black air”

errant grief tentacles

under the slippery bloomy roof

tadpole—>    Totalitarianism pole—>

bleached murmur of mirror shimmer grows crimson claws

f      u         n

merge—>   soak—>   seep—>

phantoma’s marry garlicking

whiteness emitting [form of color] black

rubescence grows

forth coils

dancing all over

out with the old

without the nothingness embroidered

I died as a young goat

yet still seeped my seep

my seepage

internal outposts

loop sideways

BLA(N)CK             BLACK

tenebrous cutting off esophaguses  juvenile self destruction protection

hope wish pray for      u-r-g-e’s

nuanced necessary mutation into

n-e-e-d for pressure upon the detonation button

the limpest kind of curiosity

is petty pretty affirmation in-fluence

freedomlessly falling into

o-b-s-e-s-s-i-o-n.

 

Toothless

Don’t snozzle your mask

don’t spangle your smile

don’t childrenly chuckle to yourself

 

birthed to bloom

now lost of blossom

to a muddiness

among a plethora of plumpness

 

rot sprouts ubiquitous sitcom

settles

as if                                         speckled on a blue spreckled sap sucker’s eggs

 

dross imagos   dross talk   dross teeth   dross existence dead  imagos

wire tired—     the guns out already

and of course not one of them            backfires

so very naïve to the abspestose  painting [the work of art — the weak of art]

upon the ceiling poisoning

the air from lobby to roof

 

at every turn of the maze a mirage suddenly springs up—

 

Ceasar knows best

the candyfloss from the candy tree

brings a reader exaggerated focus [say “sugar high!”]

confused imagos—     something tells me the apes will be back

but not immediately—         this poem painful as looking for a haystack

in a mountain of needles.

 

My Hands

My retriever hand burns golden holes

in the sheer sparkliness of Existence itself

when it reaches into other realms.

Not black and empty holes

but bright white holes brimming

with endless possibility, Truth,

the fathomlessness, The Great Spiral,

shining outward, replacing death with birth,

bats with birds—the beautiful ugliness;

of it all pouring out like a sieve

as my other hand pulls open the Tao

for all of creation to see.

 

The 14 of Diamonds

In the density of pitchy night you find yourself

scrubbing off the blood between your fingertips;

you are the riot star giving out riot scars to the people

you killed among the constructive vandalism

and oaken semen as you effortlessly pick a fight

with a man-eating orchid on the moon;

you’ve already killed the Joke-Man

in the Hawaiian Straightjacket; everyone is beseeching you

to screw off your thumb in order to stop this

endless war before they all lose their minds but you won’t;

you’d rather put your lips to the landmine

in the spoiled despair of your life that can only be seen

when the Karmascope peers deep into your skin and closely notices

how your sincere devotion to violence is caused mainly

by your broken suicide machine; stuck in this insidious

post-postindustrial world of rivers full of babyheads adorned with bullet holes;

you scream the infection straight down their throats

as you throw your intimidation around like a green elephant

wearing a top hat while walking upon a beachball

just as the banana split poker game is always split

right down the middle; an icicle prison cell is quite easily escapable;

what is most scary in life among these maniacs

is when the cancer won’t cancel and your shadow begins to detach

from your body; twigbones; itchy horses ask which way

to the broken sky and all you have to do is tell them to look

at the asteroid on the horizon burning down pipelines

and melting diamonds into liquified bathwater

as the eyes of the cello begin to speak of oceans ripe with shale

and toxified mush that was once water; a xylophone of so many fishbones;

 

Account of a Necessary Sonic Mutation

inspired by a short passage in Emerson’s Journals and Letters

Man’s central experiment is a tune—

attended to by other ears

in whole or Van Gogh-style—

either way, this is important—

complaint stretched over the central man

struck by sand and glass—a night owl with pneumonia—

attuned to my asymmetry—

this evolution will sing

as it Spirals asymmetrical discordance—

that thrown and crystallized will sing screeching sonics!—

and my animal will be born

to feast upon the earworthy pangs

still reverberating throughout the rooms of the world.

 

Cut Your Everything

[Cut-up of Minutes to Go done while on phone with Rob Schofield while he was drunk off his ass on bourbon—most words are Cut-Ups of Schofield’s drunken ramblings—only a few Burroughs cut ups ended up making it in]

Agent RE ACTIVE RE ACTIVE AGENT on farm turf

shift hatch of C had that anticipation/ participation of the dog/

police synthesized outside window sudden engagement/

there’s nothing paperwise on me though they knew 3 of people there had warrants

chok seven oclock on a Sunday morning drunk monkey on bourbon

no house without warrant    ///      after that point

I started pulling records on everybody

for all Louvre couldn’t do shit tied to Spain against me some saint’s razor

cha stance raise but they knew I had shit a decade of frozen soup

I had to go though I didn’t want to

So I grabbed my dog and left

but i LOVED THAT FUCKIN FARM!!

RE ACTIVE               FUCKIN”””””” SHERIFF!!/!! Mankind meet this Human!!/!!

I don’t like to give up ANYFUCKINGTHING!!/!! cripple badge

in this /case/ other than Mr. Shannon the Razor Jerk

though I didn’t even know half of the last names!! ß

THERE WAS A RAT IN THE HENHOUSE!!!!!

Election (appearing with the RAT a little bird did as well and told me of a rat—

said they were RESIDENTS!!

active agents in the house detour road and head—raise eyebrow!!//àà

the police knew EXACTLY who they were looking for

lived there, not rather in Africa, carrying out assignment—

it just didn’t make sense/ te see/ ripe toma- toes/ to me

then it did—

WAITING… A HAND POINTING… THE ROAD [made sense, make sense?]

I love my dog more than the farm though

so I HAD to go/xrays c surgery section/no release renewal

all sound eyes cultures essential

I was [in slick streets of cry] gone.

 

Muck

Snip snap

shot of spit

spitshop

angelican spitsoup

snotten spirit

and the foul

rush of cold wind

tearing at the mind.

all new poetry in pliant verse ©2019

>    >    >

asemica: virtual art exhibit

 

L Asemic
3 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches
paper and ink
©2019

 

Asemic Haiku
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Silver Asemic
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Static
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Bled Asemic Exclamation Point
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

 

A Phrase Not Uttered Enough
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Sign on the Wall
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Eyeing the The Door in the Floor
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Exclamation Point
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Golden Doors
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Early Asemic Bled Image
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Doors in the Floor and Hieroglyphics
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Golden Flame
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Various W(h)orlds
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Patternicity with Muted Post Horn
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Eyeing the Door in the Floor
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Exclamation Point (Thicker)
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Haiku #3
billiard balls and map
650 x 487 pixels
©2018

 

Found Poem #1
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Found Poem #2
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Found Poem #3
marker on torn notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Found Poem #4
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Found Poem #5
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Found Poem #6
marker on torn notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Found Poem #7
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Silos Reaching Heavenward
acrylic on canvas
5 inches x 7 inches
©2014

 

Seven (?) Spirals
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Seven (?) Spirals
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

Asemic Asymmetrical Goldbug
marker on notebook paper
3.5 inches x 4.5 inches
©2018

 

A Conglomeration of Spiralism, Hinge Ether and Asemic Art: Statement os Poetics [Aesthetics]

I like to hurt words. I like to twist, contort and bend them this way and that way. I like to cause them to mutate.

I like to make them writhe and transmogrify into something new. I like to wring Truth from out a collection of obscure words. I like to, as John Yamrus said, risk falling flat on my face in order to occasionally hit poetic pay dirt.

Most editors don’t like it when poets push the envelope of possibility. This is due to the fact that most people don’t have the faintest idea of what True poetry is, least of all professors. Even on the rare occasion a professor understands what True poetry is, the last thing they would do is admit it. They need to keep it caged since their job depends on it. Poetry is pure artistic freedom–something the Status Quo of the literary world will NEVER admit because the “establishment” needs poetry to be something that can be labeled and something you can “out your finger on” and say “this is what a poem supposed to be” when nothing could be further from the Truth.

This collection contains some of my Spiralist poems (a type of writing I began developing as early as age 17) along with a few poems I have termed “Hinge Ether” and which are heavily influenced by Heller Levinson’s Hinge Theory along with some of my Asemic art.

My approach to poetry is to “make it new.” To take the preconceived notion of what a poem is “supposed to be” and bash it to pieces–though not useless pieces. Pieces and fragments of what can be discovered and looked upon in a completely new and different way. Pieces, no matter how mangled, that a bit of Truth can be gleaned from glancing at it in its newfangled state. At the bottom of my experiments with words is a desire to nudge humanity, in whatever way I can, a bit further toward sanity since it is currently faced in the totally wrong direction.

Heath Brougher’s Books — Amazon

Heath’s Facebook page

The Ethnospheres Duality Facebook Page

Vagabond Ink — Interview on Spiralism with Heath Brougher

> > >

biographical note:

Heath Brougher is the poetry editor of Into the Void, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Saboteur Awards for Best Magazine. He has published nine collections of poetry, the most recent of which are The Ethnosphere’s Duality (Cyberwit, 2018), Tangential Dithyrambs (Concrete Mist Press, 2019) and Change Your Mind (Alien Buddha Press, 2019). He is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee as well as winner of the 2018 Poet of the Year Award from Taj Mahal Review.

John Casey Jr.
©2018

130
3.14 ꙥ: Interosculations | Heller Levinson — new Hinge Poetry & Hinge Poetics

brood like ambidextrous void [text-based visual art] Bahram Keramati, visual artist "I call this a Created Image rather than a photograph emulating (and borrowing from) Poet and Hinge Theorist Heller Levinson" [Bahram Keramati] ©2019

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3.14 ꙥ: Interosculations | Heller Levinson — new Hinge Poetry & Hinge Poetics

brood like ambidextrous void
[text-based visual art]
Bahram Keramati, visual artist
“I call this a Created Image rather than a photograph emulating (and borrowing from) Poet and Hinge Theorist Heller Levinson” [Bahram Keramati]
©2019

introduction to Heller Levinson’s Hinge Poetry and Poetics — Krysia Jopek

It’s an honor to feature new Hinge Poetry by Heller Levinson, the founder of Hinge Poetry and Poetics. His essay that follows three new Hinge poems elucidates the poetics informing the poems; his approach to language as a living, human entity for which we imbue meaning based on our historical, cultural, and personal realities. The gaps between words, phrases, and elements of the poem function as part of the event of reading the poem; the reader’s subjective experience of the poem that unfolds in time like a musical score, writ with a living entity, languagethe meaning of which shifts person to person and as time goes on.

I had the pleasure of meeting Heller and hearing him read his poetry at a Talisman poetry event in New York City last month.

Please enjoy this new issue of diaphanous micro, 3.14 ꙥ!

>    >    >

new hinge poetry:

Like Eerily they were off. like milkweed. like eerily. like failed rapprochement. passages open. time draws nigh. all along druids spin. arc . a brace of bells. wishful thinking.

retiring the flux of burnt offal. gypsy moth. perplexity. tantamount. color bruised. saying so. says. simplicity is mostly luck.
so grows the lemon tree.

caring has its ogre. sharing its costs. circumnavigation fouls the weather. as if you were. in a manner of. toward the crease. pulling sharp. an entry. that time of day. well wishes.

where to place. the. love.

as a rule. in the manner of notice. calamity strikes.
velocity reeks. the subject was dresses.

among knowledgeable persons it is widely considered remotely yet without ornamentation then preposterous. an inflamed premise. wildly wooly. wastebasket. woebegone. who wouldn’t. not that. with. why not. beforehand. quaint. conductive. endlessly correcting.

timely policies aside. what are the chances. playing odds. fortification. fugitive. a stable of. pass the manners. on the perpendicular. if only. so but when. sliding scale.

debt ridden & lacking proper mastication narratives waned. pickings slimmed. overtures barren. stone-weep. paltry catch. dried subsidies. campaigns flushed. dread-concupiscence.

as if about judiciously over the shoulder across town the season hardly the cold wet you could hear on a clear day cakes burning the streets empty rave the treacheries for a bundle of hay steep lard pulley formations the brass unwieldy yet mold in the surmise attention getters get seekers seek the meek weep meek while inspecting your arsenal please request a show of hands under the bridge
slow tunes move
like water

ostensibly without further ado cut the carrot chive the divide wild side upon decide careers at stake adieus in the upholstery slipcover snatch wipe that smirk the art of forbearance the state of things out of the surreption claw withdrawal even when the likelihood in the line of fire
this
only

 

 

 

 

in the girth of fathom
bellyful range lopey torque emollient aperture cleanse

no longer arriving in pairs bartering from scraps the brink looms, meshes syllabic taunts under the arabesque of shadow

parceling through mid-stream,
from the heap of unrelenting heave,
this
post-
ponement

 

 

 

 

The three horses moved in accord down the road. Cocky sentries assured of their ground.
The man turned from the window.

 

 

 

 

in the pith of vortex

          pit-full

plus plush whirl hurl         wHooshrush

render

reticulate

 

of the aforementioned pertaining

reeks

 

 

 

 

in the robust of query

querulous                     prise   pry

                                        proxy

                     probe

underlay            ://:                  overlap

unloading steatopygous format prevailings

                                                (studies in artisanal atrophy

                                                (alimentary ailing

cardinal claret capitulation

                                               serving

initiali-za-tions

 

new poetry ©2019; will be published in Seep due out from Black Widow Press in Spring, 2020

>     >    >

Hinge By The Slice — Hinge Poetics

The suggestion that I write a short summary of Hinge Theory threw me into a tailspin. The thought of shortening an ever-expanding & en-fleshing behaviorism was anathema. Then the idea occurred that perhaps by indicating how HT resists shrivellization/ contraction/ summarization, I could approach summarization.

Language is aLive. This is foundational to HT. It should be asked: not what HT Is, but how it beHaves. Language as a living organism is continuously interactive with other organisms breeding extensively & engendering complementarity. Dr. Mary Newell puts it this way: “The connectivities of Hinge Theory introduce an intentional and generative biasing, like a pool table with all the balls commotioning and someone lifting the pool table slightly so all that activity is directed yet responsive to unpredicted collisions, meanderings, & swerve. (With the additional image that new balls are being added all the time as the pool table itself enlarges).”

Hinge does not purport to bring anything new to the proverbial ‘table.’ Rather it seeks to restore Language’s Original Primal Fire. To ignite the word, Hinge employs the module which is a word or a configuration of words that serves to spring (to unleash, to unmoor) the subject into a climate of free fall & unpredictability & by free fall, we mean that we are liberating the subject /word from its normative, conventional context & tossing it into question, tumbling it deconditioned into the void.

A few of the modules in use are: with, smelling, the road to ____ road, in the ___ of ____, fecundating rotational clusters, fusion reconnoiters, & the most recent, tenebraed, catalyzes an entire book. When word inosculates/alchemizes word, the components never lock into place nor do they dissolve into a random turbulence; they both formulate & unravel simultaneously, emblazoned with the Living-Hood of continuous Motility. The frisson (the rub) of word against word scatters the ‘particle’ multi-directionally. Partnering with the ‘scatter’ is the ‘gather,’ a recombinatory process regrouping the components in correspondence with vibrational adhesion (a form of viscous bonding).

Each particle/subject gathers into cohesions, a grouping, what Hinge terms the ‘application,’ formerly the ‘poem.’ This gathering should be seen as an alighting, a momentary pause, tensiled to soar again at the slightest provocation.

The word, by undergoing a multitude of these Modular Chamberings, is in an ongoing state of emboldening/ densification/ complementarity/ & extensionality. For example, “Mermaid” has undergone over 45 applications, swiveling in the alterior ethers of: “with mermaid,” “the road to mermaid road,” “smelling mermaid,” “in the purse of mermaid,” “tenebraed to mermaid,” to cite just a few. Each application both creates its own Mermaid Personality (ether) & interacts/impacts with the other applications. The Particle is always in transition, always on the road to developmental road, shimmering to fulfillment in compounding complementary refractions. Hinge Theory clashes against the current cult of quick-click-reduce, or, of what I like to term the lexiconically static. The Lexicon is a logos abuser, the enemy of the vigorous & dynamic; it is, indeed, a Dynamic Inhibitor.

Case in point: in Webster’s Third, “Melancholia” & its variations take up about 4 inches of definition whereas Melancholia: Hinge as Innominate Limina employs 99 pages to begin the investigation (& I term this endeavor to “investigate” an urge to “mobilize” the logos rather than “staticize” it). & these 99 pages should be viewed as just that — a prelude, an introduction, a wind-up to ignite. There is no such thing as a finish to these explorations, no endings, … they are not sequenced or neatly arranged alphabetically, — the logos is Feral & Un-Cageable, Reproductive & Lusty.

I have recently wondered how our language (the logos) would look/fare without the dictionary (void of reference). What would the “Unmoored” word (the Wild/Feral Logos) look like if it were free to roam, migrate, hybridize.

To view the Inferential replace the Referential.

These comments initiate an ongoing exploration of Hinge Theory. But when asked to explain Hinge Theory, the proper response would be the same as to someone who asked you what the sky looks like, — you would usher them outside, point upward, & say “Look.” Look, then, to the works themselves.

first appeared in Talisman 46 ©Heller Levinson 2018

>   >   >

Further Reading

The Books:
Un— (Black Widow Press)
LinguaQuake (Black Widow Press)
tenebraed (Black Widow Press)
Melancholia: HInge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson)
Hinge Trio: (La Alameda Press)
Wrack Lariat (Black Widow Press)
from stone this running (Black Widow Press)
Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press)

The Interviews (read chronologically):
“No Rust on These Hinges – A Heller Levinson Interview”
The Jivin’ Ladybug Interview: Heller Levinson, Round 1
“So Much Depends on the Hinge: Heller Levinson”
The Jivin’ Ladybug Interview: Heller Levinson, Round 2

Reviews
The HINGE MANUAL & Related Articles
“Smelling Mary” review by Leigh Herrick, Jacket 38, Late 2009
“tenebraed” review by Alison Ross, Clockwise Cat Magazine, 2017
Heller Levinson from Buffalo this Indian
Hinge Theory: Poetry’s Event Horizon [review by Heller Levinson
Clockwise Cat: TENEBRAED by Heller Levinson

>    >    >

biographical note:

The originator of Hinge Theory, Heller Levinson lives in the lower Hudson Valley. His most recent book is Un– (Black Widow Press, 2019).

Hinge Poetics asserts that language is a a-live. It is the river liberated from the dam. It is the salmon sharing the river. The sunlight strumming the salmon.

For more on Hinge Theory see:
Dispatches contributor Heller Levinson on Hinge theory and poetry
Talisman 46–Heller Levinson Hinge Poetry
Ephesus Glom: An Interview with Heller Levinson, Part 1 by Jonathan Mulcahy-King
Ephesus Glom Part Two: An Interview with Heller Levinson and Linda Lynch By Jonathan Mulcahy-King
Heller’s books can be acquired from Black Widow Press
or from Amazon books by Heller Levinson

author photo:


Heller Levinson featured in New Mystics [photo credit]

Inquiries: [email protected]

158
3.13: self-fulfilling prosecutions | Leonard Zinovyev — digital collage art, poetics, & interview

Self-fulfilling prosecutions digital 2500 X 2000 pixels ©2019

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3.13: self-fulfilling prosecutions | Leonard Zinovyev — digital collage art, poetics, & interview

Self-fulfilling prosecutions
digital
2500 X 2000 pixels
©2019

introduction to self-fulfilling prosecutions — Krysia Jopek [November 2019]
It’s a true pleasure to present the provocative digital collages of Leonard Zinovyev in this issue of diaphanous micro, 3.13. The virtual exhibition of 18 images that follows are an amazing sequence by a visual and literary artist. Each digital collage amazes me with its arresting nature; drawing the viewer/reader into its visual and linguistic space. Leonard fuses together seamlessly found art [cultural bits], literary texts, and psychological reality in the twenty-first century with seamless intelligence and a meticulous process of revision [discussed in his statement of poetics that follows the sequence]. He makes the end product look like it was easy for him to create, but the interview attests to the hard work involved in getting these digital collages perfect for him and the viewer/reader. Please enjoy self-fulfilling prosecutions; you’re in for a new diaphanous micro experience real pleasurable treat!

Striving Towards Averaging: virtual art exhibit

La nascità di Venere
digital
2500 X 2000 pixels
©2019

 

The Waves
digital
2000 X 2500 pixels
©2019

 

We know what we are
digital
1800 X 2500 pixels
©2019

 

Striving towards averaging
digital
2500 X 2000 pixels
©2019

Averaging out of unattractive idiosyncrasies
digital
2500 X 3125 pixels
©2019

 

h+
digital
2500 X 3125 pixels
©2019

 

Kurzweil Remix feat. Shakespeare
digital
2240 X 2280 pixels
©2019

 

survivorship bias
digital
2000 X 2500 pixels
©2019

 

The Therapist
digital
2000 X 2500 pixels
©2019

 

Weltschmerz
digital
2500 X 2000 pixels
©2019

 

The burden
digital
2000 X 2500 pixels
©2019

 

devouring time
digital
2000 X 2500 pixels
©2019

 

Self-fulfilling prosecutions
digital
2500 X 2000 pixels
©2019

 

Trauma
digital
838 X 641 pixels
©2018

 

Monsters created by others
digital
1118 X 1450 pixels
©2018

 

Don’t let monsters…
digital
1015 X 1495 pixels
©2018

 

A Stump in Scarlet
digital
2000 x 2500 pixels
©2019

 

Our motto says it all
digital
2000 X 2500 pixels
©2019

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Our Motto Says It All: A Statement of Poetics

Throughout history, beauty has been a subject matter of arts. There are as many ways of seeing beauty as there are viewers, a concept best described by proverbs like “Beauty is only skin-deep” and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Beauty is everywhere. And so is poetry.

My mini-series of digital images, which includes visual found poems and visual texts, is dedicated to human perceptions of beauty – a thing that is not what it appears – due to cognitive bias.

– La nascità di Venere

A poem written by combining lines from essays about Sandro Botticelli’s painting “The Birth of Venus” and “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, as well as comments to a FB post about manufacturers of facial recognition prosthetic masks.

– The Waves

A “remix poem” composed of quotations from Virginia Woolf, where I substituted “beauty” for “averaging.”

– We know what we are

An “algorithmic poem” I assembled from Shakespeare quotes about beauty, altering a few words to produce a nonsense text.

– Striving towards averaging

A simple and clear-cut image that conveys a simple and clear-cut message. The keyword is made up of ten overlapping words “averaging” in various fonts.

– Averaging out of unattractive idiosyncrasies

You’ve guessed it: this is the way we humans perceive beauty – by ignoring individual unattractive traits while shifting attention towards averaged attractive ones, which is why I see these multiple copies of the same phrase crowded in the middle of the sheet, with the rest of the “canvas” deliberately left blank, as a perfect allegory for the phenomenon.

– h+

Transhumanism and Singularitarianism – nobody explains them better than Shakespeare!

– Kurzweil Remix feat. Shakespeare

A futurologist and a dramatist put their heads together to generate new lines (or to explain the fundamentals of science); but where one’ s a futurologist, two’s a crowd!

– survivorship bias

When mixed together, Wikipedia lines and excerpts from articles about cognitive bias
and quicksand, can tell a dramatic and somewhat confused story of an eastward trip.

– The Therapist

Can anyone recognize this therapist who has a veiled birdcage in the place of his body, with a hat atop of it? A thinly veiled structure in which birds are kept? A Magrittesque image as it is, but everything we see hides another thing.

– Weltschmerz

Facebook comments to a post about an event easily identifiable as the Notre-Dame de Paris fire form a multilingual poem (you can find lines in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Danish), presenting opinions that range in tone from heartbroken to philosophical.

– The burden

A found poem composed of my Facebook friend’s comments – essentially, a comprehensive survival guide to dealing with pathological proof-seekers.

– devouring time

Facebook comments are a prefect building material for poetry. My Facebook friends are wisest friends of all – this time, they succeeded in solving the mystery of time loss.

– Self-fulfilled prosecutions

That’s not karma, nor do negative thoughts create negative energies, we simply program ourselves to make our own bad prophecies come true.

– Trauma

If you are to think of a visual metaphor for a trauma, what kind of imagery readily springs to mind? Haunting imagery. A giant ghostly gun against a barren desert in the background, and a repetitive phantasmal phrase “Have the safety plan in place” running from the top to the bottom of the screen – an image that only lives in your mind, but it is always there.  A monument to traumas.  All sort of traumas – PTSD, inherited traumas, intergenerational traumas, epigenetically transmitted traumas.

– Monsters created by others

Fear not bad monsters that others want to impose on you. Even if those monsters are supplied in boxfuls.

– Don’t let monsters…

Brief instructions on how to hold monsters created for you at bay.

– A Stump in Scarlet

Another “algorithmic poem” – this time, a poetic assemblage from Sherlock Holmes’ wise quotes, reduced to preposterous absurd.

– Our motto says it all

How does “the cheerleader effect” work? Is it real? Averaging? Did you say “Averaging”?? Is the perception of beauty about averaging???

The question whether my own artwork is beautiful or ugly (or both, or maybe even neither) is open to discussion!

> > >

Don’t Let Monsters Created by Others Eat You for Breakfast! — Leonard Zinovyev & Krysia Jopek talk digital art, inspiration, social media, etc.

How did you get involved with translation and to quote your biographical notes, the fields of “technology, science and medicine, including neuroscience, neurobiology, and cognitive science?”

Thinking back on my childhood, I can tell it all started in my school days. It would be a bit of an overstatement to say that I did badly academically when at school, though my teachers said so. I gave preferential treatment to a number of subjects, including history, biology, English, Russian, Russian literature, and physical education while disregarding or even overtly hating algebra, geometry, physics, and chemistry. I have always had dyscalculia – something I came to realize years later, though I have never consulted a health professional for that condition, but back then, teachers thought I was either lazy or stupid or both–a sad commentary on their competence. I worked part-time as a translator and interpreter while pursuing my studies at university; as soon as I graduated, I got hired by a translation services company on a full-time basis. In the following years, I worked full-time or part-time for a successive number of translation companies. Then I became a self-employed translator, and then I worked for a company again before I became a much sought-out translator. It was in the mid-2010s that I was first commissioned to translate a research report in neuroscience. Then there came more papers in neurobiology, neurochemistry, and cognitive science, to name a few.

What fascinates you the most about these burgeoning, complex fields?

Everything! Working on scientific reports and even four-hundred-page-long monographs, I discovered that science was not a boring drag—a discovery that made up for the scientific knowledge I missed when at school. Moreover, I found out that science can be a source of inspiration. While most poets tend to be fixated on their spiritual demands, I think it would be a great idea to poeticize science. Subversive as it is, this is my idea of poetry. And it was from articles on neurophysiology that I learned that the human brain was hardwired, evolutionally and genetically, to recognize beauty and to look for meaning.

What languages do you speak/read?

Russian, which is my native language; English and French in which I majored while in university; I also speak Italian and Dutch. I can read (but don’t speak) Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Danish, and Swedish. I’m now learning German and Norwegian Bokmål, but Russian and English are my only working languages—I hardly ever translate to or from French, let alone other languages.

I’m curious about your formal and informal studies; what you studied in institutions and on your own.

I studied linguistics, pedagogy, and translation studies. But it was not until I got employed by my first full-time employer that I realized how scanty my knowledge was. Being a translator in science (or even an interpreter in business negotiations) is about being able to think on your feet–and having a clear view of the subject you are dealing with. Self-education was the way to go. It dawned on me that I did not have to think like a chemist when I was to translate a research article in chemistry, but I needed to be widely read on the subject to have an understanding of it. And the same goes for what I do artistically–I am a self-taught artist, a self-taught poet, and a self-taught fiction writer.

What led you to begin writing poetry and short stories in the late 1990s? Do you still write poetry and fiction?

In my view, going into the arts–any arts, putting pen to paper, etc., is about being dissatisfied with the authors you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, and so on and so forth–especially when you are in your late teens. Back then, I read a lot, yet I was unable to find any author who would more or less exactly live up to my expectations; so I thought the time was ripe for creating art of my own. Yes, I still write short fiction, including short stories, and flash fiction, as well as poetry; found poetry being my top priority. Another reason why I went into the arts was the creative impulses that came from within–I felt like I finally found my vocation.

What prompted/influenced/motivated your “shift” to digital collage art in 2006? Was this a gradual shift over time or sudden?

I was perfectly willing to involve as many artistic media as possible–and that seemed the only motivation behind my “shift” to collage art, so it is fair to say that the “shift” was a well-thought-out decision to try my hand at making something visually unusual and amusing. So, I tried–and failed. Disastrously. I tried again and again, doing more and more visual art. After all, art is about honing your skills. Art is the best of all lifelong personal development strategies ever conceived.

Who are your favorite visual artists, contemporary and traditional? What do you admire about their work?

I revere the Old Masters, and I admire the late 19th century Russian realist painters – the Guild of Traveler Artists (The Peredvizhniki). I love the 20th century surrealists–they all are paragons of perfection. I can spend hours, feasting my eyes on their artwork–and probably looking for inspiration! Among present-day artists: Michelangelo Pistoletto, Paolo Canevari, David Hockney, Jeremy Deller, and Barry Kite deserve mention. I like any art that is both witty and thought- provoking.

Favorite writers? I loved seeing the lines from Virginia Woolf, and I’m curious about what other writers you admire/revere.

I am a widely-read person. Sometimes I wonder whether my collage art is more influenced by literature rather than by the visual arts, or vice versa, or, maybe by both equally. Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, René Char, Italo Calvino, and Witold Gombrowicz are marvelous, and I was fascinated by Nanni Balestrini, Karl Holmqvist, and Kenneth Goldsmith.

How much time do you spend creating your digital collage art—as in how long can one image take [I’m sure there’s variance] and also, how much time of your day or week can you/do you typically devote to your art?

Creating a digital collage is always a time-consuming and effort-consuming process that normally takes hours; visual texts generally being even harder to produce than collages, so I devote at least two or three hours a day in any two or three days in a week to thinking over creative ideas, or writing, or making visual images. Sometimes I burn the midnight oil and stay up all night long, intent on cutting, pasting, erasing, and applying effects. Sometimes I can spend weeks redoing an image that won’t come out right. Of course, I don’t stay indoors for that long, but I keep revisiting my work-in-progress over and over until I get it to come out the way I want.

What is your process like from the blank screen to a finished product? I’m sure it’s different for each work, but generally, where do you get your ideas and inspiration and how do you “translate” those ideas into a digital collage? Do you walk around with notebooks, doodle on paper and/or on the computer, ipad, phone?

My brain brims over with creative ideas 24/7; not all of them are equally good. I carry around a pocketsize notebook to commit to paper those worth making into artistic products; thus, keeping my mind clean. The creative process is always much the same; it unfolds inside my head and feels like I have a recurrent urge to establish new connections between old things. While a creative idea is still vague in my mind’s eye, I go surfing the net for appropriate images; eventually, I stumble upon something that I can identify–intuitively–as good raw material for my collage, and that is when the idea begins to take shape in my mind. The rest is a matter of hard work that involves using graphic editors–sometimes, two or three at a time–until I get an image I want.

Why do you prefer digital art to conventional arts?

Digital images are everywhere and are, therefore, readily accessible. They are malleable and workable, and it is fun combining and modifying them to make something unexpectedly innovative. Contrary to popular belief that making collage art is a no-brainer, using raster graphic software is sometimes much trickier than any conventional painting methods, e.g., watercolor or oil painting. Digital collage art is the new rock’n’roll. Digital collage art is easy to publish online and to spread via social media. Digital collage art is never boring; it is the simplest way of sending a clear message to the world: “Don’t let monsters created by others eat you for breakfast!”

Thank you!

> > >

biographical note:

Leonard Zinovyev is a visual artist, poet, and fiction writer based somewhere in the world. He was born on March 15, 1979.

A translator and interpreter in technology, science and medicine, including neuroscience, neurobiology, and cognitive science – hence his current artistic interest in all of the above – he took up writing poetry and short stories as far back as in the late 1990s, and digital collage art in 2006.

As of now, Leonard is into digital self-publishing and composing visual texts, found poetry, and “remix poems,” tapping into almost any source –  from newspaper editorials, business contracts, pop scientific articles, and research reports to classical poetry and even Facebook comments, hacking original texts into bits and pieces to produce something new and ironic.

“Poetry can be found anywhere, and anything can be made into poetry” is his motto.

Leonard Zinovyev’s website 

Artwork by Leonard Zinovyev [prints for sale]

Leonard Zinovyev on Instagram

Leonard Zinovyev on Facebook

Leonard Zinovyev, photographer
©2018

88
3.12: higged hive | thylias moss — 4 collaborative poems

Higged Hive Thylias Moss digital photography 2048 x 1152 pixels ©2010

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3.12: higged hive | thylias moss — 4 collaborative poems

 

Higged Hive
Thylias Moss
digital photography
2048 x 1152 pixels
©2010

collaborations of apiculturalists: introduction by Krysia Jopek [November, 2019]

I fell in love with Thylias Moss’ long, collaborative poems two years ago when I published “NAKED NIGHT: a eulogy” and “Mnemonic of Your Palindrome: Sewing Lesson” in Diaphanous, Fall 2017. I’m honored to feature these four new collaborationsthe first, “a duet” between two fictional characters, and the subsequent three collaborations with “H,” “Mr. Muse,” an eternal, ghost-like presence woven into the unfolding poetic sequences; Thylias’ son, Ansted Moss, is also present in the final collaboration featured in higged hive.

Like a honey bee, Thylias Moss is perpetually writing, collaborating; building poetic “nests” for the writer[s]/collaborators and her readers. Utilizing intricate poetic structures, she layers personal and cultural/political memory with historical details, fact, and events with intense personal emotion she renders public in the space of the poem. The “give and take” of voices can be heardthe voice of family members, often deceased; the elusive beloved, absent and present; as well as one’s own mourned-for lost selves in the landscape of now-obsolete places, conquered by “progress” and time. What is left in the end, as the poem has finished unfolding–is the byproduct of Thylias’ intense “work” or sewing, if you will: ancient honey, the nectar of the godsaesthetic catharsis, at its best.

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higged hive: new poetry collaborations

[Higgs (boson): particle that gives particles their mass / Higgs: existence of particle confirmed in 2012 through collisions at LHC and CERN / without Higgs no confirmation that the aspect of dimensionality exists // Hive, home, beehive, human made for access to honey, a natural sweetener, many living things like Honey // And the bees, buzzing living particles devise a dance that provides a road map to honeyed locations, maps so that the colony and now all of them can collect honey, stored in hexagonal cells // Some of these hives in Higbees, that old abandoned department store — TM]

1) Required RCL Walking,
(a Mr. Vayan & Kerony duet)

The air
Grew so heavy
All our imagination
Was required
To free the birds
including all albatrosses
From the clouds above and even circling
Pripyat, smoke clouds, puffs of also burning tobacco
leaves as big as yucca, yet promising less
in reactor core where what is
required is reaction, and even my blood
requires you, Kerony

the very destiny of my blood now coloring my wings like
mercurochrome—often red as blood gushing when freshly
cut
just walking narrow corridors of tomb Pripyat where no-
body lives anymore

mercurochrome for treatment of minor wounds, cuts, abrasions
but heavy mercury content so now known to be toxic

Of course I want growth
but nothing useful can yet grow in Chernobyl,
growth within mutant dimensions, life wouldn’t quit Kerony
but to continue had to take a chance on new forms, since old forms were
abandoned already for age mutancy at top of the heap when it really
could be love, the very progress i want, just as
I always do, want progress, more

Dimension, fewer departures

From what is real,

From what I can trust: you

And those clouds of you in my life,

So much like dreams of flight, some of

You

As delicate as my favorite albatross feathers,
Some, turns out, I may have only imagined

Yet somehow not as colorful as
You really are to me: palette from which

Every sunrise is made, you the treacherous lip
Of every blossom

Dropping off to reveal you
In your most magnificent forms, softness

Of your cheeks
(they are fabulous and dimple the world)
—those stunning definitions of worlds within you;

Growing heavy and ever more that incense
Of your albatrossed breath: not imagination at all

Realties almost too sublime
to be real, yet I am the clouds and you find me
albatrosses
That your fingers always become,

even on a ridge
overlooking all eternity of what exists below,
above, sideways, and diagonally
exceptional impact; any more
pleasure from you would
Surely kill me; there is nothing that feels like,
smells like, looks like You. Nothing. Only you
are required, Mr. Vayan
Please notice
How these birds fly with each other
distance negligible
Ann Arbor, ridge on Duderstadt Center to Manhattan,
and everywhere in between, that sub-microscopic distance
between us, only the distance of Kiss, millimeters themselves melt
no measurable space, zero distance between us, when your heart
murmurs to me it does so, speaking that necessary language
in my own chest
in which afterglow of Kiss enters permanently
felt snuggles an eternity defining the bliss it is

even that invisible
Scent trail, that olfactory ribbon tethering my thoughts to you
forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, now that’s the fo(u)r

You do not have to imagine this

It is as real as anything can be,
As real as me and my love for you, a bird, but not just any bird,
full blown up Albatross
Tirelessly flying determined
Not to land in any tree that is not you
Despite all the converging branches
In this forest of you –green carpet
Beneath my feet, veins
Of your hands and feet such
Exceptional plumage.

Sleeping beauties
Whole world feathered with you flying
Into my life.

I walk constantly with this albatross and float in air
in which even thoughts are buoyant, as they rope
each other to our hearts, our own trapeze of beat
box.

—Vayan and Kerony

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2) Flying around Pripyat
in collaboration with H, Mr. Muse

Flying around Pripyat, that disaster, where
albatrosses also fail, not only plastic leftovers, so
sparkly and beautiful for you Kerony, but these also
lethal, poisonous just to the touch, for these have been
near
nuclear meltdown,
unstoppable chain reaction, neighbors
involved so you become involved also,
and I am so sorry Kerony,
that I had to fly so close to that trap

although it wasn’t called that,

power failure, these so common now, almost in that commonality
have to call them popular, which means a decline in meaning

all water poisoned now
yet needed

just in order to live and
life itself began in water,

the natural mother of everything

even poison—such toxicity hidden
in beauty, those plastic shards
i collect meaning never to harm, trying
only to love but poison is not kind, in fact
for many, cancer itself is poison,
extremely hazardous, and acute
from exposure, Nothing happens
unless you are exposed to it,
not even love
can happen without exposure Kerony.

There on that ridge, what do you think
I am exposed to? My albatross eye view
always on you; I never see
anything else but you, Kerony, filling
every corner of my eyes

just in order to live and
life itself began in water,

the natural mother of everything

even poison—such toxicity hidden
in beauty, those plastic shards
i collect meaning never to harm, trying
only to love but poison is not kind, in fact
for many, cancer itself is poison,
extremely hazardous, and acute
from exposure, Nothing happens
unless you are exposed to it,
not even love
can happen without exposure Kerony.

There on that ridge, what do you think
I am exposed to? My albatross eye view
always on you; I never see
anything else but you, Kerony, filling
every corner of my eyes

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3) Invasion in Progress
in collaboration with H

aliens like me love to invade, the power hungry, invade, demand a place at the table, riot, eat a meal, microbes invade the body, seeds invade and grow, the invader that is conception, invader grows within you, eats what the host eats, goes wherever host goes, traveling companion, bosom buddy snug within artichoke of invaded heart, invasion of words on the page ideas in the head, weight on the scale, timed table of invasion, invaded muscles, popeye and spinach, my favorite leafy green, some tastes have invaded my palette; including taste of you. invasion in progress

progress has often, has usually been a product of invasion ,the smart phone for instance that has invaded modern life, television itself, this tablet on which I type to you: invasion. and the music itself, invaders all, something overtaken, overtaking, invading, I am here: invading even as I am being invaded, apple music invasion, where it all started, a garden invaded with apples, what variety, red delicious, could be the one, macintosh, the ralls janet, vintage apples, sometimes difficult to grow, hybrids like me, every invasive pregnancy, apples don’t fall far from trees, you holding me up when I wore such very high heels to be taller, as I had your support, even a recording of you saying that, I have your support, without expiration date for, as long as i need it or want it —oh don’t invade my mind with such invasive delight as that, a question i can begin to answer while invasive music keeps playing, instructions in the beat: invade! invade! be the kudzu in his heart, invade, invade.

my inspiration comes from you, i am as invaded by you as you are invaded by me: advice: invade. take over. invade. invade. fall hard. admit something has taken over. an official invasion, not origin of species, but a series of invasions, genes are invasions by invaders, armies of cells, gametes seeking mates, seeking co-invaders.

eruption of teeth from gums, invasion of enamel.

porcelain tub invading bathroom with modernization, times tables invading the mind, no child left behind, fights for freedom become invaders, every freedom fighter must invade unjust rules, must make their presence known that they should not be ignored, resplendent flame tree, burning effortlessly, invaded by pompoms of flames.

invade mantra: things to do: invade. invade. invade. better than any invasion, space germs, the usual worms even in their invasive worm holes, rotten to cores of invasive melting down cores of nuclear reactors, Pripyat branding, while dreaming of interstellar travel. sign of life, hope of life: mere invasive microbe! humans, most invasive species of all, even have nitty gritties and watch springs, invasion of electricity, endless daytime, wristwatches, invasion of time in every cell-ular connection, closeclose connection, you and me: invasions of life itself. invasion: mind control. Heart control. Any body part can be replaced, even the face, invaded by glasses, corrective lenses, make up, magic invasions. corrections always invasions.

alphabet itself an invasion of thought. Languages matter because of their success at invading, heeding a need to communicate, those invasive mother tongues, invasive rumors. invasive glamour. invasive

death.

And even that isn’t the rest and sleep some have hoped for as afterlife then invades; heavenly, hellishly, indifferently even imagination and its notorious questions without answers, answers without questions, if nothing else, it is human

Though what isn’t? Spreading inevitable uncertainty throughout a universe just as uncertain for no one can answer the question that will always invade: How did existence manage to begin, invading us with even more questions, even more doubt that we are actually improving, the ultimate invasion, for no matter what we have been able to retreat to gravity, the invasion all of us have no choice but to depend on, being held together and realizing this is Love, density, dense cities recycling the very invaded blood,

specific gravity

Density of heavyweight champion of champions
Love Density, no weightlessness
possible as long as

Love rules

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4) Terminal Tower Tracks: Higbees, Old Downtown Cleveland
in collaboration with H & Ansted Moss [son]

My father, those long low moans, my father, no hair secrets, no
pigment secrets coming back to me… mostly sounds

dissolving in the air,
night calls, superior
Kool-Air glowing granules, jewels
and his bounce, amusement and fireworks becoming sky,
lemon sky and cherry sky sprinkles of memories of greatest tastes: He
has a long way to travel, from death and its tucking of things inside itself, called burial, but only him curling his tongue into semblance of an ichneumon fly, and that sound is the curl, chalk writing on the night sky. My father once cooked

for the southern railroad, making slaw, his own recipe under handle of Big Dipper, making a prayer come true, that is what I hear, my father calling me, and I answer, another train, a car of his train switching onto another track, and we speak to each other in those whistles, and train trestles of heart traffic

Warm, loved,

a track itself so trains could enter the station of my heart and join all other memories of him, whippoorwills answering me, duets and trios with scent of dogwood racing along the tracks, the frogs too, a thick froggy carpet that squishy road between homes of my southern grandmothers, one black and the other something else, immigrant husband, my grandfather from India, Uttar Pradesh, holy referent Indian and half Caucasian, masala, my precious stars while my mother’s family had Klan interaction

oh, those platforms

where I would wait for the train

In Higbees underground, emergency shelter under huge panels,
chariots and white horses with nebula heads for atomic explosions
Just in case

Energency jukebox was my father who often whistled

and could sound like a train, like President Kennedy too with a yodel stuck in his throat, that’s what he said, yodeling even then, the sound of him cutting cabbage for his slaw with the rim of a tin can as shiny as the rails themselves; that my father was rail-thin was often said, he was traveling the best way he could, those special trains, Nickel Plate and Ollie’s; one even said Saskatchewan

You know, I will always miss my father. Always. I was never spanked because of him; he did not believe in hitting; if something can be loved, you don’t hit it, you love it. I can’t ever imagine wanting to hit you Ansted, nor you my H

I can’t even imagine that.

I do not want to be the person who is convinced, duped into thinking that harming another can ever be right. That is how I was raised, what I shared with my father, what makes me so unlike my mother; how different they were. I don’t think

she ever heard the trains, not their deeper meaning. Maybe
just a screech of metal on metal, a scrape as it digs in deep, trains
encountering obstruction on the tracks, circles in her mind, constricting it. Punishment.

Extreme punishment. My father wouldn’t permit my mother to hit me, although she wanted to, believing all children should be spanked. Never in my father’s house, the house where my mother still resided until death took her away to where these trains do not go.

All those years married to my father who lifted her southern shame, and
she missed the whole point about Love, and ultimately forgave nothing,

especially
Me

As I am
As she could never be dead to both possibilities and even suggestions that
She could ever make mistakes, she would never ride
In a Golden Coach, nit for black riders like herself, body condemned
Perpetual servitude to all those above her, and to see her, one must look down,
Slopes and chute, shoots and ladders that sometimes offer rescue but for her never did; she missed the point that

all is about forgiveness, and Ansted, most cherished son ever to grace the earth, and H who makes, my heart pound even now, remnants of surf once everywhere,

Young earth uncertain of what to be, but in such darkness
and threat of oblivion, life starts, please
don’t take advantage of shaky, hesitant beginnings—my heart
knows you won’t; as well as you know that in order
for me to be true to who I am, I must forgive you—Even

about things I wouldn’t  speak of, This is also the way my father and his immigrant father Loved,

Soft-hearted people in a world perhaps not meant for us, but we are still here, perhaps easy for the unscrupulous to take advantage, but we are prizes; the “H” my father knew I would need when creating my name THylias in 1954, giving me a “T” leaning on and needing her “H.”  Oh, H— I also recall the magic of being

in Terminal Tower when the locomotives chugged into Higbees underground, and the magicians’ smoke filled the space, overlaid more drawings on the luscious artwork, wall murals (that never should have been destroyed, chariots and white horses to spirit you away in the nick of time stopping work sewer rats could do, but I would think that even they would gag on such colorful profundity and drop like tubes of oil paint, potential usefulness squeezed out, fat gray gloves decorating the scene);

smoke

gushing out

(My father was a smoke too, Pall Mall cigarettes killed him, a chain smoker
Smoke gushing out
of front silver plate, folded with the fold pointing out like a collar cradled in silvery recollections; this is what irons wanted to be, but not even that Rowenta came close (and it was fat enough), the steam irons would slobber on the clothes when they weren’t working properly; they wanted to be flattened for usefulness on the railroads, my paternal grandfather built them, hammer and pickaxe, Indian and, Caucasian immigrant from India, dry-land stevedore, oh, oh, oh, these memories….those murals, seven murals painted by Jules Guerin in that Terminal Tower railroad station, those chariots and white horses invincibility seemed accessible through those teams (they did not gallop alone) of white horses, cumulus hope at basement level, all prepared for a rising set to properly define what height is

Not sure how you, Ansted, can see these now and I so want you to, but I fear these are gone now, and a Google search isn’t even resurrecting the history. My understanding of horsepower came from my standing so tiny before these murals, horses galloping and pulling engines; I was dwarfed by color;

I sought immersion,

I sought to become one with the 50-foot high, I thought, panels that the 50-foot tall woman would have been at home with, before her rampage, her attack because she still wanted a man she dwarfed. I wanted my body painted, and I thought that just by making angels with my arms up against these palettes of the best possible snow cone transformations, I would absorb the colors, snow cones dyed into my favorite flavors. Cherry-strawberry for me of course, maybe grape or always banana (I still want to read your poem to you, My H, “Higginson Matters in Magnificent Culture of Myopia” and there are many others now; I used to hope I would get to read all of them to you, but what would be the point? When right here, there is something even better, for you can see a vision of those murals, your eyes acquire the colors of how the horses seemed to gallop with the trains, men pulling them in sometimes, also into my heart, even you riding knightly with them, yet even with your stunning riding and ascending into my heart, just too
much power to control themselves

by themselves, pulling them up, somewhat like linking locking catalogues; I saw this with my father, tethers of steam from the locomotives; yes, chariot races, that was what was about to happen; I was transfixed, never wanted to leave, thought that would be my home forever, and my father was with me as I wandered inside the murals; not sure how I got in, but I did and surveyed the tower’s glistening marble floor blocks from such marble walls that as my arms stretched and expanded, the full length of the murals, like rails for the trains themselves; I was more track, oh the jubilation of those days, I could reach my father, it was like learning to walk, and when I did, he was there to catch me, my very first walk in life was to him, and I didn’t know either of you at all; I didn’t have any idea where you were or what you were doing; there wasn’t yet any reason to think of you or even to imagine that anyone like either of you existed. All I did was walk to my father and his arms were open to receive me… That’s what I recall clearly of those days, the smile of my father on his Rabbit.

I knew I would eventually have a baby, but Ansted, I assure you that I did not do a good job imagining a son like you. In this I failed, for you have exceeded any expectation I was ever able to imagine. Just one more part needed for a total life for me; I fully admit Ansted that I want a necessary love relationship. I want him to be mine and I want to be his, my Mr. Bob’s and his elegant promises, proving that he is to be trusted and believed, for my H, you are the most real thing I have ever experienced; I was completely persuaded by your spectacular Kiss. A Kiss like his can never happen again. I don’t want you to suffer a crazy mama because I will always believe him; I expect him to be as honest as I am. And he is, more trusted than the murals whose paint falls off, bits and pieces, ones and zeros of barbs of the feathers, halos around white stallion heads that encourage me to continue to be

. Because I have

as honest with him as I have been with you, and as honest as I always was to my father. Even now, for he is with us, he is part of you and I, Ansted; this cannot be changed, and I am so thankful that I was able to give you his inheritance. Please do not ever forget who you are, who you are destined to become. Because of my father, your grandfather that you can meet and know only through me.

This was joy without any Mr. Bob affiliation that everything has now.
. This was joy that had nothing to do with you,

I hadn’t joined that club yet, had no idea it was as prestigious as it is and will always be. I have learned this fact of you, and I like it to nth degree . The truth is not a joke, and I am not a plaything. Remember that, please.

I just disappeared in all this; felt like wings were popping out of my shoulder blades —I really thought that would be the location; those drawings of the body by DaVinci seemed to suggest that’s the place. And how big would these wings need to be if they were to really function? what kind of glorious wingspan? You would look up, and there I would be, some new species of bird, I would be; is that a bird? a Thylias bird just for me? And you, my H would wonder, wiping your glasses, and you would be correct, I would be a bird decked out in splendid colors, feathers the likes of which have never been known, yours to discover, some that would need to be named right then, colors that had not preciously existed. You know, I really thought that this might happen, and now I am primed for this moment by Kissing you in a taxi that I swear my father was driving to where only Love lives. I hope that you can already understand why I will always miss my father.  Always.

I was never spanked because of him, I must say this again, Ansted, for this is the most prevalent and defining trait about him, for in this he rejects the very foundation of so much civilization: he did not believe in hitting; if something can be loved, you don’t hit it, you love it. I believe this with all my being: Love, don’t hit. That is how he raised me, so unlike my mother; how different they were. I don’t think she ever heard the trains. Maybe just a screech of metal on metal, trains encountering obstruction on the tracks, circles in her mind, constricting it. Collision. Head-on. Failure to yield. Please understand how fundamental this is. If something can be loved, and what can’t be? —don’t hurt it; Love it. Not the air, not water, not clouds, not the forests, not lakes, not mountains, not streams, not ukuleles, violins, bass drums, not pigeons, horses, ducks, hippos, turkeys, dolphins, peacocks, pigs; hurt and harm nothing, squirrels, ants, caterpillars, grasshoppers, trees, so majestic and so needing not to be hurt, oh the pain of the saw, trees falling and falling out of the rapture of breathing for the pain of forming that emerald necklace of metro parks in Cleveland, in Cuyahoga County, how I remember long walks and hiking in the urban woods with my father, for I was last there with him, even fishing in Lake Erie, perch, bass, steelhead, walleye; and those trips to the salt mines on Whiskey Island, the thickness and depth of chunks of rock salt I had, a piece that in my mind was shaped like a skull, that piece of rock salt I used to lick, sometimes in the middle of the night, especially when my father was ill; not sure what I thought the salt could do, but I tried to milk that skulled piece of salt of its curative powers.

I don’t know where any of the salty rocks are. Maybe
in a storage unit. I do not know, and those rocks of salt from Whiskey Island
mean something to me because I was there with my father when I found it, in our path, and he picked up that halite crystal, “Salt” he said, instantly knowing that we had stumbled on the salt of the earth; I had opened a treasure chest of minerals with my Keds.

Oh, Ansted, I must repeat this; it is that important, just as repeating your name is to me, like a spell, the more I say it, the more powerful it becomes: I so recall the magic of being in Terminal Tower when the locomotives chugged into Higbees underground station, peanut vendors, popcorn also; oh how I love freshly popped popcorn, and the magicians’ smoke filled the space —I hope that you can understand. Both of you. Ansted, you are my father’s only grandson and he never got to know you and he would have wanted to spend every moment with you, the best son in this world, and the Man, my H, the very Hydrogen in my life, no essential water either, no air as we now know it. No H and no earthly existence, hot lifeless sphere in a universe ultimately accomplishing nothing, going nowhere without H atoms,

You see, H—I will never turn against you or betray you. If you don’t want this, you have a choice; I don’t. I just hope that after all the years, you can finally Love me as I am because you know by now that you will never find anyone like me on this planet. I don’t know how to make this any clearer for you, H, just open your eyes to see who is waiting for you, sometimes it is as if you are oblivious to the woman there for you no matter what, that you are scared and haunted by terrible miseries from your past that I know only a little about, mostly from rocking you in my arms, when people admit to being haunted and scared, you even curling up when lightning flashed as if you had been on a bridge of peril, and I rested my head at that moment more fully on your chest in part to offer you some calming, a moment of Love you would always have with you, and words I whispered in your ear,

love spilling over the helix, and traveling warm into your brain switching on the happy hormones of satisfaction, for Love is not foolish or a mistake as some people erroneously suggest, thinking of Sade’s Lover’s Rock, as emblematic of mistake, obstacle, burden as a mistake, as a rock, an obstacle in the way, and I played the song for you, to re-introduce, to show you even then, the miracle that goes unnoticed because it is small and unassuming, like a egg that when it hatches, becomes a sun golden in the center, yoke of everything, even manners, that for me you are someone I can cling to, hold onto as the water rises, as the world goes out of control, —koyaanisqatsi— You are balance and equilibrium to me, the rock that steadies me, and I am also that rock for you, if you let me; this not something I can do or be if you won’t let me, because what you overlook is that I am your rock. I am someone you can cling to in a storm.

Wake up, H

Please don’t force me away—none of your difficult years with me; friends till the end, you say, the end of what? And when I suggest we ask the wind, it hollers back becoming a broken tornado box, we hold each other more tightly than we ever have—a new gravity; you harnessing hot wind of survival so close to the sun, and the sunshine I am in a poem you wrote—my smile propelled into brightness, into radiance in white-hot wind. Tornado watch; You—yes, you and your tornadic voice that can command a stage better than any other storm actually—

My father and I watched thunderstorms arrive on Durkee Avenue, as we did on Linn Drive, even seeing a funnel cloud form an alternative steeple above my mother’s church while she was there, the funnel white at first, tapered into a long gnarly ghost of a finger, and gradually darkened as my father had me scrutinize the finger of god destroying his own house, because he did not live here, gone to the store for some communion wafers or something as holy, and didn’t matter that part of his family was inside,

long wavy black curl of index finger
wrapped itself around the steeple opening it, poking holes in the sky, as would an awl making a more leathery ceiling, a belt as it were, to choke the earth into an obedience that my mother wanted to insist on, a belt that could cause such welts on a body when she wielded it, a belt my father would never allow to be used on me, and that was the point. We watched silently; it was as breathtaking as you call me, breathtakingly HOT is how you describe me. I am told that this finger of God turned pages in the bible, settling on the 23rd Psalm, “I fear no evil, for thou art with me” precisely

since the church was saving no one, least of all her; we watched silently; no one would be spared this wrath without reason; we were safer not being there, for many were hurt in the storm that god’s own finger ordained, as if no one human could stop it, omnipotence, you know, and he could have, yet he did nothing,

when it really matters. Casualties and consequences.

I recall such a different Terminal Tower than what remains.

It really became “terminal” with decline.
What everlasting conspiracy of desuetude.

all new poetry collaborations ©2019

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links to more poetry by Thylias:

NAKED NIGHT: a eulogy | Thylias Moss & H [Diaphanous, Fall 2017]

Mnemonic of Your Palindrome: Sewing Lesson | Thylias Moss & H [Diaphanous, Fall 2017] 

Poetry Breaks_ Thylias Moss Reads _All Is Not Lost When Dreams Are_ – YouTube

biographical note:

Thylias Moss, multi-racial Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan is the author of over thirteen books, including Tokyo Butter (2006), Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler (1999), Small Congregations: New and Selected Poems (1993), Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky (1991), At Redbones (1990), Pyramid of Bone (1989), and Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman (1983). Known for expansive poems full of details ranging from art, history, and laundry detergents to ants and Disney characters, she has garnered multiple awards, including the Witter Bynner Prize, an NEA grant, and fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation and Guggenheim Foundation.

more information about Thylias:

Thylias Moss — Wikipedia

The Poetry Foundation–Thylias Moss Foundation

The Academy of American Poets–Thylias Moss

Thylias Moss — MacArthur Recipient 1996

Books by Thylias Moss — Amazon

Ansted Moss, photographer
©2015

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3.9: the cloudy land | Anwer Ghani — new prose poetry, poetics, & virtual artography [digital expressionism]

DE [Digital Expressionism] 51 anwer ghani digital artography 650 x 502 pixels ©2019

diaphanous micro
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3.9: the cloudy land | Anwer Ghani — new prose poetry, poetics, & virtual artography [digital expressionism]

 

DE [Digital Expressionism] 51
anwer ghani
digital artography
650 x 502 pixels
©2019

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a babylonian man’s aurorean songs under the sun — introduction by Krysia Jopek [November 3, 2019]

It gives me immeasurable pleasure to showcase beautiful new prose poetry, an essay on poetics, and a virtual art exhibit of Babylonian/Iraqi poet and visual artist, Anwer Ghani. This stunning, if I humbly say so, diaphanous micro issue was, unfortunately, delayed by political unrest in Baghdad in October [that was not in American news] that prohibited our ongoing correspondence, until the situation stabilized. It was a stressful time in Baghdad, and I was deeply worried about the safety of Anwer and his loved ones. Thankfully, all seems well again there and our collaboration on diaphanous micro 3.9: the cloudy land could be completed.

Please enjoy a selection of Anwer’s new prose poetry, his treatise on poetics, and a selection of digital expressionism from his book, ABSTRACT: Digital Artophotography [Inventive Publishing House, 2019].

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the bitter flowers — new prose poetry

A BABYLONIAN MAN

I am a Babylonian man, and here, deep down, an ancient spirit. Ishtar, my eyes; Gilgamesh, my ears; and Uruk, my wings. Yes, I am from here, from Babylon, so you see my skin as brown as our land. My soul is tolerant like palm trees, and my giving hands are like the Euphrates. Look at my face; it is as expressive as the Babylonian drawing, and my voice is as deep as the Babylonian tales. The flowers are more beautiful in in Babylon and the smiles are more warm here and the sun is more shining here, in Babylon. Yes, these are all my naked and pure Iraqi desires. Yes, I, the man of Babylon, look and dream for a new Iraq, an Iraq without wars, without wounds; only flowers, love and smiles.

THE DOORS OF LIFE
The man of greatness saw a great land, a great life, and a great death—but I am just a forgotten tale that needs a brave poet with a magic boat to discover me. Here in my land, there are no poems; therefore, you can depict the intensity of smoke in a land where there are no poems. Our homes are completely different from scented houses, and the women here can afford nothing but sad hearts. The grass here is different. If the poets could see the grass in my land, they would change their ideas about life. Yes, we’re the sons of houses that don’t have doors.

THE BITTER FLOWERS

I remember the small flowers of my grandfather. They are bitter and colorless like my life. They have fugitive blossoms and are constantly hiding behind the gray veil like a bitter friend. Those colorless flowers stared at my face near our brook with my constant failure and like the heart of a woman, they colored my life with their harsh passion. I have been sad since I saw the tears of our land and as a legendary waterfall, they filled the streams with my blood.

ROMANY WAGON

My grandfather had a beautiful horse full of kindness. I did not see it, but they said it was brave. Maybe my family owned a saddle. I do not know, and I did not ask about it—but I think if we had one, it would be closed like our desert. Yes, I am an Arab man, and you know that there is nothing here but the desert—so, I decided to bring a Romany wagon to my house and teach my children freedom.

UNUSUAL KISS

Our days are full of surprise, as all the happy springs are overflowing from their amazing fingers. I am not water, and I cannot sleep in the hearts of these springs, but the freemen made houses of love for birds that know nothing but the morning songs. They are smooth creatures, and there is only light in their hearts, so they are always shining and from their journeys, the beginnings have begun. Their hands are silver, and you can see their golden chants lying safely on our land where the lovebirds stand under our smiling trees and give me an unusual kiss.

SOUTHERN SECRETS

I am a sunny man but not mysterious, so I can easily count my fingers because I am an old story of this land. I am from here; from the south where I can always disappear in our secrets. Please take a look at our faces; when you see our eyes, you will find our secrets not secret, and all those strange stories will reach your heart before the morning pain. Look at our land, we farmers from the south; our dreams sleep before the sunset and the frustration of the grooves of this land is released before the morning where the withered flowers know nothing about the secrets of eternal stories.

A JAR OF SMILES

My days are like my poems; gray and tasteless. They often asked me to throw them over the bridge, but I was an old lover, who could not drink his coffee without passion. They have wide hearts, just like the big cows I have seen in the old city, and without any delay, I have faded into their watery souls. Those souls, which you may have seen in old mirrors, say nothing but silence—because like my land, they do not know anything about love. Thus, I will bring a jar of smiles to color their gray faces.

THE CLOUDY LAND

This night isn’t so romantic, but my strange love immerses me. I am an absent tree and when you touch my hand, you won’t find just cloudy leaves. Here, my cloudy love sits and drinks pink water. Here, in my river—you should see all the golden braids of sun and the shy eyes of the absent fairies

Our land has a brown face and colored eyes, but I am standing motionless because my grandfather made a pale veil for my young dream. Now, I will tell you the story, and you may find some pink drops in my cloudy land. We have a kneeling tree and shy bird. Yes, I am from here, from the cloudy land where the lakes are yellow, and the girls are colorless. Where the songs are cloudy and the boys are motionless.

Please call all these remote sands and make from them a brave shadow. Please come here and look at me. I am the sandy man where the smooth winds of the world broke my weak windows. Yes, it is me, your shadow and your cheap dream. When the evening wears its dress and the moon comes with its odd, old hat—you will see the faint smile of my obfuscated soul.

THE WEAK LAND

I am from here—from the weak land where the women are weak and have no faces—and the girls are absent and have no voices. No sun here, in the weak land, no moon, no flowers, no butterflies because the faces of our women are faint and the voices of our girls yellow. My mother has taught me everything about the truth, but the truth is weak in our land because my mom is weak here. My wife has given me all her love, but love is weak in our land because my wife is weak here. My sister has given me all her respect, but respect is weak in our land because my sister is weak here. My daughter has given me all her value, but life is weak in our land because my daughter is weak here. My female friend has given me all her kindness, but caring is weak here because my female friend is weak here. I know without doubt–if our women exit from their weakness and wan faces—and if our girls exit from their absent and pale voices, at that time, the sun will rise over our fields. The moon will shine in our sky; the flowers will smile again in our gardens.

OUR SMALL FIREPLACE

Near our small fireplace, I feel I love you more, and when my hand touches its warmness, I feel that my blood is purple. Our nights are more lovely near the warm fireplace, and our moments are efficacious in its orange flame. When I call you, my voice becomes velvet near our small fireplace—and when you look at me, your glance becomes pink in the shadows of our warm fireplace. We are from the south, and we live in a small house but a passionate one with an old fireplace, but a warm fireplace. Everything has a different meaning near our fireplace. I can feel your perfume fill the place near our small fireplace. I can touch your smile near our small fireplace, and I can see the melody jumping out of my being. It startles me.

CELEBRATION OF THE WALNUTS

I am a simple farmer from the south, and when I bring walnuts to my house, I celebrate. At that time, our rooster becomes more attractive, and our chicken wears a melodic dress. The small window in our house sings with joy, and our cow shakes her heavy thighs. At the celebration of walnuts, we draw a round circle on the floor near the old fireplace and put all the nuts in the middle. Then you hear nothing but walnuts laughing warm stories. To see the glory of walnuts, visit on a winter night after sunset when there is only a cool breeze interrupting the silence of night. You must be a simple farmer from the south, just like me, to taste their delicious stories.

all new prose poetry ©2019

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poetry as mosaic mirror [poetics

Our world is, in essence, a transfiguration of spirits. We can see the tremendous impact of spiritual acts on our daily lives, and our existence is just an ongoing attempt to perceive our souls.

The search for our souls is an innate desire. Just as we cannot live without food, we cannot live without this desire. One of the pages of seeing and touching souls in our lives is writing that, in its impressive style, activates the land of hope and illuminates dark areas. Beautiful writing, like poetry with its innovative features, can change our awareness of ourselves and the world as well as create pleasure and joy.

In our deep interior, there are interchange areas where everything means something, and when we talk about something, we are actually talking about something else. In this area and at this level, what happens is the exchange of feelings, meanings, and impressions. Writing becomes a great exchange, and at extraordinary times—shows the creativity of poetry through its spirit of metaphor. Subsequently, when we use a word like I, his, our, we are always referring to multiple topics, including things that are deep within us.

From this point of view, creative writing is a transfiguration of our souls. Ideas, like any creature, always try to emerge in a full and powerful existence. Therefore, an idea may wear many dresses to reveal itself, and the writer should listen to her voice; honor her wishes.

To accomplish all these goals, writing must have an effective presence—where sentences come with deep ideas and central messages that manifest in different images. This is the true meaning of lyrical poetry; even poetry that is narrative in nature and/or form [prose]—a “mosaic” system. In the mosaic system, sentences appear as mirrors, shards with a harmonious presence.

Although each word in the poem has an exchange capability between writer and reader, the soul always presses with central words in the poem that determine the general structure. These words stand out in the writing of each author with broad symbolic dimensions. In these areas of exchange between the writer/the text and the reader, the writer’s soul, an immensely deep and rich region, is discovered in the creative act unfolding. Consequently, the real presence is the creativity—the mirror of the complex mosaic.

Because of all these facets, poetry is truthful and honest; there is always meaning in the poem—even [especially] in a very abstract and symbolic/Symbolist poem.

The poem takes a long history in the world in which spirits work; it is a discovery of real human emotion[s]. When we read the poem, we experience human representation; therefore, poetry searches for the emotional aspect of the words and the world it reflects. Poetry is a state between consciousness and subconsciousness where ideas represent spiritual needs; thus, poetry is a kind of dream; a cloudy mirror of dreams.

When the poet utilizes prose as form/structural/textual narrative, he or she creates a very subtle complex system of mirrors; prose poetry is the greatest manifestation of poetry’s mirrored action. Poetry, as the art of aesthetic writing, raises our emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social ideas; thereby, enacting an amplified system of mirrors.

©2019

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the doors of life — digital artography 

Digital expressionism is the other side of human creativity where colors speak. We usually hear that “words paint” in creative writing; here in digital expressionism, “colors speak.” Therefore, digital expressionism is not pure art;
it is a middle area between art and poetry—between talk and drawing; between writing and art.
— Preface from Abstract: Digital Artophotography (Inventive Publishing House, 2019)

 

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biographical note:

Anwer Ghani is an award-winning poet from Iraq, who was born in Babylon in 1973. His prose poetry has been published in over fifty literary journals and more than twenty anthologies in the US, UK, and Asia. He won the “World Laureate—Best Poet in 2017 from WNWU” and was nominated to Adelaide Award for poetry in 2018, and won the Rock Pebbles Literary Award and the award of  United Spirit of Writers Academy for Poetry in 2019. Anwer is a religious scholar and nephrologist consultant and the author of more than eighty books; thirteen of which have been translated into English, including Narratolyric Writing (2016), Antipoetic Poems (2017), Mosaicked Poems (2018), and The Styles of Poetry (2019). Anwer is the Editor in Chief of ARCS Prose Poetry Magazine and Poetry Cloud. He resides in Baghdad.

Anwer Ghani’s books available from Amazon

Two Drops of Ink — A Literary Blog (Anwer Ghani)

Hello Poetry — Poetry Blog (Anwer Ghani)

POETRY CLOUD Magazine — Anwer Ghani, Editor in Chief

ARCS Prose Poetry Magazine — Anwer Ghani, Editor in Chief

 

 

©2019 Anwer Ghani

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3.11: Once You Settle Into The Notion That There Are No Interpretations Expected… | Dale Houstman — poetry, visual art & poetics

The Dirty Tunnel digital art 2892 x 2115 pixels ©2008

diaphanous micro
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3.11: Once You Settle Into The Notion That There Are No Interpretations Expected… | Dale Houstman — poetry, visual art & poetics

The Dirty Tunnel
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©2008

a smorgasbord smattering of literary & visual art by Dale Houstman — intro to Once You Settle Into The Notion That There Are No Interpretations Expected… by krysia jopek
What do you get when you go to the fascinating and tres-pleasurable Kitchen of Post-postmodernism, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry, 21st-century Digital Art, and Post-Dali Surrealism—and mix a little Ashbery with a dash of de Chirico, spice it up with some David Sedaris and Arcimboldo, add a bit of Derrida and Wittgenstein for good measure; do some tasting—and decide you need a dollop of Francis Bacon, Kelly Link’s experimental fiction [a la Stone Animals] and Dada? Continue on. . . .

>   >   >

The Dream Is a Little Farm — new poetry by Dale Houstman 

Remote Precisions
1
Perfectible sweetness
a hesitancy of evening

railed out to her underused comment
upon each hour’s frail immunity

of secreted detachments
which others sound deep to see

beyond the glass, people
in lieu, at lunch, on loan

as the system approaches
a violence of politeness

and a little lemon spurt please,
waiting in the airport’s soft century

with intentions for grand exploration
of small gardens, the skills of gravity

to love what is smoothest,
the lightest pain is heavy detail.

2
Thinking of tourism, tracking the column
“The Incoming Voice of the Personal Structure”

the prose, this immanent pyramid
disposable beds fixtured with porcelain wheels

to maintain the mobilization, a gearwork ordeal
until all is butter in the surgery light

is it white (is it white enough)
where we arrived and where first we seemed

to speak in fits of unfit revelry
then to revel without speaking.

3
Where once only I owed
uprightness to the wondering police

in our adolescence of incompletion
these dolls, these estrangements

where a litter of birds stood in sleeping
to fulfillment in motels beneath

and around our famous bleeder’s coyote
drenched in identity & panting

a winter’s breakfast
of short fastenings

where all the insects are one witness
to the cliffs of governance

whose geometry is a bend of leaves
in the pinned bedroom

the flatter beacons
push up into a starry texture

chosen in earnest drizzle the cranes
when I was most darling

a humidity of tourists less the wind
and a ladder against that windless

bluing hasp of the last possible boat
lovingly misnaming the water

in an evening which oddly costumes
with their infirmity of haste

the grace of the measure glass
the girl and her friendless pianist

and in the orchestral clearing
a civil coalescence, a yellow envelope

in which one wrong color
ends the Pompeian tension

an ambulance in the avalanche
the beauty’s convalescent rowing.

4
I left
with art
leaving

sense
a believing
overseas

there is nothing acquitted
or sleepless in scale
clouds non-stop

white born wild
opposite now
thought in deletion
and one last significance of beaches.

 

To Rebecca, Upon Falling
for Rebecca Walters

The knee looks worse,
but the hand hurts more.
People’s solace is misplaced
and I struggle to understand their error.
“Can’t you see how I wince
when you take my hand and coo
nourishing adages over my patella”
I imagine saying, but do not.
Pain is usually like this,
and most will eventually learn.
“You’re looking good” they shine,
and the sun pushes their flattery about the room
along with the little dinghies of dust
half of which (or more)
must be the raw skin of nurses.

 

The Wind Rewritten as An Absence of Birds

1
the fairness sets clamoring
under the dry downy disher
two wild drums creaking.

2
see the tuckering flint afloat!
wheezed and wan between
trees escaped in a light.

3
summer night equators
this medium close day
hides skin leaves.

4
sleep and a white and a sand
of redheaded meteorology
retired from gay motoring.

5
too swift blades
of conjuncture trams
blue exhaust and curtains.

6
fathom the startled hedge
of knees awning
milk shells and mantels.

7
shoddy-giddy
helpless-pretty
flooded-mowed.

8
black flag daffodil
congenerous rosehead
in blue meres and shamble.

9
slow is as fond once was
glass-swallowed trail
branch of crusty kisses.

10
one fashionable mile
croaks
in coffeed dispositions.

 

Swans of Beaten Linen: Light Reflections

People lie in the sun not because they worship it – for they are healthy animals,
and only wish the sun to worship them.
        Keith Tinder, The Fair Inconstant

And light’s sole occupation?: To elevate sight to the realm of possibility. The side benefits are in the main, metaphysical extensions of this release into chance (an arena of accidents), and are dependent upon subtle modulations in men’s ambitions. To “see” may be sufficient, maybe even the most difficult attainment: consideration, conjecture, and all the more limpid or less livid catalogues of philosophy are secondary: even crude reminiscences of some bloated existence, whose body will not withstand the scribbles and tattoos of explicating sentiment.

Still, we do live in these winding tributaries, these cold capillaries, these derivatives of the actions we might praise so highly and (in the process of praising) lose beneath ornamentation, nostalgia, endless machinations of religion and science. It is always beyond us, this simple performance, and for that we should be grateful.

If much is made of light, it is because light reveals all without comment. It is ultimately “hip,” blithe, and cool to our conjectures. Certainly, there exist sentimental correspondences in the sunrise, in the dying light, in the ways in which light sinks into the surface of a person’s illness and kneels. But these remain characteristics more of the human mind, as symptoms of a diseased appropriation of nature and the lure of new forms of necrophilia. Light itself is so disinterested in its revelations and creations that we are reminded of a new height of aristocratic disengagement, so pure and terrifying (because it is an extreme socio-pathic coolness) that we are forced to bear light as the final ecology of horror – light’s clinical intrusions, its distant courses, are finally too reminiscent of this century’s most scientific “enthusiams.” light can reveal all because it is hardened against emotion. At its brightest, light remains faraway, and untouched.

And just as a flayed prisoner, or the victim of kidnap, will pause to invest the torturer with several qualities of common humanity in an attempt to comprehend the event within a social context frame they have given their lives up to, so we drape these works of light in pathos. exultation, and the like, because we wish the light to love us, as if we were somehow of its family. Light is alone—singularly—and yet feels multitudinous, while we are multitudinous and yet feel alone and singular. From this we might conjecture that, in some ancient and mysterious way, light and man have exchanged consciousnesses, much to the glorification of light and the demerit of mankind.

Light is it own best confidante, and sexual double. We are envious of its easy egotism, we admire its royalist postures, and we are disgusted only by what it reveals to us. Most of all though, we are simultaneously fascinated and repulsed by the manner in which light makes love to itself in the open like any crude beast, and yet retains a rational detachment purer than Apollo.

 

Writing To Elude Oneself

If you write to elude yourself—to throw up horizons beyond the immediate—you remain caught between: there is the straight-edged recall of the previously experienced (mostly regretted), and there is the super-conscious manufacture of the obscenely “original”; total nonsense, random phrases from a hat, concrete poems, ink wads dropped upon absorbent surfaces. This second process—however (gratifyingly) puzzling to the spectator—cannot be, in the least, elusive to the writer, who remains aware of the game.

Words must be trained to group about a referential irritant, the entire piece should merely tend toward an invisible asymptote, compressing motion into the marvelous. This—of necessity—creates a confusion of simple meaning without cheating any “audience,” because (for the writer) something is always on the path to being fulfilled: what more could be fairly offered?

A world comprised of only the most understandable events, a universe lacking resonance, correspondence, approximate parallels, any taint of the strange, and a million other necessities. This is the physics not merely proposed by so many “modern” poets, but celebrated and schematized within their blueprints and armatures disguised as poems. The sounding of only those bells which warn, or the airing of only the most liberal—and thus most flimsy—of opinions, designed to rouse you only enough.

A person attempting to tread a way between the conservative and the liberal programs will discover a box canyon. The job is to inhabit that space which always lies outside what is “obviously correct,” to explore outside waters filthied by secure knowledge.

Anything less strenuous is pandering.

 

The Creature
for Mary Shelley

In respect to so little solitude
each beloved’s off-hand proposal
finger curls a hair of sutured shadow
a half-scorched catalogue
of mal-insured countenances.

It must have semblance!
A long-planned relation
(I conjecture, safe from touch)
and, for one unbiased afternoon
that body we all endure

and also its politic gestures
twitched from the crowd
on the slave stage and shore
alive in mindful poverty
far from any water.

The stolen fluid’s reflections
held gruesome consequence
for the innocents (what few)
& appeared—as life will—
to be a sinking fishing boat

carved many years ago
from wild willow
which (now
I reconsider) might
have interested him
if we convened as colleagues.

And yet, the current situation
we deplore and punish ourselves
arose and crashed
in a too-white assemblage, stately
neglectful intercourse.

 

the fascist opportunity parade dancers’ theme
.
There will come
the trumpet men. The handsome dive bombers
and there will be
cloud cake and creamed ogles.
And through it all (and more! more! more!)
a simple hometown parade shall meander. For said event
you need dancers. And we are those very dancers.
Do we also love to be loved?
Do we also yearn for an Oscar?
Is this the uniform of a garden caretaker?
Why?
Why do the emeralds
taste so sour this time of year?
Are the diamonds ready to peel?
Reach out one hand to stir the comrades.
There will be potato soup for the subscribers.
A moon in every pot of chicken!
A chicken on the moon by the end of this decade!
Come together
on the leather
mi amore. mi amore…
SO
Hooray for Hollywood!
Hooray for the Red, White and Imperial Blue!
Hooray for the Emerald Isle too!
Goo goo goo joob.
You can hear those radiant bootlings
doing the tarantula crawl
from Minneapolis to Dublin.
Cute are their patent Caligulae!
“Rum for the rummy
and none for the dummy.”
March on!
Heroes of the Near Sustenance!
.

 

the gratuitous state
.
The abandoned dairy factories
refashioned into residences for birds.
The superfluous milkmaids ordered
to move into smaller rooms
away from the birds
away from the dairy machines
away from the milk ponds and pasture volcanoes.
The women recall their former existences
on a steeply inclined street
blanketed in brown clouds
as they were blanketed in brown smocks.
One of the younger girls played Lady Macbeth
where she ignored the catcalls of emperor farmers
while the bed linen sharpness of the milk ocean
hung in her chest. Bird on a roost. Moon on some toast.
The ghosts of the bankrupted cows
watched her burning at the stake
and setting free the birds trapped in her heart.
Let us splatter blood on each wing
to proclaim a new and more profitable art.
Why we have not been rediscovered by Europe
is difficult to comprehend.
Why the drugged nature photographer refuses
to take pictures of the beautiful pyres.
Why the ornithological essayist sleeps
with decayed horizons
stacked in his branches.

Above a park down the long street
milkmaids heard policemen arguing over women.
How could anyone have survived
or even arrived there through the checkpoints.
A delicate gas hangs over the gardenias.
Yellow shadows writhe in the waters.
Think of the sweat and blood
swirling in the preservation tanks
awaiting the review of our bodies.
Think of the classical music
which frightens the sparrows from the milk rivers.
We had been seeking the perfect place
to build a dairy factory.
Now the birds are settled in the plastic masts
of half-drowned milk galleons.
The ocean is handsome
surrounding the white mountains
blocking the white ships
and the fabled passage to the White Sea.
. 

 

Lenin in a Saab with Diem
.
This is the enameled and lion-shaped moment Mater told us about;
are we somewhere in Switzerland’s bureaucracy, asleep in cocoa idleness?
We shall formulate a science whose languid fascism is neither star nor shark:
that is to say, we shall promote quasi-periodicities
like Mademoiselle Fourier seated in her dark foyer
with her yellow hat and her manly shoes. Good shoes! —
we promised good manly shoes!

But soon there were more spooks than sports. I dreamt
that our vehicle was a swift green Triumph in an armored forest
or in the People’s Park filled only with the successful & the early.
Though—and how could I forget—
we shall all be successful.

There is a child in an Iron Maiden in my memory reading history
which is the elevation of the object to the position of a woman;
and finally, when is a substance itself rather than its documentary?
And when shall we stop driving through these orchards
of medicinal Civil Defense tangerines
and public cisterns where the lonely theorist
seduces his patroness every night anew?
I believe we suspect one another
of spreading pertinent rumors.

But we had been told Mademoiselle Fourier
fluttered from room to room, needing only pin money
to purchase her occasional American cigarette,
and a cup or two of a pear tea she enjoyed,
and a small jar of German tooth whitener,
and an ocean of transubstantiated lemonade.
Or a postcard of the same.

Well: indeterminacy shrinks as the mass swells,
and soon there’ll be smart scales for the butchers,
and shorter hours for the cows and their crows.
The very air shall be tempered
by alternating periods of neglect and concern.

Clouds continue to skid across the road,
and we cannot work the ghosts out of the bugs anymore;
certainty is a form of melancholia
and there is not one thing left inside nature
which is what we are driving to prove.
.

 

a poem must express its only page
.
Does every lake whisper “ship”
Into an expectation of birds

Like every absence appears unfinished,
A railway expectant with an edge of water?

Each edge should be officially folded
Until a triangle in accordance with the manual

Making a patriotism in which each bird is explicit
Until a triangle in accordance with the manual

As every ship is a continuation of its lake
With folded edges preserved on another page, seemingly absent

here, a Mexico sleeping along an unfinished railway
To hint at the absence explicit in an idea of “water”.

Every railway official suggests a Mexico
With every ship sailing its absence to an unofficial Mexico

And every unfolded Mexico is unfinished officially
As is every bird’s ship & railway & lake.
.

 

a lion tulips in the leaf-lightning
.
1
A lion tulips in the leaf-lightning

for leaves tattooed on piggy banks which dream

that all the steam-leaves are blue porcelain

like lion-tulips in the leaf-lightning which dreams

of steam-stars & gondola-stars & stars made of pigskin

that help the giraffe grow hair in the leaf-lightning.

2
A star gondolas in the tulip-lion

for lightning tattooed on piggy banks which dream

that all the porcelain giraffe-stars are porcelain blue lions

like tulip-steam in the leaf-lightning which dreams

of gondola-stairs & tulip-stairs & stairs made of pigskin

that help the tulip-lion grow a heart in the leaf-lightning

of steam-stairs & giraffe-stairs & stairs made of pigskin.

 

all new poetry ©2019

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two poems from A Dangerous Vacation (Caliban Book Shelf, 2017)

 

maybe we will go

.

Maybe we will go

to see the chain of lights decay

 

(year beneath years

minutes to muffins

 

above the streets of braised night

as the anxious moon wakes the mustangs

in the snow murdered crossroads)

 

There are service stations

smothered beneath the stage constellations

 

as each body acts the human

in the pink willowed average

in the slush of psychology

 

) In the flowerbed a gardener reloads

his arsenal of suitcases

with fallen leaves)

 

Maybe we will go

to see the promoter of diamonds

with his tiny pushcart

 

(year beneath years

minutes to muffins)

 

A Sun waving

to our pale children

from a long white car.

.

  

later, a baroque grudge

.

In Paris (A room

woven from blue gutters

 

where evening flows

into every shop sign) Downhill trees

undirected

 

by language (passionate

 

arthritis of each window.

.

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Turned On and Discoverable — visual art exhibit [October 19, 2019]

A Hook to The Chin Of The Spectator (For Zazie And Pierre)
digital art
2576 x 1735 pixels
©1996

 

All This Buttoning and Unbuttoning
digital art
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©2008

 

Assuage
digital art
1410 x 2124 pixels
©2008

 

Exotic Bureaucrats
digital art
2550 x 1774 pixels
©2014

 

Fear of Superstrings
pen & ink, digital art
1950 x 2007 pixels
©2009

 

Mother Mary Eating Flies
digital art
1202 x 2500 pixels
©2010

 

Night Fell in the Place of Hunger
digital art
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©2013

 

Shelf Life Zero
digital art
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©2015

 

Z-bo Game Board (Senior Edition)
digital art
1500 x 1492 pixels
©2011

 

One Night Stand
lava lamp, digital photography
1800 x 2466 pixels
©2016

 

The Lamp Was a Guillotine
digital collage
1800 x 2722 pixels
©2016

 

The Service Agent & the Narcoleptic
pen & ink, digital art
2100 x 2378 pixels
©2017

 

Who’s Watching Out For Mother
digital collage
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©2008

 

In Utter Toppling, Things Arrive
digitally-manipulated photography
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©2019

 

The Dirty Tunnel
digital art
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©2008

 

Short of Breath, or the Little Red Dress (Uccello mutation)
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©2017

 

The Cloud Dictator
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©2016

 

Information Array
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©2012

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Poetics—or, Once You Settle Into The Notion That There Are No Interpretations Expected…

…Words Do Not Add Up To Language (And What Then Of Tactics?

“Where might we purchase words to change the world?” the question of a Roman publican or a poet princess.

But is truth sufficient to render an utterance fashionable? It lies in each utility to wake in banality slumber through brutality and still words a coconut salve on our anxious diversions. Distraction is the tactic. That is a very ornamental swelling you have. Even the abrasions entice. In pictures and in plaster and in palaver. This searching substance held in responsibility’s meter.

And so this obligation to challenge the world. To dream of barricades. To expose the undersling of words. To drown the Bastille revelry. We shall obstruct the ardor of easy meaning that assumption ruin’s sole festival gift to the collective? And poetry is perhaps rude to interrupt what might otherwise be pure insensibility? Diversion.

These long days nonsense is a doily on a worktable. This inamore communion of reader and convenient  display to cast upon its remainders of detouring paraphrases and the restless shadow cast by huge allurements. The come on in sung by the pitchy swan. Still the potential for meaning is more provocative than meaning itself. And then friendly boredom sets up the domestics which become effective memorials to The View.

.

Emotions vitally glitched diffuse in the critical atmosphere of poetry but the ashes must be language itself. Language stuck in the ecology of poetry. Not the word more than the image not images but always the distracted expedition in the duress of sentiment. Intently bifurcate architecturally. Branch. In leafing grasp the false bark  and note crevices and catches. This information is marketable. Word.

And as one fixes upon The View in their angled correspondence not disdainful. Every day there are delicate combustions leaving a soot of pure hustle. Amatory traitors in delicious strangulation of language. Let us linger on that crime. To lie about the real and to congeal into the ever-receding. And then what of tactics? A slog of middling fidgets with passports at the ready as we near the neutral waters. The liner berths where we only desire to breathe.

Can we elate beyond endurance?

Be disappointed in all proffered repulsions?

Chatterton! Slave of isolation.

And one is being flown into or being flown out of the wild yearning continent.

All coming together at last. And so…

.

Poetry in a lithography of voices waltzing ganglia and excretions. Neurals and nebulae. The handlers have arrived. Warm gazebo retreats for Whitman Weekend. We are compelled by that insidious hum beneath our bonnets to be black violets clumped about the evaporation of interpretation. The imagination is the floral residue of forgotten procedure. A passion’s joke. A smear.

The poet can retro-fit the incessant noise of truth be told to poetry before the poet and spark a system famous for a brittle countenance. Another trainee departed and no penetrating generation. An employment of sensation and difficult now. Difficult.

To sublime the private out of the public out of the saleable out of the ecstatic out of the function out of the lushness out of the house out of the bone. An ideal obsession forever calling you on your dime. Poetry is an emotional state in and out itself. There is no need to remain in place or wait for the subject to dismiss you. The common-song steams from the underrated body. A place where self becomes style. Superficiality is a manufacturer.

Also the superficial is the underrated body…

A poem committed while not watching will satisfy by eluding the anxiety of demanded interpretation.

The gradual disappearance of explanation.

The non-referential distraction meets the mud of sentiment. The hot plunge of imagination is cooled and does not dwell any longer. So school in sensory as opposed to rhetorical clawing at the act of the world meaning itself. Thus the poem is the artifact of The View’s perturbation. Those representations of the plastic world whose objects seem positioned to mean so much. And so and so. Purposefulness is so quaint.

Perhaps write to elude yourself. Remain between the preciously experienced and the super-conscious manacles  of original content. The doily of nonsense seeks its own absorbent surface. This is where tactics intrude to save reality from language. There is a enlivening irritant node where a sweet piece bends to kiss necessity’s asymptote. This conflagration of meaning lacks only the audience. There is nothing always on the painted path.

A world comprised of only the most understandable events.

A universe lacking resonant trajectories.

Dolorous correspondences between physicists.

Approximate parallels.

The sounding of only bells which warn of opinions.

Designs to rouse the only merely.

A person attempting to untread a way.

A box canyon is a correct obviousness.

Anything less strenuous is pandering. And so.

The poem itself a user of us. To mime the texture of psychological states that just talk us up it needs to create a redolent distance. Demilitarized meaning and a rusted hunting machine. Poetry will refuse to breathe until each word is one of those dissonant bells. Verbal ambushes dance wit5h yellow roses in the garden. Achievements. Pretty gloves. Exhaustion.

.

And what then of tactics? All that to just end in results? We need maneuvers to elude easy settlements. Our responses are not weapons and words do not add up to language (and what then of tactics? But is truth sufficient to render an utterance fashionable? And so this obligation to challenge the world. To dream of barricades.

..And Poetry Lacks Time.

 

Poetry is a communication of desire formed by desire for communication.

Poetry farms the air and education cans it for asthmatics.

Poetry is an ecstatic hospitality.

 

A system imagining systems.

A system knowing they are imagined.

A system desires the proposed or pities the same.

 

Poetry is the government which ghosts are apt to form.

 

Just as a pinned butterfly lack motion poetry lacks time.

Yes poetry is a commodity.

It only lacks a critical mass of consumers.

 

One cannot allow oneself however to believe this as sanctity and balm for the dispirited.

Some poetry develops alternative narratives.

Some advertises the rhetoric that would be practiced in those narratives.

 

Poetry is a story begun around a campfire which soon becomes a forest fire.

Your listeners think to sacrifice you to the flames.

You to create an object terribly urgent and suggestively incomplete.

 

Poetry is (and thus is not) that stunned mindfulness ornate as loss.

 

Poetry is the study of borders in the political realm of statement.

Poetry is absolved from the derailment of expectation.

Every stutter may be poetry.

 

Poetry is an arbitration of language narrowly avoiding meaning’s shiver.

Regret is manufactured.

There is a nostalgia for content.

 

Poetry promises to appear

it shall deliver

a poem must represent

nothing securely

that poem which represents

nothing so well

one swears it has revealed

all he never wished to see

missing meaning closely

sparks regret the poem

seems to promise all

it will never deliver

and so it is tragedy

in its smallest container

poetry as ecstatic hospitality rendered

into language as enticement

into the habitat where it is observable yet

relatively wild

an impossible compromise which makes poetry

as an object

fraudulent.

 

Much poetry stinks rather more than it might if it were written solely by the dead…

 

My Two Talents.

My two talents appear to be sleeping and writing. I often think of them as the same thing, but

there you have it.

(and what then of tactics?

 

All that to just end in results? We need maneuvers

to elude easy settlements. Our responses are not weapons

and words do not add up

to language (and what then of tactics?

But is truth sufficient to render

an utterance fashionable?

And so this obligation to challenge the world.

To dream of barricades.

Effective memorials to The View.

 

This Is The Level Where All Our Things Are Taken.

©2019

>   >   >

biographical note[s]:

Where I was born and where I’ll die are unimportant.

.

Was born over there (near some people) and moved over here (near some other people’)

.

Back then I fell in a hole.

One shouldn’t expect much from a hole.

I imagine.

A young friend tried to help but gave up and biked away.

Early discovery: children will only do so much for other children.

This always applies as well to adults.

I lost one shoe escaping.

I was afraid to mention the event.

I’ll give the “near-rescuer” credit – he did try and he did fall in.

Then he did try and he did get out.

And that’s my earliest incident.

.

There is always a gas drifting above the trenches, but – even there – the occasional joke, love poem, or half-remembered song may share the sky with the chlorine. Art and imagination don’t always win, but they don’t give up either. Unless they do. And that’s the only victory for imagination. Oh well.

.

I have not been radical enough.

I have not assumed my position when assuming my position would have been useful.

I have expected to be kept comfortable.

I have preferred safety to killing a president.

I have stayed indoors too much.

I have watched others do the heavy lifting.

I have treated revolution as a Spectacle.

I have never been brave enough.

I have never been cowardly enough.

I have sometimes thought art was good enough.

I have waited for something essential to happen.

I have faked being a social being to gain the benefits of being a social being.

I have felt rudely interrupted by the demands of love.

I have carried on too long in pursuit of a meaningful nothingness.

I have confused violent thoughts with cultural rebellion.

I have fallen into a cozy cynicism.

I have applauded demanding violence from a distance.

I have found myself in strange places and not extracted any value.

I have either focused too tightly or too loosely.

I have enjoyed writing.

I have taken poetry classes.

I have lied to look smarter.

I have told the truth when it didn’t matter.

I have told lies when it did matter.

I have disparaged the easy route of meaning.

I have thought I was surrounded by idiots and brutes.

I have considered the times corrupted and decadent.

I have not denounced enough.

I have reveled in things I know are part of the “problem.”

I have allowed a certain shroud of ghostliness to be my main vestment.

I have settled.

I have not regretted regrettable acts.

I have avoided guilt by assuming meaninglessness.

.

And yes – writing is rude to interrupt what might otherwise be a life of pure insensibility.

.

And behind every “good” man there is a “better” absence.

>   >   >

[Dale Houstman can be contacted via [email protected] to purchase copies of A Dangerous Vacation via PayPal, to sing elaborate praises or vociferate diatribes of agitation prompted by his literary and visual art, what-have-youor to just shoot the shit! He loves to collaborate, I can attest! kj2]

 

Some Days My Eyes Still Glow
self-portrait of the author/artist
3580 x 2692 pixels
digitally-manipulated photography
©2019

87
3.10: sacrifice | short fiction [flash & excerpts from published fiction]–Sandra Arnold

Family Group Sandra Arnold digital photography 3648 pixels x 2736 pixels ©2019

diaphanous micro
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3.10: sacrifice | short fiction [flash & excerpts from published fiction]–Sandra Arnold

 

Family Group
Sandra Arnold
digital photography
3648 pixels x 2736 pixels
©2019

 

introduction to sacrifice by krysia jopek:

It’s a pleasure to feature New Zealand writer Sandra Arnold’s new flash fiction, published flash fiction, excerpts from published fiction, and an interview conducted with me earlier this month. Please enjoy Sandra’s literary art and details about her writing process, her literary reception in her home country and around the world.

 

new flash fiction:

The Sacrifice of Teeth

She had a photographic memory, so she could recall conversations, the expressions on people’s faces, the tone of their voices, the setting, the weather, the colours, the smells. If she needed a detail in the telling of a tale all she had to do was rewind the film in her head. What she wasn’t good at remembering were numbers and directions. So when her father asked her to deliver a bag of freshly dug potatoes to a house in a different neighbourhood and collect payment for them she ended up at the wrong house.

Part of the reason for this was that she was paying too much attention to the hated fur-lined boots on the end of her legs as she trudged through the snow, stepping on frozen puddles, seeking solace in the splintered ice glinting in the winter sun.

Her father’s tongue-lashing had included many words in response to her objections to the ugly brown boots, the most incomprehensible being that the red boots she’d set her heart on would attract the wrong sort of attention. But the word that slid behind her eyes and made them water was ‘sacrifice’. He’d been saving up to buy new dentures, he said, and her warm feet came at the cost of his teeth. So she pulled on the brown boots and zipped up her lips.

And there she was, knocking on the wrong door, making breath clouds in the frozen air, snapping icicles off the black branch of an overhanging tree. And when the door opened she explained her mission and the man told her to leave the potatoes on the doorstep and come inside. He told her to leave her wet boots in the hall and showed her into a room with green walls and a green sofa and a green chair and a china cabinet. He told her to sit on the sofa and wait. She heard his keys rattling as he locked the front door.

There were no pictures on the walls. No photographs. The china cabinet was empty. A mousetrap with a severed tail poked out from beneath the chair. Snowflakes drifted past the sash window and clung to the glass. A hawk glided in the white sky, a rabbit hanging from its claws. The room was cold as if no one had breathed in it for a long time. It smelled of dead dreams. It filled with the sound of her thudding heart. And as the door to the green room opened she sprang across the bare boards to the window.

She left the potatoes on the doorstep and her boots in the hall and slipped and tripped all the way home. By the time she fell through her own front door her feet were blue. Her father’s face was a storm cloud, his words like lightning strikes. Her teeth rattled in her jaw, locking her words inside.

©2019

Saints and Sinners

Devlin watched the sun sink below the rooftops and started enthusing about the next team-building weekend he was planning. “Jebel Akhdar! You haven’t lived until you’ve sat on top of the green mountain and watched the sun break through the morning mist. It’s like watching God creating the world.”

But everyone was listening to Kassidy.

Yesterday she was panicking over her dental appointment, so I recommended a massage at the Moroccan Hammam afterwards.

Now, she had everyone’s eyes popping at her blow-by-blow of what happened there.

All eyes swivelled to me.

Rick winked. “Alexa!” And held up his glass of wine.

Ignoring him I said, “But you must have given her signals.”

“I didn’t. It’s a natural consequence of segregated societies, don’t you think?”

Hafiz  dropped cross-legged onto the edge of the roof, his back to us, and stared at the streetlights arcing out to the Arabian Sea.

“But if you close your eyes there’s no difference,” Kassidy insisted. “She could just as easily have been a man. In fact, to be honest, it was better!”

Marty cracked up.

Crispian and Dom moved away from our group to join Hafiz.

“So … are you going again?” Rick asked with studied casualness.

Kassidy’s face arranged itself into a saintly expression.

On my first day,  Phillipe, the Director of Studies, asked Kassidy to give a workshop on teaching phonemics. Pronunciation was her topic for her Master’s dissertation. Kassidy wrote on the whiteboard in phonemes: “The most important things in life are manicures, pedicures and massages.” Hussein, the CEO, arranged his face in a studious expression, pretending he could read the sentence. Philippe glared at Kassidy. She blew him a kiss. A bubble of laughter grew in my belly until I felt I would burst. Neither Hussein nor Philippe noticed, but Kassidy did. After the workshop she invited me to go rollerblading with her that evening in the car-park of the Intercontinental.

In the dark, empty car-park, holding our blades, we collapsed like a couple of schoolgirls, helpless with laughter.

Still chortling over Kassidy’s story we finished the food and drank the last of the wine.

“So … Jebel Akhdar?” Devlin tried again.

Crispian left with no goodbyes.

Rick was drunk so Hafiz gave him a lift home.

Dom packed up his CD player in silence.

Marty looked at him and rolled her eyes.

To Kassidy she whispered, “When are you going back?”

©2019

 

four flash from Soul Etchings:

River

Jack climbed to the top of the macrocarpa and found River already there. She was talking to a young blackbird in her cupped hands. The bird showed no signs of wanting to leave. River said it would know when the time was right. She waited. Jack held his breath. The bird quivered and spread its wings. Jack watched it fly away until it was just a speck on the nor’west arch. He let his breath out slowly.

He crawled along the branch to River. Beads of rain on spider webs shivered like torn lace between the branches.

‘He would have died if you hadn’t found him.’

‘Maybe,’ River said.

She asked him to tell her about the best bits of his day.  He told her he’d seen the waning moon. He described the sound of cracking ice on frozen puddles, the patterns of his breath on the morning air, the coral-tint on the ridge of the Alps and the shrill cry of pukeko.

Then she asked about the worst bits. He told her about his birthday party. How he’d forced himself to listen to birthday greetings from children he knew despised him. How he’d pretended he enjoyed the party games, the tell-a-joke competition, and blowing the candles out on the cake his mother had made in the shape of a football field. How when the last child left he’d heard his mother say, ‘We did the right thing inviting his friends.’ And his father said, ‘Invite? You bribed them! Jack doesn’t have friends.’ And his mother said, ‘No, that’s not quite true. He told me he has a friend called River.’ And his father said, ‘River? What kind of a bloody name is that!’ And his mother said, ‘Oh I think it’s a lovely name for a girl.’

And his father said, ‘A girl? Jeez!’ And his mother said, ‘Well, that’s better than no friends, surely?’ And his father slammed the door on his way out.

When he finished telling her all this River told him what he wanted to know about the sun and moon and stars and the navigation system of birds. She told him about the way the moon influenced tides and the way dolphins communicated and how giant turtles swam great distances to return to the place they were born to lay their eggs. When she finished they watched the night fold itself around them. They breathed the scents of eucalyptus and pine.

River asked where his mother thought he was now.

Out in the paddocks helping his father.

And where did his father think he was?

In his bedroom, reading.

She asked if he wanted to go home.

He shook his head. He asked her where she went each night.

‘Over the hills and far away.’

He asked if he could go with her.

‘You can,’ she said. ‘But you wouldn’t be able to come back.’

‘That doesn’t matter,’ he said.

‘In that case we can go whenever you’re ready.’

‘I’m ready now,’ Jack said.

 

House Rules

Soon after moving in I learned that I could never rely on the house to maintain its equilibrium. Some days it was petulant beyond belief. As long as I made it the centre of my world it gave me its best. But whenever I tried to introduce change, for example, the time I brought the kitten home, it sulked. Light bulbs blew. The windows stuck. The washing machine broke down. In the end it was easier to comply. After I returned the kitten to the shop the house settled down and hugged me again. Cushions stayed on the sofas. Cupboard doors stayed shut. Knives stayed nicely lined up in the drawers.

I once tried to explain that I did get a bit lonely since my mother died, even though the money I inherited from her enabled me to buy my dream home. I felt the house soften at being called that so I risked telling it that after twenty years of looking after my mother I missed having a living being to care for and the kitten would have been a nice companion. That was a mistake. Windows flew open letting in the wind and rain. Mould grew overnight in the shower. All this meant extra work for me, of course, and I realised the house felt I should be content just taking good care of it. After all, it did provide me with comfort, warmth and a beautiful garden ready to fill with flowers. So, yes, I could see that I must have come across as ungrateful. I tried to make amends by spending more time cleaning and polishing and digging.

One day a brochure arrived in the mail advertising river cruises in France. I hadn’t had a holiday in years, so on the spur of the moment I rang the travel agent and booked one. I felt guilty packing my case and almost changed my mind. Next morning I saw my clothes strewn across the floor and my passport torn in two. I cried with disappointment, but I’ve never been good at confrontation so I cancelled the holiday. The house breathed again.

A week later I bumped into one of my neighbours in the library. I’d noticed him in his garden occasionally and we’d nodded and smiled and gone on our way. This morning, however, he stopped, introduced himself as Adrian and asked how I liked the house. I replied that I loved it, though it was hard work. He commented that I’d been the longest occupant there that he could recall. ‘It was waiting for the right person,’ he smiled. ‘Someone who would treat it the way it deserved.’

After that, Adrian took to stopping at the gate whenever he saw me in the garden and sometimes he brought me cuttings from his own plants. One day he noticed the rosebush I’d transplanted was wilting and said he’d drop off some rose food. That evening there was a knock at the door. Adrian stood there with a big bag of Rose Gro and a bottle of Merlot.

I invited him in. We drank the wine and talked about roses and the best way to make compost. When he left I realised I hadn’t enjoyed myself so much in ages. I even started humming as I washed the glasses. One slipped from my hand and smashed on the floor. As I picked up the shards a particularly sharp piece sliced my wrist. A spout of blood arced from my arm to the wall. I grabbed a tea towel and pressed down hard. When the bleeding stopped I felt so light-headed I went straight to bed.

Next morning I opened the kitchen door to find all the contents of the cupboards and drawers on the floor. My mother’s best china lay in pieces amongst splattered sauces and jams. Again I cried, but recriminations were pointless, so after sweeping and washing the lino I decided to walk to the library to calm down and leave the house alone to reflect on its behaviour and, hopefully, feel ashamed of itself.

Adrian was passing the gate as I walked out with my books. He said he was going to the library too and asked if I fancied a coffee afterwards. I did. And this time we didn’t talk about compost. He said he kept his yacht in the harbour and asked if I’d like to go sailing with him at the weekend. In a spirit of rebellion, I said yes.

How the house found out, I have no idea. I took great care not to alter my routine. I tried not to appear too happy. I read my book every evening as usual. On Saturday morning I dressed in my weekend jeans. But when I put my key in the lock to open the front door it jammed. I tried the back door and the side doors and even the windows. All stuck fast. I knew then the house wouldn’t let me out. I knew too that it no longer trusted me. It would watch my every move. It would disable my car every time I tried to leave. I wondered what would happen when I ran out of food. I picked up the phone to call Adrian. The line was dead. I heard a crash and ran into the kitchen. The knife