Saturday, February 10, 2018

Patrick Herron And The Hollow That Is The Only Part That Does Not Hurt

Wednesday from Light
for Booker

apples and onions        and violins and         pesticides                and when viewed from a bridge the horizon is only half-constructed                the knife an ape selects for gorging is the blade choosing its hand                various timbres of icy water sing across the bowed fibers of our skulls                and the smell of sewaged seaspray fogs as the roaches as we are now called        we the worthless        are swept down into               falling off       our legs now running upon the air between the steel and the water                and someone's just learning how to count us        the forty-seven percent        the ninety nine                who is it who counts              my beautiful boy he is learning as he goes        please don't push him off                the helicopters need trust between them before they can make music                and so if he is to fall        at least let his curls hear the quartet                       how about our sweet beginnings and chopped vegetable tears plucked from soil to lighten the load                the roman road                yes it's a load we load to unload and unload to load                it's a logic                and we share it with our peelings                        the lacrimal bone is absent from amphibians                or                maybe it's just tardy or       wants nothing to do with tears at all        maybe it's trying to get out of the water        or        maybe any more would be an unsophisticated superfluity                and you are similarly disinclined to travel beyond       the elegant sufficiency yet you made it this far       and so                let's exchange gratitudes        they sure scissor paper platitudes and stony attitudes                               what there is to say here that is never desired to say is that                it's not the bullet that kills        it's the hole        it swallows every moment before it              and when I say        I love you        I mean that I desire the chance to elaborate        and that is to say        that I wished you would never have to learn              that the hollow is the only part that doesn't hurt                        to cross the event line is a cold release from time              so I wonder is emptiness employed or unemployed       how are we to count that                so I wonder is love conflation or expansion                how are we to feel the sound as we count our way through the choppers to forge our horizons

"you're taut like a thriller, but how are you organized?" the rock asks the river

Patrick Herron is Senior Research Scientist and Lecturing Fellow at Duke University, Durham, NC, US. As a poet, Herron was an early adopter of copyleft for literary publishing, an inventor of retrieval-based poetics in the 1990s (later and more widely known as Flarf), and is also the author of several volumes of poetry, including Be Somebody (Effing 2008). Herron's poems and essays have appeared in a number of journals including Fulcrum, Jacket and Andrei Codrescu's Exquisite Corpse. Herron is the creator of  His 1999 new media art project, p r o x i m a t e . o r g (http://classic.rhizome.org/artbase/artwork/2219/), was the first poetics website added to the permanent collection of the New Museum, New York City, US. At Duke Herron has recently created the Text Mining Laboratory and is a member of the faculties of Information Science + Studies (ISS), Computational Media Arts & Culture (CMAC) and the Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts (MFA|EDA).

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Howie Good And Grandmothers Protecting Spiders, Days In Teardrop Shapes, The Shortage Of Coffins, And A Mountain Incident

Laugh and the World Laughs with You; Weep and You Are a Soft Pillow 

Different people come in and take turns beating us. Sometimes they’re trying to get information. Other times they’re just amusing themselves. They ask all sorts of questions: Where’s that ocean at? What happened to your ear? Do ants eat each other? Last month, I went a week without sleeping. It was bam-bam-bam, the sound when a dude keeps his finger on the trigger. Most men just like killing stuff. Babies were tossed onto a pile of burning rubbish. If the color of the fire was in a dress, it would have been beautiful.


“Holy cow!” I say. “Come over here guys.” The fireflies have brought me to water. And we all start laughing because it’s hard to believe. People, animals, birds, they all change. My grandmother when I was little would pick up a spider she found in the house and put it back outside. There's two places I want to go. They're the only two. It could be England, it could be France. It could be the moon. 


Bodies arrive in shreds. Some arrive in halves. There’s no place anymore where you can say that it’s safe. If you have a carefree attitude, you’ll be an easy target. One guy was like, ‘Oh, not a big deal, nothing will happen, sit down.’ So, obviously, he didn’t understand our circumstances. Try to notice the cold, wet sensation. It’s tomorrow in the shape of a teardrop.

All That Is Solid Melts into Air 

This could be a former crime scene anywhere. One room in particular has never gotten over its ferocious past. I like to see things that maybe I’m not supposed to see. The dog is a he, but the table is a she. I couldn't really make out what they were saying, it happened so quickly. People should be concerned over what will disappear next. Today there was even a shortage of coffins. I tell myself, “Breathe, just breathe. We’re here. We’re working. We exist.” But it’s all a bit of a blur. The last time I felt like this was probably when my mother died. Any minute now I might look up and see her in the window of a plane waving.

Cannibal Lunch 

I thought he was going to offer me a ride, but, as I approached the car, a mountain rose to confuse us. I said, “Hey, man, you all right?” It was a warm spring day, and the universe was presiding over its own prolonged rebirth. Birds that hadn’t learned to fly yet were about to be hauled away in trucks. The neighbors just stood there texting. “What does it mean?” the guy asked. He was lucky he had any teeth left. In general, people are beaten, hurt. I saw a black mass of smoke. I heard something that sounded like an orchestra of broken instruments. That was me trying to understand what a friend was.

Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize and forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Jeffrey Zable Joins A Bull(Shit) Company, Learns The Speechlessness Of Discovery, And Inherits A Wolf-Bitten Grandma


 I was running with the bulls when all of a sudden
I shouted out, “This is bullshit!” and turned to face
my assailants. With that, one of the bulls nearest to me,
responded, ‘What did I just hear you say?” And realizing
the peril of my situation I answered, “I said ‘this world
is run by bulls,’ animals who know how to take charge
and not feel guilty or remorseful when they trample over 
someone who’s in their way!” With that the bull told me 
to write my email address on one of his horns; that he 
was a CEO and could use me in his company. He said 
he’d be in touch soon and that he considered our meeting 
to be prophetic. He then told me to exit through the door 
on my left before they’d made another turn, because there 
was sometimes killing, and at the very least, several who 
got hurt and wound up spending considerable time recovering. 
Thanking him, I did exactly as he suggested but realized 
that I forgot to ask him which company he owned 
and how he planned to use me.


 is that it’s the down time that really matters.
What we do between the seconds of joy and the waiting 
for something to happen that turns out to be a dream 
in which the spider sucks the juice out of the fly
like the proverbial milkshake we used to enjoy
before our favorite hamburger joint went out of business. 
What else I discovered is that my 7th grade Spanish teacher 
put all the pretty girls in the front of the class
so he could look under their dresses, laugh with them,
and teach them the good stuff like Te quiero
and Tu casa es mi casa while us boys sat in the back
imagining violent birds flying through the window 
and pecking out our eyes for no other reason than they could.
And in the end I realized that each and every one of us
wants what we want for ourselves first, 
that only if we’ve grown tired of what we have
are we willing to share with the person who fell by the wayside,
who can hardly lift themselves up to take another breath 
between the fumes in the air 
and the putrid smell of excrement on the water. 
It’s all a discovery that leaves most of us speechless, 
wondering why we continue to live in such a condition, 
which is always conditional 
on the day, the time, and century in which we live. . .


After Little Red and I were married we bought a cottage
near her Grandma so that we could keep an eye on her. 
At first, we visited Grandma every day, but as Red and 
I got busier and busier we were only able to stop by once
or twice per week. 
Knowing how vulnerable Grandma was to wolves in the area, 
we bought her an alarm system that sounded at our house 
if there was trouble.
Everything was fine for a few months until one night
the alarm went off at about 3 a.m. and Red and I rushed
to Grandma’s house as fast as we could. 
When we opened Grandma’s bedroom door we saw that she 
was half way down a wolf’s throat. 
Immediately, I picked up a chair and slammed it against the wolf’s 
back which made him cough up Grandma, who understandably 
was shaken and confused.
And before I had a chance to slam the chair over the wolf’s head, 
he fled through the open window. 
After this incident Red decided that Grandma should live with us, 
which turned out O.K. because most of the time she was never 
in our way. 
Eventually we sold Grandma’s house to a nice family of bears 
who soon became our friends and trusted neighbors.
Everything was fine until three depraved little pigs and their
sociopathic mother moved into the neighborhood. 
From there, things went from bad to worse, the specifics of which 
I’ll save for another story. . .

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in MockingHeart Review, Colloquial, Ordinary Madness, Third Wednesday, After The Pause, Tower Journal, Fear of Monkeys, Brickplight, Tigershark, Corvus, and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Matthew Borczon And The Irony Of Call Of Duty, Bars Filled With Ghosts, And Leaving Your Son For War


The young soldiers play

call of duty on their x-box

with the war right outside.

Post deployment

On the first night we were home

all the bars were filled

with the ghosts of every soldier and marine I served with.

Pre Deployment

When my son asked  if I was gonna die

I told him no

only mostly sure.

Matthew Borczon in a poet and navy sailor from Erie, Pa. He has published 6 books of poetry the most recent of which is The smallest coffins are the heaviest by Epic rites press. He works as a practical nurse in Erie, Pa where he lives with his wife, four kids, three cats and two dogs. He publishes widely in the small press.

James Diaz And The Total Dark Encompassing What Kafka Said Until The Last Bomb Of Autumn

Sirens, How I Miss Being The One They're After

I come from a dark so total
light itself is the accident
how air hits the open wound
how the mirror refuses to show you
what you show it
once I put the whole damn town
into that gaping hole
and when it closed
all these refugees
were just trapped inside
my broken body
and when I look a little pinched
pained in my posture
it's all these poor substitutes
looking for a way out

The Arrow's Deepest Kiss

"The weapon of choice made a hole in my heart,
a hole so deep nothing else mattered" -Annie Gallup

in my bones
I lean
toward you
thirsty from
I wear
my heart
all wrong
all these sleepless nights
I see the silver lining
go dark
around my eyes
and every ghost in this room
speaks the language
of another country
I haven't got what it takes
or what I had was taken
from me
I think you know
what I know
that at a certain point
there's no coming back
that's the point we must reach, Kafka said
well, now we're at that dark edge
and lost isn't always as lost as we think
or as lasting.

I Was Never What You Thought I Was

winter wonders how i am keeping
things from her door
i search the aubergine valley
but only orphan socks will
do, when you walk alone
you walk as you were born
this is what i know about dying
i'm better at living, for now-
in the quiet between the last bomb
of autumn, the dial tone
of a friend's voice
and static when the weeping
is all that you remember
of love

James Diaz lives in upstate New York. He is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared in HIV Here & Now, Quail Bell Magazine, Ditch, Cheap Pop Lit and Foliate Oak. @diaz_james

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Rus Khomutoff Is Witness To Hither Swarms, Dizzying Hybris, An Echo Drug From A Culvert, And The Blacklist Of Preeminence

3 poems inspired by Ric Carfagna

Vintage ghosts of 
joy and sadness
a saccharine statement
the highest expression of the autopoetic force
the incarnation and withdrawal of a God
declaration of hither swarms
accretion of the torrential becoming
instances emancipated from
all anxieties and frustrations
in the anagogic phase
made dizzy by the hybris
a regular pulsating
metre of recurrence

This is not a method 

O blacklist of preeminence
louder than life itself
countdown sequence
of aired mysterious booms
natural coction
the shadow of a shadow of an
obtainable new order
to bathe in the splendor
of lathe and labyrinth
as momentum grows
that bold and legitimate certainty
of endlessly repeating variations
and recollections that
erect their desire to exist
like a new sensation
articulating lifelong repeal

In this mode and vague notion
of a stay in your placeism
event horizon
a derangement of senses
dragging the echo
from the culvert

from the book of common prayer
eschewing the copula
almost like the pace of a dream
ordered fragments of a 
disordered devotion
a space we can enter
the bareness of time’s passing

My name is Rus Khomutoff and I am a neo surrealist language poet based in Brooklyn,NY. My poetry has appeared in Erbacce, Poetheah, Occulum, X-Peri and Former People Journal. Last year I self published my debut ebook Immaculate Days. I am on twitter @rusdaboss

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Connor Stratman and Fallen Angels, Harvest Seedlings, the Nantucket Light, and The Dander of Morning


Sing, fool, sing to me,
the shadow of the centrifugal
serpent. Angel to angel,
faceless face to form
and space, come with the fire
to swing the sphere into focus.
If in our song, you’ll permit
a field to crumble into weeds,
may the oil burn at midnight
as well as at the bloody sunrise.
By then, our shirts will be dry
and the cities will call to us
in shipless drowning gestures.
They’ll know then the fixtures
were never fixed nor stern.
Your motion is your negative
gorgeous twin vision of night.
For me, the moon unhinges
on the brink of demonic dispute,
something for my six lost sons
to pull towards their barren chests.


The scream is natural. It
panders, pleads
like a seedling at harvest.
Neither life, nor glass

is this, the predictor
of the rod. Now they
swish over and again.

Only the echoes
of fingernails

in the dirt.


Nothing was wrong with the light.
In Nantucket for now, my sense
of humor is now stationed. Window,
sing in a arpeggio of prismatic fury.

Show me, wall, where my limbs extend,
disappear, burn. Thread by thread,
my dead cells crowd every head that
hits the pillow. Radio’s out: asleep.

Soaplessly washed in the dander
of a morning that won’t come, soon.

Connor Stratman lives in Dallas, TX. His books and chapbooks include Some Were Awake (plumberries, 2011), Volcano (2011/2017, Writing Knights), and An Early Scratch (Erbacce, 2010). His work has appeared in journals such as Ditch, Counterexample Poetics, Earl of Plaid, Etcetera, Backlash, Moria, Dead Snakes, and Otoliths. He currently is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Texas at Arlington.