Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Matthew Borczon Looses His Bleeding Fingers Across the Parchment of Afghanistan Unleashed Like the Dog of His Poems

the dog

the dog
its leash
and was
it behind
him as
he ran
up on
Nick who
used that
chain to
choke the
dog dead
and then
threw it
onto the
owner's porch
screaming threats
but Nick
is still
not ready
to go
to the
VA or
to talk
the war.

bad habits

about the
war as
I bite
my nails
too close
and watch
the blood
pool in
my nail
bed I
have chewed
them all
down to
open sores
that hurt
with everything
I pick up

with everything
I can't
put down.

civilian casualty

as a
younger man
my sense
of drama
might have
led me
to make
her much
more personal
give her
a name
myself I
heard her
soft voice
call to
her father
but at
45 I
did the
only thing
I could
I pushed
her outside
my consciousness
outside memory
not even
one line
in my
outside of
my life
in the
hospital and
my head
for the
whole time
I was in
some nights
I still
hear her
ghost begging
me to
finally let
her in.

Matthew Borczon is the author of four books of poetry A Clock of Human Bones by the Yellow Chair review press, Battle Lines by Epic Rites press, Ghost Train by Weasel Press and Sleepless nights and Ghost Soldiers by Grey Boarders press. He has a chapbook coming out through Epic Rites before the end of this year as well. He is a nurse and Navy Sailor from Erie, Pa. He tries not to let PTSD rule too much of his life

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rus Khomutoff In the Thralldom Sullied By Quantum Catharsis

Splash Bombs 

to Michel Majerus

Horns of dilemma, the shadow’s brighter heritage
going beyond the symptoms
quartered revelator of the frayed edge
a week of redolent memory
beset by both the future
and the past
thralldom mastication

The Shallow Between
to Nick Land

Pathos of distance expecting itself
fake eternities of stationary descent
tailored hallucinations that surrender
to the serpentine ensemble of all possibility
hiatuses sullied by memory
ecstasy of the everyday

Catharsis daily

Lions and shadows
labyrinthine emergence
voice in the chasm
obliteration of the possible at all costs
unbegotten and immortal
words that belong to a quantum realm
catharsis daily

My name is Rus Khomutoff and I am a neo surrealist poet in Brooklyn,NY. My poetry has been featured in Uut Poetry, Erbacce, Fifth day journal and Burning house press. Last year I self published an ebook called Immaculate Days. I am also on twitter @rusdaboss

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Peter Jacob Streitz Pushes Bukowski and Shakespeare Through the Bibliotheque Aerial Reconnaissance


That shitfaced
Nah, macho man
The limbs
Of ladies
Or the fattest
With smallish
And suckable
Like the quim colored lips
Of dead
Where beer
In winy utterances
Mixing sex
With fucking
Then love
Or appreciation
Of mirrors
Healing acne
With wisdom
Or cocktails
That pussy foot
From sacks
To racetracks
And back
To paddocks
Of saddles
And whips
Plus horns
And leads
With harnesses
That mount
And cinch
The saddlebags
In stirrups
Of lust
As fleshy bits
Rope heartache
To the rhyming
Of losers
And winners
Who’re eternally
For never
Having placed
The bet
—that women who blush—
Train their flanks
To lap
The track
Where mares
And stallions
In a world
Of wonder
And words
Unless the final
Human nature
Human nature
the last word
Of his story.


The tweeker’s
Boggy, alcoholic eyes
Bulged unblinkingly
Within inches of mine
Setting the stage
For mere players
In this mosh pit
At the intersection of ol’Frisco
And modernity
While the watery whirl
Of rush hour washed‘round
And Dino denied I’ve come—
To that very corner
For the past twenty years
Awaiting my love’s return
from work
But on this day
Where the subway
And the street cars clank
Like two ships
Passing in the night
I unknowingly missed her
As she unknowingly missed me
But Dino didn’t miss a beat
Manically orating his resurrection
As a bookseller
And one who
Only reads the law
And fuck that storytelling
With his countenance
Increasingly inscribed
In an ominous glaze
And his lids hoisted
At half-mast
He pulled back the curtain
For the briefest moment
To inquire
Do you read?
There was no answer
Other than His . . .
Leading to
his sidewalk bibliothèque
Where ten tomes of prose
Sat dog-eared and dirty
Along with a soiled sleeping mat
And a rat
Disguised as a pet
Entrapped beneath
A milk crate
—Much Ado About Nothing—
Was crammed into my hand
While two bucks
departed this fool
And his wad of money
Filled Dino’s head
With sugar plums of theft
Or thirst for some complicity
Whose outright criminality
Got quenched with past drinks
And blackouts
At whore houses
In Alaska
And racist chases
In Texas by Rangers
Who took exception
To the pilfering
Of black velvet
when shit and damn
My cell phone vibrated
And a distraught
Wifely voice
Rung down the curtain
On two role players
In another performance
Of their life.


Unless you consider
They eat the same crap
But you’d be wrong
These low flying
Of the cityscape
Got zip codes
And statues
And ordnances as white
As the driven snow.
In some hoods
They’re the only fauna
That doesn’t attack
And kill
As ordered
Or destroy the trees
With piss and shit
And forget the grass.
Instead, these citizens
Of aerial reconnaissance
Clean-up after bums
And partygoers
Doing such civic duties
As eating
the rice and beans
By soup kitchen
Or their counterparts
Boogieing in
From bedroom
Leaving their suburban
For clean-up
By those living
On the ledge
With only one way
To fall
And no safety net
Dying alone
In their mourning suits
Having seen it all
On the hardest streets
. . . yet nothing . . .
Of remembrance
Not even the homage
Of never more.

Peter Jacob Streitz was born an iconoclastic hick in upstate New York. Raised by a single mom after his dad flew the coop instead of flying The Hump--over the Burma Road in World War Two--where he won the Distinguish Flying Cross by losing both the Japs and his mind. His inevitable departure didn’t affect Peter—as he morphed into an All-American boy and athlete who was awarded a four year, full-boat scholarship to Alfred University (which he rejected) before counter-culturing his way towards the only degree ever given by Boston University in Alternative Education.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Michael Prihoda Leaves the Postcard City With the Medusa Map As the Gardens Scrawl


the munitions factory,
the postcard city.

contain regret
within definite prosperity

when compared
to grace appreciated less.

the nostalgia aware
of different dying

without even names

settled in connection.

what is necessary

these forms not become today
in age ideal. the same yesterday

corresponds to the medusa
reserved for a map. your empire

must be big, not equally real.

what is necessary is imagined.


the route wonders
in a different order.

the eye penetrates
the scrawl of gardens,

the prison, the slum.
the hypothesis

of the traveler
has nothing but doubts.

he is distinct

in existence.

Michael Prihoda is a poet, editor, and teacher, living in central Indiana with his wife and the dream of having a pet llama. He is the author of five poetry collections, the latest of which is The First Breath You Take After You Give Up (Weasel Press, 2016).

Gale Acuff Makes Kites and Chong Yen's P-38s Haunt the Hallways Like Amelia Stephens


While my dog sleeps at the foot of my bed
I tickle his ears with my toes and read
a comic book. The window fan's spinning
and tomorrow morning we'll run downstairs,
Caesar and I, to have breakfast--I'll fix
his first--then fly kites if there's wind. If not
we'll try again in the afternoon, when
the June air's warmer and makes a breeze
to raise our craft without us having
to race against the wind to create lift.
Caesar will bark as the kite rises and
I'll laugh at him for being so silly.
I'd let him hold the string but he'd drop it
and kites don't grow on trees--this one cost me
49 cents down at the Five & Dime.
(It's 1966; I'm ten years old).

Sometimes we make our own, sticks from branches,
glue I make myself, the Sunday comics
for the skin that stretches over the bones.
For a heart I give it mine. For a soul
--it picks that up from the sky, takes it in
if I can get it high enough up there
so that it dances by itself. That's what
I mean by soul. That's why Heaven's over
our heads. To bring it down again I wind
it in, hand over hand, a slow process
and contrary to Nature, I guess, but
I can't just release the line, or break it,
and watch it waft away, no matter that
I wonder where it's off to. Still, the link
has snapped on more than one occasion, but
that was the wind, not a boy and his dog,
who let it get away. When that happens,
we follow it as far as we can. And

one day, what holds me to the earth will break,
too, and I'll fall to the ground, later
be buried inside it, yet float away
and see everything my kite can see but
just as if it's all spread out before me
--much like my life is now . . . but without end.
I'll have lots to live for when I die,
but who will follow me to find out where

I've lighted? I suppose I'll find myself
--a neat trick, better than the loop the loop.


From my attic bedroom I see my school.
It's well and I'm sick--flu, or a virus,
something I caught from my classmates there. Now
it's my turn not to turn up. I feel like
heck. I can't keep anything down. Even
saltines and Coca-Cola. They come back
up. I have a fever and yet I'm freezing.
I get some sleep, in snatches, and have dreams,
nightmares by day, from which I jerk awake
to wonder where I am. Oh, yeah. My bed.
What day's today? Wednesday. Over the hump,
almost, of the school week. What time is it?
About 1:00. Time for recess soon.

I hear the students running to the playground.
Kickball. Jump-rope. Basketball. Ducks and drakes.
I wish I could be there, not that I'm good
at sports. But I like to run and play and
shout. I'm small for my age--I hardly get on base
or kick the ball out of the infield or
make a basket. But when my pals do
I cheer, and when I do they shout, Acuff,
you're oh-kay. Then we return to class and

draw. I like airplanes. I can draw them but
not exactly, not as well as Chong Yen.
He's from Taiwan. He can draw them as if
he's taking a photograph or building
a real bird, right before your eyes. I say,
Look, Chong, at what I drawed. He rolls his eyes.
Drew, he says. Look at what I drew. Then he
comes to my desk and picks up my drawing
and says, No, no, no, a P-51
doesn't look like this at all. Don't forget
the details. He returns to his desk and
I follow. He's drawn P-38s. Wow,
I say. You sure know your planes. I whistle.
He smiles--he's pleased--and looks away. He has

three brothers and two sisters. I know--I
met them at his birthday party. I don't
get invited much to birthday parties
but I did to his. I gave him a plane,
a model plane, a B-29, wrapped
up nice by my mother. Here, Chong, I said,
after we had cake and ice cream and it
was time for him to open his presents.
Chinese have birthdays, too, just like we do.
It's a small world, I guess. It's a small world
because it's so big. Anyway, he took
it--both hands. Thank you very much. I said
You're welcome, which sounded strange because I
hardly ever say that, much less Thank you.
He carefully unwrapped it and folded
the paper flat--he didn't wad it up

like I do. A B-29, he said.
I hope you like it, Chong, I said. Do you
like it? Yes, he said. I am overwhelmed
by your thoughtfulness. No one's ever said
anything like that to me before. Oh,
it's nothing, I said. I'm glad you're happy.
He didn't look at me because he was
crying, which confused me: Chong, if you don't
like it, I said, you can take it back or
I can take it back for you and get you
something else, or just the money. No, no,
he said. You don't understand. But I do.

And after drawing we have history
--Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth
and Useless Grant and all those men with beards.
Even when they're young they look like grandpas.

I fall asleep to the sounds of my friends.
I'm under the sheets and my eyes are tight
and it's like we're all here together.
I'm sweet on Amelia Stephens. Sometimes
I try to dream about her. It starts with
us in a yellow station wagon, really
more golden than yellow. I'm drawing and
she's sitting right beside me. We don't have
children because I don't know how that's done
and I guess she doesn't either, at least
in my dream. I don't know where we're going

but we're together and heading somewhere
so that's really all I know about love
but it's enough. I love her in my dream
and real life, too, but I'll never tell her
and spoil it. She wears pretty dresses and
socks that come up to just below
her knees. She's taller than I am so my
legs are about as long as her socks. Now

she's sitting beside me, saying, Poor thing,
I love you--when I'm sick my mind
plays tricks on me but it's really my heart.
Then I hear the three o'clock bell ring and
children being noisy as they get on
their buses. I walk to school--I've never
ridden a bus, not even a Greyhound.
It looks like fun, you and your friends going

home together though your homes are different.
When I'm well enough to go back to school
it will seem new again, like a friend
or an out-of-state cousin you see just
once a year, if that often. I mean that
you don't take them for granted anymore,
or at least not so much. That's what love is,

not getting so close that you ruin it all
or needing them so bad it makes you puke.

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Poem, Adirondack Review, Coe Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Arkansas Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. Acuff has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).  Acuff has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sheldon Lee Compton At The Foot of The Hopi Language Mountain With The Bellwether Eye


Pia’isa, little ones. To learn of magnificence, the kind that comes from a long history. The turns of pure magic, through stories. How the moon and earth were once as close as leaves of a branch, how the sky tilted, a disc throwing colors of all kinds, or the dark marathon of the animal earth-diver  into the primal waters for a handful of mud here or a fingernail worth of sand there. The First People, as they’re called now, but who should be called by their own collective name for themselves - the people, or simply us. They are and were a fantastic people. If you asked them, Who is that over there, those strangers? Their answer would always translate today to the word enemy. Who are those people? Oh, they are enemy. The same goes for any other object or living being they might be asked to identify. Over there is a big mountain. What do you call that? Oh, that? We call that a big mountain. The First People names for me varied by immense and roaming tribes. To the Hopi, I was Kweo Kachina; to the Potawatomi, I was Chibiabos. The Metis called me Rou-garou, and the Shshone whispered Pia’isa to their children at night to frighten them into calming. Pia’isa is watching for your eyes to open, aw√Ęsis.    

Bellwether Eye

This boy breaks into a house and we find out it’s his grandma’s place,
that he’s stealing her pain meds. Next thing you know
the grandma’s on the floor with a busted head. Boys like that get shitkicked
by Sean Holly in lockup. Big Sean did it and didn’t care who knew it,
told the boy he wasn’t his mamaw and flattened his head against the cell wall,
jarred his eye loose so that it popped it out of his head,
left it swinging on the optic nerve. Thing is, that boy’s eye started moving
across his cheekbone, pushing itself toward the bridge of his nose
the way a snail does, using the exposed nerve like its body to inch along.
And it started growing. That’s the word Sean tried to say later. Growing.

Gig Night

Bird arrives as heroin.
Eyes lidded and soft,
steps like socked feet
on shag carpet,
he moves so lightly.
Five musicians
shadow the room
from center stage.
Buddy on drums,
but the rest are a

haze coffin out of sight.
The heroin is vein-rusted,
plants him to the stage.
It soaks through the skin
to mix with his sweat,
it screams into the sax
and blows out into the
club like shards from his reed,
a prodrug sprinkle
of notes exactly ragged.

Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of four books, most recently the novella A True Story (Shivelight Books, 2017). His fiction and poetry can be found in gobbet, Wigleaf, Live Nude Poems, Gravel, Anti-Heroin Chic, Unbroken Journal, Vending Machine Press, The Cabal, and elsewhere. He lives in Pikeville, Kentucky, with his partner, the photographer Heather McCoy.

Michael Tyrell Won't Offer The World To Eve In The Hydrangea and Mandrake

For the Descendants I Won’t Make

Sometimes during what they call Rain Stone Season
they lose me—the street green,
a kind of bread left out for weeks, not
what they’ve been taught to expect
so early in March—who knows how they know,
but when they find me, like almost all offspring,
they naturally become immediately disappointed
at the one who might make them.
How is it I’m just another of the umbrellas and phones?
Even if nobody else can hear their complaints
I shush them, in my own way, under the awning
of the bric-a-brac shop on Manhattan Avenue.
Rain Stone Season: yes. And yes, terrible, waiting
with the living and those somehow outside that category,
in raw weather, and the usual unanswerable questions
raised by children: why won’t you buy us arms?
I won’t tell them how on this side
the wars splinter into words so as to be easily conflated,
how the bric-a-brac shop isn’t a metaphor
because it’s true everything’s
for sale here. Entire snapshot families for sale,
right behind me! Under the awning, to keep
from getting soaked (soaked and then sick),
the children with unsubtle bodies,
blue before they were human, at the birth hour,
all of us. Here’s an apple I can’t share,
they won’t take, I say nothing; I can only listen.
Where we’re from they’re for stargazing.
I won’t be the devil, offering a world to Eve.
So I lose them again,
alone except for the food I hold,
faint stars on its skin forming like the sky above Mars.

Broken Record

Every day begins with this refrain:
I won’t die, I won’t die.
The sky in whatever tantrum or euphemism
seems to be singing it, and breakfast
follows, the honoring of broken shells,
eating the unborn, quaffing the milk of
another animal, its status unknown.

Every activity devised to change the subject,
or avoid it.
Photos under obits display the living only,
our slasher films elicit laughter
and culminate with the audience rising.
Secondary sources—the moon,
the brainy fronds of hydrangea,
imply that what we have is a cycle,
not a terminating line.

So the persistent hum,
the reverie that nothing will unravel.
Most comply—
they go out for the evening,
they put their hands together for the chasing of a ball,
the goring of a bull,
the handing out of an award.

Those who sit out the sing-along
are not easily accessed.
Somewhere behind shades
the color of enamel,
among concrete and institutional garden,
we might catch a note or two,
but it’s quickly dubbed over
with won’t die, won’t die.

We call out these words,
we call out whole sentences, into caves,
and the dead—the inheritors of echo,
the ones proved wrong—
mock us
by sending back
everything they’ve heard before.

Documentary for Eleanor Manzano, Who Was Mistaken for the Kidnapped Lindbergh Baby in March, 1932

It would have to be reenactment disguised as newsreel

Winthrop Park, Seventeenth Ward, Brooklyn

shot of the lawn filmed in black and white

and gunmetal benches close-up on the first cop’s

mutton-chop face after the title card fades

his cockeyed twitch that seems to say I know this scene’s absurd

a pram pulled over by the cops like some bank robber’s getaway car

and medium shot of your reenactment mother

in cloche hat and spring coat too shocked to argue  

(have they made baby walking a crime?)

conflicting accounts your mother police-

stationed for her questioning for your own good

and you given to the doctor and then they hand you back

OR it’s fast simple the second cop sees the wrong sex

under the pins of your cloth diaper

and he almost drops you handing back

That handing back—again and again,
even if you can’t possible remember,
you know they might have kept you,
filed you with the other
mistaken identities and counterfeit dollars
all the wrong wrongfully kept
as if to have an alibi 
in case the actual never materializes

It would have to include  

a montage of other baby carriages

getting pulled over all across America

Lindbergh Lindbergh  every infant in America changeling 

mandrake Lindbergh 

Interview excerpts:

I too am one of history’s deleted scenes,
but I remember it 
do you?

Sound is only recently invented and no talkie can convey the moment—not the last—
the world insisting This is Mine,  no match, but what you are will do just as well. 

silvery cousin, blind acquaintance— 
I don’t know who gets taken
and returned safe, 
why even the globe stunt flying
doesn’t shield others. 
The baby I’ve chosen
to play you in the documentary
will not stop crying, 
which by all accounts 
you did not do even then.

Michael Tyrell is the author of The Wanted (The National Poetry Review Press, 2012) and his poems have appeared in many magazines, including Agni, The Canary, Fogged Clarity, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn (NYU Press, 2007). He teaches at New York University and resides in Brooklyn, where he was born.