Monday, July 27, 2015

John Gartland Traverses the Suwintawong Highway Through A Minoan Maze of Lies Amongst Hypocrites And Madmen

from The Second Book of Inundations. 
              Bangkok De Profundis.

In a time of rising waters,
He has cried to thee oh Lord.
It was becoming hard to bear,
waking up each morning as a cockroach.
His junkie girlfriend stole the laptop,
the phone kept ringing at odd hours,
and insomniacs haunted him,
invading his rooms to smoke Old Delirium
in strange contraptions, fashioned
from detergent bottles and glass tubing.

False prophets network,
scares and admonitions,
“Seek shelter from the coming flood”
for markets fall, and pundits pall
like necromancers shocked by futures,
awed at stocks’ exposed positions.
More flashbacks of those corpses wrapped
in blood-stained sheets where Hades meets Suwintawong highway,
and demons dressed as strutting cops
play out satanic games with car wrecks
and six lanes of hurtling pick-ups,
loaded with the damned.
Nothing stops, apart from hoping,
in that darkness;
hoping, and the grand design of God.
Years of debris; a throwaway world
is gagging his high watermark.
The residue of empires, dismembered ideologies,
gangrenous  mullahs,
severed heads in doggie bags,
girls stoned to death by dumper truck
where high tech. serves Islamic rigour;
and women’s bodies, feared
and lashed with equal vigour,
float the septic tide to state,
that, rotting, raped and subjugate,
masked, or beauty acid-scarred,
this jealous hate redeems some family’s honour
and the keeping of a slave.
“Seek shelter from the coming flood!”.
More warnings from the networks
of disaster in plain sight.
Infected by the future
and recoiling from the light,
from the morning watch,
to subliminal night, Lord,
he channel-hops the ads. and lies,
awaits the blind inexorable wave.

Let thine ears be attentive
to the voice of his supplication.
Please take his urgent call oh Lord,
extend to him religion's consolation.                        


Icons of old wizard monks,
expensive relics in a locket,
the sacred, decorated trunks of
twisted, bent, revered old trees,
an idol, or a totem,
or the fetish of of a prophet,
an amulet of Vishnu,
or a string of merit-making beads
to finger in a pocket.
A road map of the Tree of Life,
a prayer mat, sacrificial knife,
a sacred stone they venerate,
a holy spring where they prostrate,
and, chanting loudly, flagellate;
some mutilation rituals they find,
somehow express their
tortured, ingrown toenail of a mind.
To these they bow, by these they wait,
for heaven’s ultimate blind date;
hypnosis by a holy book,
subservience to a priestly look.

Yea Lord, he drinks a bitter cup,
deliverance eludes him yet.
The creator, playing hard to get,
has, once more, frankly, stood him up.                    


Manipulation, thought correction,
machiavellian misdirection.
Digesting God's indifference,
inhaling insignificance,
in times of rising waters,
a Minoan maze of lies.
The sacred books, the king, the host,
those feet at which men grovel most;
the bloodstained flag,  the Holy Ghost,
the biggest fairy tales require
most pious genuflection,
and these the thinking cockroach
will contemptuously despise.

Insomniac transexuals
are texting, seeking parts again.
Awake within the whispering walls,
illumination swirls and falls
to fractals in a pipe bulb,
when, aware God’s not returning calls,
or dealing absolution,
he crawls out of the depths, not least
to shun the poisonous fix of priests,
and charter his own flight to dissolution.


For, Lord, he’s turned his back upon
some name we may not utter
without slavish self-abasement,
the mediaeval violence policing laws of love;
a million milling zealots
trampling by their sacred monolith;
psychosis aping saintliness,
when push comes to fanatic shove.

And the globalised multiplex; virtual reality,
brand slaves on Prozac grazing the mall.
Where history simply is discarded fashion,
junk’s TV, rap culture, and soundbite celebrities,
mainlining cage fights, an armchair in hell.
In a time of rising waters,
He has cried to thee, oh Lord.

Last call for oblivion, welcome aboard.

Let thine ears be attentive... attentive oh Lord!

Last call for oblivion, we’ve darkness on board.


At such a perfect moment, Death will come
and take me to the water. Still, I hear
his stripped-down opening drum.
At such a perfect moment…

Of course, you wouldn’t KNOW
you’re nuts, IF you WERE nuts.
They’re wailing at the hour of prayer.
Deejay Nemesis plays Old Wave,
with a bad rep,
hot licks from the dark side,
microwaves in lockstep.
No question, man; I’m fried.

I may need to take this further,
with a witch-doctor or shrink,
but,  the River and the Abyss;
always closer than  you  think:
will be
taking  you,

“And what if your clear sanity’s their Crazy?”
This aphorism I extracted from a Christmas cracker,
Then another, more intriguing,
 “Hold the River, and the Abyss,
closer to you, always”.
Nobody laughed at my aphorism.
People fiddled with their party hats,
so I repeated it
“Hold the River, and the Abyss, closer to you, always”.
Squeezed it out, like Ahmed, in a passion,
comforting his favourite camel
from behind.
Ejaculated it again.
A lot of people left the party,
right away.
It was like the end of Christmas, in the West.
More fun than an exploding vest.
“Yes! How the cracker’s holy verses
Have dogged me, Moriarty!”
Sometimes I step into other scripts,
But, doesn’t everybody?

“You want to spread your
Prayer-mat mind for me?”
I said it again,
“You want to pull the holy cracker,
share these verses with me?”
And licked my open mouth;
No stopping it, then. The entire building
was evacuated by the government,
directly into the President’s face.
The whole, rotten, poxy, scat-trip, daily-life-load,
harlot politicians, with their asses up for  big oil,
mutilated children, auto-destructive muslims,
slaves and stonings, bombings and beheadings on TV,
sharia  shit, and PC lube, a rectal cocktail from the cosmic tube,
royally blown, and voided in the Chief’s visage.
Comparisons will fail to match the charnel reek
of this vast oil slick of GM demon seed,
enough to give a skunk a hard-on for a week!
Like I said, everybody drowns.
How good a fucking gig is that?

The Capital is  inundated,
and channels of communication
gagged over a large area.
And even the head-hangman
is choked with a real big one,
and the drones are down.
And phones,  and everyone
else in town, are dead,
FINITO!  And welcome;
your card got swiped,
the truth is halal overnight,
and all your deepest fears;
are realized;

No jury but fuckwit mullahs,
and no other judge but Dread.

Hey, only joking!  Why so serious?
Only joking!
I can’t stand-up any longer.
Time has surely come, to pause,

to  ask you,  for a hand-job…….
You know,   ……  I mean,  ……. your applause.


1 / The Flag Raising

Students stand in line at the flag raising.
The chosen, handle its folded cloth, much
as a priest reveres the Shroud.
“Today, class, as we raise the flag”…..

Whores and hitmen, billionaires and feudalists,
extortion, oppression, ignorance, and worse.
Religious shams, and corporate scams and cover-ups
ubiquitous corruption, rape, and slavery,
each government as a smash and grab
job, inflicted on the public purse.

“Today, class,  we unfurl the flag”….
cue martial music, and the staff’s respectful silence.

Hope’s buried in ten thousand secret places,
today, as we  salute the flag.

The students soak it in, with vacant faces.

2/   To  the Escapees from the Flag-Raising.

Don’t run this way, fugitives.
Poetry’s just the grappling
of language and confusion,
poetry’s  just a  groping for the light,
Sometimes it’s an act of love,
and sometimes absolution,
always,  it’s a state of exile,
often it’s a fight.
Don’t run this way, fugitives.

3/  Lost at Loco’s

I heard him laugh,
“Don’t talk value to me, you nut.
Where else on the planet can you
buy an iced beer and a joint
For less than five, U.S..?
Second round, you’re already trashed, then
looking out of this big window, and above the mess… “

Ramshackle carts and taxis thread the shabby condos and shacks along a narrow soi, straggling to the dusty temple, all lining a poisonous canal. Motor cycle taxis, occasional asian beauties negotiate the speed bumps,
and a motorized noodle vendor in a black tee shirt, marked End Game, skirts expertly round wheezing joggers and  two boys on weaving  tricycles. A woman in a four by four, letting her motor run,
doesn’t bat an eye, as a pickup with thirty men, standing, packed solidly as brooms on that brush vendor’s  cart, sweeps by.
And all the time, the deals are done.
Sudden wailings from some mosque…
“It’s a fucking madhouse out there. Between me and you,I mean, seriously ….”
Two cops, bulging from a motorcycle, scouting for some shakedown they can try, cruise through.
Security man across the street in Mao suit and a golf cap, casts his gimlet gaze our way, leans on the sliding  gate to a forbidden land,
tubular steel, chest height, tubular steel, in red and white….
Suddenly, it is hours later, and dark.
“We’re lodged between the cracks of tyranny”, he smiles,
….and doomed to lose. Personally,
I would choose to franchise Loco’s,
as an antidote to fear and loathing”.
The street outside of Loco’s now is quiet for the night
Tubular steel, chest height, tubular steel, in red and white.
It is six hours to flag-raising.

John Gartland is one of Bangkok’s more interesting expatriates. Born in Northern England, he graduated with honors in English from Newcastle University, and has a Master’s degree in Elizabethan and Shakespearian Drama. He spent time in the United States, worked in the government sector, in sales, in the telecommunications business, as a rock n’ roll writer-producer, and as college lecturer and professor in four countries. He’s travelled a lot. He recently returned to Bangkok after stints as visiting professor of English Writing at the Korea National University of Education, and as lecturer in English and Communications, in Oman. John thrives on live performance; at venues such as Night of Noir III, in Bangkok, and, with the noted band, Krom, at Meta House in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He reads at regular gigs in Bangkok. Also a published novelist, John has had two poetry collections published, “Gravity’s Fool” and “Poetry Without Frontiers”, the latter, with Irish poet and prominent Gaelic scholar, Tom Hodgins.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

April Salzano With Absent Aura And The Color Of Silence

Because Laundry

isn’t something you do,

it’s something you wear, clean

clothes are easy to take for granted.

Because dinner isn’t something you make,

it’s something you eat, a full gut

is just another need fulfilled.

Because pleasure isn’t something you give,

it’s something you take, sex

has become a lot less frequent.

Because poetry isn’t something you write,

it’s something you read, value

isn’t borne of words.

Because respect isn’t something you earn,

it’s something you demand,

you stand tall enough to cast a shadow.

Because time isn’t something you make,

it’s something you lose, days

always end against your will.

Because angry isn’t something you get,

it’s something you are,

forgiveness is a word you do not understand.

To Cross or Not to Cross

fingers, bridges, boundaries.

The stillness is rhetorical. There

is no answer, no salvaging

punctuation to bottle. Neck

in hand, I begin to lose,

first sight, then sound, tunnel down

into a blue-blank that turns

white as absent aura.

legs, time, over.

The fall was inevitable. Here

is the answer, a saving. Grace

escapes me last, just before

anger and survival

instinct. I remember the dark

cavern of yesterday not as a time,

but as a place, a space occupied

by twins, conjoined at the soul.

I go black when I have travelled too far

into memory’s cave.

eyes, my heart, distance.

The infinite becomes reached

and realized, epiphanic in its vision.

Between is home, neutral

territory for words at war. Behind

my enemy’s lines, I wave

a white flag. Drowning, I

stop the futile flapping

of arms against a current

stronger than both of us.

Hearing Here

The color of silence is caramel,

a sticky nothingness dragged through

by repetition of sounds that have already passed,

a trick the brain plays to create stimulation.

A bird chirping, house settling as if breathing

a pause, a pipe, a floorboard, random tap. Repeat

sounds until I can no longer resurrect them

from memory and listen to noises from my own

body. Ears ring a high pitched tune, almost

an octave above capture. Eyelashes scrape

against pillow. Blood moves heavy to heart

and back. Cilia whistles in nasal cavity.

Circular sound of breath. The pattern

won’t hold. Saliva swallowed. Fridge hums.

I imagine traffic a mile away rolling

toward some irrelevant destination.

Woodpecker knocks on dead trunk.

Eyes open and it all disappears.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania and is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism along with several collections of poetry. Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Award and has appeared in journals such as The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. Her first chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming in spring 2015 from Dancing Girl Press. The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (www.kindofahurricanepress.com).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Randy Brown Jr. Speaks of Writer's Block in Utopia

Fighting Writer’s Block in Google Chat

There’s never enough time.
Time: my ultimate enemy.
Enemy: a friend.
A friend told the red coats where I was hiding.
The red coats made me confess.
And so, here I am,
rotting in a cell made of three hands and numbers I know all too well.
Time is my enemy.
Who said anything about hell?

Fighting Writer’s Block on Sunday Night

She basked in a bevy of mist.
She was the first of her kind;
from Greece with hugs,
and those who accompanied her—
miles from the tail-end of a current gone south.
She was the best of mine,
even when she was out of her mind.

Ninety-Seconds for Life

Mural of the unscathed mind,
read me a line from my demise.
And if you could be so kind as to
write with red ink from the souls of
beings who have been reprimanded
for romanticism, skin color, or faith.
My faith has brought me here today,
in a way in which can only be written for
grand screens.
Utopian scenes haunt me in my sleep.
For the sake of humanity, in another life,
I write stories.
For the sake of a family,
I share experiences that would, otherwise,
be characterized as ‘not-real’ if not for
three letters: MFA
Fuck you.
For the sake of those who do not believe,
I walk the blocks of a concrete jungle,
heavy optimism in tote:
Someone else did it here;
written before the eyes of God.

True North
for Julia

It was our dream to be here,
yet I feel as though
I was the one who was extremely serious.
One must be nearly extreme,
or borderline insane to
make life altering decisions for dreams.
Or maybe The Sparrow lied,
hiding behind beliefs that
I’d wait,
go away,
or further move mountains to remain within distances of the asylum.
If we’re all crazy,
but The Sparrow viewed me as the Only
then our cells float side by side in hurricanic tides,
and it is her misunderstanding of perspective
which voids her of truth.
It was our dream to be here.
The Sparrow now nests in a land far from thee.
It was our dream to dream here.

I wonder if she still dreams.

Randy Brown Jr. is a writer, visionary, and creator. He attends The New School's MFA in Creative Writing-Fiction program in New York City. His writing has been published in The Sting, the Student Lifestyle Magazine of Kennesaw State University. He served as a juror for the 2015 NYC Scholastic Writing Competition. He is currently working on his debut novel--a work of literary science fiction."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Christopher Mulrooney and the Prismatic Waistcoat Scintillating by Still Life

Handel at the Hague

down watercourses the overture in F
which is the Thames in all its glory
and upon it the King’s party
making merry as the fashion is considered
all in cascading trills Boulez conducting


in a vase of some aspect reflecting the light
across its surface as a blot of daintiness
upon its flowered symbols and representations
marking time as it were for the bud to open
and cast its aroma amid gadgets and furnishings

defeat and failure

the 1st gentleman of all Europe
prismatic waistcoat white silken trousers
and an eyepiece yes it is the demm’d
elusive Pimpernel I swear it is true
rolling a barrel of monkeys for you

Christopher Mulrooney is the author of toy balloons (Another New Calligraphy), Rimbaud (Finishing Line Press), and alarm (Shirt Pocket Press). His work has recently appeared in San Francisco Salvo, riverbabble, Dink Mag, Clementine Poetry Journal, and Blue Lotus Review.