Friday, September 23, 2016

Bart Solarczyk Waiting For the Man, Passing the Five Day Intervals, and the Detritus of Stars

Some Saturday Haiku

Parked in the Target lot
sixty years old
waiting for the weed man


Puffs of morning green
the fog lifts
my path now clear


Fish thaw in fountain pool
dog & I
watch through thin ice


Roxy runs with half a whiffle ball
then drops it
to sniff a neighbor's ass

Another Five Days Gone

Shuffling through the weekend
he knows love
a woman feeds him

he drinks beer
& walks the dog
& talks back to his TV

a puff of smoke
a poem or two
a stone in his soft chair

another five days gone
done is done
let's not talk about it.

Why Ask Why

when we both know
dust to dust

once stars
now this

accept it.

Bart Solarczyk lives in Pittsburgh, PA. His newest chapbook, Right Direction, is scheduled for release this fall courtesy of Lilliput Review's Modest Proposal series. He is the author of eight previous chapbooks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

John Sweet Is Lying On The Ocean Floor Figuring Where To Drive Home The Knife As A Stranger In A Stranger's Wilderness


says this says we
are in god’s field and holds
out her hands to feel the
falling snow but i’m
not so sure

i have seen the tire ruts
fill with blood

i have heard the crippled preach
have heard them claim there
is no bravery in slaying ghosts

have listened to the mothers of
weeping daughters as they
explained my failures

found myself
agreeing with them

found myself in this field
middle of december
storm approaching
and she says the trick is to
never go straight for the eyes

she says the trick is
to come up from behind

kisses the spot where the
knife would be driven home

man crawling on the ocean floor

sick of myself at 4 in the afternoon

ice on the shadowed sides
of sleeping factories


no news from god since
before i was born
and then the death of his only son
played out for cheap entertainment

this is the world you inherit
and then it becomes
the one you pass down

these are the dreams you dream
after your lover leaves

daughter was only three years old
was filled with cancer
and the sunlight was a lie

the moment approached and
then it passed and
the fear is what remains

nothing is revealed

nothing is given away


in the moment of truth
there is only silence

in silence
there is only the sound of rain

all distance matters until you
cross it and finally know
yourself to be lost

lullaby, for beth

or here in the wilderness where
the houses turn themselves inside out to
reveal animals fucking children on
                     garbage-strewn floors

where the sky has no color

where the roofs collapse and the
basements fill with water

a stranger’s house and so you
sleep in a stranger’s bed
and dream of escape

spend your money on poison

drive away finally on the coldest day of
                               the year and
when your car breaks down like
you knew it would you
continue into the west on foot naked and
                   blindfolded until you feel the
                    sun begin to warm your skin

if it makes you feel better

sing if it
keeps the past from rising up
to devour the future

call me when you finally grow
tired of christ’s neverending pain

John Sweet sends greeting from the rural wastelands of upstate New York.  He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the need to continuously search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest collections are A NATION OF ASSHOLES W/ GUNS (2015 Scars Publications) and  APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Julia Rose Lewis Explores the Ontology of Gummy Bears, Ethidium Bromide, De-Caterpillarization, and Unconditional Love

Lingering Question 

When life hands you lemon flavored gummy bears, then drive.  The dancing bear turned into the gold bear turned into the gummy bear.  The illusion of travel, the illusion of being a turtle in a Walmart parking lot, the stereotyped behavior of animals in the zoo.  The pineapple flavored gummy bears are clearer, sometimes, the grape flavor is colorless.  This sweet and squeezable candy can be organic and/or vegan when the gelatin is replaced with pectin.  What hallucination makes lemons taste yellower than pineapples?

ha you sign gnash un-

less ananas ne parlent pas 

plus airplanes bear fruit

I bring you bears and raspberries. 

only beet juice blood

not ethidium bromide 

pink-red dye cast bears 

Anatomy of a red gummy bear, if you think mashed raspberries resemble blood, then you have never seen blood, mammalian blood.  Nantucket red is the converse of hunting pinks.  Blood is neither magenta nor blue, it is brown as the water from the well at Hibid Farm.  The old bottom of the old gate was scalpel sharp aluminum, I think.  The iron-rich water we used to wash down the wash stall after the obsidian pony cut open her femoral artery.  It was red pear liquid everywhere and covering everyone standing there.  She did not die, but oh my blood!  

The Greening of the Bears

hay and strawberries 

someday, the stems, the hairy 

leaves gummy bears green

Not the red of beets or cranberries for these candies; anatomy of a strawberry gummy bear is liquid tsavorite garnets for organs.  Gummy bears and arabinose and ribose were all named for gum arabic, resin from the acacia tree.  Safer to extract the deoxyribonucleic acid from strawberries than make gummy bears at home.  The body of the problem is glucose.  My sister gave me a recipe for preparing strawberry DNA; her ingredients are frozen strawberries, shampoo, table salt, ethanol or isopropanol.  All the required equipment can be found in the kitchen: coffee-filter, funnel, sealable sandwich bags.  Like dissolves like when the whitish strands of DNA are extracted from strawberries, the liquid left behind is red.  

Ginger Bears with the Wifey

fire, corn, fire, foyer, 

fire, corn, fire, fruit, corn, fire, foyer, 

fire, corn, fire, foyer 

Of food and fire-pit, I peel and de-caterpillar the corn for the wifey.  We are celebrating our eleventh anniversary with corn and steel colored wool.  She makes me cry with wasabi; she makes me cry with laughter.  In honor of the painting we call big ass bun buns and fruit.  Always replace the word vegetable with festival; it is more knowable than ananas banane orangensaft.  

Is ginger root a festival?  She knows the week to buy me crystallized ginger root that has been dipped in dark chocolate.  We reimagine the orange gummy bear as ginger root instead of fruit.  

When she asks me how it feels to come out of the ginger paper bag, I reply that first is first and second is second with respect to the roundabouts.  Do you think they are going to come over and ask us to stop saying corn and fire?  

The Quaker Kind

If there were a blueberry gummy bear, it would be the color of the teeshirt she loved, part mother, partner in crime.  Unconditional love is a human construct like blueberry leather clogs.  There is something of the glass essay about us.  Acid loving bilberry plants are grown with manure compost on New Jersey farms.  Unconditional love is a human construct like a farm built one stall at a time.  I was always about to fall in love with the mare with a blueberry gummy bear in her eye.  

sour currant and sweet

blueberry pairs of gummy

bears are holding hands 

“This is vintage Julia” 

shit, diet pepsi

junior year pre-road kill, breast 

cancer, chemistry

Remember: she prefers violet syrup, and I prefer violet extract.  If gelatin is used in place of agar or pectin, a beef flavor may contaminate the gummy bears.  Neither black carrot juice nor grape juice concentrate may be able to cover up the beef flavor of the gelatin.  I am her grape, and she is my violet gummy bear.  She loves the intrigue of the painting of white eggplant surrounded by three apples.  The wind loves her breasts so she is a dangerous curve.  She does not back down up the hill, ever, we walk about in tropical storms and hurricanes.  Forever, we would prefer to share the beach with the wind and sand and rain in place, instead of man people.  We have devolved into affirmative sheep amongst the Jeep Wranglers.  

Cherries to Old Nantucket

Begin with a cube of sugar in an old fashioned glass, due to the humidity all sugar here is more or less regular cubes.  Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, insert holding pattern here.  Muddle the sugar with bitters as with lightship baskets woven in a month’s duty of boredom.  As with gummy bears, recipes disagree on the relative amounts of plain water and flavoring bitters.  The oval purses, otherwise known as friendship baskets are traditionally eight inches in size large enough to hold a man’s head.  Add ice cubes and rye whiskey to the glass.  I hold this bulk in the corner of my elbow, this old lightship basket, house sing a stolen head.  Garnish the drink with an orange or lemon twist.  Is a maraschino cherry, so much more cheery than a cherry gummy bear?

finish with the fog

rolling toward the wood deck and

late reservation 

Sand Woman, Sour Woman

granny smith apple

blown sugar green glass apple 

blowing glass essay 

Sweeping a carpet, like cleaning out a stall, everyday with broom and shovel and plastic pitchfork, the paddocks too.  Unconditional love is not natural and it is not what animals offer us; her horse is part magpie with bowling pin ears and four white hooves.  Sour apple, sour grapes, we sit on her mother’s uneven stone steps being aware our failures, we are all women here because mares are cheaper than geldings.  Sour apple, sour cherries, still blond, I hate her hair, I loved it so when it was auburn, my color, it was dyed then too, I was just young enough not to know.  What the sour orange! the sour gummy bear flavors are the same as the sweet.  They are covered with sour sand.  This was the summer that everyone told me to make peace with my mother before she died.  And I did, sort of, sew our failures together.

Julia Rose Lewis is working on her PhD in poetry at Cardiff University.  When not in school, she lives on Nantucket Island and is a member of the Moors Poetry Collective.  Her poems have appeared in their anthologies, 3am Magazine, Poetry Wales, and Missing Slate.  Her Chapbook, Zeroing Event, is forthcoming with Zarf Poetry this autumn.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

John Grey Surmounts the Bartering of Bars, Glistening Teardrops, Squirming Stomachs, and Gravity's Behest


I want no part of
the unity in all things,
the woman on the stool next to me
whispered close enough to my ear
to pick its pocket.

That is a real problem, I replied.
I could take you for a lover
but, to be honest,
you are better off right here
where you still exist
in your purest form.

Maybe if I let my hair fall loose,
she added
and I responded,
yes that would get you more on my side
but then you would only see
how vacuous I am.

We both agreed to ask the bartender
for his opinion.
He said, we're all plants
but how we choose to be watered
is our own business.

I then told her plainly
that I am cynical and contrary
and what could I possibly give you
that wouldn't feel like charity.

Yes, as the bartender explained it.
we all have a common origin.
But we learn to give a little or not to give it.
Then would you? she pleaded.
I said but your need is greater
and the trade would not be fair.

Being curious though,
I asked how much she charged.
She said, for an evening of light
and warmth and understanding.
one hundred.
For you, make that two.


The bones are jagged by rock
or buried in mud,
miles upstream.
Only blood makes it down this far.

A trickle at first
to match the glistening teardrops.
Then a swirl or two
for squirming stomachs.

A current mobilizes
a steady stream of crimson,
an opportunity
to truly witness grief.

And finally a flood,
breaking the banks of all resistance,
an offering of red water
to a bitter inland thirst.


The bird is flown. No point staring at the sky.
Man is stuck in man at gravity's behest.
The bird is out of here. So get on with it.
Seed, fertilize, tend, harvest...
it's your best chance. And yes, produce children.
The old home's falling down but the future
has a place. Not a wing in sight.
Just this willing pasture of the generations.
Besides, birds have such a meaningless ascendency.
And being grounded feels like flight in time.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.