20220124

Silence

Kenneth M Cale









Kenneth M Cale lives in Oregon. His chapbooks include Greater Vegas Bleeds into the Dreams of My Cryogenic Slumber (Steel Incisors, 2022) and Midnight Double Feature (Sweat Drenched Press, 2020). You can find him on Twitter: @kmcale81

20220117

There Is Wildness Still

Maureen O'Leary

 

 

 

Blue sage crackling dry woodsmoke barbeque
Promising lie of autumn coming
Promising slant September light 

When the promises of blue nail polish, thrift store pants,
Bald spots, a yellow tooth crooked smile,
Soft belly, wide hips, everything failing to deliver. 

I have solidity, fidelity, a soft place to fall, strong arms to hold you
None of this is as difficult as it used to be
Black coffee, sharp pencils
A secret life behind the scenes
A true heart, a loyal wife, a stack of towels clean 

There is wildness still
I forgot to get high
I forgot to fight I
Forgot to hate you I forgot to
Follow the band I forgot to put a
Spell on you and enter your dreams and I forgot to light the cigarette
In the first place 

The train whistles in the distance
In middle of the night
And I’m thinking of nomadic witch queens
In tents flapping in the windy dark and I’m
Thinking of woodsmoke and I’m thinking of
The give of meat between by teeth

 

 

 

 

Maureen O'Leary lives in California. Her most recent and upcoming work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, Bandit Fiction, Live Nude Poems, Archive of the Odd Issue #1, Hush Lit, Passengers Journal, Penumbric Speculative Fiction, Esopus Reader, Black Spot Books' anthology Under Her Skin, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.

20220110

Caught in the Throat

 

Adam Lawrence

 

 

They sweep the yard, after life.
Old territory gets domesticated with new names.
But underneath: ochre, slate grey. Their voices
like a seam of bituminous coal. Throttle-song caught
in the throat. These feathered missives
fill the air like tar filling the lungs.
No morning comes. Only mourning.
A gurgling croak replaces angel-song,
nodules grow. They count less
but think more, not bound by sedentary
math. One consonant away from a virus. 

In this country, there’s only receding—
from asphalt to soil, from gums to teeth.
Mark their warped flight path, their
sick warbling. A disease with a German
name. Industry poisoning earth and air.
Your own moon now a pale shell, but
underneath it, hear: their choking wrathful
anthem. Only fire from the throat
will burn your green paper
stamped with dead white men.
Green lies, which they’ll ram
back into your craw. Caw.

 

Originally written as a response to “CHAIN 8: Hibernate, Sweet Ghostess,” by Chris Tompkins (pub in Carousel, April 8, 2021).

 


Adam Lawrence’s scholarly essays on folklore and science fiction have appeared in several journals, including two anthologies in the McFarland series “Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy” (2013, 2014). His poetry has appeared in Vallum: Contemporary Poetry, The Feathertale Review, Cypress Press, and long con magazine. He’s currently at work on several poetry chapbook projects. Adam holds an MA and PhD in English, and currently works as a freelance editor and writer in Florenceville-Bristol, the “French Fry Capital of the World.”

20220106

An interview with Charlotte Jung

Charlotte Jung is a concrete poet and experimental playwright. She’s originally from Stockholm, Sweden, and today she divides her time between the Stockholm countryside and her adopted hometown Chicago. Charlotte’s debut collection C was published in 2019, and she has since then published four chapbooks; MBRYO (Puddles of Sky Press, 2019), (SEED) (Timglaset Editions, 2020), HOLE BEING (NoPress, 2021) and ABCDE (Trombone, 2021). Please see www.charlottejungwriter.com for more information about Charlotte and her writing.

How did you begin writing, and what keeps you going?
My wife is a poet and she greatly inspired me to start writing. I had been reading and commenting on her manuscripts for some years, and this sparked something in me.
            The creative act is a strange thing. For me the writing comes in waves, I can’t force or steer it, and in some ways every poem is a gift. 

Given you work in text and visual mediums, how do the two sides of your writing interact? How did you begin with visual poems at all?
For a poem of mine to truly take form and enter into its own being, the meaning/content of the poem has to be in correspondence with its graphic expression. At times I find this creative channel/condition to be quite narrow, too constricting, but at the same time it’s this interaction of language and image that gives birth to the poem.
            The visual form developed gradually. When I started out writing I wrote super short poems, often just a sentence or two, or some word pairings. It was not until the visual component entered into the text that it fully blossomed. At that time I had not yet come into contact with concrete or visual poetry, so I had no idea that this was an established literary genre.             

What poets have influenced the ways in which you write?
In the beginning I wrote almost in isolation. I had no idea that what I was aiming at, and that which was slowly developing, was called concrete poetry. Not to mention that there were many other writers creating in this hybrid form of poetry. My first contact with something similar was when Primary Information published Aram Saroyan’s coffee coffee in 2010, and a Swedish literary journalist mentioned it in an article. Reading Saroyan gave me much needed validation. I had by then been rejected several times with the motivation that “it was too little” or considered as “art” rather than literature. 

What do you see as the difference between your visual work and your work in experimental drama?
That’s such an interesting question. To me both of these forms experiment with and disrupt structure. The absurd drama, in how it (among other things) doesn’t conform to “reality’s” time and space bound conditions, and concrete poetry in the way the text goes beyond the structure of langauge and enters the image.
            I would say that the biggest difference for me between the two forms is that my poetry comes from a silent, still source, whereas the drama pushes forth from a whole world of talking and moving highly energetic energies. 

Have you noticed a difference in the ways in which you approach the individual poem after you begain publishing full-length collections?
So far I’ve only written one full-length collection, C, this was also my first publication (self-published in 2019). In C the poems were tightly interrelated, and followed one after the other, almost by necessity. After C this changed, and I started to explore and work with the poems more like independent entities, each poem creating a world of its own. Sometimes they come to me in themes, which then creates some form of narrative. These suites have then been published as chapbooks. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if another full length collection will come my way. 

How important has mentorship been to your work? Is there anyone who specifically assisted your development as a writer?
Like I mentioned above, a large part of my writing has been done in isolation, it’s only just recently that I’ve entered into this amazing community of visual poets around the world. It’s been a great inspiration and I’m so grateful for all the exchange and opportunity this has given me.
             When it comes to support I’d like to mention Amanda Earl. She was one of my first contacts internationally, and she was very supportive and encouraging. I’m also very grateful to the Swedish graphic artist Lina Nordenström. She spotted my work via my chapbook (SEED), (Timglaset Editions), and has offered to teach me letterpress printing, an amazing opportunity and something I believe will be truly inspirational. Especially when it comes to developing my writing further toward art – which I think in some ways may be the poems’ true form and expression. Several years back I saw an exhibition of the feminist artist Sarah Lucas’ work at Tate Modern, something I later realized gave me my guiding vision for my poetry writing: “There has to be a way to communicate in language, as powerfully and instantenously as she does in her art.”

Can you name a poet you think should be recieving more attention?
I’m right now, together with my wife, in the middle of translating the exquisite minimalist poetry of the Canadian poet Nelson Ball. He has such presence in his writing, and a wonderful feel for how to combine a detailed description of something, on the surface to be considered as ordinary, with a profound eternal subject matter. When Ball’s writing is at its best, it’s truly genius. When we started with this project we were really surprised to see that there isn’t even a Wikipedia page on Nelson Ball.

 

20220103

Chiromancy & Kali

Francesco Levato

 

 


Artists Statement:

SCARLET is a digital visual/poetic meditation on the fractured state of psyche induced by extended social isolation under COVID-19 lockdown.

The digital/visual poems are created through erasure of the novel The Scarlet Plague collaged with glitched imagery from everyday life in lockdown. The titles of poems in the series are then derived from objects contained in each glitched still life.

Glitching is a technique that introduces errors into the code of a digital file or stream that distorts its presentation. The error-induced fracturing of images in SCARLET is intended to defamiliarize everyday objects and surroundings to reflect the state of a pandemic self in forced confinement.

The Scarlet Plague is a post-apocalyptic novel by Jack London, published in 1912, set in California during the year 2073, after the world’s population is decimated by an uncontrollable pandemic.

 

Francesco Levato is a poet, a literary translator, and a new media artist. Recent books include Arsenal/Sin Documentos; Endless, Beautiful, Exact; Elegy for Dead Languages; War Rug; Creaturing (as translator); and the chapbooks A Continuum of Force and jettison/collapse. He has collaborated and performed with various composers, including Philip Glass, and his cinépoetry has been exhibited in galleries and featured at film festivals in Berlin, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Poetry, a PhD in English Studies, and is currently an Associate Professor of Literature & Writing Studies at California State University San Marcos.

20211206

Tattoo with Tentacles

Francesco Levato

 

 


Artists Statement:

SCARLET is a digital visual/poetic meditation on the fractured state of psyche induced by extended social isolation under COVID-19 lockdown.

The digital/visual poems are created through erasure of the novel The Scarlet Plague collaged with glitched imagery from everyday life in lockdown. The titles of poems in the series are then derived from objects contained in each glitched still life.

Glitching is a technique that introduces errors into the code of a digital file or stream that distorts its presentation. The error-induced fracturing of images in SCARLET is intended to defamiliarize everyday objects and surroundings to reflect the state of a pandemic self in forced confinement.

The Scarlet Plague is a post-apocalyptic novel by Jack London, published in 1912, set in California during the year 2073, after the world’s population is decimated by an uncontrollable pandemic.

 

Francesco Levato is a poet, a literary translator, and a new media artist. Recent books include Arsenal/Sin Documentos; Endless, Beautiful, Exact; Elegy for Dead Languages; War Rug; Creaturing (as translator); and the chapbooks A Continuum of Force and jettison/collapse. He has collaborated and performed with various composers, including Philip Glass, and his cinépoetry has been exhibited in galleries and featured at film festivals in Berlin, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Poetry, a PhD in English Studies, and is currently an Associate Professor of Literature & Writing Studies at California State University San Marcos.

20211129

Peaches en Regalia

Richard-Yves Sitoski

 


We spread out on the rocky beach
our full bacchanalia—
cucumbers stuffed with pearls, tins of Scott Expedition peaches, 

Tupperwares of dodo pâté and communion sourdough
—and picnicked in full regalia:
Mom in her flapper dress glittered like moonlight on snow, 

I slayed in a K-mart tuxedo,
while dad with spats, brogues and a Patek Philippe
pumped the piston of a Coleman stove. 

He dipped his line in the lake
and snagged a Fiji mermaid by the lip.
He tossed it back. He was after rusalkas and this was a fake. 

Mom took out her needles and didn’t stop
till she made a cable knit
out of clippings she got from a barber shop. 

I hummed old Blind Lemon and toyed with Voyager probes
and full-scale battleships,
played Operation and got gore on my clothes. 

Those around us could only stare
at our pataphysical banquet and dad’s siren fishing,
my Delta blues and mom’s sweaters of hair. 

It wasn’t our fault if our neighbours never got in our groove.
It wasn’t our problem if we left them wishing
they weren’t too polite to ask us to move.


 

 

Richard-Yves Sitoski (he/him) is the 2019-2022 Poet Laureate of Owen Sound, on the territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Fiddlehead, The Maynard, Prairie Fire, Bywords.ca, in the League of Canadian Poets' Poetry Pause, and as part of Brick Books' Brickyard video series. He is a 2021 Best of the Net nominee and 2021 John Newlove Award winner. His latest book is No Sleep ‘til Eden, an augmented reality multimedia collection of poems on the environment. @r_sitoski   rsitoski.com

20211122

Train music

J.I. Kleinberg

 

 

The trains are busy after dark.
Lying in bed, blocks away, 

I feel their rumble of night poetry.
Their warning horns riff solos 

into the darkness, some hoarse
and rude, heavy-handed, some lyrical. 

Dah dah dit dah round the Bay’s curve.
Coltrane quatrain, coal train, Q train.

 

 

 

 

J.I. Kleinberg’s poems have been published in print and online journals worldwide. An artist, poet, freelance writer, and three-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and on Instagram @jikleinberg.

20211115

Before Supper

Hannah Grieco

 

 

 

At six o’clock the train bellows
by the bed and breakfast, where
we sit on the porch, car after car,
and Dave says, My son would love
this. I imagine his boy running
down the hill through the trees,
thrumming, like my son, who hates
all loud noises, hates nature,
bugs and shadows, itchy branches,
but he’d run with Dave’s boy.
Two kids who don’t always know the how
of friendship, but who know how to go
fast, how to move forward then
back, around and around, miles and
miles, like a train, motors thrumming to life,
two boy-men chasing this big track to
its end, into the field beyond.

 

 

 

Hannah Grieco is a writer in Washington, DC. Find her online at www.hgrieco.com and on Twitter @writesloud.

20211108

Last Days

Colin Morton 




1.

No one paid much mind at first.
A low murmur amid the hubbub. 

When finally heard
alarms were late. 

How do you stop a chain reaction
or keep calm with a fever? 

 

2.

Many have seen the end of the world
as they knew it. 

Last days before that end
must be special days. 

Those living them must be special too.
We've always known.

  

3.

We do our best to be prepared
half-believe what our senses tell us. 

Know one in the hand
for what it’s worth.

What’s left undone is yet to do
yet we did and did undo some things.

  

4.

We returned home in the waning light
chastened yet braced for new beginnings 

sure we knew the way ahead
and wouldn't make the same mistakes again. 

This was not the moment for doubt.
We were of one mind, never so dangerous.

 

 

 

Ottawa poet Colin Morton has published many books and chapbooks of poetry including award winners The Merzbook: Kurt Scwitters Poems and Coastlines of the Archipelago, as well as stories and reviews, a novel, and an award-winning animated film. He has twice won the Archibald Lampman Award for poetry. www.colinmorton.net

20211101

String Lights, Brass Coffee Mill

Francesco Levato

 

 


Artists Statement:

SCARLET is a digital visual/poetic meditation on the fractured state of psyche induced by extended social isolation under COVID-19 lockdown.

The digital/visual poems are created through erasure of the novel The Scarlet Plague collaged with glitched imagery from everyday life in lockdown. The titles of poems in the series are then derived from objects contained in each glitched still life.

Glitching is a technique that introduces errors into the code of a digital file or stream that distorts its presentation. The error-induced fracturing of images in SCARLET is intended to defamiliarize everyday objects and surroundings to reflect the state of a pandemic self in forced confinement.

The Scarlet Plague is a post-apocalyptic novel by Jack London, published in 1912, set in California during the year 2073, after the world’s population is decimated by an uncontrollable pandemic.

 

Francesco Levato is a poet, a literary translator, and a new media artist. Recent books include Arsenal/Sin Documentos; Endless, Beautiful, Exact; Elegy for Dead Languages; War Rug; Creaturing (as translator); and the chapbooks A Continuum of Force and jettison/collapse. He has collaborated and performed with various composers, including Philip Glass, and his cinépoetry has been exhibited in galleries and featured at film festivals in Berlin, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Poetry, a PhD in English Studies, and is currently an Associate Professor of Literature & Writing Studies at California State University San Marcos.