Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Haiku
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

The dragonfly flies,
in herky jerky movements,
seeking tiny bugs.

 

Haiku
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

An ant climbs slowly
up the old man’s hairy arm,
who flings it away.

 

Haiku
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

A mosquito lands
on the old man’s hairy arm.
His hand slaps it flat.

“Lice Brews” Ueda is a haikuist of insects and other tiny creatures.

~~~

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

Along the highway,
filled with rushing trucks and cars,
grackles search for food.

“Wired Clues” Abe is a poet of technology in Japanese poetic forms.

~~~

The Writers
          by Bard Eucewelis

She kept on writing—blah, blah, blah—but what did she unlatch?
his body covered with ink blots, a mark of itch and scratch;
a mermaid sitting on a stone, a Copenhagen dream;
a song of Mozambique, Lorenço Marques, Patriquim;
sunrise, Ladakh, the LAC, along blue Pangong Lake;
what did he say—the puppeteer—he’s mad for goodness’ sake;
she dives into a writer’s soul—what’s there down deep inside?
the uP Beat author writes of healing things, a helpful guide.
One wonders what the writers will…o, what the writers will…
The World is a giant place, from Russia to Brazil.

Bard Eucewelis is…a poet. This week Chinese and Indian soldiers clashed along the northern edge of Pangong Lake. LAC stands for Line of Control.

~~~

A CMSS Cyber Attack
          by DeBuis Lawrece

The ASD concluded that CMSS attacked
the parliament and parties, back in May, when they were hacked.
The findings were kept secret, so as not to disrupt trade;
there were no comments on the violating cyber trace.
As soon as news of this was known by Aussie’s cyber clique,
lawmakers in Australia were told to change passwords quick.
Both UK and the USA were told of this back then,
nor was that all the spying China’s doing on a “friend”.
The UK sent a team to help investigate the crime,
but no one wants to talk about such sleazy Sino slime.

DeBuis Lawrece is a poet of Australia. The ASD is the Australian Signals Directorate and the CMSS is the Chinese “Ministry of State Security”—a very Orwellian name.

~~~

A Chinese Shinescape
          by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

Into the midst of rising tall skyscraper shoots,
he leapt—at night, a million lights, all shining bright—
high over streets filled up with cars—small stars in routes—
he soared—free from reality—a flying kite,
a vibrant light show more extr’ordinary than,
o, any he had ever seen—and up at such a height.
He whirred along above Pudong, a hard, dark man.
Where he was going to, what he was going to,
o, who could tell? that speeding Shanghai Peter Pan,
the Oriental Pearl Tower gleaming silver-blue,
Jinmao, th’ SWFC, in steel zoot suits,
the whole a flashing, crashing, smashing, splashing brew.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet of China. This bilding is on Shanghai, China.

~~~

A Mermaid on the Land
          by Sri Wele Cebuda

I saw her in a grove of trees upon a hard, white stone,
she sat there happily, her long, black hair cascading down,
upright and in the lotus pose in deep-pink, long-sleeved top,
her blue pants flayed, designed, arrayed, the colours brightly stopped.
Between the trunks of leafy trees, one sees sky’s azure hue.
Was she a mermaid, hidden from the World in open view?
She seems so calm and peaceful. Is there any love downwind?
Why was she holding up the book “Tattooist of Auschwitz”?
A square within a circle, or a circle round a square;
how can one fit a square peg in a round hole everywhere?

Sri Wele Cebuda is a poet of India.

~~~

Next Week’s Award at the UN
          by Ward Cubee Isle

Prime Minister Narenda Modi will be getting soon
a Global Goals Award; but not for getting to the Moon.
It is for his Swachh Bharat Mission, cleaning India,
new toilets built for millions in the rural areas.
Bill and Melinda Gates, whose money isn’t all that clean,
have raised the ire of thousands, giving something to this man;
and yet eliminating open defecation is
a worthy goal in any book, despite one’s politics.
But no one anywhere is perfect, clean, without a flaw,
especi’lly mobs of bullies who insist they are the law.

Ward Cubee Isle is a poet of awards and prizes.

~~~

The Lotus Tower
          by Esala “Cu” D’ Abrew

The Lotus Tower is above 350 meters high;
it’s visible across Colombo, rising in the sky,
like as a shiny, jeweled scepter, gleaming in the night,
the LED lights in the darkness, magical and bright.
And yet behind its beauty a two-billion rupee scam,
a company called ALIT has since scampered on the lam.
Where is that money? What was done? the President has asked,
investigations will be taking place; they have been tasked.
September 16, 2019, opening takes place;
Sinsena, in his his speech, says vanished moneys must be traced.

Esala “Cu” D’ Abrew is a poet of Sri Lanka. The tower is the tallest structure in South Asia. The invisible Chinese Company ALIT split. Even the Chinese government, who tracks all of its citizens, and many more people around the Globe, says it has no idea where ALIT was, is, or went to.

~~~

In the Dark of Night’s Black Cool
          by Cid Wa’eeb El Sur

On 9-10-2019, mighty US jets attacked
Daesh-infested Qanus Island over in Iraq.
F-15s and F-35s, along with allied jets,
dropped more than 40 tons of bombs, destroying hiding spots.
Iraqi forces then went in to clear the area;
to crush the transit hub of fighters come from Syria.
The island sits within the Tigris; it’s south of Mosul;
the fireballs exploded in the dark of night’s black cool.
Iraqi counter-terrorism troops watched from the ground,
awaiting for their chance to take back land they call their own.

Cid Wa’eeb El Sur is a poet of West Asia.

~~~

Attack at Abqaic
          by Saudi Becrewel

Though Houthis claim they were the ones that blew A-RAM-CO up;
most others think it was Iran’s work, blasting and abrupt.
The World’s largest crude-processing plant at Abqaiq,
from Ahvaz Air Base, in southwest Iran, had been attacked.
The strikes knocked out some 5% of global oil supplies.
From it, emerged, oil prices surged, a very big surprise
to buyers from Korea, China, India, Japan,
Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan.
As gas and diesel rise, so too will heating and air fares,
in this one blow, the perps gave Asian nations added cares.

Saudi Becrewel is a poet of Saudi Arabia. Oil prices went up 20% on Monday, the largest leap in nearly three decades, but are flattening out now that the Saudis say they will get Aramco up and running. Top consumer Asia looked for alternative supplies. US crude producers ramped up efforts to export crude. East-Southeast Asia is the largest oil consuming region and has the largest gap between production and consumption. The top ten crude consuming nations in the World are USA, China, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil, South Korea, Canada, and Germany. The attack, on condition Iran wouldn’t be caught, was approved by Khamenei.

~~~

Deep Sorrow in Monrovia
          by Lebu Seric Wade

Monrovia, the largest city in Liberia,
a population of one million in its area.
Located on Cape Mesurado and on Bushrod Isle,
its people came from North America and inland tribes.
A civil war that started back in 1990 caused
much damage to its buildings and believing in its laws.

It is a major city port in western Africa,
but crime is also rampant in most of Monrovia,
like mugging, robbing, stealing, people using, selling drugs,
corruption, bribery, assault, and rape by roving thugs.
This week some dire news occurred, a school succumbed to fire;
two teachers and more than two dozen school-age children died.

Lebu Seric Wade is a poet of West Africa. The fire took place in the suburb of Paynesville,which had the highest structure in Africa, the Omega Transmitter, until 2011, when it was demolished.

~~~

A Conversation with Rus
          by Alecsei Burdew

Heartsick, I pondered the dark mystery of life.
I wondered, o, poor people, just what do we want?
The sky is clear, and under it there is a slice
for each of us; but endlessly we fight and flaunt
our needless battles. Why? Rus interrupted me,
my reverie. He struck my shoulder, hard and gaunt.
‘What is this place’s name?’ I asked. “It’s Valerik,
translated in your language—river of the dead,’
he answered. ‘Chechnya, even now is allergic
to toleration. Our main product is hatred.’
I answered, “I admit sometimes that will suffice;
but when it doesn’t I am overwhelmed with dread.”

Alecsei Burdeew is a poet of Russia, as is Rus, i. e., Rus Ciel Badeew. This brief conversation between Alecsei and Rus, a bilding, draws on Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841). Chechnya is a federal subject of Russia in the North Caucasus.

~~~

Hey, Muses
          by Esiad L. Werecub

Hey, muses, please bring forth your arts, your songs, divine and free,
inspirers of Hesiod, bring your diversity,
and penetrate my consciousness with conversation-dreams,
like those Callimachus heard from the springs of Hippocrene,
of fated stars, roads filled with cars we humans drive upon,
escort my word through this wide World, from snow-topped Helicon,
across this turning globe, o, epochal and national,
the causes of the heavens, various and rational,
from the green woods of Washington to all around this orb,
o’er silver oceans of the Earth, to its Plutonic core,
this solid inner heart and outer liquid mantle worn,
topped off by thinnest crust, like pizza, from the oven warm,
its pieces sliced and torn for hungry stomachs dinner-borne.

Esiad L. Werecub is a poet of ancient Greece. One of the earliest Greek poets, and creator of didactic poetry, Hesiod flourished circa 700 BC, Callimachus (c. 305 BC–c. 240 BC) was a Greek Alexandrian poet.

~~~

He Never Had a Home
          by Waldi Berseuse
          “Conscripted to a military labor corps
          was lucky, for he did not die in a death camp.”
              —Béla Cedew Suri

He never had a home¬—György Ligeti—Hungarian, born in central Romania, upon May 28th in 1923, in Târnăveni in stark Transylvania, known for its scenic beauty and Count Dracula, Bram Stoker’s venture into vampire mania. In Ligeti, sound textures, as in Atmosphères, replace repeated rhythm, harmony and melody with sliding clusterings and statica, the music wrapped within the warp of sound itself, from eerie to an elsewhere comic lickety-split to escape both past and avant-garde-girt hell.

Waldi Berceuse is a poet and music critic of Central Europe. He once said of Debussey’s music—”There are too many notes”. György Ligeti (1923-2006) was a Postmodernist composer. This is a prose poem of two sentences, the first sets the composer in his milieu, the second attempts a terse verbal description of his music. Bram Stoker (1847-1912) was a Victorian novelist best known for his Gothic horror “Dracula”.

~~~

          He Saw Paris
          by Claude I. S. Weber
          “Maupassant preferred his repast on the Eiffel Tower;
          because only there could he avoid seeing it.”
              —Cews Baudeleir
          “What is love?”
              —Dieter Lünstedt and Karin Hartman-Eisenblätter

He saw the Eiffel Tower towering above the coiffeured gardens and the city boulevards, the buildings rising up around the sweep of love and light, especially at night, if you look hard. He saw the river boats go by upon the Seine, the magic of those dark realms of th’ heart and bard, the beauty that’s so difficult to hold…in vain…that flickers past you. How is ‘t possible to know? He saw the moment flashing, splashing once again, the crashing in the mind, the vast bling on the eau, spectacular, miraculous, yet also rough, th’ horr’r there behind such loveliness in vertigo.

Claude I. S. Weber is a poet of France. He once thought Paris the most beautiful city he had ever seen, and the Louvre Art Museum the most visually stimulating place he had ever been. But he also saw the underside of Paris, when he was robbed and mugged there.
Cews Baudelier is a poet of 19th century literature. This prose poem is in three sentences with a quick question. Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) was a French Realist short story writer. Cews Baudelier’s favourite Maupassant short story is “La parure” (“The Necklace”).

~~~

Lie Groups
          by Euclidrew Base

A Lie group’s a smooth manifold, like circle, line, or sphere;
its symmetries are all continuous when they appear;
but it can be more complicated, like the Lorentz group
of time-preserving linear isometries in space;
or matrices, as for example the orthogonal,
or general linear group, id est, th’ invertible.
In th’ 1890s Wilhelm Killing found the E8 group,
perhaps the Universe’s strangest and most complex shape;
it’s a 248-dimension symmetry,
and as such hard to visualize with any imagery.

 

Young Edmund Halley (1656-1676)
          by Euclidrew Base

Born in Shoreditch at Haggerston, the backside of Hogsdon,
he was the son of the same-named soap-boiler of London.
His dad’s apprentice taught him writing and arithmetic,
which he would use with greatest method and with finest wit.
At Paul’s school he was very perfect in celestial globes,
so much so Mr. Moxon noted misplaced stars were orbed.
He studied some geometry, at sixteen made a dial,
and then went off to Queens in Oxford studying awhile.
Well versed in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, when he was nineteen,
he solved some useful problems in his field, astronomy,
when he observed an occultation of Mars by the Moon,
which was indeed, at his young age, a marvelous, sweet boon.
At twenty, he got money to sail to Saint Helena,
to make a learnéd star-map of the Southern Hemisphere.
While on remote Saint Helena, there was so much to see,
including the first transit of the planet Mercury.
Once back, he gave his planisphere then to his majesty;
the King of England, Charles II, was well disposed and pleased.
Although he got much praise, along with regal attitudes,
he got no money for South longitudes and latitudes.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics. Norwegian Sophus Lie (1842-1899) and German Wilhelm Killing (1847-1923) were the first mathematicians to study Lie algebras. Dutch physicist Henrik Lorentz (1853-1928) won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1902 relating to the Zeeman effect; and he also set up transformation equations for Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Edmund Halley (1656-1742) was a noted Neoclassical astronomer, mathematician,and translator. It was he who urged Newton to publish his Principia. His name is associated with the comet that he correctly predicted would reappear after his death. Orbed is a neologism, meaning placed or put on an orb.

~~~

On British Neoclassicists
          by B. S. Eliud Acrewe
          “Those of us who have inherited the English language may not be in
          a position to appreciate the value of the inheritance.”
               —Chinue Achebe

I find it interesting that the Neoclassicists,
like Pope and Swift, found sustenance in Latin satirists,
and polyglot John Dryden; Milton was an afterthought.
What was it they were striving for that we have all forgot?
Sam Johnson felt that driving tide; he would not let it go;
and there were many others who were in that undertow;
yet even Byron, though he tried, could not sustain the growth
of verbal warriors in the foyer with the likes of those.
What steps could they have taken that could carry us aloft?
instead that left us hopelessly too oft both lost and soft.

B. S. Eliud Acrewe is a poet and literary critic of British literature. Eliud was a legendary king of the Britons, preceded by Urianus and succeeded by Cledaucus according to Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1095–c. 1155). Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) was a Nigerian poet and novelist, John Milton (1608-1674), John Dryden (1631-1700), Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Alexander Pope (1688-1744), Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), and George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) were notable poets, from the Baroque to the Romantic eras.

~~~

The Wind Turbines
          by Eber L. Aucsidew

Between 300 and 600 feet wind turbines rise,
with blades more than 100 feet in length. It is the size
that blows me, o, away, when I am driving past them there
up towering and turning round, o, in the open air.
No Don Quixote could attack this new technology,
with spear in hand, this windy land producing energy.

They are so huge, one feels one’s in the presence of great gods,
a metal forest managed by a high-tech Aeolus.
Enchanted blades, some hovering beside the highway’s edge,
their whirring, whooshing, yearly causing thousands of bird deaths.
So graceful in the distance, their propellers whirl about,
enchanted, heavy, huge, butt-ugly, concrete-based, and loud.

Eber L. Aucsidew is a poet of air and water. Eber L. Aucsidew’s favourite character of Spanish literature is Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

~~~

In the Waiting Room
          by Bruc “Diesel” Awe

He sat there in the waiting room more than five hours long.
It was the 90,000-mile check he waited on.
Clad in a light-blue tee, he climbed upon a cushioned chair
and waited for th’ inspector’s care, his head up in the air.
He patiently remained in that position for some time
for front brake job and rear brake job and balancing of tires.
Th’ air filter was replaced, the drive-shaft bolt was, yes, retorqued.
It seems there wasn’t much that wasn’t looked at or uncorked.
Of course, then came the bill, more than a thousand-dollar hit;
but, o, he was so glad that it was done and he could git.

 

Automobile Safety Features
          by Bruc “Diesel” Awe

A sharp turn to the future—new-car features, edgy things,
like safety packages that give the passengers realings.
There’s pre-collision systems with pedestrian de-tects—
a camera and radar watch for people and ob-jécts;
a lane-depart alert with steer-assist, when going fast,
will check the road around the vehicle, as one goes past;
the automatic high-beams are designed for one at night,
the auto-activate both high and low, the proper light;
and then there’s full-speed range-dynamic radar cruise control,
which helps maintain a preset distance from cars on the road.

Bruc “Diesel” Awe is a poet of transportation. Accoring to Beau Lecsi Werd, “realings” is a neologism which stands in contrast to imaginings. The International Motor Show, the World’s largest, held in Frankfurt this year. from 12 September to 22 September, though showing autos of the future, including more technology and electric cars, it was trimmed down from last year and was protested by approximately 20,000.

~~~

The Captain of the Yacht
          by Sub Cie Leeward

Aboard his yacht, the captain set the speed to forty knots;
behind the white-blue pancake-flat wake, looked like parking lots.
The sunset, in the distant skies, rose high before his eyes,
pink ribboned, golden threads, and azure, stretching out and wide.
The large, glass windows made it seem like nature was right there,
because it was; below, reflecting water everywhere.
Such luxury and opulence, so shiny, sleek and smooth,
he felt as if somehow he had arrived right at the truth.
The form and function of machinery and engine room
made him believe that it was time to take it for a z-o-o-o-o-o-m.

Sub Cie Leeward is a poet of boating and shipping. His favourite sea poem is “Sea Fever” by John Masefield.

~~~

Politics
          by Brice U. Lawseed

My left is strong and vigourous,
my right is firm and rigourous,
together they can work
together as a well-wrought team.

I like it when they are well-oiled,
moving smoothly, tough, hard-boiled,
toiling for the common good,
toiling as a lawman should.

 

The New York Times
          by Brice U. Lawseed
          “Democracy dies in the dark.”
              —Damon Keith (1922-2019)

You see it happening—debasement—right before your eyes,
degeneration escalating at the New York Times.
You think you only can observe such things in history;
but there it is, right now, right here; it is no mystery.
A paper once reporting facts and thé noteworthy news
has now become an advocate of only one side’s truths.
But truth is larger than two sides, it has many parts;
the New York Times is dropping fast into a pool of tar,
like ancient tar-pit death-traps, catching how corrupt it is
for future minds to see a mindless group of journalists.

Brice U. Lawseed is a poet of ideal politics and Washington DC. His wicked cousin is Caud Sewer Bile, who considers politics benighted, Washington DC, a swamp, and journalism, advocacy propaganda.

~~~

A PostPersius Posy for New Millennium Poesy
          by Wic E. Ruse Blade

American youngbloods have had their wine, and dined as well;
and now they are prepared to seek the poetry of hell.
And straight away they speak in verses in their holy jeans;
at slams they lisp their numbers, out of order, in their means.
They mince, they wince, they prance, they dance, they scream their
          thoughtfree dreams,
depressing wrestling with their demons and prosaic schemes.
The thunderous applause proves that the poet is not dead.
The hour’s happy. With another, it goes to the head.
The marble tomb awaits its singers. Bring the ashes in.
What blooms will rise upon such eyes? What gloomy-roomed chagrin?

Wic E. Ruse Blade is a pompous ass fond of fondling, Latin Lit and goofballs likewise.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! 9/11, God and Time

 

It was the longest day in history.
Time stopped.
We wandered among televised carnage
As our minds and souls went numb.
What had just happened?
Without warning our emotional screens
Went blank.
We saw what we could not believe.
The images didn’t change.
they were rebroadcast, repeated everywhere.
Switching TV and radio stations
Was not an option.
The war had arrived here.
The place we considered sacred ground.
our homeland.

But God would not stop time.
We thought the images imprinted
Upon our memories
Would remain as we saw them,
That all the horror would be saved,
Unchanged, locked away in a collective memory.

We thought time stopped, but it did not.
That day turned into night,
Became an imperfect collective nightmare.
Because we were all in different places
When the planes fell from the sky
And the buildings collapsed.

God did not stop time.
God would not leave us
To relive hell over and over.
God being God, moved the hands of the clock
Forward slowly, ever so slowly.
God would not stop time.
Because to stop time would be a true end,
The place where the exact same event
Would be repeated.

And hate would be the only thing we would have.
So God being God let time pass slowly.

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #301: Gran Sasso Vision

 

I went all the way up the slope
to stand on the very pinnacle
and look out on the great heaven
at the peaks around Gran Sasso
and God was peeking in the mist
so I went down to the abrupt abyss
curving around between the ravines
to see what waited for you and me
the Earth sliding down the hill
the volcanic almost meteoric
in its love affair with deep gravity
I felt all of us being pulled down
together again in this frail vision
of Earth and its vital innards all
completely engulfed by heaven
such swirling, frothing Heaven

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Jake Tringali

 

Daily Mantra

I am ready please
For my daily brutalities
This sweet disease

To this ghost I submit
Revived memories won’t quit
Fatal premature obit

Been months, years, since our last drive
Stuck in reverse, on the 95
Are you even still alive?

This urge for personal pain
You – the maiden, I – the swain,
Our vicious benediction, amen

Blurry, my compass spun
Blood loss in Allston
A map I won’t outrun

The home as definition
But removed from our traditions
A hurtful lesson in cognition

Tortured, scarred, and sore
Crushed in a phantom war
And I want more

 

After living in Los Angeles for many years, Jake Tringali is now back in his home city of Boston. Runs rad restaurants. Thrives in a habitat of bars, punk rock shows, and late-night adventures. His first book Poetry for the Neon Apocalypse in available on Amazon.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Samuel Guest

 

sunday, june 23rd, 2019

if all the flowers were coral blue
then i could relate,

and if there
was an ocean accommodating enough,
i’d never touch land

i’d stay drenched and grow fins
be a fish for life, even if that life
was short, and i ended up

snug in a net
guillotined
then cooked over a fire
devoured in a cabin somewhere up north

 

Samuel Guest is a Jewish/Canadian poet, author, and educator who was diagnosed with a non-verbal learning dis/ability at the age of seven. Some of his poems have appeared in Marias at Sampanguitas, Montreal Writes, and Peeking Cat Poetry. His first collection of poetry “The Radical Dreams” was released back in April of 2018. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: Not Your Momma’s Mac & Cheese

 

People I know who frequent Chick Fil-a have been raving about the fact they added Mac & Cheese to the menu. I’m aware this has been a thing for months now, but I had yet to try it out. Naturally, me being me, I decided to see if it lived up to the hype.

It ain’t your momma/nana’s Mac & Cheese.

Now that isn’t to say that it isn’t good. It’s definitely a huge step up from the craft Mac & Cheese instant packets that us millennials stuffed our dorms and apartments with. It definitely comes somewhat close to homemade, but it ain’t going to rock your socks off like your mama/nana’s Mac & Cheese.

Now, how you feel about this will depend on your prior experiences with Mac & Cheese. I ain’t bashing Chick Fil a’s Mac & Cheese, but y’all gotta understand that my momma made the kind of Mac & Cheese that healed broken hearts and was the instant cure to a bad day. You could have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and my mother’s Mac & Cheese would give you a 10 minute hug. That shit gave you a big ol’ pat on the back and reminded you that you’re doing your very best.

Chick Fil a’s Mac and cheese is good if you need a simple yet solid Mac & Cheese fix. If however you go into this expecting your momma/nana’s Mac & Cheese, you will be very disappointed. This ain’t the Mac & Cheese your momma/nana spends hours boiling, spreading cheeses, seasonings, breading, sometimes ham or other meat chunks, followed by a long bake in the oven until it’s crispy on the outside, juicy down under; this is simple Mac & Cheese that is still many steps up from the broke millennial packs you probably still have in your apartment.

Overall, it’s good Mac & Cheese that doesn’t try way too hard. It’s simple, yet solid. Just don’t expect to feel like you’re at your momma’s house.

Stay classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought #289: If This Is My Last Poem

 

I am made of poetry.
Flesh and blood,
Ink in my veins.
Each capillary, each cell.
I am strong when the wind wolves howl.
I am stronger when they bite.
I can do this.
Anxiety, you are a game to me.
I am the strong ox.
I am the last cigarette in the box.
I am a survivor.
That is what I do, survive.
I survive lies, and hate, and shame, and scorn.
I survive bible belts wearing crowns of thorns.
I can get this piece of me back.
It is not gone.
It is somewhere in the sun.
It is somewhere in the sky.
It is somewhere blue.
It is out there.
And I will find it again.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by David J. Thompson

 

The Robes Of Cassandra

My new girlfriend
tells me she wants
the robes of Cassandra
for her birthday.

I never believe
a word she says,
but I’m going
to check on Amazon,
just in case.

 

David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He likes “The Simpsons,” Spain, postcards, and minor league baseball. His poetry/photography book Grace Takes Me is available from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press.

Bill Wolak has just published his fifteenth book of poetry entitled The Nakedness Defense with Ekstasis Editions. His collages have appeared recently in Naked in New Hope 2018, The 2019 Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Poetic Illusion, The Riverside Gallery, Hackensack, NJ, the 2019 Dirty Show in Detroit, 2018 The Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, and The 2018 Montreal Erotic Art Festival.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: Depraved

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

Splotchy gray-white clouds
cover th’ empire o’ th’ sky:
Nature’s Rorschach Test.

 

Tanka
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

The meter reader
at the apartment complex
cautiously observes,
and reads the many meters
above the thick, long, black snake.

“Wired Clues” Abe unites technology with Japanese forms.

~~~

Haiku
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

On a lily pad,
the frog sat squat, motionless,
prepared to hop off.

“Lice Brews” Ueda seves nature’s microcosm.

~~~

Tanka
          by Eber L. Aucsidew

Th’ aquamarine pool,
clear and rectangular, shines
beneath th’ azure sky.
No one notes a man leap in,
happy, splashing with Basho.

Eber L. Aucsidew is a poet of air and water. His favourite PreSocratics are Thales (c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC) and Anaximenes (c. 586 BC – c. 526 BC).

~~~

The Speed of Light
          by I. E. Sbace Weruld

If one could travel at the speed of light,
then one could see…light stationary, stopped.
But ot’s impossible to have such sight;
and one can only posit that in thought.
It makes one pause to think about this World,
upon which we are spinning round the Sun,
which is within this galaxy’s realm hurled,
the Milky Way itself upon a run.
No matter where one is, light moves…about
three-hundred-trillion centimeters in
a second—absolutely. Is there doubt?
This cosmos seems to be its suzerain.
And so whats changing all the time, is time,
and us, atte,pting to reach light’s sublime.

I. E. Sbace Weuld is a poet of the Universe.

~~~

At Karnak
          by “Scribe” El Uwade

The brilliant sun shines in the sky much as it did in the times of the New Kingdom, when Iknaton abandoned the worship of multi-faceted Amon for Aton, the one and only true one, and isolated himself near Hermopolis in the newly built capital of Amarna, where he dwelt, as the empire around him toppled to little more than a memory, at Karnak.

“Scribe” El Uwade is a poet of northeast Africa and ancient Egypt. This is a single-sentence prose-poem of ninety-six syllables.

~~~

Asteroid Impact
          by Ed Rubee Swical

An asteroid, as mighty as ten-billion atom bombs,
caused dinosaur extinction and untold, unknown life-forms.
The twelve-kilometer-wide asteroid—Chichulub’s girth—
some sixty millions years ago, collided with the Earth,
and caused extinction of three-fourths of all the life there was,
according to the U of T researchers in P-NAS.

It’s thought that crash caused wildfires, and tsunamis too.
The sulphur in the atmosphere caused planet Earth to cool.
It’s estimated that three-hundred-billion metric tons
of sulphur were ejected in to th’ atmosphere at once.
Professor Gulick led the study of the crater’s core;
and when he saw the impact record, he was roused and more.

Ed Rubee Swical is a poet of the dynamics and physics of Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the physical, chemical, and biological transformations that take place upon it and within it. In “The Fixation of Belief”, American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) suggested the avenue to truth comes not from tenacity or authority, but from genuine scientific methodological naturalism.

~~~

Sri Lankan Incident
          by Esala “Cu” D’ Abrew

Two ambling elephants had run amok on Saturday,
Colombo, in Sri Lanka, Buddhist festival parade.
According to Jayantha Jayewardine they were in musth
and lost their tranquil dispositions; their hor-mones went bust.
Then in the pageant they became inflamed and furious;
some seventeen were injured. though none too serious.
Still the authorities should have assessed the pair before
they went upon their rampage, not far from the temple floor.
One rider fell off his bejeweled elephant head first,
surrounded by a throng of worshippers and raging burst.

Esala “Cu” D’ Abrew is a poet of Sri Lanka. This incident reminds me of George Orwell’s personal essay “Shooting an Elephant”.

~~~

The Blue Girl
          by Delir Ecwabeus

The only thing she wanted was to watch a soccer game;
but she lived in Iran where women cannot watch the same
as men. She’d snuck into the stadium dressed as a male;
but she was caught and told she would spend half a year in jail.
That was too much for her. And so, she set herself on fire.
The twenty-nine-year-old Sahar, in gas doused, burned and died.
She dies on Monday at a hospital in Tehran’s care,
with burns across most of her body for her flagrant dare,
Nicknamed Blue Girl, for wearing of the colours of her team.
Some said a stadium be named in honour of her dream.

Delir Ecwabeus is a poet of Iran. The desire for freedom ran deep within Sahar Khodayari.

~~~

Stuxnet
          by Web de la Cruise

Computer worm and cyber weapon Stuxnet spread around,
but first got to Iran, and caused a centerfuge slowdown.
But it did not remain just there; the malware moved along
to India, to Indonesia, to Azerbaijan.
It even came to Pakistan and to the USA,
infecting tens of thousands as it moved upon its way.
It used four zero-day attacks, promiscuously spread,
and went through Windows indiscriminately targeted,
then seeking out Siemens Step7 software where it came
with a link file and rootkit that hid malicious aim.

Web de la Cruise is a poet of the Internet.

~~~

Across the Internet
          Esca Webuilder

Across the Internet, there are so many bloggers who
are writing words, like lettered birds, in the electric blue,
like Anna Mosca’s lines designed from varied points of view,
or Nancy Botta’s bottled thoughts, bright baubles and haiku,
like PB with her ministrations, positive for you;
Sparkonit simplifying science, opening each clue;
like Alex Markovich’s ink-blots, coming in on cue;
or Elan Mudrow capturing light-streams and drops of dew.
Across the Internet, like as so many bloggers do,
words fly along, both thought and song, some left, some right, some true.

Esca Webuilder is a poet of the Internet and intimate of surfer Web de la Cruise.

~~~

South African Xenophobic Attacks
          by Badrue Ecsweli
          “O, cry, beloved country.”
              —Cur A. Wildebees

More than 635 Nigerians signed up
to take free airline flights and leave homes in South Africa;
because of xenophobic strikes against their properties,
and lives, their very lives; they grabbed this opportunity.

Zimbabwe too is picking up evacuees by plane.
More than 165 are fleeing the insane.
The riots in Pretoria and in Johannesburg
have killed a dozen; foreigners are fleeing the absurd.

Beninese, Ethiopians, are leaving by the score;
they cannot take the looting and the killing any more.
Malawians, Mozambicans, they too have fled the hate.
In thousands, foreigners are leaving homes attacked of late.

Badrue Ecsweli is a poet of South Africa.

~~~

A Little Serenade
          by Ewald E. Eisbruc

The catchy Little Serenade by Wolfgang Mozart starts
with an ascending Mannheim rocket theme, as it imparts
joy with each little serendipitous phrase it accrues,
and falls into the mind so snappily in happy grooves.
A composition of a chamber orchestra in place,
two violins, viola, cello, and a double bass.
Called Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, it captures in sweet tune
the beauty of the Viennese milieu beneath the moon.
It dances in the scintillating city, jittering,
like dreams upon the waters of the Danube—glittering.

Ewald E. Eisbruc is a poet of German music. Among his favourite composers of all time, his top three are Bach (1685-1750), Mozart (1720-1788), and Beethoven (1770-1827); but there are many other German composers that he very much admires. He recently watched one of Alfred Hitchcock’s least favourite movies,”Waltzes from Vienna” (1934).

~~~

Quotes from Friedrich-Karl Ewert
          by Uwe Carl Diebes

2010

“Contrary to computer-based scenarios, and hence,
contrary to what’s gen’rally believed [uncommon sense],
anthropogenic CO2 is meaningless because
[yes,] its influence is not recognizable. [A pause.]
Of course, this [here] result complies with basic physics laws,
and really is not that surprising [to those who aren’t dense].
Increasing Sun activity is probably the rea-
son for slow global warming since mid-19th century.”

2011

“The fact is ever since the Little Ice Age Earth has been
[within the normal process of its] warming up again.
We don’t have global climate change [precisely]; what we have
are normal tem-per-a-ture fluc-tu-a-tions [not that vast].
We have had parallel cool-ing and warm-ing episodes.
No CO2 influence is detected. [No, no, no.]
Since year 2000, we have been [yes] cooling off again.
The data has been faked to show there is a warming trend.”

2015

“Between the years of 2010 and 2012 [how strange],
the data measured [thus] since 1881 was changed,
so that they show significance in warmth [embarrassing],
especi’lly after 1950…A comparison
of data that’s from 2010 to 2012 shows that
the NASA-GISS had altered its own data sets, so that,
especi’lly after World War II, there’s a clear warming trend,
although it never has existed [never, never, end].”

Uwe Carl Diebes is a poet of Germany. Friedrich-Karl Ewert is a geologist and emeritus professor at the University of Paderhorn.

~~~

The Scientist
          by Ira “Dweeb” Scule

The scientist investigates with patient, steady eye.
He looks into his matter with a calculating smile.
He studies his material with animated zest.
He wants to test it out. What’s is its truth? Is it the best?
He runs analyses. He longs to figure out its pith,
and brush aside snap-judgments and thé mirage of myth.
He loves discovery when it occurs, but he’s aware
it takes a lot of time and energy, as well as care.
But he’s persistent. If at first he doesn’t get results,
he’ll keep on working, searching, getting to the nuts and bolts.

Ira “Dweeb” Scule is a poet of science.

~~~

The Utility of Matrices
          by Euclidrew Base

The reason we have algorithms for determinants
of matrices is that they’ve found a bit of permanence
in analyzing vector spaces and large data sets,
computer games and graphic cards and quantum mechanics.
They calculate, as well, electric circuit properties,
and offer simultaneously opportunities.
Computers simulate stochastic matrices that range
events from gambling to forecasting weather cycles’ change.
O, data that can be arranged in rows and columns can
be used in business and encryption for the mind of man.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics.

~~~

The Man Upon the Sailing Boat
          by Seaweed Lubric

I saw him on a sailing boat; he stood upon the deck;
he rode upon the deep blue water, silvery with fleck.
His wrinkled neck, connected, jerky, hung down long, and thick;
it almost seemed ridiculous, as if he were sea sick.
I wondered if he was a captain or a crewman there.
He seemed to be a picture of New England, rugged, spare.
I could not tell exactly where he was, and so relaxed,
like as a seagull on the wind, or rigging rope untaxed.
He longed to get away from where it was that he was at,
and vanished in the wake of waves behind his cruising yacht.

Seaweed Lubric is a poet of the sea.

~~~

O, Why?
          by Cris Wade Eubel

O, why dig up your past? What do you gain by doing it?
It may be beautiful, but, o, it is a gooey pit.
By focusing upon the end, you never reach the start—
that lovely dart, those running, legs, that moving, gorgeous art.

O, why not grab the present currently before your eyes?
Its radiance is ravishing, o, smashing with surprise.
Just snatch it, clutch it, catch it, pluck it from life’s giving tree.
Forego the impulse that you have to sit in history.

O, why not see the future coming up right next to you?
It longs to lift you up to the magnificent and true.
It longs to carry you away into the grand unknown.
So go with it. From now on ride time’s rising-high cy-clone.

Cris Wade Eubel is a poet of the moment. This poem is a dodeca.

~~~

The Sewer Rat
          Caud Sewer Bile

He was a sewer rat who hung out with the worst of men.
I swear he lived beneath a manhole in a man-cave den.
I only saw him once. I did not want to cross his path;
for if I did, it would not work out well. You do the math.
He hung out in the shadows, ever lying in the dark,
prepared to stick up any fool, pot-bellied, grimy, stark.
He had a giant hole where he was wounded in the war,
the horror of which haunted him, on which he’d closed life’s door.
But what amazed me most was his alarming attitude,
so used to ugliness, he loved its stink and found it good.

Caud Sewer Bile is a poet of waste. His favourite poem is T. S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”.

~~~

Remembering the Twin Towers
          by Dic Asburee Wel

I still remember vividly, as if it were just some short time ago, those high Twin Towers, grand against the gorgeous city, stalwart and secure. They were so beautiful, upright above the land. They were so sleek and tall, and fit so perfectly beside the other buildings, life-filled, lofty and pulsating. But, alas, o, such was not to be for long; for vicious men had plotted their demise. They longed to knock them down with wild insanity. They longed to tear them from their heights with harsh surprise. How long will I remember them, there at that perch, forever shoved from morning’s rosy-coloured skies?

Dic Asburee Wel is a poet of New York. The seven sentences of this prose poem contain one-hundred-and-forty-four syllables. Hong Kong activists called off protests on Wednesday in remembrance of September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States of America.

~~~

In the Hot-air Balloon
          by Eber L. Aucsidew

Away we went, up in the beautiful hot-air balloon,
suspended there beneath the gorgeous, pale golden moon.
We stood up in the gondola, the wicker basket weave.
Though were were slightly frightened, we were ready still to leave.
We rose up in the atmosphere, up on the heated air,
o, buoyant in the upward thrust, above the stones of care.
We rode in joy, exhilarated by the lighting flight,
the burner mounted just above, injecting flames of light.
The polyester dacron fabric, seal’d wi’ silicone,
rose high above the grassy knolls that rolled out green and on.

 

The Goddess at the Pool: Louise E. Anna, Lady
          by Eber L. Aucsidew

She sat beside the lovely pool, so blue and warm and clear.
It was as though the evening were alive and still and near.
She felt it permeate her being, floating like a cloud,
a boat upon the surface, splashing happily, not loud.
The chattering cicadas drone, theirs is a moaning churn.
The Sun is down, the sky is high, yet still there is a burn,
as if some god has lifted up her kicking body’s legs,
a butterfly that fluttered by, for butter th’ beggar begs.
She slides along the water’s edge; the long pool’s fading fast;
and then she goes inside to sleep. How long will this dream last?

Eber L. Aucsidew is a poet of air and water, the vital components of life. He loves vast swaths of oxygen and H2O.

~~~

Elysian Fields
          by Esiad L. Werecub

The road sign to Elysian Fields was crumpled in the shrubs,
a large metallic green square, out of synch with grass and bush.
Perhaps that’s why the population has declined a bunch;
with three-cubed persons in it, well, it isn’t much as such.
In fact, it’s not a town at all; it’s just where some folks are.
There, one’s stuck in the boonies if one doesn’t have a car.
Although the cost of living’s lower than that o’ th’ US,
the unemployment’s higher; something that someone might guess.
This rural unincorporated place is on some maps;
but it is not a place of perfect happiness, in fact.

Esiad L. Werecub is a poet of out of the way places.

~~~

The Soldier and the Cup of Coffee
          by Carb Deliseuwe

He stood up at attention on the carpet in the hall.
Clad in black tee and silver dog tags, he was long and tall.
He saw outside the Sun was shining. It was nice and warm.
He paused in contemplation of life’s thinner, inner form.
His glasses set atop his head. His pen is in his hand.
A yellow pad before him rests; it’s ready to command.
The sunlight lightens up his back; his front in shadow lies.
He turns around to gaze upon the image in his eyes.
It is a round and fulsome cup. The coffee was so good.
O, how he longs to fill it up. If only, God, he could.

Carb Deliseuwe is a poet of food and drink.

~~~

The Man and the Chair
          by Earl W. Sidecube

Although he was content, he was uncomfortable there,
so now he was prepared to go sit over on the chair.
He got up, kneeling, slowly, from his last place, to his feet,
and walked on over to the chair; his journey was complete.
He turned around and sat down carefully attentive to
positioning himself so he was straight and not askew.
He did his best to just relax, but he was still quite stressed,
and here, before his work, he could not help but still feel pressed.
Yet still he was content upon the thickly padded chair,
and sat as still as he was able, taking in the air.

Earl W. Sidecube is a poet of furniture.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Mean Girls

 

Some things never change.
I’m sure mean girls have always existed
In all places, at all times.

The mean girls, female bullies.
Daughters of the worst mean girls
From a generation ago.

Mean girls look in some warped mirror
And see perfection in all they do,
Which justifies all and every
Act of aggression.

Mean girls don’t answer to God.
They have their own set of commandments
And quiet as its kept,
Mean girls party with the Devil.

Mean girls travel in packs
Not to be mistaken with girl gangs,
Aka girls in gangs who party
With girls and boys in gangs.

Mean girl transgressions
Aren’t really crimes because
Mean girls don’t commit crimes.

They just remove obstacles
Aka people (spelled with “p”
in the lower case/class).

Mean girls don’t
Outgrow their meanness.
They grow into it,
wear the meanness proudly,
stretch and adjust the seams,
Pass it on to the next generation.

It’s in the genes,
their legacy, our burden.

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Feedback with Lizi von Teig: Was Johnny Hobo This Generation’s Bob Dylan?

 

“And I used to dream my beliefs would lead me onto barricades with molotovs/but most days they lead me straight to a line at the post office, to send zines to someone behind bars”

— Pat the Bunny, “This City Is Killing Me,” 2016

In 2005, Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains, the pseudonym for Pat “the Bunny” Schneeweiss, released his breakthrough split LP Love Songs for the Apocalypse with Mantits. With only slightly more arrangement than Against Me!’s 2001 Acoustic EP (Schneeweiss has twice as many instruments on this as Laura Jane Grace had on her release, which is to say four, and two of them are used for accent), Love Songs is a bare bones approach to folk punk, like if Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys was asked to write a Phil Ochs tribute album while trying but failing to quit heroin. In addition to being a fresh take on the style of “angry dude with an acoustic guitar and little or nothing else,” it contained some powerful poetry about conflict both in society and within oneself.

Schneeweiss and Dylan were two sides of the same coin. Pat got into music because it was political. Dylan got into politics because it was musical. Either way, both epitomized the best of the poetry in the philosophical and political minds of their communities. Dylan embodied the peace movement and white Civil Rights supporters of the 1960s and early 1970s. Pat embodied the anarcho-Marxist community that thrived in crust punk and folk punk in the 2000s and 2010s.

“We aren’t revolutionaries/but we are the revolution,” Pat sings on “New Mexico Song,”

Pat’s formal education was shorter than even Dylan’s modest academic career, having not even finished high school. Still, his exposure to political texts began at an early age. We can obviously infer this from the “On Ballots And Barricades” lyric “Things will never be as simple as when I was 12 years old, reading Karl Marx in my bedroom alone,” but we get greater insight from this excerpt from Mark Bouchard’s interview with Schneeweiss, published in his paper “The Modern American Anarchist: More Method Than Madness.”

“A junior high teacher gave me a book called “Post-Scarcity Anarchism” by this guy Murray Bookchin …reading that was the beginning of me changing the way that I thought about politics and ultimately arriving at anarchism.”

Joan Baez said in her opening remarks to Bob Dylan’s performance at the Newport Folk Festival 1963 that people don’t turn to leaders to meet their needs, but that leaders emerge based on the needs that people have. From this we can see that it was not Pat the Bunny’s lack of poetry or genius that prevented him from being a success, but rather that his politics weren’t aligned with the needs of the Bush-era culture.

It is impossible to know what Pat would’ve been like in the folk revival. Both the influences of his political beliefs and his musical style are formed by events and movements during or after the 1980s and 90s. However, if somehow his music, particularly Live the Dream or the Ceschi split, had been created exactly as it is now and had been released in 1967, it would have been met with much more success than it met when it came out in our time.

 

Elizabeth von Teig is a musician and author living in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her expertise is classic rock, folk punk, and the blues.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #300: Category Trump

 

Agent Orange Head in the White House
is only the most obvious external symptom
of the cancer on the presidency
growing ignored, undiagnosed, untreated
since long before Watergate or Iran-Contra
its shadow side the impeachment of Clinton
and impeachment “off the table” for Bush
(and his invasions, torture, assassinations
and mass surveillance) and of course Obama
told us he was looking forward, not back
so what could he possibly see except
clear sailing as his whole administration
sunk in a sea of torturers, assassins,
mass murderers, a cabal of fervent spies
of everyone, of everything except the crooks
the fraudster bankster Wall St. crew
Obama installed to deal with the biggest
rip-off in human history of Ponzi scheme
bubbles where buy that and they’ll sell
you another tulip bulb South Sea island
Brooklyn Bridge where the bagman
for the kleptocracy will be there waiting
for the dramatic moment to say “you’re fired”
over and over until they’re all gone, so long gone
into the pyramidal mountain deep state
where the FBI is still investigating
the orgy of drug money, sex industry money
human trafficking slavery money
all coursing through condo real estate
deals on the right, deals on the left
how can they strain poor Agent Orange Head
in the White House, out from all those
oligarch plutocrat crime boss klepto-crats.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on 4 Comments

Remembering 9/11- Remembering Jimmy Cherry

This is a memorial post dedicated to the late Jimmy Cherry who my family lost on 9/11/04. A different tragedy, for a different reason. I published this in 2009 in the first years of Oddball Magazine. Thank You for allowing me the space to remember Jim while we also remember everyone who was lost on 9/11/01.

Jason

Ed.

We Miss You Jimmy 

September 11, 2001, our nation suffered as a country, we suffered as people. We watched powerless as the buildings fell, and soon we were at war.

The next year on 9/11, I was in Salem Hospital. Soon I had the strongest manic episode I ever had and walked thirty six miles. I wrote a book about it.

I remember that day in Salem Hospital. Hearing the lists of people being remembered depressed me. I was angry at our president. I was paranoid. I thought something was going to happen again. I spent most of the time that day away from the television in my cage. Outside at Salem Hospital, in the psyche unit, there is a place, a cage like place to smoke cigarettes. While I was smoking, I could hear in the air, the sounds of jet planes. I knew they were fighter jets, surveying the land. It was really cloudy that day and cold. There was a beautiful girl there with me, we smoked cigarettes and began a conversation. She was manic, she was my manic girlfriend, while I was there.

September 11, 2003, I don’t remember. September 11th of the next year, I will never forget. That was the day my brother in law Jimmy died. He died of cancer. My sister has never been the same since he died. With my family being so distant, we all came together through Jimmy. I can never forget that day.

What happened the day Jimmy died, was called a living wake. I was there when he died. I watched my nephew then 15, holding his father’s hand, while my sister stroked the hair on Jimmy’s head, as we watched Jimmy die. I had never seen someone die before. My family has never been the same since. Yet, every september 11th, my family gets together, or if we can’t… we call one another, and remember.

Today is September 11th, 2009. It’s raining today. It always seems to rain on September 11th. On 9/11/01, it rained sulfur and burning ash from 84 floors up. Smoke and fire, as two towers crashed to the ground. On September 11th, 2004 when Jimmy died, it didn’t rain. But for my sister, I think it has never stopped raining.

God Bless All those who were lost on September 11th, all those who lost on September 11th, and all those still lost because of September 11th

Love you Andrea.

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Lynn White

 

This Is Not An Egg

The egg box was so sculptural with its peaks and troughs
like a metaphor, a mirror of life in textured paper,
I thought a giant version could easily become
an acclaimed art installation
and I thought I could make it.
And then I remembered the glasses
left behind in a museum of modern art
by error or intent,
real glasses,
not the “ne sont pas les lunettes”
Magrittean sort,
I could feel some guerrilla art hatching inside me.

I fetched the pot egg from under the broody hen
and pondered the possibilities on the way to the gallery.
There, I placed the egg box on a table,
sneaked it in
between the other exhibits
then I placed the Magrittean egg inside.
Just the one egg seemed most fitting
especially since one was all I had.
I had already written the title card.
Such a work deserved two titles
one above and one below the artist’s name,
my name, of course.
First came: “THIS IS NOT AN EGG”
and underneath:
“THIS IS NOT AN EXHIBIT”
It was perfectly placed
and looked magnificently subversively ironic.
I think Magritte would be proud of my effort.

And now I must wait
to see if anyone notices.

 

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award and her poems have appeared in many publications.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma. He has a wife Karen, and daughter.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Holly Day

 

An Afternote to a Book Without Us

Cockroaches raced along the ground here long before
there were dark alleys and rancid dumpsters
truck drivers and greasy spoon diners, old hamburger wrappers
to curl up inside. Before we were here, cockroaches
scuttled in the nests of dinosaurs, fed on the sticky albumin
of newly-hatched eggs, dug tunnels in massive piles of fecal matter,
were old even then. They lived through
the asteroids, the second and third great extinctions
left petrified footprints in the mud
alongside our first bipedal ancestors.

They will be here to see the last flower of humanity
wilt in the heat of cataclysm, will polish our bones
with their tiny, patient mandibles, will lay their eggs
in our shirt pockets and empty hats. There will be
no great cockroach takeover,
no post-apocalyptic ascension to superiority—
they will always just be, chitinous wings fluttering
scurrying, squeaking in the dark.

 

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing).

Jury S. Judge is an internationally published artist, photographer, writer, poet, and political cartoonist. Her “Astronomy Comedy” cartoons are also published in Lowell Observatory’s quarterly publication, The Lowell Observer. She has been interviewed on the television news program, “NAZ Today” for her work as a political cartoonist. Her artwork has been widely featured in literary magazines such as Dodging The Rain, The Tishman Review, Open Minds Quarterly, Blue Moon Review, and The Ignatian Literary Journal. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2014.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought #288: After Reading Grit and Rilke

 

Remember you are a lonely artist.
Reading Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.
Finished a book, Angela Duckworth’s Grit.
New medicines in my cabinet.
Wishes are for wells, says Grit.
You have to make it happen.
My toes dip into the white ocean
Of another digital page.
I walk into a corner and I find my open eyes
And overactive mind.
I sit them down. Let’s have a talk, I say.
IListen, you have been up too long.
You have thought too many thoughts.
And they say We are trying to sleep.
We have work tomorrow, come back later.

And I wish them off to sleep
And sit back and read Rilke
Like Rilke is a buzzword.

I don’t need to see your life unfolding.
I just need to see mine, moving
And if it is moving, then I will keep it moving.
In more directions.
Oh this lonely, hateful world of art
Where 250 plus poems doesn’t make you a poet,
Where they look you in the eye and say,
No Rhymes. Revise.
And I say Deadline.
And they say You suck.
And I say Fine.
And maybe my poetry is a bowl of words
Thrown against the wall.
Maybe I should try harder.
But young poet, let me part a word.
I feel I can do that.
Remember, you are a lonely artist.
And art is lonely.
Those likes, they are not really yours.
And the garbage is in the details,
The non-fiction fiction,
The slow and steady rough decline.
I’ll own that. That’s mine.
Don’t lose your mind, like I lost mine.
It Is simple, somewhere along the way,
I lost. It. The idea, that I am imparting.
And that is what should fuel you. The art.
So young poet, don’t stop your pen.
Don’t fall into the slam sound.
Don’t lose who you are.
Don’t love likes.
Art. Coupled with the pain. The Uncertainty,
The only certainty, that we all are words.
Words to describe us, define us
And eventually every word
On every page
ends.
And knowing that each word eventually ends,
Should fuel you
To write.
Maybe what you write will be shit.
But somewhere along the way.
You will right the ship.
Simply put, don’t give up.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Louis Marin

 

Sad Summer Day

In New York,
on a late
summer’s day,
death’s blanket
ashes, steel,
smoke, and fire
raining down.
Covering streets, cars,
innocent victims of
cowardice and jealousy.
Did God forget to protect them
in New York
on a late summer day?
I try not to cry
when I see the list of souls,
smiles wiped away,
lives blotted out.
Suddenly the whole world
seems as cold and dark
as the falling ashes
and twisted steel
that is New York
on a late
summer day.
In New York,
on a late
summer’s day,
in the park
where we played,
suddenly fears
of mugging,
or rape,
or normal city life
would be better,
than the fears and tears
and praying to a god
who forgot to
protect and guide us,
in New York
on a late
summer day.
In New York,
on a late
summer’s day,
I realize maybe
God didn’t forget us,
we forgot Him,
and I wonder,
I hope,
pray that no more
death comes
to New York,
on this late
summer day.

 

Louis Marin is a photographer, writer of an online blog and daily spiritual devotional as well as the author of five poetry anthologies that were available through PublishAmerica. Hia poems have been published in many magazines and online ‘zines, including, Terrorhouse Magazine, The Pangolin Review, The Quail Bell, Oddville, and Madness Muse, to name a few.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS), two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: Suspension

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

The water jet hits
the grass of the new-mown lawn.
The small toadlet leaps.

“Wired Clues” Abe is a haiku writer.

~~~

Reality Postcard
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

Tropical sunset,
rose, maroon, and violet,
under a moon’s smile,
a silent, still cicada
beneath palm trees near the pool.

“Lice Brews” Ueda is a poet of Japanese forms, in this case, a tanka.

~~~

A View of Bangkok
          by Daw Buricselee

It is a place where tears dry fast—Bangkok—Krung Thep—
It’s not a place one would expect to find sweet peace
or love. Food stalls, skyscrapers, traffic jams, young pep,
perhaps, where motorbikes or taxis never cease,
white, yellow, pink, etcetera… But peace, or love,
along Chao Phraya River? Stress, yes, or sex, please,
and even or’nge-robed Buddhists, blue-jeaned guys, and tough
muay Thai boxers, overlooking Lumphini Park,
tart cocktails in high-rises, sprawling, climbing up
above flushed-shiny-neon-shrine flash in the dark.
On Sukhumvid, you better watch your pants, your step,
lest you fall down, flesh wounds, lest you become a mark.

 

At the Great Stupa in Nakhon Pathom
          by Daw Buricselee

To the Pagoda of the Holy Relics came
the poet chanting words: ‘May true religion live
forever; for it’s not the poet who needs fame.
He needs the Buddha’s help to give and to forgive,
to gain strength in attainment of enlightenment.
He needs his book of words to be affirmative,
preserving to the end of time and firmament,
the presence of your humble servant—Sunthorn Phu,
belonging to the King of the White Elephant,
a loyal subject ever to King Rama II,
here at Phra Pathom chedi’s shining orange flame,
as far as any love can go and still be true.’

Daw Buricselee is a poet of Thailand. According to Mastercard’s annual global destination cities (2018), the most visited cities in the World are 1) Bangkok, 2) London, 3) Paris, 4) Dubai, 5) Singapore, 6) New York City, 7) Kuala Lumpur, 8) Tokyo, 9) Istanbul, and 10) Seoul. The most visited countries of the World include 1) France, 2) USA, 3) Spain, 4) China, 5) Italy, 6) United Kingdom, 7) Germany, 8) Mexico, 9) Thailand, and 10) Turkey. The above two poems are bildings.

~~~

War and Peace
          by Badri Suwecele

In Mumbai, India, Vernon Gonsalves did not fail
to make his court appointment for a hearing on his bail.
Arrested August 2018 for caste-based violence,
he was, in August 2019, ready for defence.
That he and others had been found inciting the Dalits,
on New Year’s Eve in 2017, upset elites.
Police had searched his home last year and found CDs and books,
the kinds that one would find in homes of criminals and crooks.
The judge asked pointedly why he possessed such tomes as these,
like those about about another country’s troubles—”War and Peace”.

Badri Suwecele is a poet of India. Many people may have “War and Peace” by Russian prosaist Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) in their homes for many years on end to see if they can actually get to the end of it.

~~~

The Idea

            by Erisbawdle Cue

The  i-

            dea                         now, Maia, is                                     how to get       more    to                                          get                   beyond    to

the place                         where we are                         not             then— but                                                             now,                                                       like ne-    on lights off and

   on                 and running                                                 in-    to the jungle, like a bengal tiger                                                 in                                                 In-                         dia,                         o,                         yes.                 

What am I striving for in life?
greaterlove, pleasure, joy, power?
tohave peace? to be without strife?
to seve magic in a flower?

In only two days—
yes, just two days—tomorrow
will be yesterday.

Erisbawdle Cue is a poet of philosophy. His free verse is often positional. Seve is a neologism meaning to see and perceive. The above poem concludes with a haiku.

~~~

In Concord
          by W. Israel Ebecud

          Ah, but,
          aber,
          even dumb Adam and green Eve
          at the dawn of civilization,
          in that silver-streaming sylvan dawn,
known as the Garden of Eden,
                                                    were
          even, according to Moses and Milton,
          in concord,
    after the primitive rhythms
         of the hovering frondy tongues,
breathing
          there
          then
         in the time we now call
          the Recent Pleistocene.

 

The Garden of Eden
          by W. Israel Ebecud

A river went away from Eden, watering the plants;
and turned into four tributaries as it left that plot.
The first one was Pishon surrounding lands of Havilah;
there was good gold, and bdellium. Ah, sure, they had a lot.
The second river was Gihon, which went past beast and bush,
meandering along and circumnavigating Cush.
The name of the third river was Chidekel, moving to
the east of Ashur which it washed once with its fluid blue.
The fourth and final river went by label of Phirath;
but where it went, and what it touched, did any know its path?

W. Israel Ebecud is a poet of Israel. Some writers suggest the term Recent Pleistocene should not be used, and refer to the last 10,000+ years as the Holocene; however some scientists consider that it should be included in the Pleistocene. Even geology has its controversies. His first poem is in positional free verse and the second is a tennos.

~~~

Anti-Immigrant Attacks
          by Badrue Ecsweli

South African police arrested eighty rioters,
as roving gangs attacked the shops of mainly foreigners.
Nigerians and Ethiopians were among those,
whose properties were vandalized, whose buildings had been torched.
In both Johannesburg and in Pretoria—five deaths—
raised fears that foreigners again were being targetted,
as in 2008, when sixty people had been killed,
or 2015, when another seven lives were stilled.
They pelted businesses with rocks and petrol bombs—these hoods—
and then rushed in and emptied shelves and ran off with the goods.

Badrue Ecsweli is a poet of South Africa. South Africa, a nation of 55,000,000, is home to an estimated 5,000,000 illegal immigrants, including 3,000,000 Zimbabweans. South Africa has eleven official languages, which are alphabetically Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern and Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu. Though the top three lnguages are Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans, the fourth language in numbers, English, is the lingua franca of the nation.

~~~

Functional Analysis
          by Euclidrew Base

It has intrinsic beauty—functional analysis—
such gorgeous chalices within its varied palaces,
as well as many applications in all kinds of fields;
there are so many areas in which it brings forth yields:
such as, quantum mechanics, metric groups and PDE,
topology, geometry, and probability,
dynamic systems and approximation theory too;
there are so many areas in which it brings forth fruit.

From basic concepts, like normed vector spaces, it proceeds
through Banach spaces, and its rich and splendid properties,
to bounded operators, transformations, and the like,
duality, convergence, and dimensions to the sky.
Some of its main results include Hahn-Banach’s rooster calls,
there off the lovely side of Banach-Steinhaus’ stonehouse walls,
the Alaoglu’s cock-a-doodle-do, Krein-Milman too;
there are so many areas here on the unit blue.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics. Some key contributors include Swede Erik Ivar Fredholm (1866-1927), Pole Hugo Steinhaus (1887-1972), Frenchman Henri Lebesgue (1875-1941), as well as German David Hilbert (1862-1943), Austrian Eduard Helly (1884-1943), Pole Stefan Banach (1892-1945), Austrian Hans Hahn (1879-1934), Hungarian Frigyes Riesz (1880-1956), and Frenchman Maurice Fréchet (1878-1973);
and by the 1920s they had set the field on fire, a blaze of many areas, exciting, and desired. Later contributors mentioned above include Greek Leonidas Alaoglu (1914-1981), Ukrainian Mark Krein (1907-1989), and Russian-Israeli David Milman (1912-1982).

~~~

Max Thomas Scribbles
          by Scubie Dew Lear
          “I never think you should judge any country by its politics.
          After all, we English are quite honest by nature, aren’t we?”
              —Miss Froy, in “The Lady Vanishes”

He’s come back from hiatus, nearly half a decade long,
Max Thomas now is scribbling once again his ding dong song.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not quibbling with the dribbling stew,
but wonder what he’s cooking up for them and these and you.
And what will it all lead to? What’s the purpose and the aim?
Entelechy is eloquent at Clarity and Main.
There is, I do suppose, it’s possble t’ anticipate:
Will it Sit Well, as thyme grows in the garden of the Grayt?
I only know of late, he’s come back from hiatus, yet
he paused a moment not to say a thing. Will I forget?

Scubie Dew Lear is a poet interested in the works of Arthur Conan Doyle.

~~~

Sestet
          by Ileac Burweeds

Perhaps the oldest living things on Earth
are bristlecone pine trees, which can reach up
in age to almost fifty-hundred years.
Analysis of rings within their trunks
can possibly reveal the isotopes
that they ingested centuries ago.

Ileac Burweeds is a poet of plant life. One wonders, if in some forms life can last 5,000 years, what are life’s possibilities?

~~~

A California Couple
          by Cal Wes Ubideer

They walked amid the great Sequoia trees,
dwarfed by their towering and shadowed trunks.
The sunlight filtered down. They were at peace
amongst those dark and aged, growing hunks.
They held each other close, within their arms.
Their hearts were beating uncontrollably.
They strolled along, enthralled by thrilling charms,
two lovers under leafy canopy.
They passed a long log laying on the ground.
They felt as if this was a wonderland.
They heard each other only, and the sound
of an occasional bird in that stand,
and stood the test of love; but time moved on,
and passed them by, and now they both are gone.

 

Off California
          by Cal Wes Ubideer

The tragedy is unrelenting for the families
of those aboard Conception, the dive-boat up in flames.
Once called the crown-jew-él of live-aboard dive-boats, it now
is on the ocean floor—off California—up-side-down.
The thirty-four who died below were burned up in the blaze;
but five crew members on the deck survived in that mad haze.
They jumped the ship. Who wouldn’t? But weren’t they the ones who were
responsible for keeping safe the people down below?
Oh, woe! Oh, no! What happened up above? What caused this stir?
that blaze that took the lives of Californians on that shore?

 

An LA Scene From an Unknown Movie
          by Cal Wes Ubideer

1.
Not all scenes in LA are photogenic ones,
here’s one with empty bottles on the window ledge,
left over French fries, napkins and hamburger buns,
a cheap electric fan, bare feet at the bed’s edge,
long legs and arms extending from the shorts and shirt,
an ashtray filled with cigarette butts, a tired wretch
asleep in an apartment filled with dust and dirt,
and an alarm clock. Fingers stop its ringing noise,
and then this man falls on his back again ungirt.
Exhausted, he has had a night out with the boys.
His eyes are closed. He stretches out, touched by the sun’s
faint rays. He grabs a butt, lights it, and puffs in poise.

2.
He’s late for work again. He gets up, throws on pants,
steps out the door and fights the lock, fights with his key.
He walks down cement stairs to garbage in the grass,
then steps across the sun-lit street casually.
Above the cyclone fence around the unkempt field
on the horizon, he is able next to see
the towering skyscrapers of LA revealed,
realities so far removed they seem unreal,
rectangular, high, distant, narrow buildings steeled,
gray, amber, auburn, crossed by lines of white, black, teal.
He moves along the sidewalk, small, poorly heeled, against
those mighty fixtures. Worn so, it’s not awe he feels.

Cal Wes Ubideer is a poet of California. In the first poem, a sonnet, the picture draws from a moving picture northern California scene from Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The second docupoem, a tennos, refers to this week’s tragedy, of which most of the victims were northern Californians. The third is a pair of bildings.

~~~

The Hand-Held Rotary Rock Drill
          by Rawcee Buildes

Atop the rock drill is the handle and its handle bolt,
the air control valve for the drilling, constant, pounding jolt;
the handle of the throttle valve, the pawl and rathchet part,
the rifle bar rotating piston sitting at its hearrt;
the air control for blowing and the air post for exhaust,
the riflenut and piston on the piston stem embossed;
down to rope-threaded, hollow drill, made of drill steel, bit,
and finally the steel retainer, curving from the pit.
In 1912, it came to be, by Simon Ingersoll,
inventor of the hand-held drill, in rock to force a hole.

Rawcee Buildes is a poet of construction. Simon Ingersoll (1818-1894) was an American dreamer, inventor and ingenious mechanic. His first invention was a wedge-and-plug cutting machine. He also invented an early steam–powered car, a friction clutch, a gate latch, and a spring scale. His most important invention, the Ingersoll rock drill brought him no financial reward, although his steam-powered percussion rock drill was a major advancement in the mining and construction industries. He founded the Ingersoll Rock Drill Company, which is now Ingersoll Rand.

~~~

Hempcrete
          by Raucee Buildes

The limestone kilns for making concrete do add dear
to carbon that’s emitted to the planet every year.
The ancient Roman engineers used hemp in mortar for
the building of their bridges, and a lot of structures more.

Hempcrete’s a new alternative to regular concrete;
the modular and inter-locking bricks are cleaner—sweet.
As it is mixed with clay or lime, it still takes carbon in,
and better ventilation too is just another win.

Because it’s fire resistant, it can regulate the temp.
It captures CO2, each cubic meter built of hemp.
Developed 30 years ago in France, it has progressed
to build new homes and buildings, in which people can invest.

Rawcee Buildes is a poet of construction, mining and geology. Hempcrete is a bio-composite material of hemp hurds and lime used in construction and insulation.

~~~

A Man Eating a Grapefruit
          by Carb Deliseuwe

He grasps the golden globule in his hand
and slowly peels off the appealing skin.
A yellow grapefruit is his to command.
His lips ope’ up, as he takes it all in.
The bitter, sour juice is biting, sweet.
He takes another piece. It is quite nice.
It spikes his appetite. He likes to eat
it up—each succulent delicious slice.
He does not stop, except to pause to feel
the joy that journeys down his hardened throat.
He pulls apart the pinkish parts; a wheel
of happiness surrounds his aural float.
So brief it passes by. It’s hard to think
where it has gone, into where it must sink.

 

The Salmonberry
          by Carb Deliseuwe

The salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis, looks
like a golden raspberry hanging on the bush.
Although it isn’t used by very many cooks,
it’s still delicious, when it hasn’t turned to mush,
or nearby birds have not destroyed its luscious fruit.
Around the border of my lot it likes to push,
and constantly gets in my way—each stickered shoot—
when I am mowing. Up to four feet high, hardwood
sinewy branches branch about above the root;
and though its antioxidental content’s good,
it is a nuissance and unwanted when it brooks
my criticism and attempts to make a brood.

Carb Deliseuwe is a poet of food.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Identity

 

Where were you
When you discovered
You had the power
To shape words into images,
Place words on paper,
Speak them,
Share them.
When did the secret
Reveal itself to you?
When did you discover
You were here to write!

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Feedback with Lizi von Teig: On The Genre Of Country

 

Country music has a race problem, and it goes back decades. I do not pretend to be a scholar of country music history, so the claims made in this article should be taken with a little more salt. There are also certain movements in country I’m deliberately not talking about because they aren’t particularly relevant to my point. Still, with the recent developments in country of Beyonce performing at the Country Music Association Awards and Lil Nas X nearly topping the country charts, I feel my contributions could be useful.

Country music is one of the three original genres of music — country, blues, and folk (and you could argue they’re all one and the same). Country music essentially predates sonic recordings. Although Congress has formally recognized Bristol, Tennessee as the birthplace of country music (evidently it was a slow day for legislation in 1998) based on Ralph Peer’s Bristol recording sessions, but this is only the birthplace of recorded country music. Still, I can’t talk about what we don’t have record of, and as this was largely the music of poor people, there’s not a lot of sheet music for 19th century country music.

Out of Ralph Peer’s Bristol Sessions came the two biggest icons of the first generation of country music, Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. Listening to these two in 2019, the distinction between them and the blues artists of the time isn’t terribly strong. Hell, the Carter Family even has a popular song called “East Virginia Blues.” There is of course the lack of the blue note, that peculiar but beautiful note that artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Big Bill Broonzy embraced so strongly, but the larger factor was race. In this era, blues is essentially just black country music. The distinction between this generation of country and folk is even less clear, an ambiguity that would persist throughout country’s history. Country did evolve into something distinct from the blues, though. The entry of banjos and washboards into the musical lexicon of country in the 1930s set it apart from the blues, which edged closer to jazz by including horns and pianos.

The great ambiguity of blues and country can be illustrated in DeFord Bailey. Bailey was the first great star of the Grand Ole Opry, but this black harmonica player turned out influencing the blues more than country. Listening to “Fox Chase” and “Old Hen Cackle” you hear a lot more Little Walter and Sonny Terry than Willie Nelson and Doc Watson. Still, he toured with Bill Monroe rather than Big Bill Broonzy, and his version of “John Henry” was released by the label both in the “race” series and “hillbilly” series.

Entering the electric era, rockabilly came into prominence. I discussed the most famous of rockabilly artists last week, Elvis Presley, but didn’t dive into the country element of it. Rockabilly can be boiled down to two parts blues and one part country. It baffled many music categorizers at the time, and many country fans had a negative reaction to it. Perhaps this can be chalked up to musical puritanism, but it smacks of racism, as rockabilly threatened to culturally racially integrate America (and, eventually, it succeeded). Which rockabilly artists are recognized as country today and which are not has more to do with their later careers than anything else. Johnny Cash, who fell in line with country standards in the 60s and 70s, was redeemed in the eyes of country listeners. Elvis, who stuck with black influenced music, was not. The Country Music Association was formed to keep rockabilly artists out of country music.

The countrypolitan Nashville sound of the 1960s, audible in early Willie Nelson records or the work of Patsy Cline, is unrecognizable from the pioneers of country music. The tones of the guitars, the use of strings, the pianos, they sound nothing like the working class music of the Bristol Sessions. Additionally, bluegrass music from Kentucky, West Virginia and Appalachia came to prominence in this time with musicians like Bill Monroe, who had been recording since 1945 but not charting until this period. It’s heavy use of mandolins and uptempo rhythms was nothing like those Bristol recordings. Both countrypolitan and bluegrass, music with strictly white influences, were accepted into country music.

Two things on race in this period. One is the success of Ray Charles’ 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. This album is generally considered rhythm and blues, because it was made by Ray Charles, but it is made completely of country, western, and folk standards. Indeed, the hit off the album “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” could easily be mistaken for a Willie Nelson song from the same period. Modern Sounds is not well remembered, although Sturgill Simpson did pay homage to it with his 2014 album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Second is the success of Charlie Pride, who is considered a country musician to the point where he is one of three black people inducted in the Grand Ole Opry. Pride is the epitome of Countrypolitan with strings, chorus, and pedal steel guitar. Pride was accepted into country music in part because his sound had no trace of blues or rock in it. Because Charlie Pride was devoid of black cultural influences in his work, country music embraced him.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, now that rock had been thoroughly disassociated from its black roots, country was ready to embrace it. Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield, and John Denver all became prominent and popular country rock artists. These artists were more inspired by white rockabilly artists like Elvis and Buddy Holly rather than the black artists that inspired the rockabilly artists who were disavowed by country fans, and so while they aren’t considered strictly country, they’re often included in the country canon as an offshoot, similar to cowpunk’s relationship with country music.

Following these developments there were outlaw country, country pop, alt-country/cowpunk, stadium country, and many others, but, as much as I’d love to talk about Taylor Swift, I think I’ve made my point. Country music has persevered for over a century because it is inclusive of all white styles, but has difficulty being inclusive of black artists in the same way.

Beyonce’s performance at the CMA Awards was a breakthrough for black country artists, as, even though she isn’t a country artist, the CMAs recognized that her song “Daddy’s Lessons” was essentially country. But the exclusion of Lil Nas X from Billboard’s Country Hot 100 chart was a huge step backwards, and my hat is off to Billy Ray Cyrus for stepping up to support him.

 

Elizabeth von Teig is a musician and author living in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her expertise is classic rock, folk punk, and the blues.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #299: Labyrinth Balance

 

I always admitted the possibility that the labyrinth form
I always saw as the image of both healing and creativity
might in fact be interlocking symbiosis but such vague,
high level abstraction never meets the path of real traction
until my labyrinth quest in mental best created such deft
dizzying designs I was forced to use my many, many decades
of very physical training as left-right left right you hadda
a good home but you left we walk only by balancing our
selves on one foot your left your left you’re right there in a
double spiral our labyrinth core deep in inner ear that is
our internal sense of balance whether you’re conscious of it
or not simply by walking these narrow paths narrowing some
times to razor’s edge where is the trail of healing flesh and
where grows the capacity to endure all this repetitive stress.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Poem by Anne Whitehouse

 

It Wasn’t An Hallucination
Carlos Santana speaks

Angels have appeared
at crucial times in my life,
to show me the way to go.
The first was the manager
who made us play Woodstock.
“This concert will change your life.
Your heads will get so big
you’ll need a shoehorn
to get through a doorway.”
We rolled our eyes: “We don’t
buy into this rock star thing.”

When we got to Woodstock,
we found Jerry Garcia,
looking as beatific as a yogi
in a Himalayan cave.
“It’s a mess here,” he said.
“You’re not going on for twelve hours.
Might as well get comfortable.
Take this,” and he gave me mescaline.

It wasn’t the first time
Jerry had fed me psychedelics.
Once in Vegas, without my knowing,
he shot a syringe of acid in my Coke can.
After we played our set, we left.
As I walked down the gate to the plane,
the hallway got longer and longer,
The colors in the carpet oozed like lava.
At take-off I looked out the window,
and the lights of Vegas looked
like Aztec hieroglyphs I couldn’t read.

When I accepted Jerry’s offer, I thought,
I’ll be chill by the time we go on.
But scarcely two hours later,
Jerry thrust his face in mine.
“If you don’t go on now,”
he roared, “you won’t play at all.”
I took my faith in my hands
and prayed, “Please, God, help me
stay in tune and on time.”

I wrestled with my guitar,
not fighting it like an adversary
but riding it like a surfer
at the crest of a wave.
I could feel the audience’s glee,
like on the hottest day of summer
when they open the hydrants,
and kids rush to play
in the cold arcing spray.

The crowd was joyful,
swaying and dancing,
uplifted by our rhythms.
We were leading them,
and we were also following
the thread of what they found in us,
back to the shamans in Africa,
who call spirits forth
from the deep.

Inspired by Rob Tannenbaum, “Woodstock at 50: How Santana Hallucinated through One of Woodstock’s Best Sets (His Own)” The New York Times, Aug. 6, 2019

 

Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower (Dos Madres Press, 2016). She has also written a novel, Fall Love, which is now available in Spanish translation as Amigos y amantes by Compton Press. Recent honors include 2018 Prize Americana for Prose, 2017 Adelaide Literary Award in Fiction, 2016 Songs of Eretz Poetry Prize, 2016 Common Good Books’ Poems of Gratitude Contest, 2016 RhymeOn! Poetry Prize, 2016 F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS), two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

 

Michelangelo:
Painter and Poet (V2)

Michelangelo
with steel balls
and a wire brush
wishing he was
wearing motorcycle leathers,
going wild and crazy,
stares cross-eyed at the
Sistine Chapel ceiling-
nose touching moist paint,
body stretch out on a plank,
bones held by ropes from falling-
delirious, painting that face of Jesus
and the Prophets
with a camel hair brush;
in such a position, transition
a genie emerges as a poet-
words not paint
start writing his sonnets,
a second career is born-
nails and thorns
digging at his words,
flashing red paint:
it’s finished.

 

Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1072 new publications, and his poems have appeared in 38 countries.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: My Verdict on The Lion King

 

After much procrastination, I finally took my ass out of the house to watch The Lion King, the movie everyone and their mama hyped the shit out of. I went in somewhat excited, but also somewhat hesitant. It starts off much like the film we grew up with as kids, but as I watched, I soon realized the problem with all of these Disney remakes. This is probably the laziest fucking movie I’ve ever watched. You’re probably wondering what could possibly be wrong with this, or ANY of these remakes?

Simply put, this movie is a soulless cash grab that is nothing more than a shell of an original timeless classic.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “But the CG looks so awesome, and realistic. It’s like my favorite movie came to life.”

My problem is that the movie looks too real! It was as if someone took a nature documentary, spliced the footage up and added star studded voice overs who struggled to escape themselves long enough to make the characters I grew up with as believable as they were 25 years ago. Zazu felt more like I was listening to a comedy bit where John Oliver was turned into a bird. There’s something about Beyoncé’s voice outside of singing that bothers me.

I think what bothered me the most was that the animals lacked any form of facial expression. It was just a bunch of CG animals that accompanied voice clips. Imagine if you got a bunch of people with perpetual resting bitch face, and put them in a movie; you’d have a remake that does nothing spectacular to enhance the original in any way. The death of Mufasa doesn’t hit as hard because of the lack of facial expression.

Some other gripes:

1. Y’all took out “Be Prepared” and left me at blue balls with a tease of “I’m Almost Going to Sing Your Favorite Song.”

2. You have “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” but totally take out the part where they tumble down the hill, Simba pins her, and Nala gives him the Ohh! face” (a sex reference you’ll only appreciate if you watched “Office Space”). What’s wrong? Are we all of a sudden afraid to throw sexually suggestive themes/references in kids movies? As if we don’t throw sex into kids faces 24/7. What’s the harm of Nala giving Simba the face that screams My body is calling to you.

3. Was it so hard to keep classic one liners like these “Make mine a cub sandwich?”

“Did we order our dinner to go?”

“No.”

“Cause there it goes!”

4. You trim parts of the movie that were longer in the original, all to make room for a new Beyoncé song which I’m certain will be an easy Oscar nomination.

This wasn’t a bad movie, just a really lazy one. Disney has all of this money at their disposal, yet they seem to forget that 2D hand drawn animation is their pedigree. The really didn’t need to remake this movie because the original is timeless. If this laziness is going to be indicative of whatever other remakes Disney has in store, then I don’t want anymore of this shit. This is simply a shameless cash grab, and I gave them my damn money. It was only $6 (yay cheap AMC Tuesdays), but it’s the principle of the matter.

I would rather Disney use this energy to make brand new IPs. Their movies from my childhood are good just as they are, and they can hold their own in 2019. Disney can do better than this, and they have the money to do better.

6/10

Stay classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 287: Till the End of the Play (Med Change)

 

Making changes
Always feels strange.
Out the medicine cabinet
A new one come in, then
A new prescription is written
A new vitamin, then
The poison pen learn ,how to write again.
The perseverant learns to take strides,
When the mind writes, reacts,
And steps back, in the batter’s box,
Waits for his right pitch to drill it,
To take the space and fill it,
To get rid of the empty spaces, be prolific,
To find the sick rhythm, say good riddance
To the dull shit.
The over, under, can’t find the right reaction
To stomach it.
And just like, that he’s under control, I think.
He reads and reacts, and can quick think,
Can write, and procreate
(That to be determined)
and can sleep at night.
He hopes this peaceful permeation
Will keep permitting,
And the overweight sluggishness of the past
Be done with him, to create a superman mentality.
But Clark Kent can sleep at night,
And the medicine in his cabinet has a place.
And it’s not too much, and it’s just right.
Hoping the poison pen can fill in the empty spaces.
The stoned immaculate Jim Morrison
Riding out the storm, strange days
In the basement filling Up pages.
Finding reactions of sages
And in between the pages
Of scribbled out sonnets, the word vomit
Keeps him honest, playing with the lyrical form.
To a poet, it’s probably sickening
To be a rhythm king.
But the other poets
Who write about plant life
Never sat right.
So JSNWRT, gets on the mic,
Or chills with the quill,
And maybe it’s not poetry
That will ever be accepted.
Maybe its stream of thought,
Schizoaffected, presented,
Less then educated, less sedated,
Prolaced, and elated.
Filling subways with spray paint cans,
Making beauty spritz the air,
And moving the pen around like he just don’t care
‘Cause no one can tell me no.
This is my show.
I know this poem is not going gold.
I know you are reading this right now.
Sit back ’cause it’s going to get more loud
And long, and hyper-strong, fast paced,
Without a beat to elongate,
The hated, created, the institutionalized sedated
Has woke up from a long nap, and is overrated
To be full, cause he overate, and can’t stand still
And can’t concentrate.
And maybe he can’t slow down,
In complete control, the rhythm role,
The Super Bowl soul, out for a stroll,
Extolled and extinguished, fast to say finished,
To each and every witness, to the weak go the strong
And the strong out the door.
And this life? There is so much more.
So on we toil and toll, till the last bell is rung.
And maybe you are not me, and I am not you,
But we all are one. So this is poetry to me,
Having fun, killing it with the keys,
The trapeze style so free, what lie beneath
Ain’t always what you see, and if you got this far
Along with this read, well then a special thank you
From you to me, cause I’m writing a symphony,
And I must stop to breathe,
And right now the air is free, and freeing me
And everything is beautiful.
Maybe not to you, but to me.
So, I keep on going strong
Till the last beat is played,
Till I’m laughed off stage, or whatever.
But you know what? I did it my way.
I did it my way, and I do it my way.
So, on and on the band plays on
And I exit the stage
Till the end of the play.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by John Lane

 

Complete With Hat

Try not to sing out
or let fly every rock
in your arsenal
Instead condense vapor, crack
knuckles, take the
hidden photo

It almost cannot be described…
It almost cannot be explained…
It certainly cannot be believed
lacking the picture

But if slightly approached…
if you are in the neighborhood
it is a sight to see

I have seen a man with
his own head tattooed on his neck

 

A keen explorer of juxtaposed words in life’s mundane sacrements, John Lane has observed poetry to follow him at the discrete distance of a mocking cloud. A now sober elf, there is no need to offer him drink or food; he had an apple on the train.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: Brad

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Haiku
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

Orange skippers flap
about the lavender spikes
above the green leaves.

 

Haiku
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

Bed bugs were spotted
on second, third and fourth floors
of the New York Times.

“Lice Brews” Ueda is a writer of haiku and tanka.

~~~

The Drone Show
          by Aw “Curbside” Lee

In Chongqing, people watched two-hundred-fifty drones take flight,
above the south bank of the Yangtze River Monday night.
A dozen images were lined up in the evening sky
with giant drone formations built up to impress the eye:
a high-speed railway; the Yangtze River cableway;
an AI robot with its hand extended on display;
the dazzling light-show even had some phrases in Chinese;
computer science engineering’s giant SCE—
Smart China Expo drew in companies both far and near;
the show went for ten minutes, while in bursts, spectators cheered.

Aw “Curbside” Lee is a poet of Chinese industry. The Chongqing municipality has an approimate population of 30,000,000. Hundreds of companies from round the World came to participate in the South China Expo.

~~~

Indonesia’s New Capital
          by Budi Eas Celewr

From Java in the south, up north to East Kalimantan,
the plan’s afoot to move the Indonesian capital.
The hoped-for deadline time-frame would be 2024,
according to the President, Ir Joko Widodo.
There are both reasons, economic and political;
besides, the situation in Jakarta’s critical;
although the move may be more critical for animals,
like jet-black sun bears, long-nosed monkeys, and orangutans.
Still, the new capital will be strategically planned,
centrally placed, near Samarinda and Balikpapan

Budi Eas Celewr is a poet of Indonesia. Joko Widodo thinks that Jakarta, with 30,000,000, has so many burdens, pollution, traffic, city sinking, water, etc. that the capital should be moved. “Ir” is an honourific indicating an engineering degree. Joko Widodo was born with the name Molyono, but it changed because he was a sick child; and in Indonesia parents will change the name of their children if they get very sick. Perhaps not joking some have suggest the capital could be named for Joko Widodo.

~~~

Bangladesh
          by Waseel Budecir

It sits upon the Bengal delta, largest in the World,
where Brahmaputra and the Ganges are together hurled.
Like as a man with mighty span, the country, flat and rich,
with fertile farmland, stretches out, a vast, fantastic ditch.
Rangpur up in the north, its head, Rajshahi its left arm,
connected to its right Silhet by Mymensingh’s great charm.
The beating pulse, its heart is Dhaka, in the central hub,
its right leg Chittagong kicked out, its left leg Khulna up.
And last, at bottom, Bangladesh, the Venice of Bengal;
the paddy, river and canal, three things make Barisal,

Waseel Budecir is a poet of South Asia. With 160,000,000 people, Bangladesh is the 8th most populous nation in the World.

~~~

Varro
          by Aedile Cwerbus

He was an old, gray, fuzzy-headed dude, a polymath,
who had gone down to cleanse his body at the Roman bath.
He’d lived a long and fruitful life, and written many things;
above five-hundred volumes came from his imaginings;
perhaps none more important than his prose and verse within
saturae in the manner of Menippus’ deep chagrin.
Just recently he had completed De Re Rustica,
in dialogue, a practicum, in rough Catonica.
And here he was, his feet in water, soaking, like a king,
although he was alone and pale, simply loitering.

Aedile Cwerbus is a poet of ancient Rome. Marcus Terentius Varro (116 BC – 27 BC) was a Roman scholar and writer, Menippus of Gadara (3rd century BC) was a Cynic satirist. Catonica, of or like the writings of Cato.

~~~

Durs Grünbein
          by Uwe Carl Diebes

I saw him in a narrow space,
white, rectilinear,
clear plastic glasses on his face,
gaunt, but not skinnier.

Another modern Hamlet at
the door of prominence,
his left fist closed, his right hand flat,
in black, not ominous.

His mouth was straight, with edgy smirks,
his eyes intense, not fierce.
One wondered how his days and works
would penetrate, or pierce.

Behind a massive, soulless box
in Dresden, GDR,
the valley of the clueless yawn,
another bracing bar.

He presses up against the staid,
unfuturistic blocks,
beyond the May Day tank parades,
and whirling space-time clocks.

Uwe Carl Diebes is a poet of Germany. Durs Grünbein is a contemporary German poet.

~~~

The Poetess
          by I Warble Seduce

She sits among the boulders, left hand balanced on the rocks.
The sun is lighting on her narrowed eyes and air-blown locks.
She seems at ease in nature’s old, hard dispensations thrown,
her right hand holding to her knee, curved, fair, against the stone.
Out from the shadows, she ignites into a shining smile,
precariously holding on for just a little while.
A bracelet wraps above her wrist; her earrings dangle some,
her clothes are smart, and neatly cling, yet looser than a drum.
She makes a kind of music on the lyre that she plays
that’s louder than sun rays, but softer than the faintest phrase.

I Warble Seduce is a poet of love.

~~~

The Drummer at the Drum
          by Educable Wires

The drummer sat with his drum sticks above a flat drum head.
He was about to set a beat that would a song imbed.
He started hitting it; vibrations moved this way and that,
until it almost seemed a rounded movement going flat,
like as a tired tire as it limps along a road,
or eigenfunction of an operator’s spatial mode.
The throbbing pounding of his beat was quickening so fast,
I wondered if the song itself would disappear at last,
until it was unrecognizable paralysis
and warped into a hole of functional analysis.

Educable Wires is a poet of Modern, Postmodern, and NewMillennial music. An eigenfunction in math of a linear operator R defined on some function space is any non-zero function f in that space that, when acted upon by R, is multiplied by some scaling factor called an eigenvalue, e. g., Rf =λf.

~~~

The Fires in Brazil
          by Luc Ebrewe Dias

The fires in Brazil are caused by droughts and human burns;
the logging and the farming turns the forests into urns.
G7 offered $20,000,000 to help out;
but 74,000 fires leave much hope in doubt.
The cattle farmers slash and burn to help supply demand
for China and Hong Kong, who buy meat. Farmers want more land.
The human hand is fanning blazes on this part of Earth;
but also this is the dry season; fires can occur.
Although the numbers seem fantastic, this is usual;
INPE reports, for twenty years, show this year typical.

Luc Ebrewe Dias is a poet of Brazil. INPE is the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil. Though Brazil has received the greatest amount of news about its fires, they are also happening in Bolivia (6th in the World) and elsewhere. In fact, there are two nations with even more fires than Brazil—Angola (1st in the World), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2nd in the World), and Zambia (4th in the World).

~~~

Hawaiian Island Idling
          by Cruse Wadibele

He kicked back on the hammock for a bit of R & R;
but though it was quite sultry-hot, at least, he’d not go far.
He settled back into the webbing, rocking to and fro,
he wasn’t going anywhere; he had no where to go.
He put his heels on the hammock’s edges happily;
and though he could be quite a nasty jerk, he was at peace.
It was as if he was content to be just where he was,
so rubbery and sinewy, in his rough, crew-cut buzz.
All those who passed him by had noted he was very calm,
beneath each tall and towering tree-fingered, frondy palm.

 

Upon the Hammock
          by Cruse Wadibele

I longed to lie down on that hammock’s web,
to place my back upon its wrinkled arc,
to watch the sea waves wax and wane, the ebb
and flow of eddies swirling light and dark.
To lean back on its gorgeous textured curve
would be pure bliss, such happiness unveiled,
that I would ride for all my worth and nerve,
and on those waters giddily I’d sail.
I want to float upon that spindrift foam,
to rise and fall, to lift into its arms,
as joyful as a seaman coming home
embraced by all its lovely, magic charm.
I love such plenitude in life—sweet peace—
despite that undercurrents never cease.

Cruse Wadibele is a poet of Hawaii.

~~~

Hot-Air Balloons
          by Air Weelbed Suc

It was a perfect dawn for flying in balloons.
The sky was blue and clear. The sun was on its way.
It looked like we would be in flight, and very soon.
I heard somebody say it was a lovely day.
And then they rose up in the air magestic’lly,
the many hues, peach, pearl, pink, pale gold and beige,
deep brown and vivid red, not at a hectic speed.
I heard somebody say it was so beautiful.
Glad hands were moving out, gesticulatingly.
Emotions roiled; feelings were acute and full.
They rose together, o, a scattering of moons.
I heard that it was heavenly and wonderful.

Air Weelbed Suc is a poet of flight. Hot air balloon festivals were held in South Dakota and Louisiana this week.

~~~

The Private Eye, Circa 1940
          by Dic Asburee Wel

Although he’d use finesse and hard-core iron intellect,
he wasn’t ádverse to engage in physical con-táct,
that tough and scruffy character, a hard-boiled private eye,
who did his best to solve each case; he was a trenchant guy.

Sometimes his clients needed help to deal with criminals,
some of whom were so vicious they seemed wild animals.
He dealt with rough-and-tumble figures, day in and day out;
but somehow managed to keep going, dealing with each lout.

He took his pistol with him everywhere that he would go,
but didn’t want to use it much, except as forceful show;
but if he had to use it, he would use it on the spot,
and shoot the culprit firing back. He was a damn good shot.

It wasn’t easy trying to get justice every time.
In fact, it often cost him dearly; it was not sublime.
For all his trouble, he’d got shot so much he didn’t know;
but one wound was so awful it had left a gaping hole.

Still, client after client came to use his services;
they’d show up worried, in a state, of anxious nervousness;
and he would try to calm them down to find out what was wrong,
and take their troubles on himself. The dude was tough and strong.

Dic Asburee Wel is a poet of the urban underworld. He enjoys the inchoate, verbal canvases of Postmodernist John Ashbery (1927-2017).

~~~

The Landing
          by Scubie Dew Lear

A pilot and co-pilot were within a UFO.
They were proceeding, space receding, in the afterglow.
They felt so good, well-rested too. They landed on some grass.
It looked like they would have some time to pause, some time to pass.
They dialed up controls before the geometric wall,
and made themselves to home within that small concentric hall.
They understood the gravity, their mission’s major goal.
They both felt heavier, like hunks of flesh near a black hole.
The pilot gave directions; the co-pilot followed them;
and they proceeded on to Earth with furtive stratagem.

Scubie Dew Lear is a poet of out-of-the-way places.

~~~

The Gruff Dude
          by “Wild” E. S. Bucaree

The dude was gruff, he moved abruptly, fast and furious,
his rugged steps and wiriness suggested nervous wreck.
But he could pause from operations he had taken up
to open doors for gorgeous whores or those with steaming cup.
I saw him storm out of a bank, upon receiving cash.
He planned to go and party so; he loved a blast, a bash.
He was a man upon a mission. O, that one could see.
His moves were as determined, purposeful, like as a bee.
He strapped his helmet on, and got on his blue Yamaha,
and took off down the road so fast, like as a tomahawk,

“Wild” E. S. Bucaree is a poet of rough riders.

~~~

The Office Worker
          by Des Wercebauli

It had been a long time since he had worn white shirt and tie;
but his boss had been so upset, he tried to please the guy.
He wore a crisp white shirt that day, and gave his all at work;
he hoped that he could get a raise, his boss not be a jerk.
It was the first time that his boss seemed not to be so mad.
In fact, the truth be known, it seemed as if he were quite glad.
But all was not a bed of roses, for the work was hard.
At times, indeed, he felt like he was jostled. judged and jarred.
But anyway, he made it through the workday with aplomb.
He got the praise, he got the raise, and wasn’t called a bum.

Des Wercebauli is a poet of the worker.

~~~

Morning Exercises
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

For morning exercises he would walk along the street.
He wore tan work boots on thick white socks to protect his feet.
Then he would find some place to stretch on some well-coiffeured lawn
and lay a clean, white blanket out, which he would get upon.

He’d first start out with push-ups, which would exercise his arms.
He loved to be out in the light, the air so fresh and warm.
If push-ups got too hard for him, he’d do them on his knees.
O, yeh, he’d love it when he’d feel a brisk and frisky breeze.

He pressed his hands against the covered grass and kept it up.
O, God he loved it when there was no one to interrupt.
And then he’d do pause-squats, and hold for as long as he could.
O, yeh, he loved the feeling that he felt; it was so good.

 

The Marathoner
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

He was a marathoner, ever striving to go on;
whatever might be the activity, his view was long.
O, long, but still arriving at good points along the way.
He wanted to appreciate each momentary stay.
So in the race of life, with whom he would associate,
each person that he passed he wanted to appreciate.
It wasn’t easy, but he’d do the very best he could.
With each new individual he’d meet, he’d make it good.
He was, in fact, a calm, compact, kinetic sort of guy,
who gave his whole soul to each one who came within his eye.

Rudi E. Welec, “Abs” is a poet of sport and physical exercise.

~~~

It’s Time To Go To Bed
          by Waldeci Erebus

There’s brushing, gargling, flushing, sparkling, scrubbing of the head;
it’s time for getting ready, getting down to go to bed.
It’s time for the removal of one’s pants, shorts, shirt and socks,
as well as the forgetting of all of one’s daily knocks.
Those are perhaps the hardest to remove from one’s long day.
Just rip them off, o, forcefully, and toss them clean away.
And then it’s time to leap onto the bed, o, lovely flop,
and happily, onto that firm and cushioned mattress drop.
O, grab that thin, black halter, pull it to you close and warm,
and let night’s god guide you along, and past life’s raging storm.

Waldeci Erebus is a poet of shadows. The writer he feels most akin to is Edgar Poe (1809-1849).

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Who Said God Said That?

 

Here is your here.
Catch it before it becomes a there.
Too late. You hesitated.
You took a breath and the here
Became a there.
Here is your now.

Catch it before it becomes a then.
Again, too late.
You blinked allowing the here
To become a then.
Thank God that God
Has a sense of humor
And an appreciation for variety
Over sameness.

God intentionally created
People imperfect.
That’s why we are here
Not in heaven, hell or purgatory.
Yet we get the time and space
To do what we can
Or want or don’t want to do.

God knew her/his kids
and realized we wouldn’t do well
Under pressure
Which explains why that line about
“Time waiting for no one”
Wasn’t included in the Ten Commandments.

Truth be told,
God favored variety
And quirkiness over sameness.
God watches us as we rush to grow up.
But God never intended for growing old
To be a sin.

That was a misguided scheme
Set up by the marketing division
Of human limitations and control freaks.
The people with the little minds
And even smaller souls!

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Feedback with Lizi von Teig: Lover by Taylor Swift

 

It’s an interesting choice for Taylor Swift to release a Carly Rae Jepsen album the same year as Carly Rae herself. “I Think He Knows” fits just as well on Dedication (Carly Rae’s album from earlier this year, which I wrote a review of but scrapped due to it not being long enough), as it does on Lover. The saxophone on “False God” also would feel at home on that album. The Grammy’s will have a tough time picking the Carly Rae album of the year.

My catty remarks aside, I’m very positive on Lover. I wrote on May 2 in a review of “ME!” I was not optimistic about Lover going in. That initial single was so disastrous I wasn’t sure if Taylor would release another good album “until the 2030s,” although it gets even worse on the album version with the removal of “hey kids, spelling is fun.” But that article proved to be whatever the opposite of prophetic is because, as with Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars, this album is a hit. “ME!” did not prove to be particularly demonstrative of the album as a whole. Lover feels like the 1989 follow up that we’ve been waiting for. Reputation infamously “killed” old Taylor, but Lover proves that the upbeat, lovestruck, slightly surface Taylor we love can rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

Which isn’t to say this is just another Taylor Swift album. It’s not a return to Speak Now and Fearless, it’s an evolution from 2014’s 1989. Steeped in synths and pad-based rhythm sections, it most blatantly follows up that Pet Shop Boys tribute album on the songs “London Boy” and “Cruel Summer,” but the guitar riff on “Death By A Thousand Cuts,” the acoustic ballad with the Dixie Chicks that is “Soon You’ll Get Better,” and the “Holy Ground”-esque rhythm and beat on “Paper Rings” demonstrate that she’s synthesizing what she did on Speak Now and RED with her new sound.

Rolling Stone has published several articles on Lover, the only one of which I read being by one of my preferred writers from them Rob Scheffield, and I think he exaggerates the album when he describes it by saying “It’s her career-capping masterpiece: She touches every place she’s ever visited along her musical journey, and makes them all sound new.” She doesn’t have any of the grand ballads that made Speak Now a masterpiece (although I think there is a lyric that references “If This Was A Movie” on this album), nor is there any of the country influence that was displayed on the self titled album — not even on the Dixie Chicks collaboration — but there is a certain amount of that lyrically. The album is deeply referencing her previous works in ways that long time fans will recognize but still make sense to the casual listener. She builds on all the themes she’s written about before, but now with the maturity of a nearly 30 year old.

If you want a detailed analysis of each song, there’s no shortage of those, and I’m sure there will be 100 more by the time this is published, but here’s a few thoughts about individual tracks. “Miss Americana” requires some close listening. At first glance, as Teen Vogue writer Claire Dodson observed, can seem like lyrically like it’s a superficial teenage romance, but further analysis finds it’s more of a deconstruction of the tropes than a return to them, particularly with that repeating line “you play stupid games you get stupid prizes.” “The Man” is a less powerful feminist anthem than a lot of the Swifties are making it out to be, but nevertheless it’s a stronger social message than we’ve seen from Taylor before. “False God” is another standout track in terms of Taylor playing with heavier themes — although I doubt she’s speaking literally of The Almighty, it seems more a meditation of the cult of love in the greater context of the album.

I’m writing this in the midst of my third listening, and there’s nothing on this album that will match the power of lyrics like “our song is slamming screen doors, sneaking out late tapping on your window” or the memetic capabilities of “She wears short skirts I wear tee shirts.” There is nothing on this album to compete with the unabashed brilliance of “Long Live” or “New Romantics,” but it’s an album of upper-middle tier Taylor Swift songs and is the comeback from Reputation that Taylor desperately needs in 2019.

Lover is out now everywhere.

 

Elizabeth von Teig is a musician and author living in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her expertise is classic rock, folk punk, and the blues.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

It’s All One Thing #298: The Suicide?

 

Just found out this Monday that Epstein of Lolita Express and Pedophile Is.
most probably is connected to deep state black mail operations that go back
to the 1930’s organized crime deals and then WW II OSS (Office of Strategic
Services) deal with the devil: Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky among others.
Wm. Barr Agent Orange Head’s Attorney General helped keep all this under
wraps at the time of the Church Committee hearings c. mid-1970’s when he
was a Justice Dept. lawyer in the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) having come
from working at the C.I.A. to which his family had deep connections (and his
father hired Epstein later to teach math to young women at a private school).
H.W. Bush, of course, was then C.I.A. head in charge of damage limiting ops
after Watergate. Nixon, of course, had ties to organized crime that went back
to his first congressional election but it turns out Reagan, consummate creep
of opportunism had similar ties to MCA a music conglomerate with deep mob
connections. Cheney and Rumsfeld were Ford’s Chief of Staff & Sec. of Defense
deeply laboring in similar cover up of Vietnam genocidal crimes. All of this drug
dealing/ sex trafficking blackmail of sex and drug involvement was then folded
into Iran-contra as well as U.S. involvement with right wing fundamentalist
militias in Columbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central America, the Middle-east.
Much of this has now come into the public record. The nexus for all of it would
be Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s old attack dog from the communist witch hunts of
the 1950’s (so ironic that Trump uses the witch hunt trope for the Russia-gate
mess when his mentor by his own admission was Roy Cohn as in Where’s my
Roy Cohn?). Then he turns around and commie baits entire Democratic Party
which has been desperately attempting to be fair haired special status go to
enabler of the national security/ military industrial complex so closely glued
up the ass of the spooks they see nothing except global anal middle passage
                                        to a dying planet.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by James D. Casey IV

 

I Need a Brand New Friend

I saw
Andy Kaufman
playing Zydeco
in the middle
of a tired
rendition
of Light My Fire.

Wait,
look,
it’s really
45
playing
Tony Clifton!

Or the other
way around.

Think
about it,
man.

“Robby could really take me there.”

Krieger
that is.

Where’s Jim?
Oh, he’s somewhere…
waiting.

 

James D. Casey IV is the author of six full-length collections of poetry, founder and editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press, and extensively published by small press venues and literary magazines internationally. He is a southern poet with roots in Louisiana & Mississippi, currently residing in Illinois with his Beautiful Muse, their retarded dog, and two black cats.

Edward Supranowicz has had artwork and poems published in journals in the US and other countries. Both sides of his family worked in the coalmines and steel mills of Appalachia.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Poem by Breanna DeSimone

 

Immortal Thoughts

Dusk was the charcoal surface
on which the stars lay bare their
immortal thoughts,
an intelligence so consuming
none but the darkness
could reveal the blinding flame.
The constellations,
hieroglyphics,
sending their secrets into the eternal silence
of the ever-changing universe.
A shout into the void by a genius
beyond the atmosphere.
A message for the eyes of the omniscient
to translate and unravel
for those of broken minds.
An argument ascending
as to whether
the wings on which the vision came
could indeed be seen to fly,
for when a thing of erudition
does appear in northern skies,
it becomes the scorn of elders
on which time too heavily lies
and the overwhelming understanding
of what must reside beyond the knowledge
of the wisest of our kind
cannot be perceived by any
but the stars,
leaving,
in a circular motion,
the attempts of definition
for a circumstance never held
within the feeble grasp
of withering hands
and the hold of melting minds
and only those
who comprehend the disconnected thoughts
of what lies beyond
will uncover the true meaning
of the words the ancients never wrote
and trace back to the time of moonlit souls
and unknown knowledge
to decode these words to wisdom
and hear what lies behind
these written lines.

 

Breanna DeSimone is a senior at Mount St. Mary’s University. She has been published twice in the university’s annual literary magazine Lighted Corners. Her poems have also appeared in the online literary magazine Bourgeon. She hopes to one day own an old Victorian home with a window seat and she wants to travel the world.

Art can illuminate even the most elusive and difficult to comprehend ideas. Visual rules and tightly codified visual metaphors help scientists communicate complex ideas mostly amongst themselves, but they can also become barriers to new ideas and insights. Dr. Regina Valluzzi’s images are abstracted and diverged from the typical rules and symbols of scientific illustration and visualization; they provide an accessible window into the world of science for both scientists and non-scientists.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: Verdict On The Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich:

 

Everyone on my Facebook has been hollerin’ about this new chicken sandwich that Popeye’s has, even comparing it to the Chick-fil-A sandwich. Naturally, my fat ass decides to go to the nearest Popeye’s in order to see if it lives up to the hype. I was all excited too; my mouth was watering like a dog when you drop steak in front of them. I opened my chicken sandwich, took a bite, and…

Meh.

Now I know what you’re thinking, of course the unapologetic Chick-fil-A loyalist is going to bash anything that doesn’t come from the Lord’s House O’ Chicken. How can a guy loyal to one chicken place have a say in this matter? How can we trust the opinion of a guy who eats Chick-fil-A in 2019 after the HuffPO deemed it not only immoral, but quite possibly a grave matter? How can we trust him to be unbiased? Simple. I’m a foodie at heart. That and I’m black. That makes me the authority on good chicken by way of age old stereotypes.

In all seriousness though, I’ve only ever had TWO chicken sandwiches that were better than the ones at Chick Fil A. One of those sandwiches resides at a mom n’ pop place in Woodstock, Vermont called Worthy Kitchen. The other one was at a chain in California called The Crack Shack. Sadly Popeye’s sandwich is neither of these sandwiches, nor does it come close. There were some problems immediately from the get go.

1. Y’ALL FORGOT MY DAMN PICKLES!!!!!!! Chick-fil-A and the other two places that have given me quality chicken sandwiches would NEVER do me dirty like that. How do you forget the component that accents a good chicken sandwich? Pure heresy!

2. There’s too much bread on this damn chicken; that shit was WAY TOO CRISPY. I shouldn’t be trying to clear my throat as much as I did. It’s like they took one of their regular pieces of chicken, added some spicy sauce to it, and threw it between two soggy buns which has become my problem with literally ANY chicken sandwich that doesn’t come from the three restaurants listed above.

3. Y’all can’t just throw any random slab of meat between two buns and call it a chicken sandwich. That shit is pretty fucking lazy and an insult to good chicken. If you’re gonna murder an animal for its meat, at least honor it by cooking it into something that people will enjoy.

4. The meat doesn’t have a terrible amount of flavor aside from their usual seasonings, and the sauce does most of the heavy lifting. Chick-fil-A sandwiches are brined in pickle juice, thus having this tangy sweetness to them. That coupled with the spice they add to their deluxe sandwich really takes me so deep into flavor town, Guy Fieri would be jealous.

5. Due to the excessive breading that we’ve come to know with Popeye’s chicken, that sandwich didn’t go down smoothly. It was like eating seasoned sand with some hints of meat. It was barely juicy, which is a quality I look for in a chicken sandwich and is often a deal breaker.

This sandwich was just okay and definitely not worth the hype. It’s a shame, because I was hoping I wouldn’t have to drive to Dedham, or Brockton to get my fix. Since I can’t afford to go to California or Vermont any time I want a quality chicken sandwich, I guess I’ll be sticking with my Lord and Savior’s chicken for the time being.

Stay classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 286: Tuesday Brain Freeze

 

The keys play on my heart, like funeral diseases
Wondering where the cold freeze is, Lord Jesus.
Please let this feeling beneath us be freedom.
Like the players, cold on the team, the weather freezing.
Devil keep breathing, only ones dreaming
Is those scheming, to believe.
The cold freeze plays in threes, with the strings, the trapeze,
Follows the cheese, like a heart attached, seized
To the straps of the sheath, the knife wound leaves.
The wound heals, the broken shield,
The dream deal, the wilderbeast, Apollo Creed,
The seasons series, seeing is believing.
This shit so dreary, moon landing in evening.
The store needs cleaning, against the beams.
The street sweepers, be fleeting. This was all a dream.
The only thing lasting is this cold freeze.
In between the disease and the cool breeze, what lies beneath isn’t always What she sees, you see, or they see, the freeing,
The lasting evening.
The weakling takes his cake, this weekend,
And the eee’s the ahh’s the shrieking behemoth,
Falls down mighty go the fallen.
This week’s brow-beaten, streaky oily creaking,
Wondering , wishing, waiting for the week to end,
And the dreamer to finish his dreams.
Leave the lasting and walk away freezing.
A brain freeze, JT, playing poetry games, ’cause the rhyme
Comes naturally,
So easy to me.
Even with this Tuesday Brain Freeze.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Jarrod Lacy

 

Little Firsts

Our yawns and cries cracked the superiority
of personal silence.
We had arrived and made contact with flesh
deeper and more ubiquitous than ours.
There was warmth on all sides and light about us
was both caring and uncaring.
It was one of those initial surprises.
For many of us, there will be no recollection
of the deliverer’s assigned abuse, that tap that
activated all battery lungs with its power
thrown past our tongues.
A blanket, liquid set at room temp, and a
their-their mentality has been the curative
for that.
We are shirtless and pantless, defined freedom
and wet, to be chiseled by dryness marking
our entrance.

 

Jarrod Lacy is a strawberry ice cream loving late-bloomer and Gen Xer who deems himself a simple explanatory poet of various subjects, for all intent and purposes, and basically just walked through the door toward sharing his writs with the world. Alabama-born, his poetry-writing galvanized in the 1990s, long after being inspired by a Christmas poem that his junior year English teacher performed in high school. Later, he managed to have some of his own pieces published in anthologies and online publications such as Out Loud HSV: A Year in Review, (2016-18) IMPACT Magazine, Priestess & Hierophant, where he is currently nominated for Best New Poet, and most recently published at ArtHut.com. He is currently developing ideas for his first book of poetry, acting on his eighth attempt to write at least one poem a day, and hopes to complete his first novel.

Gunjan Bhardwaj is a 22 year old computer engineering from india who enjoys painting and sketching.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: A Plan

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Rendezvous With Didymos
          I. E. Sbace Weruld

The city-killer Didymos is a twin-asteroid;
it poses a potential risk that we’d like to avoid;
so ESA will send out Hera, NASA will sent DART,
to see if it is possible to move its destined track.
First, NASA will crash DART into the smaller Didymoon,
then ESA will map the impact crater, as a boon.
Next, Hera will fly closer, get more data, and then land;
at least this is what NASA and the ESA have planned.
The mass of this twin-asteroid is dense; it is immense.
The question is, will all this work for planet Earth’s defense?

I. E. Sbace Weruld is a poet of space. The asteroid system of Didymos (the Greek word for twin) is composed of a large space rock with diameter 780 meters and a small orbitting 160-meter moonlet. DART is the “double asteroid redirection test” mission.

~~~

Tanka
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

In the pear tree’s shade,
the bright-red neon skimmer,
searches for insects.
Searching for the survivors:
helicopter maneuvers.

“Wired Clues” Abe is a poet of Japanese art forms and technology.

~~~

At the Sea’s Edge
          by Sub Cie Leeward

High-spirited and flushing from the vast pacific plain,
he rises on the low horizon with a sea-green mane.
He crashes forth in spume, he’s chafing at his bridle bit;
he rushes forward to the land; he’s galloping to it.
He seems unchecked as he comes forth, a strapping, burly force,
with streaming, touseled, foam-flecked hair, on his unceasing course.
He rushes headlong o’er the brine with rousing, joyful noise,
without a let-up, unremitting, hurrying with poise.
His hooves pounce on the rocky shore and vanish into spray.
Upon the beach, I turn around to hear his fading neigh.

Sub Cie Leeward is a poet of the sea.

~~~

The Carousel of Life
          by Cu Ebide Aswerl

I’m holding on to a tall pole that’s going up and down,
while sitting on a charger that is going round and round.
I’m on the carousel of life for all that I am worth.
I’m in a violent stampede that’s galloping o’er Earth.
O, up and down, o, up and down, I’m bound to who knows where,
attempting to hang on while I am flying through the air.
I’m trying to appreciate the moments that I have.
I’m sitting on a bucking bronc I clasp with thighs and calves.
And then I feel the hand of God, who steadies me aloft.
I throw my shoulders back and pray that I do not fall off.

Cu Ebide Aswerl is a poet of leisure. It has been a long time since he has been on a carousel. His favouite Hollies’ hit, however, was not “On a Carousel,” but “Bus Stop” followed by “After the Fox” and “Woman in a Black Dress”.

~~~

Sino-Censoring
          by Swer Badiuc Lee

The Guardian reported artwork by Badiucao
was censored up on Instagram, for he made fun of Mao,
who was seen mounting both an emu and a kangaroo;
though the death threats against the artist were still seen in view.

One read, “I will kill you, cut down your head, bitch.” That’s okay?
But making fun of Mao who killed ten-millions. You can’t say?
It’s dangerous to speak against Mao even in Melbourne.
So much thata’s coming out of China is indeed Hell-born.

The Chinese government has hit both Twitter and Facebook
with social media manipulation they had cooked.
Accounts originating from the Chinese mainland were
attempting to sow seeds of discord in the Hong Kong stir.

Swer Badiuc Lee is a poet of political cartoons. Badiucao is a Chinese cartoonist living in Australia.

~~~

The Waiting Room
          by Bic Uwel, “Erased”

It was 2009. He had come to the waiting room.
He’d come to get his memory erased. He was well groomed.
He started getting in the red chair, with its silver arms,
when suddenly the doctor showed up with his soothing charms.
The doctor reassured his patient, moistening his lips,
The patient rose up, arched his back, and lifted up his hips.
He’d come to get mind-parts erased. It happened all the time.
But, o, ah, he was worried still. The doc brought his enzyme.
He whispered, “Steady,” as he gave the applicating “spit”.
The patient sucked air through his teeth, o, ah, then he took it.

Bic Uwel, “Erased” is a poet who doesn’t exist anymore. Although he was put in the trash bin and deleted, poems of his surface every now and then. This tennos comes from an idea in a short story by Alex Markovich, a contemporary Russian writer and painter, though the date, the characters, and the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

~~~

Mykolo Volkozub
          by Radice Lebewsu

He still remembers it—Chernobyl—o, so long ago,
when he soared o’er that ra-di-o-ac-tive vol-can-ic hole.
He piloted an MI-8, o, fearing for his life,
above reactor number 4; in all, he made three flights.
He was out measuring the temp’rature of gas inside
the accident that sent huge plumes above the countryside.
He won a hero’s medal for his work upon those trips,
Mykolo Volkozub, the man in one of hist’ry’s blips.
Then dosed in radiation, though he had a lead vest on,
when tested later tests on him were off the charts and gone.

Radice Lebewsu is a poet of Ukraine and Russia, from where his closest great-grandfather came. An MI-8 is a helicopter. Now at 87, Mykolo Volkozub piloted one last trip over Chernobyl this week; with a confinement shell, it looked a lot different.

~~~

Achilles and the Tortoise
          by Esiad L. Werecub

Achilles must traverse an infinite division’s stack
to catch the tortoise up ahead and sit upon its back.
But it’s impossible for him to take that many steps.
Before infinity is reached, his energy’s been spent.
And thus, Achilles never can surpass the tortoise; he’ll
just need to cool his heels on a line that is unreal.
But in reality, Achilles can run circles round
and round the tortoise slowly plodding on the rocky ground.
But what Achilles cannot heal are the arrow points,
in flight, that penetrate the tendon or surrounding joints.

Esiad L. Werecub is a poet of ancient Greece. This tennos touches upon a pair of Zeno’s paradoxes, Achilles and tortoise and Achilles and the arrow. Zeno of Elea (c. 495 BC – 430 BC) was a philosopher of ancient Greece.

~~~

The Angel and Lord Erebus
          by Lud Wes Caribee

I saw him in an orange rabe, angelic flitting light.
He sat before his Lord, attentive to his may and might.
Lord Erebus, straight from the dark, was seated on his throne.
Was Dante at the camera, or were those two alone?
Why did he dare drop in to Hell’s nine circles of pure pain?
What joy could he there find? What did he think that he would gain?
Lord Erebus arose and shouted terrible commands.
The angel rose up from his seat; he pressed together hands.
It was his fate, his destiny, to deal with this Lord;
but, o, what would he not have given to flee the discord?

Lud Wes Caribee is a poet of the Caribbean. According to Beau Lecsi Werd, a rabe is a radiant robe.

~~~

The Photo
            by Cawb Edius Reel

The background was a brownish-green, o, unrelieved by more,
reminding one of those drab paintings painted by the score.
Two bearded men were struggling in a barren, dirty room.
Though stocky yet himself, the thinner dude had been knocked down.
The guy who fell had tats that climbed up half way up his arm.
It looked as if the bigger dude had meant to do him harm.
The falling dude had stopped his fall upon some cushioned place,
but his left foot and leg were as high as his scruffy face.
But what was most impressive was his graceful, clumsy flop,
from which the bigger dude had grabbed him so he wouldn’t drop…
                                                                                              until he stopped.

Cawb Edius Reel is a poet of photography. Those painting he referred to were those of the 19th century French Realists, who used earth-toned palettes to avoid the idealization found in 19th century French painting. The oxymoronic phrase “his graceful, clumsy flop” identifies that quality French Realist were striving for—beauty in the ugly.

~~~

São Paulo’s Sky
          by Luc Ebrewe Dias

On Monday in the height of daytime, São Paulo’s sky
was darkened suddenly, as if it were the dead of night.
Sure, smog is bad, where traffic jams stretch for kilometers.
The scientists were checking madly their barometers.
“Apocalypse!” somebody said. “The end is near!” It’s here.
It looked like it was “Mordor” glowing in the atmosphere.
Apparently, it was a combo of three diff’rent things:
a cold front, smoke from forest fires, and a cloud formed wings.
“The final judgment’s coming!” someone else responded back.
The biggest city in the Western Hemisphere went black.

Luc Ebrewe Dias is a poet of Brazil. Recently he has been eating two Brazil nuts a day.

~~~

On Turning Badly
          by Bruc “Diesel” Awe

Today I needed someone to slap me across the face
for turning down a one-way lane. O, I was out of place.
The screeching honk was just the bonk I needed to wake up,
and get out of that one-way lane. Abort! O, interrupt!
Of course, we hate to demonstrate our sheer stupidity;
but well-placed smacks, when we’re off track, attack cupidity.
I thank those drivers, and the Lord, who saved me from dumb pluck.
Beware of what you’re doing, Jack, or you’ll be out of luck.
Although we don’t like being spanked, or forced to tow the line,
it’s better that than crashing flat, or paying out some fine.

Bruc “Diesel” Awe is a poet of transportation and transportation.

~~~

The Illustrious Life of Stephen Hagerman
          by Sub Cie Leeward

He graduated high school back in 1969,
and served the US Air Force for four years, a hard dark time.
In Vietnam, he flew 10,000 hours in the air,
and visited some sixty countries, later “over there”.
He graduated college with a technical degree,
his major being in electrical technology.
He worked as an industrial technician decades long,
with a C-10 electrical contractor’s license bond.
He traded for a thirty-seven-foot-long cutt’r-rigged ketch,
and spent ten years at sea; yes, that is really quite a stretch…
………………………………………………………………………….and quite illustrious.

Sub Cie Leeward is a poet of the sea. Mr. Hagerman once referred to Sub Cie Leeward as “U. N. Wise”.

~~~

The Dude—a Duck
          by Birdee Euclaws

He looked just like a duck—the dude—when he was lifting weights
and doing squats in place, out on the floor, at quite a pace.
His arms were out, extended, holding up the barbell, firm,
like wings aflutter from the water, shaken but not stirred.
The squat itself was like a duck-walk, wad-dl-ing along,
yet he was very powerful, his arms were lean and strong.
And last he wore athletic shoes that were fluorescent or’nge,
and, like a duck, he squawked a bit, as each jerk was adjourned.
He wasn’t fat or feathery; he had a lot of pluck.
and yet his knees went out each side. He looked just like a duck.

Birdee Euclaws is a poet of birds.

~~~

Sir Connoisseur of Beauty
          by Beau Ecs Wilder

He wore his baseball cap on backwards, tidy, black and smart,
and a left-shoulder tat array of clustered, curving art.
Today he would be playing with some malleable clay.
He loved to work it with his hands, to frame it for display.
He loved to raise it, shove it, glaze it, spread it out so fine,
o, yes, manipulate it and its overall design.
He loved to thwack it, pack it, crack it, move it all about.
No doubt, sometimes he seemed to be not much more than a lout.
And yet he kept it up, as if he’d won a lottery;
and in the end he had a lovely piece of pottery.

Beau Ecs Wilder is a poet of art.

~~~

The Store Clerk
          by Des Wercebauli

He was not where he wanted so to be a retail clerk;
though he was willing to do it for cash. Yeh, it was work.
He had to face each customer who passed his register,
and be agreeable, no, ma’am, yes, ma’am, no, sir, yes, sir.
Occasionally he could have a person passing by,
who made his mundane job seem good, some knowing gal or guy,
who’d empathize, and maybe more, gaze with profoundest eyes,
and he could love his thankless tasks, o, what a sweet surprise.
But most times weren’t like that at all; he could not be so glad;
and yet those times were what he lived for; that was all he had.

Des Wercebauli is a poet of work.

~~~

Early Morning Exercises
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

He started early morning exercises by the stairs,
beginning first with stretching, putting off diurnal cares.
Once that was done, he’d squat, then lunge, and get into a groove.
He went down slow; that’s how he’d go, and focus on each move.

Then after that upon a mat, he’d get up on all fours,
prepared for push-up strengthening, his arms, his legs, and more.
In black tank top, he wouldn’t stop, until he’d done enough.
Although he knew that it was good enough, it still was rough.

He did his reps beside the steps; he tried to give his all;
but there were times he couldn’t help but take some time to loll.
Then finally he’d do his sit ups over by the chair,
where if the truth be told that’s where he’d rather be—right there.

Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”, is a poet of exercise.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Shredding the paperwork, Shredding the Truth

 

God has left the building.
No one listens to God.
No one cares.

All those battles for civil rights
Have been forgotten.

Truth and justice appear
On the table for show,
For visitors and guests
On special occasions.

Ego and personal wants
Trump truth and justice,
This has nothing to do
With current politics.

Truth be told, trumping truth
Predates the elections of 2016.

This has always been the way
People justify the means
To a desired outcome
That has nothing to do with humanity.

Shredding the paperwork.
Another way of saying
Case closed, leave it alone,
I have spoken, there is no recourse.

Shredding the paperwork
Is a warning that hopelessness
Is in the house.

Understand, the deck was marked
Back when the settlers arrived
And displaced native peoples,
And when people were shipped as cargo.

Shredders are the latest tools of choice.
I shredded your paperwork has become code
For You have been dismissed and rendered invisible.

Shredding the paperwork clears the room,
Removes all evidence of truth
That would contradict an ego
That merely wants what it wants,
To be in control.

Shredding the paperwork
is the means to a happy ending,
More satisfying than sex for some.

Shredding the paperwork,
Also code for Accountability
Don’t mean a damn thing,
And I can do what I want,
When I want to, whenever I want,
To whomever I want to!

Has anyone seen those Ten Commandments?

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Feedback with Lizi von Teig: Music Lawsuits in 2019

 

This summer the Supreme Court is going to hear the arguments of Jimmy Page and the band Spirit in whether Led Zeppelin’s iconic song “Stairway To Heaven” plagiarized Spirit’s 1968 song “Taurus.” Now, anyone who read my Greta Van Fleet review knows that I am not one to defend Led Zeppelin, but this is probably the one time in their history that they’ve been innocent, and whether the court finds that or not has great significance to copyright law as it applies to music broadly.

Music plagiarism lawsuits started to spring up en masse after 2015’s suit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams by the Marvin Gaye family over the song “Blurred Lines” and it’s similarities to Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” This case broke some of the established rules of music copyright. In music, the two things you need to file to copyright a song are the words and the chords (as Robbie Robertson will eagerly tell you, arrangement has no bearing on songwriting, legally). But this case was reliant mostly on the use of a descending bass line and similar production styles. This high profile revisiting of what music copyright is led to a massive increase of lawsuits in the last four years, with forensic musicologists being in high demand ever since.

Now, this isn’t to say that suing over plagiarism in music began in 2015. The first high profile music plagiarism case was probably when Chuck Berry sued the Beach Boys for similarities between “Surfin’ USA” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and the most infamous of the 21st century was when George Harrison was found guilty of “unintentional plagiarism” by a judge over similarities between “My Sweet Lord” and a song by The Chiffons. Of course, the highest profile offenders were Led Zeppelin, who settled out of court with such legends as Howlin’ Wolf, Memphis Minnie, Willie Dixon, and Sonny Boy Williamson, although accusations of additional plagiarism by artists like Bert Jansch and Jake Holmes that haven’t gone to court have been circling since 1969 when they lifted “Dazed And Confused” from Holmes word for word.

Which brings us back to “Stairway.” The thing that makes this suit stand out in the history of Zeppelin plagiarism is that Jimmy Page actually let it go to court. Never before has Zeppelin stood before a judge to assert their innocence, which is why I decided to give it a closer look than just “oh, Zep stole from another artist.”

The trouble with “Taurus” isn’t that it’s not a very similar composition to “Stairway”’s intro, but rather that the song is so rudimentary, it’s hard to make the case that Jimmy Page couldn’t have possibly come up with the intro to “Stairway To Heaven” without hearing it. If you want to go in depth into the song, YouTuber 12Tone did an excellent dissection of it, although only the first two and a half minutes pertain to the case. The iconic intro is little more than a series of arpeggios of chords descending a half step down (one fret of the guitar, for those not familiar with music terminology) each time. Shoot, I’m pretty sure I wrote a song like that when I was 17, hadn’t heard Spirit or Zeppelin, and had only been playing for about 6 months.

But a lot is riding on this case. A suit about whether Ed Sheeran plagiarized another Marvin Gaye song (this time filed by a co-writer’s estate, not the Gaye estate), has been postponed to hear what SCOTUS has to say about Led Zeppelin–and if you want to know why that suit is bogus, Adam Neely has a great video on that. If the Supreme Court rules with Spirit, artists’ ability to reuse cliches–which has been the backbone of popular music since the Bristol Sessions–will be in danger, and the entire musical landscape might never be the same again.

 

Elizabeth von Teig is a musician and author living in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her expertise is classic rock, folk punk, and the blues.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #297: With a Potato Masher Grenade in Hand

 

With a potato masher grenade in one hand and a German Mauser in the other
under his storm trooper assault helmet a Nazi toy soldier has somehow found
his way into my hooded sweat shirt pocket and travels with me for several days
of routine so I wonder Why? Why? Why? am I playing with plastic army men
like I did back even into early adolescence just like my seven year
          granddaughter
does today just like I once saw the dead bodies of Vietnam after vomiting up
my guts raw in swimming practice totally naked young men I could already see
what was happening mass invasion military occupation bombing chemical and
biological weapons and death lying beside the pool in heaps of horror young
          bodies
dying everywhere except now I am old and I haven’t played with dolls of army
men revolutionary war soldier men, men of the civil war Kepi hats blue and
          grey
War of 1812 men or are they Mexican War men Spanish American Rough Riders
Dough boys and storm troopers, storm troopers and G.I. Joes marines at Tripoli
Halls of Montezuma and the battle of Belleau Wood paratroopers, Screaming
          Eagles
nuts! at the Battle of the Bulge oh, Okinawa and Iwo Jima army and marines
          march
march marching, marching, marching all the army men sailors and fighter pilots
so high above it all knights in the blue sky in individual Fokker D-VII Red Baron
Red Triplane screaming down out of nowhere now here machine guns spitting,
cannons blasting Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Gulf War I, II, III, now IV
or is it more what, Syria, and Yemen, Libya and Somalia, Sudan and Gaza and
          then
the Rohingya in Myanmar (former Burma) and oh, those other guys way out there
in Western China the Quigurs while we have Agent Orange Head in the White
          House
declaring a national emergency on our southern border already running campaign ads
on the open border that’s been fenced off with hundreds of miles of defenses
          designed
specifically to make the refuges from 70 years of U.S. sponsored coups and
          juntas
United Fruit Co. puppets and death squads neo-liberal, neo-colonial trade
          policies and
systematic ongoing 21st century ethnic cleansing of the indigenous in Guatemala
El Salvador Honduras lately (since Obama) most of all drug cartel allied
          dictator(s)
shoot them down in the street singing trained in the USA, USA, USA chant of all
those toy soldiers marching, marching, marching off to war but I’ve got one Nazi
German soldier standing to throw his potato masher grenade with his Mauser in
          hand
under his storm trooper assault helmet in pocket of my worn winter hoody
          sweatshirt.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Crystal Condakes

 

Origami Boats

I imagined the boat a bright red
though the image was old and sepia toned

Red like the boat my daughter rows
across lakes all summer, happy and

unaware like the smiling people in the photographs
before their bones were hammered to ash.

Standing in the hall of the Holocaust Memorial Museum
I want to fly backwards around the earth

like Superman. I want to save them all.
I make boats out of paper, folding

and unfolding as a kind of prayer. Please
let me make enough boats to carry

all the hair and all the shoes, to travel
back in time to when the smiling people

were still smiling, to say: This is your hair.
Here are your shoes. You’re free to go.

 

Crystal Condakes teaches English in grades 6-8. She has recently published poetry in The Mom Egg Review; Ekphrastic Review; SWWIM, and prose at Scary Mommy Teen and Tween, and Blunt Moms.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS), two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by April March Penn

 

Post-extraction

i told him i was difficult
to numb
he said no problem

and let me sit
for ten minutes
stewing with injections

then i said i don’t think
I am totally numb;
he and the assistant

replied don’t worry;
we’ll get you numb;
immediately they started

extracting without
more numbing; he cooed
good girl as he yanked

and struggled yanked
and struggled until
it was out

and that was when
the hole the new hole
began in me

i am writing from
that hole now
the crater that tattooed

the Earth has something
to offer us; I don’t even
know how to feel bad

about medical abuse
because it has become
a saga and at least this time

there was a small victory–
I made a choice about
my body and men

honored it, not by the terms
I would have preferred
but at least there’s that

freedom from my own decay;
how alert and angry I am
for this blood I drink.

 

April March Penn is a queer poet who visits Anne Sexton’s grave and conducts tarot readings for real and imaginary friends. Follow April March on Instagram: @pennapril

Bill Wolak has just published his fifteenth book of poetry entitled The Nakedness Defense with Ekstasis Editions. His collages have appeared recently in Naked in New Hope 2018, The 2019 Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Poetic Illusion, The Riverside Gallery, Hackensack, NJ, the 2019 Dirty Show in Detroit, 2018 The Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, and The 2018 Montreal Erotic Art Festival.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: An Introspective On E40

 

I didn’t think it was possible, but I managed to subject myself to the torment of listening to all twenty six of E40’s current solo studio albums.

Now to be fair, it’s not that his music is bad. It’s just that you don’t necessarily need that many albums to be successful, or relevant. There are people who are just as iconic, or even more iconic, as a result of releasing far less.

E40 is that guy who has to drop something every year, or two just to remind people he still exists. Now you’re probably wondering how one could continue to pump out that much music. It’s easy to notice about five albums in which even at that point is more E40 than one needs in their life. E40 can put out as much music as he does because he developed a formula in his music that he stuck to. E40’s producers give him sparse, yet catchy beats that he can rap on in his own self developed style of GAB; a really funky flow that allows him to really articulate his words, and go on and on about practically nothing.

Musically, E40 started up with your typical west coast G-Funk fare, but in 2006 with “My Ghetto Report Card,”,he switches to a more mainstream musical style which would evolve into his current musical style of sparse catchy beats. E40s lyrics also follow a certain structure. You’ve got several songs about hustling, and being on the block; you’ve then got some songs about drug use, and cooking up drugs; you’ve then got songs that glorify sex, and promiscuity followed by a song or two that reflects on his upbringing. Finally comes a song that talks about the consequences of the very things he spent the entire album glorifying, thus making him seem more woke than he actually is.

I’m aware there are PLENTY of rappers that do this exact thing, but E40 is famous for sustaining that across over twenty-five albums. People have essentially bought the same album over 25 times. E40 started doing this thing in 2010 where he’d release two albums at once. He’d start this with Revenue Retrevin: Day Shift/Night Shift. He’d follow this up with Overtime Shift/Graveyard Shift.

He’d take it over the top with the The Block Brochure where he released vol 1-3 in 2012, and vol 3-6 in 2013. This is the point I feel that he forced it. I felt as if I was listening to the same damn album six times. At that point you can’t even call it The Block Brochure anymore. If felt like I was listening to an audio book about absolutely nothing. Listening to nothing would’ve been a better use of my time.

E40 isn’t a terrible artist, but he’s not great either. I probably could’ve probably listened to far more productive things in the car rides, and gym workouts I devoted to this binge. I could’ve listened to some good talk radio, a quality audiobook, several podcasts, or just better hip hop. I’m not astounded at all by E40’s music, what I am astounded by is the fact he got people to buy the same album over twenty-five times. The sad thing is that he won’t stop making music. With that, I’m going to end with a line from Eminem’s Kamikaze that sums up my problems with all of this.

“So you sold 10 million albums, eh? (What?)
Only problem is, you put out 10 million albums, eh? (Haha)”
-Eminem, The Greatest

Stay Classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 285: Anxiety Chronicles 5 – Bring What Dogs You to Work Day

 

Didn’t you get the memo? What ails you?
Let it sit next to you. Show it your shiny star,
Your pens, your books, your coworkers,
Your weak day, let it sit in your seat.

Let it chew on your shoes.
Show it your bruises.
Let it come to your meetings.
Let it in on your feelings.

Did you get the memo?
Why can’t you just learn to let go?
Bring it to your work, leave it at home.
It follows you.
So loyal, bring it to the breakroom.

Show it the water cooler, your window,
The clock, the phone.
Let it sit down next to you.

From nine to five,
Let it in.

And then bring it back home again.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Poem by Louis Marin

 

The Agway Store

It’s another abandoned building;
another sign of decay in this part of town.
Another dream faded and peeling,
like the paint on the walls.
“Don’t ignore the broken windows,”​ they say,
but when the report came in,
the police just shrugged and drove away.
Another broken window
in another empty shop.
Shrugs; ​“What am I supposed to do,
and what is it to you?
They should knock it down anyway…”

More signs of desolation and decay
in my hometown.

I recall driving down past the mill yard
with my daddy in the old 1952 International.
Not the daddy who barely walks
and sometimes seems confused when he talks,
but the other daddy who was young and strong.
I remember him lifting a hundred pound
bag of grain to each shoulder
and carrying them around the place.
This was the old Agway Feed store,
now it isn’t much of anything anymore;
another empty shell with weeds in the parking lot.
Another sign of decay in this part of town,
another abandoned building waiting to be torn down.

 

Louis Marin is a photographer, writer of an online blog and daily spiritual devotional as well as the author of five poetry anthologies that were available through PublishAmerica. Hia poems have been published in many magazines and online ‘zines, including, Terrorhouse Magazine, The Pangolin Review, The Quail Bell, Oddville, and Madness Muse, to name a few.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: Copyright

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

I Sing
          by Aedile Cwerbus

I sing of no man only, but of all the World as well,
though mania and armies may within these portals dwell,
as godly will and ire swell my sails to ports and shores,
or labours long and hard on land, at sea, in skies or wars.
O may my spirit soar to take on such a thankless task
that no one honours, no one covets, no one wants, alas.
Who cares for banished gods? for vanished bodies on the Earth?
though all will come to this one day, since that’s the fate of birth;
from whence the human race has come; there only being one,
within the mighty and majestic radiating Sun.

Aedile Cwerbus is a poet intrigued by epic.

~~~

Moon Landing
          by I. E. Sbace Weruld

Buzz Aldrin’s first impression when he got upon the moon—
‘magnificent its desolation, beautiful its view’—
up there, he spake “I’d like to take this opportunity
to ask [each] person listening…wherever they may be
to pause…and contemplate…these past few hours…to give thanks
in his or her own way,” and took communion’s godly slakes—
the moon’s first liquid poured and its first bit of eaten food;
that brave Apollo astronaut—he thought that it was good.
He took that trip in ’69. It didn’t seem too long.
In fact, he thought it was divine…with Collins and Armstrong.

I. E. Sbace Weruld is a poet of Space. This year was the 50th-year anniversary of landing on the Moon.

~~~

The Morning Dove
          by E. Birdcaws Eule

The hawk flies overhead; its wings appear to touch the moon,
that seems so faint and pale in the azure afternoon;
the heat so hot it enters in the body all the way;
the only place to safely sit is in the garden shade.
Nearby within an elm that’s plagued with rust, there is a nest;
a mourning dove sits patiently, there hardly free from rest.
She sits upon her little eggs in blazing heat and worse,
like raging downpours, violént wind-storms, the farmer’s curse.
One egg is broken on the ground below the rustling tree,
yet on she stays despite it all, and does so silently.

E. Birdcaws Eule is a poet of the avians. His last name “Eule” means owl in German. Although one of his favourite bird calls is that of the morning dove, he didn’t like it when this pair of morning doves tried to build a nest in his gutter.

~~~

The Water Tower
          by Eber L. Aucsidew

I see it in the distance like an alien space-ship,
a giant spider, dozen-legged, a shiny floating blimp,
when in reality it’s just a water tower there
that rises up formidible out in the open air.
It holds a reservoir of water for when drought comes here;
100-degree temp’ratures suggests it could be near.
I only hope we don’t have to resort to use its store,
except when we have lots of back-up, less perhaps than more.
So there it stands a reassurance to some coming drought,
that we would, if we had our druthers, forsooth, do without.

 

A Shower
          by Eber L. Aucsidew

How wonderful it is—a shower, morning, noon or night,
refreshing to the nth degree, one feels so good and right.
It makes one happier, prepared to face the coming tasks,
the challenges one must accomplish as they come to pass;
especi’lly then, when one has got to move one’s chores along;
to take control of charges one has, one has to be strong.
When one is clean, slicked down and sleek, one’s ready to take on
whatever next presents itself that one must pounce upon,
the glorious, notorious, laborious, and more,
allowing one to press forth, yes, each bull grabbed by the horn.

Eber L. Aucsidew is a poet of air and water. His favourite PreSocratics are Thales (c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC) and Anaximenes (c. 586 BC – c. 526 BC).

~~~

Beside the Rock
          by Walibee Scrude
          “All other ground is sinking sand.”
              —Edward Mote

I saw the man of colours on a path of rusty or’nge,
in sandals by a wire fence beside Uluru’s forge,
the massive sandstone rock formation, closer to rust-red,
of arkose, feldspar, quartz and rock, within the dustless dread,
the bone-dry and dead reddish centre of his native land,
the bloody hot Australian outback in the Sun’s command.
Here is no water—only rock—o, and the sandy road,
that winds around the mountain rock—another episode.
If there were water, we should stop and think. Yes, we would drink.
Into dry grass and pale bushy shrubs, one cannot sink.

Walibee Scrude is a poet of Australia, Edward Mote (1797-1874) a hymnist of the 19th century.

~~~

The Yoga Master
          by Ice Buledeswar
          “The union of the true spiritual self to God is a divine yoke indeed.”
              —Badri Suwecele

He sits inside an equilateral triangle. He
is sitting in the lotus position. His hands
are at his knees. He’s seeking peace and harmony.
The sunlight touches him with gold commands.
He wants to hold his body steady for a long
time, calming all the joints of tension, bonds and bands.
He meditates upon becoming…being…strong.
He sits upon a mat. One cannot see his face,
His breath slows down. He tightens arms and legs along.
He goes into a trance. He pauses from the race.
He tones his nerves. He contemplates eternity
from his relaxing height. He’s sitting at the base.

Ice Buledeswar is a poet of individuality, a lone man in a lonely world, beloved by few perhaps because he is so cool. Indeed, he appreciates a brief, cool shower, especially in summer. One of the most famous poets in the Odia language (approximately 34,000,000 speakers) is Sarala Dasa (15th century AD), whose couplets of verse do not comprise a similar number of letters. Although the above poem is a bilding, when Ice Buledeswar writes tennos, he strives to have fourteen syllables in each of his lines; even though syllables may be of differing lengths.

~~~

A Vision of Ezekiel
          by Israel W. Ebecud

Above me seated on what seemed to be a warm
and shining sapphire throne, I saw Him, oh, my God!
a striking, puissant spirit in a human form.
Ah, upward from his mighty loins, I gazed in awe,
such glory was displayed, laid out in gleaming bronze,
sheer glowing mettle, oh, encased in firey flames!
I bowed before such stunning majesty—Yahweh!
Below his loins upon that gorgeous throne, light came
like the appearance of a bow in falling rain,
whose radiant and brilliant brightness left me lame.
How could I be the same? I fell upon my face.
Then heard a voice so deep and grand say, “Son of Man,
stand on your feet. I want to see you full and plain.”
How could I not be overwhelmed in such a case,
to be there in the presence of such greatness, grace.
Oh, God, I love Him so—light of ten trillion dawns.

Israel W. Ebecud is a poet of Israel. The above lines come from Ezekiel 1: 26 – 2 : 1.

~~~

Loujain al-Hathloul
          by Saudi Becrewel

She still remains in Saudi prison—Loujain al-Hathloul—
and she is not the only one there; there are others too.
She says she will not make a video that says that she
has not been tortured or harrassed by Saud Al-Qahtani.
He watched her being tortured, threatened rape and murder too.
How could she make a video that said it wasn’t true?
They waterboarded her and gave electric shocks as well;
they made confinement solitary, Dahhban’s living hell.
Her family had planned to keep this silent, till they heard,
she wouldn’t sign the document and ripped it—she demurred.

Saudi Becrewel is a poet of the Arabian peninsula.

~~~

Remembering Gao Rongrong
          by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

Once radiant and lovely, Gao Rongrong faced torture for
the practicing of Falun Gong, forbearance, truth and more.
In 1999, she lost her job for her belief;
and thus began her journey of pain, agony and grief.

It was 2003 when she was taken by police
to Longshan Labour Camp in Shenyang; she would have no peace.
They beat her for not giving up belief in Falun Gong:
May 7, in 2004, they tortured Gao Rongrong.

For seven hours straight they seared her skin off face and neck;
o, she was scarred electric’lly, disfigured and a wreck.
The torture was so horrifying, she could not take it,
and from a second story window in that place, she leapt.

Because of all her injuries she went to hospital,
which she escaped October 5th; she snuck out down the hall.
But she was back in prison by March 6th 2005.
Before the spring was over yet, she was no more alive.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet of China. The beautiful Gao Rongrong (1968-2005) had been an accountant when she was forced from her job for believing in forbearance, truth and compassion, certainly threats to Chinese Communism. As of August 2019, is there only one mainstream media outlet with any information about Gao Rongrong—the Daily Mail?

~~~

A Dark Night
          by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei
          “For the well-being of humanity, this [Chinese] empire must break
          apart.”
              —Liao Yiwu

A dark night is approaching. Ghosts come out onto the streets.
Hong Kong is a time-bomb that’s ticking. Hear its hard heart beats.
O, freedom feels so very good. Leap up, howl out, and fly.
But power feels so very good, for those who love its high.
The boot of Communism’s pressing on protesters’ heads.
They are aware of Chinese might. The blood is real and red.
The convoys seen in Shenzhen are appearing…long and black…
like living tombs of death in transport. They aren’t going back.
In shear defiance, Hong Kong’s people waved a US flag,
and sang the US nation’s hymn, which made the Mainland mad.
The build-up of the Chinese troops right at the border is
occurring now, they won’t allow crass business order’s fizz.
The Hong Kong Airport was closed down on Monday afternoon.
As troubles spread around, a dark night is approaching soon.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet of China.

~~~

Russia Honours National Heroes
          by Rus Ciel Badeew

In Russia, new awards have been posthumously bestowed
on experts lost when a nuke-rocket-engine-test e-x-p-l-o-d-e-d.
The five became their nation’s heroes, giving up their lives
for Russian power on the seas; some other men survived.
The blast occurred out on a platform in the White Sea mist,
which caused a spike in radiation in Severodvinsk.
Though how severe it was, as yet there’s been no press release;
except the government which said there has been no increase.
The Russian government drip-feeds all info it’s inclined…
but anxious local residents stocked up on iodine.
And now we learn that radiation levels rose somewhat,
and villagers in Nyonoksa should leave—get the hell out.
As well, the medics, who had helped at the beginning blast,
were sent to Moscow for exams, according now to TASS.

Rus Ciel Badeew is a poet of Russia. Perhaps the most notorious, hence famous, novel of Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was “Lolita” of 1955 (from which the late Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express” was named), my favourite novel of his was “Pale Fire” of 1962, in which is embedded a 999-line poem by the character John Shade, with the commentary of his colleague Charles Kinbote.

~~~

The Parthenon
          by Ercules Edibwa

Above the city of Athens upon the Acropolis, the Parthenon stands in ruins, a pale and faint reflection of its original splendor and grandeur. Even in its delapidated state, one can sense from the reality of its form, although now antiquated, adumbrations of ideality. Here it remains, Pericles’ commission under Phidias’ direction, a stone beacon to the world, the awesome vision of a vigorous land, planned, built, and shown for all the nations to see, for all time, a height at which we balk, or else we climb.

Ercules Edibwa is a poet of ancient Greece. Like Cews Baudelier, he sometimes writes prose-poems. Pericles (c. 495 BC – 429 BC) was a noted Athenian statesman, Phidias (c. 490 BC – 430 BC) was a noted Athenian architect.

~~~

The Smith-Volterra-Cantor Set
          by Euclidrew Base

A set of points upon the real line that is nowhere dense
has an example in the Smith-Volterra-Cantor set;
and in particular it has no intervals, yet has
a measure that is positive, found in analysis.

It is constructed by removing certain intervals;
the middle quarter goes away, around the center culled.
From there a quarter is removed in each remaining piece,
and so this then continues on and on without surcease.

This set contains no intervals, interior is null,
an intersection of closed sets that still is meas’rable.
The closed set of remaining points has measure of one-half,
with boundary of positive Lebesgue; and that is that.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics and mathematicians. The Victorian mathematician Henry John Stephen Smith (1826-1883) was one of the last mathematicians to write an original and significant memoir in Latin, id est, De fractionbus quibusdam continues (1879). German Georg Cantor (1845-1918), Italian Vito Volterra (1860-1940), and Frenchman Henri Lebesgue (1875-1941) were all noted mathematicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

~~~

Getting From Point A To B
          Urbawel Cidese

Just getting from point A to B can be quite challenging,
if one is unfamiliar with the concrete jug-gl-ing.
One has to be prepared to take evasive action and
get in the left lane, then the right, and u-turn on command.
One-hundred-thousand vehicles weave in and out of routes;
three-dozen at a glance turn here and there in roundabouts.
Where is the GPS? I’m waiting for directions to
the place that I am trying to get to where I am due.
Hooray, hoorah, I’ve made it one more time—no accident;
I’m here on time, though not sublime, at least there is no dent.

Urbawel Cidese is a poet of urban places.

~~~

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

Not very far off
I hear the dull, traffic roar.
It disturbs my wa.

 

Tanka
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

Checking petunias,
the green-throated hummingbird
darts rapidly off,
beneath the large, silver jet
sloaring straight for the tarmac.

“Wired Clues” Abe is a poet fond of Japanese forms. Wa is harmony in Japan. Sloaring is a neologisn by Beau Lecsi Werd meaning slowing down yet still soaring fast.

~~~

The Dragonfly
          by E, Dawber Sluice

In the warm evening air, the dragonfly,
of the sub-order Anisoptera
and the order Odonata, passes by
and, quicker than a helicopter can,
lands on the grass. Four diaphanous wings pause,
all at right angles to its abdomen—
black onyx tricked with lapis lazuli—
extending, glittering like sunlit gauze,
the specimen of a lab technician
upon the green neatly placed, as you lie.
And then as rapidly, it zips away
in a straight line, and bounding over tree
and roof, it parts the air of this hot day,
and darts into a line of poetry.

E. Dawber Sluice is a poet of small creatures. This is an American sonnet with a rhyme scheme of ababcdecdefgfg.

~~~

The Mower II
          by Caleb Wuri Seed

In desert camo hat and tannish-tawny sleeveless shirt,
the mower went about his mowing, swiftly, nounced and curt.
In rainbow-shaded shades and faded blue jeans hardly blue,
he mowed around the summer yard the colour of ecru.
His dark and sun-tanned hands held to the handle as he walked,
and steered the mower round the flowering pear trees unblocked.
Because it was a self-propelled engine his browned arms pushed;
there in the sun, he hardly rose a sweat, nor was he flushed,
Done in ten minutes, he was out and through the wooden gate;
decisively and quick—there was no thing to contemplate.

Caleb Wuri Seed is a poet of yardwork and fieldwork.

~~~

The Barbecuer
          by Carb Delisuewe

He stood beside the barbecue, the shirtless backyard cook.
Though very hot outside, he’d get his meat by hook or crook.
He was a bearded Bluto with a bald head and dark eyes,
his bare head browning in the Sun, along with steaks and fries.
Although outside it was more than 100 Fahrenheit,
a national alert concerning heat, it was so high;
still he would have his cooked-up food, he thought it was so good.
Besides, it’s what he wanted—yeh. O, he was in the mood.
The clock struck two, UV rays too; he didn’t give a damn;
he was a barbecue fanatic and an eating man.

Carb Deliseuwe is a poet of food. Though he is much more likely to eat kale salad, chips dipped in avocado guacamole, and macadamia nuts, along with pomegranate juice, he is still impressed by those who can devour huge cuts of meat. In his youth, his favourite food was fast-food hamburgers, he grew up gobbling hamburgers, hamburgers, hamburgers, like J. Wellington Wimpy.

~~~

The Bad Apple
          by Des Wercebauli

So long and lanky, lean and skanky, living on the edge,
not one whom one would like to find above one on a ledge.
He wore work shoes all of the time, when even having fun.
He never seemed at peace or rest, but ever on the run.
I didn’t know what to make of his brutal attitude.
I couldn’t tell if he was rotten or if he was good.
He seemed like as a wiry fellow, falling all the time,
surprising every second, accidentally sublime.
And though I said, “So long” to him, so many times, “Get lost”;
he still popped up, propped up upon a tempest, tipped and tossed.

 

A Carpenter at His Work Bench
          by Des Wercebauli

I saw him working at a bench in a two-car garage.
The gray garage-door had been closed; it wasn’t a mirage.
It looked like he was focused on a drilling tool for holes,
and he was carefully aligning up the tool with those.
He seemed to be perfecting something that I could not see.
He certainly was building something—but what could it be?
His light tan boots on bright white socks fit in with the decor
of tawny wood and flesh-toned objects there above the floor.
He kept on building what it was that he was working on.
So concentrated, but elated, he would carry on.

Des Wercebauli is a poet of work.

~~~

Trip to the World
          by Bic Uwel, “Erased”

I think the world will little note nor long remember me;
and I am sure I will forget the world when I leave.
I won’t be coming back, although I wouldn’t mind the trip;
it’s just that I don’t think I can locate a local ship.
This part of space is not a place for coming back, you see,
this world in millennia or in a century.
Besides it isn’t perfect, one can see that every day;
it has so much room to improve in every single way.
And when I leave I will go out of circulation, so
there won’t be any need for me, or the world, to worry—no.

Bic Uwel, “Erased” is a poet of the obliterated. His favourite quote of 2018 was that by Eric Awesud Bla: “The Silicon Curtain is descending across America.” His favourite movie, one panned by audiences and critics alike, was the thriller Erased.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Starting with Hope or Not

 

He didn’t have much to start with.
He never talked much about his family or background.
His parents couldn’t be parents.
Their parents didn’t have much to start with.
Thus they knew nothing of how to be family.

The boys fathered babies who fathered more babies.
Sometimes a mother raised that offspring;
Other times a mother would give the offspring
Up for adoption

Too often, fathers never knew their fathers.
They were raised by mothers
who tried their best, or not.
These boys, the unidentified sons of men
Who never knew their fathers
Were left repeating the cycle
That became a legacy.

On occasion, a man would find love
But didn’t know what to do.
Sometimes a man found love
And chose to love back.
He chose to choose without taking on
The sins of his father.

He chose to give his son
Something more to start with
Which he was never given:
Faith, hope, love, and a willingness to stay.

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Feedback with Lizi von Teig: The Big Day by Chance The Rapper

 

Let’s venture outside my usual world of blues/rock/Americana for a minute. I’ve been following Chance the Rapper way back in 2013 when his Acid Rap Mixtape dropped and, after a friend played me a few cuts, I got deep into it. The unique blend of jazzy melodies with psychedelic production and traditional hip hop beats felt fresh and exciting not dissimilar to To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. The follow up, Coloring Book, was not as exciting to me and I didn’t listen to it very much; but it didn’t sour me to the point that I wouldn’t pick up the follow up.

There’s a lot riding on The Big Day for Chance’s image. Dubbed his “first studio album” (although the difference between an album and a mixtape seems to only be whether you pay for it or not, a slight distinction in the Spotify era), Chance has made out this album as the beginning of a new chapter for him. From the get go it was marred in controversy as some releases do not include which guest artists were featured on which tracks — a true puzzle, as when you have such titans of music as John Legend and Randy Newman on your album, one would expect you’d want to boast that.

As a piece of art, however, The Big Day stands on its own. Far from a “new chapter” as he dubbed it, it feels very much a continuation of his previous work. Many of the songs on it fall short of that set up. At times it feels like The Big Day needed an editor. 22 tracks is a lot — back in the day it would’ve been dubbed a “double album” and cost extra — and not all the tracks feel like they’re worthy of being on the album. “Eternal” and “We So High” stood out as tracks that lacked any sort of imagination or feeling. But this is balanced out by the heights of songs like “I Got You” and “Let’s Go On The Run.” There’s a solid album in here, probably just as good as Acid Rap, but it’s lost in a sea of generic beats and uninspired production.

In a way, The Big Day is a victim of the digital era. 30 years ago, if your album was more than about 45 minutes, you had to make a case to your distributor that it was worth the expense of pressing a second disc to fit it all in. There were great songs that wouldn’t make the cut sometimes, but it also forced artists to put out only their best stuff. At 1:17:00, The Big Day would have been cut down to the essential tracks in an earlier era, but when you can fit all that on a CD-R, and most people are listening on Spotify or downloading digitally anyway, there’s no increased cost to include all the extras.

Public opinion has been fairly negative on Chance’s latest. Stereogum summed up the general mood around it pretty well when their writer Tom Breihan wrote “Chance The Rapper’s supposed debut album is merely a big shrug, a general sigh of disappointment. It’s a tedious album of little consequence, a clear sign of a gradual slide.“ I don’t think this is totally unfair, but I do feel it undercuts some of the albums high points.

The big weakness of The Big Day is probably it’s attempt at being a concept album. The narrative is clear, following Chance’s wedding day and exploring themes of family, but the emotional arc of the album isn’t there. A fine collection of songs — many of them great — it isn’t quite an album in the modern sense of the word.

 

The Big Day by Chance The Rapper is out now through AmazonMP3 or on CD, vinyl, or digital download with purchase of merch at Chance’s online store.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #296: Anglos III

 

The first two colonies in Virginia and Massachusetts
trickling onto the continent like Jekyll and Hyde twins
one a bunch of rapscallions, crooks, and debtors
the other religious fanatics seeking Utopian perfection
to escape contamination by the world
or anything else different than they were
probably made a civil war inevitable
to forge two such unlikely halves
into a single nation.
How ironic that the libertines
ended up defending slavery
and the Puritan tyrants liberty.

The rest of the immigrants seemed to be running away from
as much as to anything they really wanted.
The lakes, rivers and land seemed to be an emptiness
whose topographical and climatic detail were important
only to how they matched somebody’s idea of how to live.
The native flora and fauna were naturally antecedent to that.
So there’s a long history about packing up our old kit bag
and leaving all our troubles far, far behind.
If you didn’t like this place there was always
another one down the road and if there wasn’t a road
well, we’d start one gloomily aware it’d probably be
a highway way too soon enough.

Meanwhile stirred by the ladle of civil war and frontier justice
the Scallywags and Puritans got all mixed up.
Eden started out as to back to land and ended up
a virgin you could rape and pillage with impunity,
a hole to fill with things.

Until like a prepubescent boy waking with an erection
we were drafted onto world stage as principal imperial power.

We were always the ones who knew about this special place
that nobody else knew anything about which was so clean
and so good until those other fools despite all our precautions
found out about it ruining it for everyone with brutish behavior.
It was bright, still, and pristine there where water was so pure
we drank from the stream and the ground water flowed free.
The old growth stopped the undergrowth and filtered the air.
We breathed free and eschewed any extreme.

Eden moved to tract homes in New Jersey.
We built roads faster than new places
could be found to build them to.
The family farm was yoked to agribusiness
and the cities were stopped up toilets
no one bothered to flush
for fear they’d overflow.

We all had to go to college somewhere
and everything that wasn’t nailed down
had to roll to a hole somewhere in California.
After all we were all gyrating in wide circular arcs
around the great financial towers beginning to mushroom
like toadstools at the hubs of money and power.
Perfect lawns created crab grass wars.
The run off had to collect somewhere.
This turned out to be just about
anywhere except our back yards.

The hangover from the industrial binge
made these Saturdays in the yard mandatory.
Golden arches vaulted across the land
offering pasture for our autos,
light in the dark night of the disappeared wilderness,
and burgers, fries and chocolate shakes
to keep our clogged arteries full.
The ice cream machine sucked the life
from the town centers
and squirted it out in parking lot malls.

We listened to the muszak and made love in the dashboard light
before driving to the old downtown diner the only thing left at that late
          hour.
In spite of it all, the whole established course of things we were young,
          free, alive.
There must be some reason otherwise why were we here
sprouting hair from every follicle and bell bottoming out
on the realization that reasons weren’t necessarily meanings
and nobody ever really knows what they are doing anyway
and they keep on doing it just the same driving between jobs
mortaring it all together with more asphalt and concrete
plastering it all down with more oil and grease
replacing the old industrial sludge

with new improved chemical grunge
spraying from planes, farting from mega machines
blasting out from smoke stacks and furnaces
issuing from sewage ducts, irrigation run-offs and tail pipes
reaching out to encircle the globe
with a miasma of creeping crud, a smoking blight, a misery malady
ecological simplification as corollary for ethnic cleansing, gene-o-cide
a huge hairy paw wriggling contaminated fingers
deep, deep into the squirming earth
turning into chemical sumps
coating the bottoms of bays
making the forests cringe and wither.

The Amazon becomes a giant pulp mill
with huge ravines ripped out
for fossil fuels and precious metals,
moonscapes created to go to the moon
to find out what we’d left behind looks like.

And so here we are looking around like Giraffes in a meat locker.
If we don’t have two jobs we’re not really making it and
if we’re making it we’re not doing anything but working.
Our children live someplace between phone calls and jobs.
The more we have the more it costs.
The more it costs the more we spend.
We sweat our familial blood. We bleed the hearts of our love.
It’s never the way it’s supposed to be. It’s always like it was.
Somewhere there’s the hand of fate slowly turning the dial of time
increasing the pressure weighing down our souls, buying and selling,
the moments of our lives, a great commercial power, massive
          mercantile nation
a gigantic enterprise, wrestling with Mother Nature herself
ready to hogtie entropy his self
taking on biorhythms, ecosystems, natural instinct, wild kingdoms
taking off into the twilight zone whatever, which, how why whose
doesn’t fall within the parameters of science and fundamentalism,
doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements, can’t seem to assemble the           admission criteria
can’t pass the entrance examination, waiting betting slips in hand
for the dream to coalesce into reality
for consumption to become happiness
for fantasy to become orgasm
for Disneyland to become Republic
for Eden to take over the world.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Poem by Jacques Fleury

 

Where Am I From Originally?

Yeah, well the all-important vetting question,
as if that alone narrates the story of me,
as if we all forgot that if you are not Indigenous,
then my story is your story in this country’s convoluted trajectory.
All descendants of immigrants from another country,
all kneeled at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.

Where am I from originally?
It doesn’t matter really… to most I am only a
BLACK AMERICAN CITIZEN
still waiting and hoping for the
American Constitutional Decree of Equality,
regardless of my birth country.

Where am I from originally?
Only sanctions yours snap judgment of me;
it doesn’t tell you anything about my personality.
It doesn’t tell you anything about America’s main adversity,
namely economic disparity and racial disunity.
It doesn’t tell you anything about why
we still have a race problem in the 21st century.
Why does it matter where I’m from originally?
After all, Africa is the birth country of all of humanity,
where scientists have back-traced the birthplace of the human race,
Africa was the ascension of human evolution and eventual migration,
our sapient ancestral diaspora in the parched deserts of Sub-Saharan Africa!

Where am I from originally?
That question is better suited to a foreigner just visiting this country,
for I, like you, am an AMERICAN CITIZEN,
abiding metastatic racial disharmony,
proving that apart we are a cacophony of caterwauling disparity,
touting that together we can be a harmonious disparate symphony…

Where am I from originally?
Why don’t you use this opportunity to see what makes me unique
rather than what makes me incomplete?
What makes us come alive through exuberant sharing
rather than through discordant sparring?
If you want to know more about my journey,
then ask about what inspires me.
If you want to know more about my journey,
then ask me about my favorite color that is NOT skin color.
If you want to know more about my journey,
then ask me about my lifelong hobby and who I want to be
in this diversely-amalgamated yet still racially-divided country.

Where am I from originally?
Just take time to talk to me and you will see
I am only a light from the womb of the human galaxy,
just like you actually…

 

Jacques Fleury’s books Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue, A Poetic Memoir about life in Haiti & America was featured in the Boston Globe. It’s Always Sunrise Somewhere and Other Stories is a collection of short fictional stories spanning the pervasive human condition. Their topics range from politics to romantics, from sex to sexuality, from religion to oppression. 20% of proceeds for both books will go to Haiti charity Partners In Health.

Gunjan Bhardwaj is a 22 year old computer engineering from india who enjoys painting and sketching.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by J. H. Johns

 

The Reptilian Brain v. The Philosopher King

There was a time and place
when the latter took leave
from the former,
but,
when?

Wow!

If before the dinosaurs,
how did it survive the impact?
If after-
now differently-
what were the chances that it could survive?

Oh,
we know about
the other one;
it was always about survival;
as Charles would undoubtedly agree-
it is in its “history;”

yes;
survival;

and all the ugly inevitability
that went-
and goes-
with it
has
made its way-
all the way-
to our present;

as has the other,
with perhaps,
as long an inevitability
as the other;

more subdued-
almost hidden-
it did-
equally-
find its own way
to survive;

one instinctive;
the other
deliberatively reflective;

two lines;
strains;
variants-
of what ultimately
came to be called-
humanity;

one to reflexively act;
the other
to reflectively decide;

we find,
encounter
and
endure them
not in their ‘final form”-

“Oh!
God! No!’
for one?

and

“Oh!
God! Yes!”
for the other;

no;

their final form(s)
is/are
at the event horizon
of
our final days(s);

no-
again-
we are not with them-
they are with us;

permeating;
rekindling
the reality and possibly inescapability
of a long-ago-
conveniently forgotten- past-
with
an embryonic
dream of a future;

they will not change-
neither of them;

they will rally their forces
and
those who cannot
make “the right choice,”
will be lost-

forever.

 

J. H. Johns “grew up and came of age” while living in East Tennessee and Middle Georgia. Specifically, the two places “responsible” for the writer that he has become are Knoxville, Tennessee and Milledgeville, Georgia. Since then, he has moved on to Chicago- for a brief stint- and New York City- for a significantly longer stay. Currently, he is “holed up” in a small town where when he is not writing, he tends to his “nature preserve” and his “back forty.” His goal is to surround his house with all sorts of vegetation so as to obscure it from the gaze of the “locals.” He is assisted in this task by his coonhound buddy and companion, Roma. J. H. Johns was a 2018 Pushcart nominee.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated with composers, such Mohammed Fairouz, Mart Epstein, and Rudolf Rojhan, who set several of his poems to music, as well as with choreographers, dancers, musicians and other poets, including Gale Batchelder, and videographers Nate Tucker and Ray Klimek.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: A Hidden Treasure:

 

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my fiancée and her sister about retro video games. During that conversation, they started bringing up some of the bargain bin games that their mother used to buy them. One of those game was McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventures on the Sega Genesis. I knew that McDonald’s had a game floating around, but I didn’t think much of it.

This past weekend, I decided to try the game out for myself. I went into it thinking it was a game that I would put down after five minutes, but boy was I wrong. When the game booted up, I was surprised to see that the company appropriately named Treasure (Gunstar Heroes, Sin and Punishment, Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silver Gun, Ikaruga, etc) were the ones who made the game.

The game seemed like your typical platformer right out of the gate. The more I played the game, the more addicting it got.

This was supposed to be a mascot game, shameless marketing, and a cheap cash grab. I didn’t expect the game to be so damn good! Seriously, this game had no business being as good as it is. This game is fantastic, and the soundtrack definitely SLAPS!

Totally random rambling/review, but I just had to let y’all know this was a thing.

Stay Classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 284: Brave New World

 

What would I do without fear?
If I didn’t have an ounce of it.
If bullets bounced off me,
And my mind was quick like coffee
Could anyone stop me?
What if I didn’t fear your face?
What if I didn’t fear this place?
What if?
What if I scaled the highest cliff?
What would it take to do that?
What if I could use this gift to uplift
And lift myself up, not build a wall
But make a bridge, for the less fortunate.
What if I wasn’t such a fuck up?
What if my shoes weren’t stuck to the mud?
All these questions, with only one answer.
It’s a Brave New World Aldous.
All of us just got off the bus, and I am not
The only robot among us.
Maybe this alien, with pen in hand,
Could find a mission, and make a landing.
Maybe I could take away the programming
And the loosely translated, and wish it all away,
Say, hey, it will be OK.
That’s OK.
Not today.
Not today.
I will try and find my bravery.
End the mental slavery, emancipate my brain waves.
Understand the cerebellum, the severed synapses,
The frontal lobe, and those missed chances
And uncomfortable advances.
The avalanche of doubt that comes in and comes out.
Like a whirlwind indigo blue,
You think you know me.
You think you do.
I don’t like me. I have to learn to love me.
Govern my own colony.
Cause its you and me
And the illness makes three.
And everyone else is going
to have to wait.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Sandip Saha

 

Refuse to exist

Vast blue sky around us
stretches mind to infinite
with endless desire we live
but one day it perishes
leaving behind scars of pain.

What for we are born
why we have to die
how we can remain pawns
in the hands of unseen devil
bowing down to it crying?

Close down all temples
there is no need of church
mosque is meaningless
why you worship, whom?
No religion can deny death.

Women fight for freedom
from the tyranny of men
coming out of home
they face abuse globally
instead of merely inside the family.

Oh girl you look so pretty
why lost way to knit a family
you have been drowned
in glamour of outside gimmick
replacing love by pervert lust.

Oh human do not chant
‘Life is so beautiful’
being immersed in filth
making fool of yourself;
refuse with all might to exist at all.

 

Sandip Saha is a chemical engineer and doctorate (PhD) in metallurgical engineering from India. He has got three awards for his scientific work and 33 publications on his scientific research work including three patents. He is a winner of Poetry Matters Project Lit Prize-2018. He has published one collection of poems (anthology), Quest for freedom available in amazon.com. He is published in many poetry journals including Better Than Starbucks Poetry Magazine, Pif Magazine, The Cape Rock: Poetry, Las Positas Anthology-Havik, Pasadena City College Inscape Magazine, Shot Glass Journal, The Wayne Literary Review, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, felan,Snapdragon, and The Ghazal Page.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: Reciting

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Haiku
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda

Outhouse, shit and flies;
hot sun on hard dirt, drab dust:
the baseball field.

“Lice Brews” Ueda is a haiku writer. He remembers in his youth playing baseball games in the summer.

~~~

Words from the Twitter World
          by Esca Webuilder

Neil deGrasse Tyson, celebrity scientist, wrote:
“In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings. On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose 500 to medical errors, 300 to the flu, 250 to suicide, 200 to car accidents, and 40 to homicide via handgun. Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.

So many answered him, including Irene Tien MD:
“In 2018, the fed govt spent $145M on medical errors, $340M on influenza, $147M on suicide, $597M on car accidents, and >$1B on the opioid crisis. From 2004-2015, a measly $22M on gun violence. These are stats, not emotions.

I once heard Mr. Tyson say the thing that worries him most in the Universe is how fast the Universe is expanding, so much so, that in the future, Earthlings will only be able to see the Milky Way.

Esca Webuilder is a poet and prose writer of the Internet. In the USA, the CDC estimates 49,000 deaths due to opioids in 2018. USA Today tracked 271 mass killings (4 or more) from 2006-2017: 1,358 deaths. Note that Mr. Tyson listed numbers of deaths, while Ms. Tien noted amounts of money spent. Emotionally charged words in the two tweets include “horrifically” and “measly”.

~~~

Mass Shooters
          by Slade W. U. Bierce

Mass shooters are not all the same, no two of them alike,
but there are sev-ral char-ac-ter-is-tics they share in kind.
They have experienced some childhood trauma in their lives,
abuse, neglect, and/or perhaps parental suicide.
Just prior to this they’ve experienced a crisis in
job status, a relationship, or something deep within.
They also seem to be intrigued by shootings of the past,
such shootings come in clusters, socially contagious gas.
And finally, they find the means to carry out their plans;
for them, revenge requires weapons for their vengeful ends.

Slade W. U. Bierce is a poet of hard realities.These four characteristics come from an LA Times op-ed by Jillian Peterson and James Densely, which studied mass shootings since 1966.

~~~

UN Report
          by Dae Wi “Scrub” Lee

The government of North Korea generated funds
to pay for mass-destruction weapons, nuclear-armed tons.
They stole from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges by
sophisticated, widespread, and clandestine cyber crime.
The North Korean UN mission group did not respond
to the UN report submitted last week thereupon.
The article says seventeen, the nation-states they trashed,
and through the realms of cyberspace they laundered stolen cash.
Two billion US dollars was what they got for their ends,
their diabolical blackmailing Earth and peaceful lands.

Dae Wi “Scrub” Lee is a poet of Korea.

~~~

Shenzhen
          by Aw “Curbside” Lee

It sits right to the north of Hong Kong, massive, grand in scale;
but in the 1970s was rural, poor and pale.
In 1980 it was made an economic zone,
and then the place took off, into the atmosphere full-blown.
Some 13,000,000 people live and work in Shenzhen now,
though some say 20,000,000 closer to the true amount.
Its cityscape, resulting from its rapid growth and rise,
has now become a global, tech-hub of enormous size.
In World stats, it’s now third busiest container port,
competing with the likes of Shanghai and with Singapore.

Aw “Curbside” Lee is a poet of industrial China.

~~~

India Sheds Special Status for Kashmir
          by Waseel Budecir

On Monday, India revoked the status of Kashmir;
the special status it possessed will simply disappear.
And in addition Modi’s government will lift the ban
on purchasing of properties; non-residents now can.

The Pakistanis have condemned this action, saying that
it is a violation of the UN charter’s pact.
For nearly thirty years, Kashmir has had an armed revolt,
with myriads of people killed; yet, this is still a jolt.

Kashmiri leaders were arrested; Internet was dropped;
the public movement was restricted; telephones were stopped.
The streets of Srinigar were largely empty at this time;
deployment of security ensured there’d be no crime.

Waseel Budecir is a poet of South Central Asia.

~~~

The Lotus Eater
          by Badri Suwecele

He fell into a dreamy state, which he could not escape,
as though he was both fast asleep yet also still awake.
He felt so groggy and so drowsy, he began to droop
into a trance that left him sapped, afloat like sailing sloop.
How could he be both wide awake and still so sleepy too?
What state of consciousness was this that he had come to view?
He felt in equilibrium, not going anywhere;
it was as if his mind itself was turning in to air.
He tried to conjugate this verb of future present past.
He hoped that he would soon wake up, or fall asleep at last.

Badri Suwecele is a poet of meditation.

~~~

Iraq-Lebanon Soccer Match
          by Abdul Serecewi

The national Iraqi soccer team beat Lebanon.
It was the first competetive match in a long, long time:
score, one to zero, in Kerbala, but was not sublime
to Shi-ite clerics, who disliked the show before the throng.
The opening had dance and music tastefully displayed,
except for one lone Lebanese who played the violin.
She wore no headscarf on her head, no cloth upon her arms
and then she played an instrument. O, she had gone too far.
Joelle Saade, fully dressed, performed before the crowd,
but it was cleric blow-back that was thunderous and loud.

Abdul Serecewi is a poet of the Southwest Asia.

~~~

Pythagoras
          by Erisbawdle Cue
          “Thou almost makest me waver in my faith
          To hold opinion with Pythagoras
          That souls of animals infise themselves
          Into the trunks of men.”
              —William Shakespeare, “Merchant of Venice”

Pythagoras may have left us some wisdom that survives,
and yet he claimed to recollect details of former lives.
He claimed he once had been cucumber, growing long and green,
and also that he once had been a slimy, sleek sardine.
If such was true, which hardly seems that possible to me,
then he lucked out/ reincarnation ended happily.
Despite his thought I still enjoy cucumbers sliced and diced,
as well as small sardines in oil, silvery and spiced.
Who knows what mighty intellect I may have eaten up?
Such tasty morsels keeping me alive to dine and sup.

Erisbawdle Cue is a poet of philosophy, particularly ancient Greek philosophy.

~~~

In Alicante on Mount Benacantil
          by Edwe Bleca Ruís

In Alicante on Mount Benacantil’s rugged rock,
above the city stands the Castle Santa Bárbara.
From there one sees below the blue Mediterranean,
so bright beneath the white-puffed clouds and brilliant, blazing Sun.
From there one sees the port, the docks that stretch out straight and broad,
the beach of Postiguet, the wavy, palm-lined esplanade,
the ornate Casas Carbonell and Consistorial
the Edificio Gran Sol, rectangular and tall,
the arcing, misty, sparkling fountain in Luceros Square,
and less pretentious, quiet cornered Monjas Santa Faz.

 

Alicante Trams
          by Edwe Bleca Ruís
          “Kumquat-colored trolleys ding as they trundle/ Passengers…”
              —Sylvia Plath

To use the Alicante Trams you must use a machine,
to swipe a card or buy your tickets; there’s no in between.
To open doors, you have to press the buttons that you see,
as well as for requesting stops; it’s a necessity.

Signs overhead tell the next destination coming up;
and likewise there’s a map that you can check, with all the stops.
Three main lines leave Luceros Square without much urgency,
but there’s a handle you can pull in an emergency.

The trams are white and orange, shiny even underground.
They do not ding, while motoring their grunting, humming sound.
Trams groan when they begin their trips, trains drone along, brakes squeak.
Postmodern transport’s a mechanical cacophony.

They are dependable, they move with regularity.
For moving many they’re a model of efficiency.
They make their way day after day in drizzle or sun’s glow.
They honk, they screech, they trudge along, they carry tons of soul.

Edwe Bleca Ruís is a poet of Spain. Alicante is a city of southeastern Spain.

~~~

The Flying French Man
          by Claude I. S Weber

The French inventor Franky Zapata has crossed the sea,
at th’ English Channel, to be more precise, specific’lly,
he did it on jet power, on a suped-up hoverboard,
and zoomed across the Dover Strait—for twenty minutes soared.
He took off from Sangatte, outside Calais, in northwest France,
and stopped half way upon a boat, refueling his back pack.
He made the thirty-five kilometers to Britain’s coast,
Saint Margaret’s Bay shimmering, receiving him afloat.
Some people came to cheer him off, some others saw him land,
a tiny black speck on a flyboard in the sky—yet grand.

Claude I. S. Weber is a poet of France.

~~~

Rembrandt’s Samson Putting Forth his Riddle at the Wedding Feast: 1638
          by Cees Walerd Bui

In Rembrandt’s Samson Putting Forth his Riddle at
the Wedding Feast, his bride-to-be, a Philistine,
is seated on a dais, in a gold glow that
lights the surrounding darkness. Timeless, still, she’s seen
face fore; a group of ladies fidget at her right.
Conversing at her left is Samson; he’s speaking,
face turned left, to a group of men, his dress gold-bright:
“Out of the eater came forth meat; out of the strong
came something sweet.” If they can bring th’ answer to light
in seven days, he’ll give them garments; but if not
they will repay in kind. Here is a bold Rembrandt,
the warmer tones of red and yellow coming on.

 

Thunderstorm Over Dordrecht, by Aelbert Cuyp
          by Cees Walerd Bui

The vast sky stretches high up over buildings and
occasionally trees of moderate height on
the far horizon. Jagged lightning holds command
and crackles forth th’ electrical phenomenon
that travels down sky’s thoroughfare above Dordrecht,
the brilliant gold against the smoky-black cloud-spawn.
Below, three windmills turn. The cows, seen in perspect,
are calm, content; they do not overcompensate,
react immoderately, nor jerk or act berzerk,
to flashing lightning bolts. They simply rest sedate.
There’s no new thing that they will come to understand;
not much will change; there’s nothing they anticipate.

 

Dutch Still Life
          Cees Walerd Bui

The motel room is quiet now; a radiance
of sunlight filters through diaphanous curtains.
There is a certain beauty in its fading dance
across the beige and tan, soft, warm, wood furniture.
The center piece is a rectangular bed.
An auburn lamp stands at its head. In the corner,
is crumpled in a mass, a pale dun coverlet.
Upon the bright, white sheets, a brown body reclines.
Its head lies on a pillow, arms are extended
out back along the back. A thin silver chain lines
the neck. The head is tilted left, with a stiff stance.
A pistol, black and shiny, has been left behind.

Cees Walerd Bui is a poet of the Netherlands. Bildings [sic] of two Dutch masterpieces are followed by a New Millennial scene. Rembrandt (1606-1669) and Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) were both part of Holland’s golden age in painting.

~~~

Eudoxus’ Theory of Proportions
          by Euclidrew Base

The magnitudes are said to be in the same ratio,
the first is to the second and the third is to the fourth,
if equimultiples whatever of the first and third
and equimultiples of second to the fourth occur,
and both of them alike exceed, are equal, or are less,
then latter equimultiples have correspondences.
The subtlety and efficacy of Eudoxus’ thought
is marvelous beyond the arithmetic uses sought;
for far from obvious, he too compared both cubes and spheres,
as well as other shapes and incommensurable surds.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics and mathematicians. Eudoxus (c. 408-390 BC – c. 355-337 BC) was one of the major mathematicians of the ancient world. I read somewhere that he walked seven miles daily for half a year to listen to Plato’s lectures. If true, I would have done that too.

~~~

There in Louisiana
          by Cause Bewilder

I, too, have seen there in Louisiana an oak tree,
that stood alone, with moss hung down from branches, dark and green.
In fact, I’ve seen ten-thousand trees, all growing up and tall,
the myriads arising, o, so high and natural.

And I broke off no twig to take back to the Metroplex,
nor did those grand oak groves remind me ever once of sex.
I was not interested in some curiosity,
but just enjoyed trees towering, not some monstrosity.

Though I once lived in the Pacific Northwest, all the same,
Louisiana’s oaks impress me in the heat or rain.
I do not think of friends each time I see those trees again,
but when I see them rising high, anew I’m glad I came.

Cause Bewilder is a poet of the South. This dodeca is an argument with Walt Whitman.

~~~

Dealey Plaza
          “Wild” E. S. Bucaree

Not far off from I-35E, Dealey Plaza sits,
the Grassy Knoll, and Texas Book Depository hits.
Between Commerce and Elm, the cross of Main and Houston Streets,
plots out another tragedy that history repeats.
Those days are gone John Kennedy breathed his last breath of air,
and cru’l Lee Harvey Oswald shot his bullets of despair.
One sees the bright white Bryan Pergola across the scene,
along with grassy lawns about, a pale, scruffy green.
But still it lingers in the city as a memory
before skyscrapers rising in the brand new century.

“Wild” E. S. Bucaree is a poet of Texas.

~~~

The Mower
          by Caleb Wuri Seed

I saw him mowing past crepe myrtle, just beyond the fence.
He pushed his mower ever forward through grass thick and dense.
He wore a green cap on his head; his shirt was bright and red,
the beard upon his face was scra-ggl-y, but coiffured yet.
O forth and back, o, back and forth, he traveled in his lines,
the swaths he cut were wide and orderly, so straight in kind.
He paused but once to take his cap off of his shiny pate,
and swept his forehead with his arm, the shirt sleeve wiped the sweat.
And then he finished up, the mower off, the engine stopped,
and took off to his next gig’s task; this one was done and dropped.

Caleb Wuri Seed is a poet of gardening and agriculture.

~~~

Haiku
          by Calsu Berde Iwe

On a window sill,
a cat closely observes as
a man mows his lawn.

Calsu Berde Iwe is a haiku writer of cats.

~~~

Massage
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

With the fast pace of modern life, each person needs some time
to take a break, relax and rest, connect to the sublime.
Massage is a good way for that; it helps to get relief
from pain, to lower stress, blood pressure and anxiety.
Professional massage can be obtained when at a spa,
or one can hire a therapist to give one a massage.
But there are other ways that cost less money, time and such,
a more affordable and user-friendly “loving touch”,
like the vibrating chair, where one can in one’s privacy
sit back and fall into its arms in utter ecstasy.

Rudi E. Welec, “Abs” is a poet of the body.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Bamboozled No More! Age Counts

 

Age is more than a number.
Its a combination of digits that can open or seal your fate.
Older is good until the oldest kid on the block gets old.
Old is what people fear, sometimes more than death.
People, not God, make old a sin.
People create the condescending language,
Lack of opportunities, and invisibility.
People who prefer friends that are younger
Reveal the true nature of human spirit,
Reveal a lack of character, absence of bravery and vision.
Old is punishment for not being young.
Remember, more technology doesn’t makes it easier to see God.
Old doesn’t mean sadness.
Sadness happens when people turn on people.
Editing your friend list won’t keep you young either.
Abandoning friends because of age should be a sin
It should raise the question about who goes to Heaven,
Hell, or waits in purgatory.
Old is living in a judgement free zone, Heaven not Nell.
Old is an attitude that means little in a world
Where death knows no age limits.
Old is peace without surrender.

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #295: Hang Time and the Humming Bird

 

I see him pop! blue and yellow scarf in each small hand plie’
head turned in profile and eyes piercing concentrating total
intensity encompassing the old store front on Cambridge St.
the building still there, last remnant of the old West End
even then almost completely taken by “Urban Renewal”
obliterated with Scollay Square and the poor Old Howard.

Yes that walk-up where jack lived upstairs in that cut-away
apartment front and back rooms connected by only a hall
next to the huge indentation in the top two revealed stories
where downstairs amid psychedelic paintings of sovereign
sun gleam Bill Barnum was the beatnik remnant in the flux
of ebbing Hippie Time in black tights and ballet shoes he was
modern dancing his surrealist poems of gay blade concealed
in a cane of the Beacon Hill gentleman become exclamation
point body convulsed in shocks into immobility a throbbing
image in a charged night city all around aura of listening ear
that articulates without one word that does not come in rush
verbiage.

Some people never know when to stop but who is that contrarian
gnome who as male dancer was the jumper with hang time who
just went on up and somehow, some mysterious way stayed there
full extension going up in a miracle of levitation floating not falling
I can see him sitting in the afternoon sun with Stone Soup buddies,
Labyrinth Workshop participants, Cosmic Spelunker Theaters
together sharing a meal around a table but I’m the only one I see
who sees the humming bird that comes to hang over the shoulder
of the theatrical, the white mane underground surrealist head that
finally yesterday stared at me with just one eye but could still see
the Winged Victory salute, the presentation of the cord by teacher
to student, student teacher of that old Marquis Torsade who surely
certainly could have known hang time humming bird Bill Barnum.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Yrik-Max Valentonis

 

Lost in Urban Landscaping #47

Wake up this morning left-handed.
Oh yes, you have seen the signs.
Pregnancy is a means to an end, not the complete destiny: Prelude.
Stare at your hand with baby-like intensity of that first discovery–
             Yes, it is your hand.
             tingling.
             numb.

It no longer listens to your commands.
Child confusion and joy at every twitch.
Touch each fingertip
             and name a best friend
             and try and remember what part of the country they live in
             and pray that you can feel that touch
             and pray that you will see them again

Touch each fingertip.
You can learn to be left-handed.
Remember middle school,
Eddy broke his arm and neck
Broke his neck
he lived
he became left-handed
You used to write with your left hand too
But you didn’t break your neck.
yet.

Touch your …
             tingling.
             numb.
How many have had strokes
… not of good luck
… not so long ago, watching football at his house.
buried.

Have to slow down
Your parents used to be so strong, so capable–
             made it themselves, from scratch,
             never asked for anyone’s help,
             pulled through the hard times,
             the American way
Canes, walkers, and wheelchairs — a hallway of helplessness
Bodies bruise, bones brittle, blood breakdown
             thinner than water

The devil’s hand remembers the smack of ruler
an idle hand unable to raise a fist of protest
the practicality in dogma
restricted, restrained, repentant, & recovering

Don’t drop the baby.
You’ll wake him.

 

Yrik-Max Valentonis is a writer and cartoonist. His comics and writings have appeared in magazines, e-zines, radio broadcasts, art exhibitions: artiCHOKE, Cliterature, Folio 94, Poetry of the People, Re:Verse, and Taverner’s Koans, the chapbooks: iDEAL and this is visual poetry; the anthologies: Animal Blessings, Divided Again, Sinbad and the Winds of Destiny, and Zombie Nation: St. Pete. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida (BA) and Naropa University (MFA).

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine. His new book will be out someday.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Poem by Gregory Luce

 

Across the Frontier

She looked at me
and her gaze penetrated
every nerve, sending runners
that snake out in all directions,
following the flames pushed
by the winds along the dry
rivulets, across the frontier
where borders are meaningless,
into the bloodlands,
the bloodlands of the mind
where everything that moves
is suspect.

 

Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), and Tile (Finishing Line Press), has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.

Art can illuminate even the most elusive and difficult to comprehend ideas. Visual rules and tightly codified visual metaphors help scientists communicate complex ideas mostly amongst themselves, but they can also become barriers to new ideas and insights. Dr. Regina Valluzzi’s images are abstracted and diverged from the typical rules and symbols of scientific illustration and visualization; they provide an accessible window into the world of science for both scientists and non-scientists.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: Information Highway

 

Instead of giving recent events the attention the media desperately wants us to give them by feeding into the frenzy, I will writing some Interstate Highway Fun Facts/Rants. I’m feeling super nerdy, and wanted to share my knowledge.

*I’m not down playing the issues at hand by any means, I’m just tired of talking about it. I’ve said all I’ve had to say about gun violence, and the bullshit notion that violent video games caused this.*

Every so often, I see this meme that jokes about I-95, 128, and I-93 kind of sharing the same road. This is partly true, but there’s more to the story. You’re probably wondering why people call the highway “128” instead of its interstate route (I-95).

Before the Interstate Highway system was established, many states already had roads built for automobile travel. 128 (the loop on the outer edge of Boston) was one of these roads.

When the Interstate Highway system was established, it sought to leverage preexisting roads.

The original plan for I-95 was to build it through Boston alongside I-93. Boston would’ve had two North/South highways that would travel parallel to each other. The residents of Roslindale, Hyde Park, Dedham, etc were not having it. I-95 was then routed along what was known as just State Route 128. This is why the road consists of two different numbers, a phenomenon known as a concurrency.

I-290 in Worcester was supposed to travel further than it did. The highway would’ve terminated in Waltham along I-95 thus creating a toll free highway link between the two towns. This was cancelled due to pressure from towns along the proposed route, thus why I-290 terminates at I-495.

For those not from Boston, The Mass Pike originally terminated at I-93 pre-Big Dig.

You’ve seen a phenomenon in states outside of New England where there are gaps in exit numbering; for example: 1, 2, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 21, 28, 41, 43, 52, etc.

The united states has two exit numbering systems. One borrowed from the UK, and the rest borrowed from most of Europe.

Sequential numbering: The exits are numbered literally based on the physical interchange number. All of Massachusetts uses this system. There is just one problem. If you regularly traverse I-93 then you know there are a bunch of exits missing. For example, you’ve got exits 1-16, 18, 20, 23, 26, 27 with a similar phenomenon existing southbound.

A couple of exits were eliminated when the expressway was put underground as part of the Big Dig. Generally when you remove or add exits, they need to be renumbered. This is quite expensive thus establishing the mileage based numbering system: Many states further south and west of New England use this system. 85% of the country uses this system. In a millage-based numbering system, the exit numbers are based on the mile marker where the exit is built. Exit 1 would be built on mile marker 1, exit 5 would be built on mile marker 5, exit 11 would be built on mile marker 11, and so on.

This makes it really easy to add and remove exits with out substantial renumbering. This can be confusing to people who aren’t used to the numbering system. This can create the illusion that there are more exits physical exits.

If you’ve driven through multiple states, particularly on I-95, and I-90, you’ll notice that multiple states have a I-195, 295, 395, etc; I-190, 290, etc. These roads are known as spurs, and Auxiliary routes.

Spurs: Roads that deviate from the main highway, and terminate on another road separate from the highway (I-195 in RI, I-190 in MA.

Auxiliary Routes: Roads that deviate from the main highway, go around the outer edge of a city and reconvene at the highway it originally deviated from (example, I-495 in MA, I-295 in Maine, I-295 in RI, I-890 in Schenectady NY, I-490 in Rochester, I-290 in MA is an incomplete auxiliary route due to its prior history mentioned above). Auxiliary routes were designed with trucks and RVs in mind as they have to avoid city roads that may bring them to lower clearance bridges, and tunnels.

I-95 in New Jersey was an incomplete highway until 2018. Part of the highway travels around the northern portion of the Jersey Turnpike. The highway was supposed to spur from the turnpike onto a highway known as the Somerset Freeway, which would reconnect with I-95 in Pennsylvania.

After the freeway was cancelled, they originally thought about routing I-95 along the rest of the Turnpike. Ordinances prevented this as a certain percentage of the highway had to be free access. Eventually the built an interchange in Philadelphia that l-95 was rerouted a long, This completing the connection.

You’re probably wondering how I know all of this. I’m just a huge nerd. Some Autistics are obsessed with trains, others trucks, some are obsessed with WW2 history. I really enjoy interstate highways, I thing they are a work of art.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Stay classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 283: Planet Rock

 

Walking down the street
Pavement, blacktop
In between the smoke shops
And the dope spots
There is a place called Planet Rock
How do you get to Planet Rock?
Get off the 87 Bus
Go up two blocks
And there you got it, you’ve arrived at Planet Rock
The raddest of the rec, record shops.
Where the music never stops
And the doors have no locks
Cause the party never stops
The DJ never drops
And the poets set up shop
At Planet Rock.
And the jazz backdrop
Mixed with the classic be-bop
Mixed with the Punk rock and hip to the hop
You know where you’re at
If you are Planet Rock.
Where they got 33s and shit ton of CDs
45s and mixtapes with rude rude beats
From the freshest emcees.
And you’ll see me, and my dog Obi
And anyone else who wants to let it go freely
Freed by the beats and the poetry.
And you know we can’t stop
When Preem On the beat.
The bop don’t stop
The beats they drop
The hips they hop…
The la di dadi
We like to party,
We don’t cause trouble
We don’t bother no body.
Slick on the lyrical fitness
End this poem with
Quickness.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Brian Rihlmann

 

Between the Pages

We fit together
between the pages
of a ten pound art book
where we pressed a red rose
I stole for you
from a neighbor’s garden
until that night you didn’t come home
until morning
and smelled like him
and probably tasted like him too

when I asked where you’d been
you said “you know”
and I did

I grabbed that book
flipped it open
and seized that dried
heart shaped thing
and shredded it
threw it in your face
and flakes of it fell
like fat red snowflakes
all over the kitchen counter

you cursed at me and said
“Don’t make a mess!”
but that was all

you swept up the dust
and debris
as I watched
as defeated
as any dead man
could be

 

Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry…for folks. He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, The Rye Whiskey Review and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.

Luis Lázaro Tijerina was born in Salina, Kansas. Mr. Tijerina has a Master of Art degree in history, concentration being military history and diplomacy. He is a published author of military theory, short stories, essays and poetry. Mr. Tijerina resides in Vermont.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: Hope

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

2019 OK
          by I. E. Sbace Weruld
          “It could have destroyed an entire city.”
              —Urbawel Cidese

A small, four-hundred-twenty-seven-foot-wide asteroid
passed less than forty-seven-thousand miles near to Earth.
As 2019 OK came out of the cosmic void,
because of solar glare, the scientists were unaware.
Relieved from Rome to Perth, from Rio to Ontario,
that Earth had missed an Armageddon-like scenario,
that had been barreling in our direction very fast,
o, more than fifty-thousand-miles-per-hour as it passed.
Though smaller than the rock that hit near modern Mexico
and wiped out all the dinosaurs, it could have packed a blow.

I. E. Sbace Weruld is a poet of the Cosmos. 66,000,000 years ago it was a massive 6-mile-wide rock that wiped out the dinosaurs.

~~~

Alternate Science
          by Scubie Dew Lear

She still insists the dragonflies destroyed the dinosaurs.
Weren’t they around before the dinosaurs died out? They soar.

Scubie Dew Lear is a poet given to ghost and UFO sightings. Haunted by his past, he is fond of cryptics, conspiracies, and spirits. He has been influenced by figures as diverse as Arthur Gordon Pym and J. Alfred Prufrock. Rural Nevadans near Area 51 are bracing for the worst.

~~~

The Steel Minnows of China
          by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

Small Chinese steel minnows sidestep the pollution rules
by boosting steel output, sneaking how much they pollute.
Because of that, the cities, like Tangshan and Handan are
among the toxic worst in smoggy quality of air.
Environment enforcement has been lax compared to the
much tougher standards larger companies have had to face.

As such the minnows are increasing their production sums,
thus driving iron-ore costs up along with greater scum.
The pace is growing, some small minnows dog emission tests,
by turning off equipment that inspectors don’t assess,
misplacing sensors that inspectors simply do not catch,
or ramping up the night-work pace inspectors don’t inspect.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet of China. Tangshan is one of the top ten ports of China, with about 3,200,000 in its built-up city, and Handan has about 2, 900,000 in its built up city; the populations are 2010 approximations.

~~~

The Tiger Population
          by Bud “Weasel” Rice
          “What immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”
              —William Blake, “The Tyger”

The tiger population has been rising once again,
in India where there are 70% of them.
From just two-thousand-and-two-hundred, 2014’s score,
in five years, they’ve increased more than some seven hundred more.
This is a good thing, not without its drawbacks all the same;
there are more problems; after all, the tigers are not tame.
Too many tigers in too few reserves mean there will be
hostilities, since people don’t enjoy their company.
Still, Modi, the prime minister, has teamed up with Bear Gryll,
and they’ll be trekking to the wilderness in “Man and Wild”.

Bud “Weasel” Rice is a poet of nature, and in particular Mammalia.

~~~

Alexei Navalny Hospitalized and “Released” Back to Jail
          by Alecsei Durbew
          “It matters how one treats one’s political opponents.”
              —Erisbawdle Cue

With wrinkled forehead, standing by the banners in the streets;
his crime was he had dared to face the tribe of “crooks and thieves”.
Arrested in a sweep of opposition candidates,
Navalny, 43, was put in prison by police,
for calling for a protest for eliminating names
from an upcoming vote. It seems his face is now in flames.

He’s suffering from some reacting painful allergy,
the kind one gets when one’s been burned, a splash done chemic’lly.
Severe the swelling of his face, the redness of his skin;
the cause unclear, the hospital not saying anything.
Both of his eyes had swollen up the size of ping pong balls.
He thinks that he was poisoned sitting in his prison walls.

Alecsei Durbew is a poet of Russia. The quote is from Alexei Navalny, who called the United Russia Party, Партия жуликов и воров, the “party of crooks and thieves”.

~~~

In an American Prison Cell
          by Bilee Wad Curse
          “Once caught the criminal is treated like an animal.”
              —Bic Uwel, “Erased”

It now appears that Jeffrey Epstein was found injured in
his Metropolitan Correction Center prison cell.
Though some suggest a suicide-attempt had been in place,
some thought the injuries too mild for that to be the case.
The lawyer of three women who had been caught up within
the Jeffrey Epstein trafficking, thinks some will do him in.
In fact, he thinks he will be murdered, he has too much dirt
on rich and famous friends, who’d like to do more than just hurt.
However, CNN reported Epstein said that he
was beaten up, the source uncited. Truth—where can it be?

Bilee Wad Curse is a poet of crime.

~~~

Trees in Ethiopia
          by Luwi Recs Abede

On Monday, Ethiopians went on a planting spree—
more than 350,000,000 seedlings to be trees.
“Go out and make your mark,” said Abiy Ahmed in a post;
in just twelve hours, they had made a record of the most.

With less than 4% woodlands in Ethiopia,
down from 30% one hundred-twenty years ago,
and now 2.6 billion planted, this is vital for
a nation of 100,000,000 relatively poor.

To plant one-trillion trees, Swiss scientists this year have said
is the best way to slow down global warming’s burning dread.
Those growing trees could suck up seven-fifty-billion tons
heat-trapping carbon di-ox-ide, to cool us from the Sun.

Luwi Recs Abede is a poet of Ethiopia, whose main language is Amharic with over 20,000,000 speakers. One of Abede’s favourite Ethiopian writers was the poet and playwright Tsegaya Gebre-Medhin (1936-2006), who in addition to Amharic also studied Ge’ez, the ancient language of the Church, and English. According to the Swiss scientists, 1,000,000,000,000 trees would suck up as much carbon pollution as humans have spewed in the last 25 years. British ecologist Thomas Crowther is the chief scientific advisor to the UN’s Trillion Tree Campaign.

~~~

In Frankfort, Germany
          by Uwe Carl Diebes

In Frankfort, Germany, a woman and eight-year-old son
were pushed before high-speed train by an Eritrean man.
The child died, the mother lived, the killer was detained;
however, still the horror of that vicious act remained.

Th’ assailant grabbed the woman and her child forcefully
and then threw them on th’ rail track before the I-C-E.
And then he tried to grab another person, but he failed.
Is remedy for all that pain and angst just being jailed?

The chilling incident has sparked debate in Germany,
rekindling the cons o’ th’ open border policy.
The terrible scene at the station left onlookers shocked.
They will not soon forget such horrid viciousness unfrocked.

Uwe Carl Diebes is a poet of Germany. The I-C-E is the intercity express. When he lived in Germany, he really liked using the trains; they were efficient, on-time, and safe. He is sad for the family and friends of the mother and son, and the people of Frankfurt.

~~~

La Puerta de Europa
          by Raúl de Cwesibe
          “Architecture is the arrangement of space for excitement.”
              —Philip Johnson

La Puerta de Europa, also known
as Torres KIO, are the first inclined
skyscrapers of the world. Driving on
Paseo de la Castellana finds
one feeling like one’s going forward to
the future—really—even though amid
the present: lines, roads, buildings, silver, blue,
and pale azure skies above Madrid.
Materials include glass, stainless steel,
with charcoal mullions, in red metal clad.
A dark reflective curtain will reveal
it marks the business district’s north end, and
one can see Calatrava’s obelisk
beneath the unrelenting solar disk.

Raúl de Cwesibe es un poeta de España.

~~~

On Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi
          by Waldi Berceuse

There’s much I like about Puccini’s opera,
his lively, one-act Gianni Schicchi lunacy,
that toys with real verismo in its potpourri
by using caustic comment and buffoonery.
It’s spirited commedia dell’ arte farce
entwined along with sweet sentimentality:
its modern tone enchanting, even as it jars,
its striking beauty mixed with coarse brutality.
Like motley Harlequin himself, Puccini takes
a bit of Dante out of hell, and Florence too!
a presto pasta topped off with a sauce he makes
out of Rossini, Verdi, Wagner—derirng-do!
all served up with some sliced-up, modern dissonance.
Oh my dear Papa—scintillating assonance!

Waldi Berceuse is a poet and music critic. For him, the most emotionally satisfying songs he has ever herd are arias of Puccini; and although he enjoyed watching the above short opera, it definitely is not his favourite Puccini opera. The above sonnet is not an English sonnet because its lines are hexameters.

~~~

Gold Robbery in Brazil
          by Luc Ebrewe Dios

Eight criminals disguised as federal police made off
with what? It’s very big, it’s shaped in bars, the colour gold!
worth thirty-million dollars, at the Guarulhos Airport,
Sao Paulo’s International, in three brief minutes short.
In balaclavas clad, they forced the cargo personnel
to load up their disguised truck bed; those thieves were versatile.
Load what? Big bars of gold! some seven-hundred kilograms.
It was a plan that could not possibly…fail—Watch the cams!
And yet arrests are being made. And will they find the gold?
Ah, Time will tell. In fact, perhaps, it’s been already told.

Luc Ebrewe Dias is a poet of Brazil. Of the arrests so far, one was a man who worked at the airport and had said he went along with the robbery after his family had been kidnapped. Dias’ favourite heist movie is “Caccia alla volpe” directed by Vittorio De Sica.

~~~

The U.S. Federal Reserve
          by Brad Lee Suciew

The 1910 cabal that met at Jekyll Island was
set up to make the Federal Reserve, a real set up.
It operates without the oversight of government,
twelve banks set up in 1914, dominating debt.
Created back in 1913; Wilson signed the law;
the FOMC meets in DC now eight times a year.
A board of governors of seven, who enjoy the vote,
with regional bank presidents whose occupancies float.
This bank cartel, decides how much in interest to charge,
this week a quarter point less, the first drop in many years.

Brad Lee Suciew is a poet of finance and commerce. The FOMC stands for the Federal Open Market Committee. The cut means interest rates are set to float between 2% and 2.25%.

~~~

Young J. P. Morgan’s Early Education
          Cadwel E. Bruise

Young J. P. Morgan’s early education was diverse;
it opened up his mind to a much larger universe.
Post schooling in Connecticut, to Boston English High;
he studied math for entrance to an economic life.
Rheumatic fever left him in such pain he could not walk,
and so was sent to the Azores for convalescing calm.
He stayed a year, and then returned to Boston English High,
and graduated there, continuing t’ improve his mind.
He then went to Vevey in Switzerland to study French,
and next to Göttingen to be a German-speaking Mensch,
where he got his degree—Art History—was there his path,
while at the Sillig Institute, Vevey, he studied math.
His formal education at that time was then complete,
and he went off to London banking, clerking for his keep.

Cadwel E. Bruise is a poet of New England. J. P. Morgan, Sr. (1937-1913), born in Connecticut, was one of America’s most famous bankers, particularly at the beginning of the 20th century when he helped finance and establish companies, like General Electric, U. S. Steel and American Harvester. One wonders if he was one of those at the Jekyll Island cabal of 1910, though the secrecy was such, there were no records of him being there.

~~~

Grant Wood: Self Portrait
          by Red Was Iceblue

He stares in glasses, slightly to the right,
his near rectangular face filling up
the painting. We are as much in his sight
as he’s in ours—peering, leering—Yup.
His gaze is penetrating, from within
his chubby head, cherubic, rubicund,
indented upper lip and low cleft chin,
faint nasolabial folds, cheeks rotund.
Behind: below, are indicators of
his Iowa, the gently rolling hills,
a quilted carpetting of farms; above,
bright, gold-white sky, and one tall, thin windmill’s
projected, derrick weather-vane, on edge,
past fair, combed hair, dark, vee-neck shirt, his hedge.

 

Composed upon a Sunlit Chair
          by Red Was Iceblue
          “Heavenly Hurt, it gives us—”
              —Emily Dickinson

A sunlit chair by Michael John Hunt sits
in light, inside a house with open door.
It’s at a foyer corner—shadowed bits
upon the greenish wall and wooden floor.
One almost could envision Emily
Elizabeth, appearing, Dickinson,
in white, a prisoner of family,
locked up in talk with Thomas Higginson.
Outside one sees the sky, a tree, the grass,
a walk and water, blue and glittering.
There, too, one could imagine she would pass
between the moment and its filtering.
There are so many possibilities.
Why is it—beauty—makes one ill at ease?

Red Was Iceblue is a poet of Modern, Postmodern and New Millennial art. The self portrait of Grant Wood (1891-1942), painter of rural American Midwest scene, was executed in 1932. Grant Wood’s most famous painting was the iconic American Gothic of 1930. Michael John Hunt is a contemporary English painter of still lifes and intimate interiors. He creates his pictures with layered acrylics and glazes, and like the 17th century Dutch masters, the surfaces in his paintings are pristine.

~~~

A Waterfall in Xanadu
          by Eber L. Aucsidew

The waterfall was streaming down the rolling hills.
Faint, steamy clouds arose beside its many spills.
I longed to drink its water, follow down its rills.
For me, there could not be, I think, much greater thrills.
Such beauty in the world leaves one hot with chills.
Such loveliness helps one to face the harshest wills.
Such pretty peace helps one to face the hardest ills.
How can there be a waterfall that so fulfills?
But if I could get on one of its many sills,
I think those slopes so slippery with wet, white quills,
that I would fall forever down. Its edged shape kills.
And yet I wish I could pause where it lulls and mills,
because each flush along its way sweet love instills.
It is a shining series of divine untils.
Its gorgeous furrows leave one pink around the gills.
The glittering of drops, the shimmering, clear trills,
are like the scattering of crystal daffodils
in rainbowed arcs above divine and sunlit villes,
or gleaming silver flecks on radiator grills.
If I could hold it, keeping but its frothy frills,
with that alone, I know I’d be in heaven still.

Eber L. Aucsidew is a poet of air and water. The above poem is a qasida.

~~~

The Pompous Toad
          by E. Dawber Sluice

The pompous toad sits in his bog, and croaks the whole day long.
In deep, hoarse sounds he breaks into a cacophonic song.
His voice is richer than the caw of black crows in the trees;
he does not doubt his splendid bass superior to these.
His gutteral and froggy squawk outbests the catfish glug.
His rhythmic tones are grander than the gurgle from a jug.
The chicken’s cluck, the duck’s quack-quack, they can’t compare to his
most wonderful, majestic cough, his wheezing, raspy whiz.
All nature should take note of him. O, yes, he thinks so too.
His music is remarkable from any point of view.

E. Dawber Sluice is a poet of the bog.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Trump’s Status on Earth

 

Heard the wind’s wish for Trump,
That he wakes up from an evening
Of praising the image in the mirror.
Then returns to the mirror to find
His image ran away.

Turns out reflections have feelings too!
The reflection tired of looking
At the guy looking in the mirror.
The reflection begged to be released,
but there were no takers.

The Devil doesn’t make deals
but does love irony, challenges
And a good joke.
The Devil doesn’t commit,
but rumors have circulated.

The Devil is considering a new project
Through an unlikely alliance
And considering the idea of changing
Trump’s status on Earth.

Unwhite, non English speaking,
Immigrant, missing papers,
Sitting in a detention center
With one window facing a wall.

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Feedback with Lizi von Teig: 1969 50 Years Later

 

The Summer of Love wasn’t just over, it died. The peace and love ideals of the hippies were challenged in 1968 with the assassinations of Dr King and Bobby Kennedy. The DNC riots resulted in the Democratic Party looking like the party of chaos, and Richard Nixon assumed the White House on a law and order ticket. The Tet Offensive at the beginning of 1968 had turned public opinion on the war in Vietnam from a necessary struggle to fight Socialism into a meaningless unwinnable quagmire. England was still climbing out of the economic disaster from the Second World War as the first generation to not have to fear conscription was still rising. But what’s better for music than a little political turmoil?

1967-1969 (arguably even 1970) were probably the most defining, revolutionary years for popular music. From Bob Dylan’s retreat to Woodstock birthing Americana to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple developing heavy metal to David Bowie’s breakthrough of glam rock, it’s enough to write several books on (and believe me, people have). But in this 50th Anniversary of 1969, I thought it appropriate to look back at the albums from that year that shaped what we know as music today. It’s far too much for me to cover in one short article, but I’ll do my best to cover everything that formed the music I listen to.

1969 started out with a bang with the release of Led Zeppelin. The greatest cover album ever released (it has been argued by greater scholars than I that there is only one original song on that album, “Good Times Bad Times”), Jimmy Page broke out of the jangly bluesy mold The Yardbirds had put him in and created a whole new type of music. Haunting and eerie on songs like “Dazed and Confused” (Jake Holmes) and “How Many More Times” (Howlin Wolf), along with hard core rock and roll on “Good Times Bad Times” and “Your Time Is Gonna Come,” Led Zeppelin ushered in a new era of music in January with this release. Their follow up that October Led Zeppelin II would build on these themes and be met with more commercial success (Zep II charted higher than Zep III the month the latter came out), with “Whole Lotta Love” being a defining moment for them in pop culture.

The public didn’t have much time to recover from Zep’s breakthrough before MC5 broke down another door with their live album Kick Out The Jams. There is no better summary of the political beliefs of the youth of this year than the intro monologue to this album. Although there were punk songs before Kick Out The Jams (notably “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks and “Wild Thing” by The Troggs), MC5 became the first band to make it big with a punk LP. The energy on tracks like “Ramblin’ Rose” and “Motor City Is Burning” is something bands for the rest of time would struggle to achieve. Bluesier than what we usually think of as “punk,” MC5 built off the Canned Heat records of 1967 and 1968, but brought their energy and anger to a new level unmatched by electric blues bands before them.

Fairport Convention is the most forgotten band I’ll be addressing. Richard Thompson’s first band went through a transformation in 1969 as they released their first record with singer Sandy Denny, who became an icon in her own right. The evolution across the three albums they released over the course of this year, starting from the very folky What We Did On Our Holidays to the slightly more rock and roll Unhalfbricking until in December they broke through with Liege and Lief to develop possibly the first folk punk album. “Meet On The Ledge,” off What We Did remains their most enduring song, most recently covered by Greta Van Fleet on their From The Fires double EP.

It was a tumultuous time for Small Faces and The Jeff Beck Group which would prove good for Ian MacLagan, Ronnie Lane, and Kenney Jones. Effective January 1st, 1969, Steve Marriott was out of Small Faces, leaving them in a pickle. Marriott was their guitarist and singer (Ronnie Lane was a lovely guitarist, but preferred bass guitar in this period), so they were out of luck it seemed. Until, after the release of Beck-Ola, the second breakthrough record by ex-Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood was fired and Rod Stewart left in solidarity. The two joined up with the former Small Faces, who rebranded themselves Faces (as Rod and Ronnie were a fair bit larger than the founding four members), and started work on the finest moment in any of their discographies.

Americana was also born in 1969. After Bob Dylan’s motorcycle accident, he had retreated to Woodstock, NY with his World Electric Tour band and Levon Helm. These five would become The Band and in September they released their groundbreaking self titled album. The second album by The Band, this album broke through to the mainstream in a way that Music From Big Pink would only do after this album brought attention to it. Musicians across the world started embracing folk music again and growing out their beards to mimic Levon. Although it contains none of The Band’s most enduring hits, it is definitely the most enduring album they would produce.

There were two big goodbye’s in 1969 as well. Cream, the power trio that had defined the 1960s, bid the world farewell as Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce could no longer get along. It was one of the many signals that the 60s were over. Simultaneously, The Beatles were at each other’s throats as John Lennon started to loathe McCartney and George Harrison felt neglected. Although 1970’s Let It Be is technically the last Beatles record made, it was the one where the band had resigned to breaking up and much was composed or recorded in isolation from other members. In this way, September 1969’s Abbey Road is the last true Beatles album, and the song suite that is Side 2 of that album (“Sun King” through “The End”) remains one of the most powerful sides in the history of vinyl, and proves the value of the album format more than even Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

I can only scratch the surface of the breakthroughs of music throughout 1969. I have neglected in this to discuss much of prog rock or heavy metal’s development, nor the advances in folk music beyond The Band. But I hope this provides a glimpse into this revolutionary year in popular music.

 

Elizabeth von Teig is a musician and author living in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her expertise is classic rock, folk punk, and the blues.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #294: Contrarian Bill Barnum

 

Wondering Where His First Wife Is Now

Bill lived for two or three years with his first wife, Joyce
in New York City in the 1950’s in a house of female impersonators
and across the hall lived a prize-fighter who became a cross-dresser, too
who would go down to the waterfront and pick up sailors and beat the crap
out of them if they wouldn’t have sex with her.

And then there was:

Tom — internationally known fine artist,
work hanging in China who trapped in an alley
by a mugger told his attacker, “if you’re such a man
go over to the brick wall and punch a hole in it “ and,
of course, the guy did and broke his hand.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Cameron Morse

 

Household Idol

Mounted above bedroom and kitchen
doorframes, the Buddha fills the temple
with his pig-nosed corpulence.

Lips peeled off bared teeth, he presides
over my auntie’s apartment by the red glow
of two electric candles, their wire threaded

through a gash in the wallpaper.
Five years ago, my auntie ran a mahjong table
clattering out of the backroom, gamblers

coming and going at all hours, more
or less in their money clips. By the red glow,
the Buddha grimaced, two apples rotting

on his miniature temple stoop. I’m not sure when
the traffic stopped, only now my auntie’s son
is mayor, rarely present at family dinners.

His wife the schoolteacher in coke-bottle glasses
buries her hands to the elbow in rubber
gloves while washing the dishes.

 

Cameron Morse lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, and South Dakota Review. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press and his chapbook Coming Home with Cancer is forthcoming in Blue Lyra Press’s Delphi Poetry Series.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Keith Nunes

 

Shake

After handling
The politician’s hand
I’m gonna wash my hands
And think out loud
That
I’m gonna wash my hands

While thinking out loud
I’m washing my hands
Of the politician

 

Keith Nunes lives in tiny Pahiatua, New Zealand. He is relentless in trying to escape awfulness in the world but hasn’t been successful to date. He has been published around (all sorts of corners).

DJ Barry is a self-taught artist that lives in Middlesex, Vermont. He uses a unique method involving photo editing software, stencils, and spray paint. He often infuses pop culture into his work. Oddities are his specialty.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: Blind Faith

 

Every morning when I go to the gym, there are a couple of TVs that play a wide variety of channels. One of those TVs is tuned to BET. 5am-6am starts great with reruns of “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Then there’s this show that comes on around 6 called “Showdown of Faith.” The show, as you would imagine, is yet another televangelist who preaches the prosperity gospel. Only he’s quite sinister in the target audience to which he markets that gospel.

The primary focus of his segments seems to be mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, etc. He also focuses quite a bit on addiction. He preaches “stories” of people who were magically cured by “sowing their seed,” a form of prosperity gospel where you sow a seed (give the guy some money), and you reap double your blessings. The problem I have with this guy’s show is that it systematically targets a demographic that is sadly notorious for having undiagnosed mental illnesses: people of color.

BET’s primary demographic is people of color, and sadly there is still a stigma in the black community surrounding mental illness. The idea is that if you have a mental illness, you’re either weak or your faith life isn’t strong enough. Many people of color never seek out help for mental illness for fear of shame by their family or loved ones. Many of these mental illnesses go unchecked, thus leading to some pretty self-destructive habits.

Now back to this show. Imagine someone in the intended demographic waking up at six am; probably dealing with a bout of anxiety, or so down in the dumps they think their life isn’t worth living. They probably had BET on from the night before, so they see this guy telling them that all their problems will be solved if they just sow their seed. They feel they have nothing left to lose, so they fall into the trap of giving this crook money, hoping that they’ll be blessed double. Meanwhile, they’re failing to address their mental illness via practical medical means all while they help this crook get a bigger house, or a new private jet.

With this being said, I just wanna remind y’all something I’ve said a million times.

A religious faith should not be a substitute for practical medical help.

Let me say that a little louder so that those in the back can hear.

A RELIGIOUS FAITH SHOULD NOT BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PRACTICAL MEDICAL HELP

If you’re ANYONE struggling with a mental illness, GET HELP. If you’re a person of color struggling with a mental illness, I BEG OF YOU TO GET HELP.

You will not find peace by sending your money to a predatory televangelist. This guy’s behavior is highly predatory, and he knows damn well what he’s doing. He’s systematically exploiting the fact that many people of color simply don’t get help for whatever mental illnesses they are dealing with.

There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. If anyone criticizes you for doing so, they don’t belong in your life. Many people of color turn to destructive habits including drug/alcohol addiction, self harm and even suicide. Family members are totally blindsided, but the signs were always there.

Please don’t be another statistic. And for the love of God don’t let this crook, or anyone like him, trick you into giving him money. It ain’t worth it.

Stay Classy…

P.S.

If you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m ALWAYS a message away.

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 282: Tin Man

 

My dog is in the play pen.
My mind is a magician.
Me, I am not a poet
Me, I am a mechanic
Fixing errors in the typeset.
Broken but not dead yet.
Each inked up letter
Bruised and tired
Worn and weathered.
I haven’t figured out
My life yet.
Haven’t been out of time yet.
And my dog, he looks at me
And says, “hey your poetry
Is outside in the grass.
I stepped in it.”
Obi says
Do better.
Poet, do better.

So I sit and think
And let the time swing
Like a kid on a tire
Like a pendulum
Like a last dance with a dip

And realize this poetry is shit.
And medicine has dumbed it down.
And I am rusty like a tin man
Planted in
The ground
Wishing I could find
My bravery.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Alexis DiRocco

 

Tell Me You Fucking Love Me

I can’t win. I don’t know what I look like.
It’s a never-ending battle between society and my mind.
When I was younger it was, you’d be a beautiful plus sized model.
So, I lost weight.
I was ruthless.
When I was skinny, I got called twiggy and said I need to gain
weight or I was going to get myself sick in the hospital.
Eat Alexis, just please, eat.
Alexis started eating.
Little piggy went to the market and stuffed her face all the way home.
Now I’ve put on a lot of weight.
You look fine now, but you don’t want to gain anymore.
I just can’t win. I’m trapped in a never-ending cycle.
How would I look if the world didn’t influence me?
How would I look at myself?
When will it be okay to love me for me?

 

Alexis DiRocco is an English major at Salem State University.

Artist Sally Deskins is an artist and writer focusing on perspectives of women including her own. She’s been published internationally and exhibited nationally and has curated several exhibitions and books.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: Geometry

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Haiku
          by Ibe Ware Desu, LC

Outside the window,
the Milky Way stars reach to
the next galaxy.

Ibe Ware Desu, LC (Lieutenant Commander), is a poet of Japan. Here he is thinking of a Shiki haiku.

~~~

The Portal
          by Slider Cubeawe

He flutter kicks along the long length of the swimming pool;
he plows right through the water, it’s refreshing, splashing, cool.
His abs are tightening; he’s drooling just a little bit;
his arms propel him forward, as his heels rise and dip.
His feet go back and forth, his thighs approach his abs, o, wow!
like as he’s shoving off to points beyond the here and now.
It is as if he’s been transported to another world;
into another realm it seems his body has been hurled.
His legs flip up, his legs drop down, he’s in a worm hole’s chute.
Submerged, he reemerges to fresh air. O, what a beaut!

Slider Cubeawe is a poet of alternate universes. He thinks the space he is in is filled with cubes, and he is in one of those cubes now. He sees cubes in front of him, behind him, above him, below him, and to the left and right of him. He realizes that this tesselation of 3D space, however, is only one of among an infinity of spaces. Swiss mathematican Ludwig Schläfli (1814-1895) was one of the key figures in the development of higher dimensional spaces. His favourite puzzles of the moment are sudokus, which he likes to do when he is on a jet plane or in the back yard with his cat.

~~~

On the Einstein-Rosen Bridge
          by I. E. Sbace Weruld

Each tried to keep his balance on the Einstein-Rosen Bridge,
each hoping for a place to pause, a momentary ridge.
But in that turning tunnel, like a funnel in the wind,
they could not help but twist and gyrate, pirouette and spin.
They tried to keep together, but the force pushed them apart.
They tried to hold each other up, but then fell off the chart.
First, Slider Cubeawe was stretched out, as far as he could go;
then “Weird” Ace Blues reached to the limit of what he could know;
and Cal Wes Ubideer came to his ultimate extreme;
three musketeers all falling in through space-time in a dream.

I. E. Sbace Weruld is a poet of the continually astounding elements of science. The Chandrayaan mooncraft launched this week, and is heading for the far side of the moon.

~~~

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

The cat grabs the mouse:
squeak-squeak, squeak-squeak, squeak-squeak-squeak.
It’s his little toy.

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

The weed whacker hits
the grasses by the wood fence.
The frog jumps away.

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

Beneath the cat palm,
to taste a frond, cat paws reach:
vomit on the carpet.

“Wired Clues” Abe is a poet of Japanese forms with an English mind-set.

~~~

The Loiterers
          by Eric Awl De Beus

In Wellington, New Zealand, two blue penguins have been nabbed
in their pursuit of searching for a “natch’ral” habitat.
O, they weren’t grabbed, no, but with salmon, they were lured away
from sushi stall at busy station at the break of day.
Each waddling bird was guided to a cardboard carry box,
and later were returned back to the water past the docks.
Kororā, noted for their bluish colour and small size,
are an endangered species, but remain quite happy guys.
The loiterers were booked and carried off by the police;
the city could breathe easier; they had restored the peace.

Eric Awl De Beus is a poet of New Zealand.

~~~

The Silver-Crested Cockatoos
          by E. Birdcaws Eule
          “the green freedom of a cockatoo”
              —Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning”

The silver-crested cockatoos on telephonic lines,
swing back and forth, and sometimes flip around and round two times.
They chew on outdoor furniture, and door and window frames,
attacking anything in site that fits within their aims,
like solar water-heaters, television antennae,
no satellite dish is protected from their vileness.
They’ll strip the silicon sealant from plate-glass window panes,
attacking even the electric cabling tarpaulins.
They are destructive creatures, and their squawk is loud and irks.
No Sunday morning in Connecticut can catch these jerks.

E. Birdcaws Eule is a poet of birds. According to Birdee Euclaws, “Cockatoos like tearing up things: newspapers, poetry books, and the wooden tables they lie on.”

~~~

Jakarta’s Sinking
          by Budi Eas Celewr

It sits on swampy lands with thirteen rivers running through,
the capital and largest site in Indonesia too,
Jakarta has its share of problems that it has to face,
and more than most because it’s a large populated place.
Its rapid urban growth puts it just after Tokyo,
as the Earth’s second most agglomerated imbroglio.
With grid-locked traffic and conjestion it is hard to drive;
as well, its ecologic breakdown means that plants can’t thrive.
But worst of all, the city’s sinking lower all the time;
too much ground water’s pumped, and floods rise due to changing clime.

Budi Eas Celewr is a poet of Indonesia. Jakarta is a city of over 10,000,000, but the agglomeration Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangarang and Bekasi) contained over 30,000,000 in 2010.

~~~

The Portent
          by Aedile Cwerbus

He gazed up to the heavens searching for some kind of sign,
an omen that could tell him when his future soon would shine.
He dreamed that Jupiter appeared above, like as a king,
protecting him, but also forcing him to do His thing.
But he would not ignore the sign, as did Caligula,
who was assassinated the next day malignantly.
Instead he offered up a cup to toast the mighty god,
and voiced his heartfelt gratitude he’d come unto his bod.
One must be wary of important portents when they come,
accepting them with openness, or end up as a bum.

 

To Somnus
          by Aedile Cwerbus

What is the accusation, o, young god, what have I done,
that you deny me here, within despair and all alone,
at the edge of eternity, sweet peace, your treasure, Sleep,
that enters even prowling beasts, and centers, o, so deep?
the pleasant flowers, o, for hours, nodding to your depths;
it’s said that some times raging seas, their roars are formed and spent.
But why am I, like oceanic waves and heavy seas,
left here alone upon this lap of land in misery?
The moon in seven visits has seen me, my wild eyes,
awake and staring at the seven stars of morning’s rise.
The moon at twilight and at sunrise watches and awaits
the banishing, the vanishing, distress anticipates.
O, in compassion, spray thy dews from thy unwielding whip.
O, bring me strength and power to escape this whorling hip.
O, even Argus, thousand-eyed, allows his eyes to rest;
nerves taut, on guard relentlessly, I’m beaten by this test…
ah, staring, o, like couples interlocked, that shut you out,
from night-long ecstasies and raging seas of love and doubt.
So come to me and close my eyes. I issue no demands,
enfold my gaze with your sweet haze and smoothe me with your hands.
I beg your wand’s tip touches me, above me hovering,
and takes me to the end of all these wakes, recovering.

Aedile Cwerbus is a poet of ancient Rome. The latter poem draws inspiration from a poem by Statius (c. 45 – c. 96).

~~~

Big Bad Bear (#fugaperlaliberta)
          by Uberde Ascweli

M49, a large, strong bear, climbed an electric fence
with seven cables carrying some 7,000 volts.
So dangerous, and dense, to overcome such jolts as that,
he took off to Trentino’s hills where he’d been stationed at.
So many people were amazed. M49 is tough.
It takes a genius to surmount a barrier so rough!
Perhaps he was the bear who had already taken out
domestic animals—some thirteen stalked, or there about.
But now he is back on the loose, and very hard to track.
Where is he now? One wonders when he will be coming back.

 

Andrea Camilleri (1925-2019)
          by Uberdi Ascweli

Andrea Camilleri left the heat of Sicily,
and died in Rome in hospital at age of 93.
From a director, he went on to dialogues and death,
with dialect he knew from youth and time’s remembered breath.
Police Chief Salvo Montalbano will no longer irk;
th’ imaginary commisario is done with work.
Deaths needed solving with some logic, humour and some fight,
including searching for Luigi Pirandello’s life.
“Il cuoco dell’Alcyon” was his final Iliad;
he left one thousand unsolved cases, yes, a chiliad.

Uberdi Ascweli is a poet of Italy. Statius left unfinished his epic of a chiliad of lines, his Achilleid. One of Uberdi Ascweli favourite movies of all time is “Caccia alla volpe” with its admixture of neorealism and farce.

~~~

An Idle Idyll
          by Esiad L. Werecub

They found themselves in morning’s beauty, shepherd and goatherd,
beneath the dappled oak trees and the chattering of birds.
The ground around was thick with shrubbery beneath the copse;
the air was filled with floral smells, cicadas, flies and wasps.
One hears the moan and groan of goat and sheep upon the lawn;
they are content to while away the hours of sweet dawn.
One almost could imagine Pan is piping in the shade,
and holds his wooden flute and plays a summer serenade,
while there nearby a woodland nymph reveals, o, lovely form
there pressing forth beside the ferns in dappled sun light warm.

Esiad L. Werecub is a poet of ancient Greece. In this poem, he is thinking of the poetry of Theocritus (fl. c. 270 BC), who, like Camilleri, was an inhabitant of Sicily.

~~~

Harold Scott McDonald Coxeter
          by Euclidrew Base

In youth, he was a pianist, accomplished at age ten.
He felt that math and music were an interwoven den.
In 1933, he spent a year at Trinity
attending seminars of Wittgenstein’s philosophy.
In 1936 he moved to Canada for good;
Toronto then became his city and his neighbourhood.
He was an advocate of classical geometry,
against the major, favoured algebraic tendency.
He did his major work in polytopes, types: regular,
and high-dimensions—Harold Scott McDonald Coxeter.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics. “Donald” Coxeter (1907-2003) was a British-Canadian mathematician who focused on the theory of polytopes, nonEuclidean geometry, and projective geometry. Among those he inspired were Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher (1898-1972) and American architect and futurist Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983).

~~~

They Came
          by Cesal Dwe Uribe

They came out by the thousands; they were running from their lands.
They could not get out fast enough. They came in roving bands.
They fled corruption, poverty, and dire circumstance.
They didn’t care what might occur. They hoped but for a chance.
They fled their suffering. They fled responsibilities.
They fled the gangs, the criminals, the crime and the disease.
They fled their lives. They fled their dreams. They fled their families.
They longed to flee so many things, o, even more than these.
They came out by the thousands, they were fleeing from the law,
and brought with them that as they came in by the thousands all.

Cesal Dwe Uribe is a poet of the Americas.

~~~

An American Idyll
          by Caleb Wuri Seed

Who do these cows belong to, standing by discarded wood?
Who owns that sheep that’s grazing in the barely grassy mud?
Who owns this farm where all the trees are leafless, empty, bare,
like strange contortionists with grasping fingers grasping air.

What’s in those stony silos? Is there anything at all?
Their gray and white stone masonry ascends—cylindrical.
And what is in that white-roofed shed? Is it significant?
Has something ever happened in it that’s important stuff?

Beyond the largest trees one barely sees a tallish house.
Before those trees one sees a long and narrow trailer house.
Who’s in those structures? What have they been doing on this land?
What are they striving to attain? What do they understand?

Beyond the fence there are more structures that one also sees.
Who owns those structures, and that land? Can someone tell me, please?
The skies are pale blue with white and streaming, wind-blown clouds.
A dark gray jet flies overhead. O, is it very loud?

Is that why those beef cattle raise their heads and look straight out?
Is there somebody who’s been taking pictures from the town?
And if there is, does anybody know just who he is?
The emptiness is telling, the brown ground gratuitous.

 

The Farmer’s Pet
          by Caleb Wuri Seed

He was a Midwest farmer, who always wore suspender straps.
He was just used to holding up his pants that way perhaps.
He never smiled; he was always very serious,
so sober that he never seemed to be delirious.
It seemed as if he did not want to talk to anyone,
especi’lly if the person was in front of him, or hung.
But there was one thing that he liked; it was a husky bitch.
A dog he saved, he found one day, left in a barren ditch.
He made that furry creature his companion, pet and help.
He had it ever close to him, and it would never yelp.

Caleb Wuri Seed is a poet of agriculture. One of his favourite tunes is “Turkey in the Straw”.

~~~

Homework
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

He looked out on this city, seeing only buildings rise,
concrete and steel over streets, that jut into the skies.
Good morning, it is time to exercise his back a bit;
without equipment, target rhomboids, lumbars and the lats.

Reverse snow angels in the light, not going anywhere,
as if he’s flying there in place, the hands and arms in air.
Next, dolphin flips, not quite the kicks; up go the legs and feet;
but he is in the urban air, not in the ocean deep.

And then, upon cement square tiles, hands and feet outstretched;
it’s superman, the man of steel, doing reps and sets.
And finally, he stands up straight, and starts his hinge hip moves,
back, glutes and hamstrings, all engaged, in very groovy grooves.

Rudi E. Welec is a poet of exercise. Although he is into regular exercising now, in his youth his worst grades in high school were in PE. When in a college PE class, at grade time, he told his instructor he had lied about some data, or other, he had given him. The professor was so impressed he told the truth, he changed his quarter grade up to an A—perhaps the only time he got an A in PE.

~~~

The Study
          by Erisbawdle Cue

He knelt down at the fount of knowledge, drinking up a lot.
He loved to open up to gain new penetrating thought.
He opened up new files, sites, and even hard bound books.
The study was, without a doubt, his favourite of nooks.
He loved a brand new challenge learning what he did not know,
and striving to attain new heights, to rise up from the low,
to reach down deep into his reservoirs of strength to find
new winding avenues within the cities of his mind.
O, ecstasy it is to learn new things not understood,
for wonders no one knew that are both beautiful and good.

Erisbawdle Cue is a poet of thought.

~~~

Shine, Perishing Republic II
          by Cal Wes Ubideer

While this America is settling in vulgarity
into the wretched rhetoric, throughout it, thickening,
and mad, protesting masses SCREAM on social media
outrageous claims, in hate-filled rants, of vile expedience,
volcanic shifts in thoughtless rifts spew lava-tory flames
into the blogosphere for corporation hunger-games,
shine, perishing republic, in the face of goolag camps,
where AI birds are twittering away on insta-amps,
and cities lie within this monster’s grip, remember that,
there are the mountains where true freedom can be found, in fact.

Cal Wes Ubideer is a poet of California, which he both loves and hates.

~~~

Wake Up: July 19, 2019
          by Cadwel E. Bruise
          “…breaks like the Atlantic Ocean on my head.”
              —Robert Lowell, “Man and Wife”

This morning I woke up in darkness, wholly unaware.
I fell off of the bed. I crashed, and bashed my head right there
on the hard edge of the night stand. O, damn, that hurt like hell,
so totally disorienting that I could not tell.
I needed to turn on a light. I could not see a thing.
I searched to find a light. Where was I? What was happening?
So crazy—I began to worry for my sanity,
the discombobulation, o, and the humanity.
I went to the refrigerator to get an ice pack,
but all I had was North Atlantic sea-scal-lops—nice smack!

Cadwel E. Bruise is a poet of New England.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Books

 

Went to bed too late,
Woke up too early.
Reached for a book from my library.
My library is not contained in a one corner
Of one room,or one book shelf, One bookcase.
No! There are bookcases of different sizes
Holding books of different dimensions
With numerous titles, different content,
By different authors.

My library, not the public library.
My library, filled with the books
I chose, purchased arranged, rearranged.
Books on subjects that matter to me.
Always more unread books than read.
Books I found, books that found me
Books put away with the intention of being read.

I once bought a book because it fell
On my head from a shelf set
Somewhere between heaven and earth.
Yes that book found me!
leading me to believe I have better luck
Finding books than romance!

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Feedback with Lizi von Teig: Song Dissection – “Hipster Shakes” by Black Pistol Fire

 

Previously I have done deep dives into the songs “Racing In The Street” and “4th of July from Asbury Park (Sandy),” both by Bruce Springsteen. This week I wanted to try out a dissection of a non-Bruce Springsteen song.

I haven’t gotten to gush about Black Pistol Fire enough. They haven’t released an album since I started writing Feedback last year, and since I don’t (or at least rarely) review singles, I haven’t discussed their fantastic recent songs like “Pick Your Poison” and “Temper Temper.” However there is one song of theirs I know so intimately I thought I would do a song dissection of it to give you a glimpse into BPF’s genius.

In 2014 Black Pistol Fire released their Hush Or Howl album. I first saw them live opening for Gary Clark Jr on Halloween 2015, which was my first exposure to them, and then saw them touring to support this album that December. Even though Deadbeat Graffiti (2017) is arguably a better album, Hush Or Howl will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was the first I heard. The enduring hit off that album, and probably their most famous song besides “Suffocation Blues,” is “Hipster Shakes.” Let’s dig into what exactly Kevin McKeown and Eric Owen are up to on this blues punk classic.

Follow along by listening on YouTube or Spotify.

The beauty of this song comes from it’s simplicity. Like most tracks on this album, it is just guitar and drums. No bass, no keys, no second guitar to play rhythm/lead. Kevin has to put a lot of reverb on his guitar to get the sound to carry, and puts a fair bit of distortion by way of a Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi pedal (possibly additional pedals, but this is the one I am certain he is using). The Big Muff has the added bonus of providing some sustain on his notes, letting them truly ring when he needs them to. Eric Owen’s drums have a fair bit of reverb on them too, making them ring loud and hard like a Led Zeppelin song.

The track opens with some chicken picking on a G minor pentatonic riff. Starting on the IV of the scale, and then hopping to the V and the vii. This creates a very tense riff that is almost resolved on the last note which is fretted to be a G (the I note, which would feel complete), but he bends the note into a G# making it a ii which adds tension, before finally resolving it with a G power chord. This isn’t the classic voicing of a G power chord though. That classic voicing you’re so familiar with from Chuck Berry tunes is a G2 and D3 on the 6th and 5th strings. This voicing is G and D on the top 4 strings, providing twice as many strings to add power and higher octaves to make a more dynamic sound. The second time through the riff, he stops halfway through to go to two power chords (on the bass strings, providing yet more dynamic tones). Instead of hitting that G chord he hit before, he goes to either the IV, VI, or vii, giving no release.

Once through both of those with the effects pretty muted and just a little chime on the ride from the drums brings us into the drop, where everything gets big. The Big Muff pedal goes into high gear and Eric Owen’s drums come in. Owen is living on the crash for this section. The crash cymbal is the loudest, with a nice long ring to it, so it fits nicely into this entrance. The snare and kick line up pretty well with the melodic hits of the guitar, even on the off beats, which we’ll find to be the case throughout this song.

Into the verse, the chords here are a G and F power chords. G is the I so it creates that nice comfortable resolution, but the F is the vii which creates a very strong sense of unease. Neither of these chords ring for too long though, so their impact is fleeting. McKeown’s vocals (and Owen’s drums) fill the space between the chords.

My baby talks so much she lose her mind
Her violent hips and she knows how to treat me right
I don’t worry and I pay no mind
Chugging gasoline she knows how to start a fire

The lyrics here are poetic but not too deep. The song is overall about a wild lover who is passionate but fleeting. “Chugging gasoline” is a particularly evocative image of someone destroying her life to have fun by “starting a fire.” The riff here is the really fun part, with Kevin playing a IV, V, vii, and iii to create a lot of tension in quick succession before landing back on that I to finish things. He jumps back into a power chord I as soon as he finishes the riff, making the resolution even stronger.

Knee high just a baby child
Little heartbreaker, old enough to tow the line
Cheeky smile and her daddy’s good looks
She grew up hard stealing hearts just like a crook

She’s a young little thing, but she’s old enough to have some experience in love. She’s been the belle of the ball for as long as she can remember, and been sought after ever since then. But her “stealing hearts just like a crook” indicates that she’s not necessarily going to stay with our narrator very long. Not that he ever seems to mind.

Roll me over, time again
Papa don’t approve (I said)
Roll me over, time again
Papa don’t approve about the way she walks

A rebel child, her father doesn’t like the way she’s living her life, but that’s not gonna stop her. While McKeown sings this, he plays a simple I-V-VI progression, hammering on the iii of each chord, resulting in a dark tone. But since we’re in G minor, these minor thirds are supposed to be in the chords and it feels very consistent, more so than that vii power chord in the verse.

Then we go back into the intro, which is also our chorus. Kevin wails over the power chords with stunning effect.

You’d better watch your man
Before she steals him too
You’d better watch your man
I won’t be played a–

The narrator warns us that she’s not afraid to take a taken man and begins to tell us how he isn’t like them and he’s smarter, but gets cut off by the next verse.

Got mind to give you a talking to
Turn the other cheek, darling I ain’t done with you
C’mon sugar won’t you take your shot
Arms folded across, show me what you really got

The narrator here switches to address the audience. She’s another woman, one more reluctant to join the party. But McKeown encourages her to join in by “showing him what she’s really got.” Second half of the verse is same as the first, returning to our subject the little heartbreaker. Then back into the chorus where McKeown is once again cut off but this time by the bridge.

Hey mama way you roll that comb
See you cupping and a-rattling them bones
Come on down and do the Hipster Shake
Someone put me out my cage

This is the sonic climax of the song. A Gm power chord ringing out. It’s the first and only time in the song we hear a chord with all three tones, giving it maximum power only amplified by the exceptional sustain on the Big Muff Pi, which amps up the tension to ten. This is the part of the song where, if you see it live, you have to clap along. It’s built for a big rhythm section, which on the album is provided by Eric Owen’s kick on the quarter notes. Sadly, up here in Boston, I am often the only one clapping.

What exactly the “hipster shake” is will probably be Black Pistol Fire’s equivalent of Springsteen’s “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.” Presumably it’s some sort of dance, but not one I’m aware of existing. What rolling a comb is makes another mystery, though presumably “rattling them bones” is a reference to gambling in a game of craps. While the meaning of these lyrics may never be clear to anyone outside Black Pistol Fire, the final lyric “someone put me out my cage” followed by a transition back into the chorus makes for such a powerful moment that it’ll take you a few listens to really care about the lack of apparent meaning in the lyrics.

Once more we go through the chorus, as Kevin finally finishes his sentence to say he “won’t be played a fool” as a G note rings out at the end, ended by a slide up the neck to finish the song. “Hipster Shakes” is not the most complicated song, living mostly in a G minor pentatonic scale, but it is such a beautifully executed and Ingeniously crafted one that it leaves the musician analyzing it wondering how Black Pistol Fire could get so much out of so little composition.

 

Elizabeth von Teig is a musician and author living in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her expertise is classic rock, folk punk, and the blues.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #293: Trinity Goes Quaternity

 

or Face of Place

I was just a child when the holy Mother
ascended to the Father, Son and Holy Ghostess
but way out in that scrubby right field hoping
no one would ever slice an errant one my way
I saw her rising over the Lutheran Church
(although I thought it should have been St. James
where the Virgin Mary knelt there waiting
for levity to take her up like dark matter
in fields of swirling circling dark energy)
where down on the baseball diamond
we were playing hard ball with the bullies
bat in hand at the plate and everything
ordained from above and yet from below
we (or at least me) knew something else
was real and somebody else was out there
and I could see her slowly steady rising
up in this crystal blue blub of Summer
sky I never saw before until the ball, this ball
came suddenly at me in the crack of the bat
hurtling down toward completely unprepared

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Cartoon Poem by Copper Rose

 

We Wish We Could Tell Them

After studying
the inhabitants of earth
we have come to the conclusion
their ability to
retain information
decreases over time.
They are unaware
of private portals
that would alleviate
the experience of
forgetfulness.
The portals develop
on their own, over time,
in every dwelling
and exist in the space
between the couch
and the kitchen sink.
To date, there is
no compensational portal
for those without a couch
or a kitchen sink
and we are collecting data
in regard to the lack of portals
in those areas.

 

Copper Rose perforates the edges of the page while writing unusual stories from the heart of Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and online journals. She also understands there really is something about pie.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Jon Alston

 

The Modern Sleep

 

We eventually stopped dreaming.
No unconsciousness for dreams to
grow, to assemble night escapes: a
dark where day has no domain. No
place for the mind to unwind, dump
all the daily stimuli. But we don’t
notice. We see more hours of the
day: to drink, to smoke, to get high,
to gorge, to sleep around, to sit and
do nothing for days that no longer
end.

 

   We stopped doing regular activities, unable to store our lascivious memories.
We stopped advancing careers, improving lives, creating art, writing books
(reading books), talking to others, watching TV, going outside.                        

 

Nature recovered. Global warming
eliminated by our inactivity. We sit
on couches and chairs and floors   
and beds, stare at walls,                  

 
 
 

until we die.

 

Jon Alston has an MA in Creative Writing. Good for him. He even got accepted in Lancaster University’s PhD program. Hot dog. He writes things from time to time, and sometimes people publish them. Good for him. On occasion, he photographs things (or people), and maybe writes about them; sometimes there is money exchanged for his services. Good for him. He is married with two children of both genders. Way to reproduce. He is the Executive Editor and founder of From Sac, a literary journal for Northern California. How about that? He recently returned to warm California after teaching English at Brigham Young University, Idaho among the frozen potato fields and Mormons. Good for you, Jon. Good for you.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: Parental Control

 

*Strong Language Warning*

Oh look, it’s time to rant:

So recently on the interwebs, I’ve seen this tongue-in-cheek post about someone who put a prenatal lock on their mother’s cable box in order to prevent access to Fox News. While the post itself was supposed to be somewhat of a joke, the comments themselves were rather alarming. There are people who are seriously locking blocking one news channel on an elder person’s cable box, and forcing them towards one that adheres to another’s biases.
No, just no.

FUCK NO!

Look, you might not agree with what someone else watches, but they have the right to watch whatever floats their boat. I know what you’re going to say next, “But Fox News is nothing but propaganda designed to indoctrinate people towards a certain agenda!”

What if told you MOST of the news agencies consist of propaganda designed to indoctrinate one towards an agenda of one’s choosing. A news agency isn’t immune to being some form of propaganda just because it adheres to your confirmation biases. Let me say it a little louder so that those in the back can hear.

A NEWS AGENCY ISN’T IMMUNE TO BEING SOME FORM OF PROPAGANDA JUST BECAUSE IT ADHERES TO YOUR CONFIRMATION BIASES!!!!

You think CNN, MSNBC, and etc are any better? Oh hell no. They’re all sensationalist in some regard depending on the issues being covered. If you rely solely on one news source just because it confirms your biases, you aren’t getting the full story. I may seem like I’m riding a high horse, but I’ve made the mistake of relying solely on sources that catered to my biases more times than I’m willing to admit. They ALL have some strengths, but they’re ALL flawed in some regard because they’re systematically engineered to target a specific demographic rather than providing an impartial, unbiased account of events.

Now back to blocking channels on cable boxes of elderly people because they my not confirm your biases.

This behavior is not only wrong, it’s also dangerous. It sets the precedent that we can control access to media based merely on OUR biases. There’s only one government I know that pulls this type of shit, and it’s North Korea. North Korea has a long history of locking its citizens to propaganda that favors its own government. Now I ain’t saying y’all are like North Korea, but we can ride the slippery slope to such a situation if this continues to be a trend.

The beautiful thing about this country is that we can watch whatever the fuck we want. We can get our information from where ever the fuck we want. We have the freedom to dig around and analyze multiple news sources to come to an informed opinion on our own. We also have the freedom to continue to consume media that confirms our biases much to the disagreement of the opposing side.

It isn’t our job to control what another watches simply because it doesn’t adhere to our biases. You also can’t label one source as propaganda without labeling them ALL as propaganda. They’re ALL systematically flawed and will continue to be that way as long as they’re designed to feed information to specific regions, and populations. If you don’t like something, fine, but it isn’t our place to control where another goes for their information.

Unlike North Korea, where people are fed whatever poison the government deems fit, we’re allowed to pick our poisons, and I would like it to stay that way.

*mic drop*

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk!

Keep it classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 281: Obi

 

I got a little pup
His name is Obi,
Best thing that ever
happened to me.
Training him as a pup
I enjoy it, it’s fun.
Obi, Obi!
Today I feel happy.
Poem may be shitty.
Poem may be sappy.
But Obi, welcome to my family.

 

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Michael La Bombarda

 

On Seeing Maria After Some Time

Maria you are a scarecrow
Of yourself
And your padded behind
Is like the bony hand

Of a thin man or woman.
Your face looks gaunt
As if you stared into an abyss
And forgot to eat for a month.

Your eyes resemble your eyes
As if you’d just witnessed
A horrific accident,
Or life-changing disaster.

To an arbiter of taste
Like yourself
Who is punctilious
In thought and deed,

And refrains from comment
On those not so discerning
Or as reticent
As yourself,

You are not admirable
In your skeletal look
That hints at famine
And starvation.

(In this age of terrorism
And requited hate
Bred historically
Since childhood,

You transcend
The socio-political
In the grace of your hand,
The evenness of your footfall,

The way your locks of hair
Fall across your face like lines
Shadowing the portrait of a
Venus Or some downtown goddess

Whose name I haven’t uttered
In quite some time,
Nor intend to now
As she remains a secret

Locked in my heart,
Hidden in my breast,
Voided of personal interest
But the celebratory),

Yet despite
This long digression
I admire and want to be
With you.

 

Michael La Bombarda is a poet and fiction writer. My first full-length book is called Steady Hands and my second is callled A Lover’s Complaint. I am published by Chez Michel Press. I am retired and live in New York City.

Gunjan Bhardwaj is a 22 year old computer engineering from india who enjoys painting and sketching.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: 6D (Part Three)

 

© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 
]

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

A wind-up gadget
wound up by the summer wind:
cicada clatter.

“Wired Clues” Abe is a techno-haiku poet.

~~~

Two Recent Papers on Climate Change
          by Ira “Dweeb” Scule

Some scientists from Finland and Japan said recently
GCM-models used in IPCC cannot be,
“that man-made climate change does not exist in practice”—huh?
Anthropogenic climate change is insignificant.
In the last century, the Finn researchers bluntly speak:
“the human contribution was .01 degrees”.
Professor Hyodo, now at Kobe University,
says natural phenomena more likely raised the heat.
“New evidence suggests galactic cosmic rays affect
cloud cover causing an ‘umbrella [energy] effect.'”

Ira “Dweeb” Scule is a poet of science. Acronyms GCM and IPCC stand for general circulation model and intergovernment panel on climate change respectively.

~~~

The Walking Man
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

It was the early morning; he was going for a walk.
The Sun was shining brightly but it wasn’t yet too hot.
He walked along the sidewalks, step by step and block by block.
He slightly swung his arms. He didn’t pause or stop to talk.
He loved the early morning air. He felt so warm and good.
He loved to be out walking like this in the neighbourhood.
Although he seemed so free, some small concern was on his face;
but overall his pace was nice and easy, filled with grace.
He wasn’t going anywhere, no place particular;
but each spot passed, the very air there seemed spectacular.

Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”, is a poet of physical exercise. He remembers in high school and college when he would wake up early in the morning and go out running. He liked his many-mile, high-school runs up and down the wooded hills at dawn. In college he would run through the bird-trilling-filled trails just as the city around him was waking up.

~~~

The Nesting Season
          by W. S. “Eel” Bericuda
          “Most people were heartless about turtles because a turtle’s heart will beat for hours after it has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought I have such a heart too.”
              —Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

It is the nesting season for the fertile leatherbacks—
sea turtles from th’ Atlantic Ocean, pumped up to the max.
They haul themselves onto the beaches of warm Trinidad,
and dig out nests to lay a clutch within the grainy sand.
So pumped and stoked, they poke and stroke, they wiggle on the land;
they’ve plodded, prodded, coddled sod to reach that longed-for stand.
These days marine biologists believe there are no more
than 90,000 turtles worldwide. O, poor—that store.
And yet they onward strive to keep alive, continuing
to do the best they can, their heart-beats strong and genuine.

W. S. “Eel Bericuda” is a poet of sea life. Only about 1% of sea-turtle hatchlings make it to sexual maturity at 16 years.

~~~

Postmarvelous Melbourne
          by Walibee Scrude

Above the deep, blue surface of the Yarra, rise
the buildings of the Melbourne skyline: white, gray, slate,
beneath the high and wide, ballooning azure skies,
rectangular, like blocks upon a flattened plate,
between Bourke Place’s sleek, contoured and checkered plaid
and tall Eureka, pointing like square-fingered fate,
reflected cloud-puffs in Rialto Towers’ staid
and glassy height, the concrete Collins Street boxed crew.
Below, Saint Patrick’s and Saint Paul’s Cathedrals wade
sedately through the shallows and the shaded hues,
another world’s inns of peace, hope, and reprise,
against the waves of modernism’s platitudes.

 

How Many Tears?
          by Walibee Scrude
          for Robbie Yates

How many tears each year fall for the Melbourne Cup,
for joy for victory, for sorrow for defeat,
for riders of the horses, yelling giddyup,
for owners of the horses, howling through each heat,
for backers of the men and horses that they ride,
for bankers of all parts, until they are complete,
for those c-a-r-r-i-e-d away, or take it all in stride,
for familes of those, the driven and involved,
for those upset by loss, for those beset by pride,
for those who are admired, for those who are unloved,
for winners, losers, and for those who never sup,
or had a chance, with those who were a part of it?

Walibee Scrude is a poet of Australian dreams and realities. The above poems are bildings [sic] with an ababcbcdcdad rhyme scheme. Robbie Yates is an Aussie poet fueled by delicious Melbourne coffee and cheeky poetry. In the note, according to Beau Lecsi Werd, Mr. Scrude meant to use the past participle “lain”.

~~~

A Note to Robbie Yates
by Walibee Scrude

Thanks for 8/8 tentacles! That made my day today:
here in July, which is more than a year ago from May.
I cannot say how sad I am that my response so slow
shows I did not appreciate your thought—o, I’m lain low.

 

The Hong Kong Protests of 2019
by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

The seven million of Hong Kong are making quite a fuss.
But what chance does one enclave have against a billion plus?
A small democracy against a giant tyranny:
What hope is there for those who fear and yet long to be free?
Although Hong Kong’s economy is fully ten percent,
of all of China’s wealth, how good is that when it is spent?
A greater power’s holding back a bit and biding time,
but who believes that ruthless force will not commit a crime?
And yet for all that, that small group of people’s standing up
to one dictator—Xi Jinping—who daily drinks his cup…
of blood.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet of China, whose poulation is about 1,420,245,000 compared to Hong Kong’s of approximately 7,392,000. The imperialist Chinese Communist Party membership is about 88,000,000 people. As the ruling elites, they dominate the economy, academia, and hundreds of millions of people.

~~~

China’s Claims on Vietnam
          by Lê Dức Bảệ “Wired”

Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been embroiled in
a weeks-long standoff near an oil block off Vietnam.
The site is well within th’ exclusive economic zone;
but China claims the continental shelf of Vietnam!
And earlier this month, July, a Chinese coast guard ship
maneuvered recklessly and threatened ships and oil rig.
Five years ago, the tensions rose, when China started to
drill in the Viet waters, causing rammings to accrue.
In fact, in 2014 anti-China riots had
been triggered in Hanoi for China’s claims on Vietnam.

Lê Dức Bảệ “Wired” is a poet of Vietnam. Vietnam is not averse to pushing back at Chinese imperialism.

~~~

Haiku
          by Drew U. A. Eclibse

Over the roof tops,
the pale, cratered moon rises,
opening evening.

 

The Indian Rover on the Moon
          by Drew U. A. Eclibse

The Chandrayaan 2, a GSLV MK-III,
weighs some 640 tons and is 140 feet.
The orbiter and lander are housed there up at the top
that’s powered by a cryogenic engine thrusting up.
Two strap-on rocket boosters are the first stage of the launch;
there at the bottom they’re a roaring, roaming, o, me conch.
Two Vikas engines further up make up the second stage
of this our mission, said K. Sivas ISRO sage.
But there had been a snag, the first launch called off just before
the lander and the rover took off for the lunar shore.

Drew U. A. Eclibse is a poet of the Moon. The haiku was written on July 16, 2019. The is the 50th year anniversary of the first human landing on the moon.

~~~

A Free Paraphrase from Vladimir Arnold
          by Euclidrew Base

“Though mathematics is one of humanity’s fine arts,
all mathematics is divided into these three parts:
Cryptography is one, supported by the KGB.
and companies to do their business work in secrecy.
Hydrodynamics is the second one, supported by
atomic submarine developers to test the lie.
Celestial “mécanique” is third, propped up by those who deal
in missiles, outer space or military, to conceal.”
Although Vladimir Arnold, when he made a quote like this;
although absurd, his hidden meaning was not hard to miss!

Vladimir Arnold (1937-2010) was a Russian mathematician whose PhD thesis contained the solution of Hilbert’s 13th Problem. He was a co-founder of KAM theory and topological Galois theory.

~~~

Mount Chimborazo
          by Wibele Escudar

So beautiful it rises in the rising of the day;
Mount Chimborazo slopes up to a point upon display.
To climb its lovely peak is a perfection rarely won;
its cold austerity a challenge to most everyone.
An Andean stratovolcano there in Ecuador;
it rises up so gorgeously and grand it seems to soar.
One time considered as the highest mountain on the Earth,
it still remains the furthest point from Earth’s grand, bulging girth.
O, Chimborazo, rocky mountain, glaciated tor;
with peak the nearest to the Sun on this Globe’s shifting floor.

 

Pablo Neruda on the Passing of Joseph Stalin
          by Wibele Escudar

We must be men. That is the law that Joseph Stalin left.
Sincere intensity and concrete clarity are best.
He was the noon of man. Let us from this not be bereft.
Let’s bear these words with pride, all comrade fighting communists.

Though he has died, the light has not; the fire still appears.
Increase the growth of bread and hope. Decrease your shallow fears.
The persecuted rose is on his shoulders, like the dove.
The giant goes back to the land he governed from above.

Speak not of executions, as did Osip Mandelstam.
Speak not of bread crumbs or defeat, like Varlam Shalamov.
Speak not of writers murdered, August 1952,
including poets Markish, Hofstein, Feffer and Kvitko.

Speak not of mass starvation that was planned for the Ukraine.
Speak not of suicides Esenin, Mayakovsky, pain.
Speak not of silenced poets, like Anna Akhmatova,
or those who felt they couldn’t speak more, like Tvetaeva.

Speak not about the gulag archipelago again,
like Sozhenitsyn did. Don’t speak like that. Do not complain.
Speak not of all the millions killed. And most of all don’t shout.
And if you dare to freely speak, a gag should bind your mouth.

The waves beat down upon the stones. continuing his work.
When Malenkov will take the reins, no duties shall he shirk…
till Khrushchev and Bulganin jerk him from the center stage.
This is the power Stalin had. Invincible his Age.

Wibele Escudar is a poet of South America.

~~~

The Farmer in the Dell
          by Caleb Wuri Seed

The farmer in the dell was driving all about the farm.
The Sun was shining on him; he was feeling very warm.
Refreshed from riding on his motorbike, he paused beside
the jeep he had been driving in. It too was quite a ride.

A man who’d loaded up his van with wood had paused to chat.
The farmer opened up about his worries and his angst.
He longed to share his troubles with another working man,
who empathized because he too wished for a helping hand.

The dirty farmer looked unhappy, as he paused to break.
He truly felt that life was some times just too hard to take.
And so they talked away the afternoon till evening came;
above, the full moon rose up high; down went the solar flame.

Caleb Wuri Seed is a poet of agriculture.

~~~

The Dude
          by Irbee C. Swaudel

The dude wore black, up at his shirt, down to his shoes and socks;
but he did not attempt to channel Hamlet or his lot.
He did not plot to catch the King, nor did he plan to box;
he only longed to fetch the thing to prove that it was caught.

The dude was blue within his soul, and true as he could be;
but he did not attempt to channel flannel or Police.
He did not lease Pessoa’s fleece, nor try to change his tee;
he only longed to be a person, happy and at peace.

The dude was deep, a pinkish shade, a man of colour too;
but he did not attempt to channel haughty attitude.
He did not brood to be some rube, nor rude and reckless coot;
he only longed to be just what he was. He was a dude.

Irbee C. Swaudel is a poet of the ordinary within the extraordinary.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! Earth to God

 

Dear God:

It would have been a hell of lot easier to abide by those rules, the 10 Commandments, if you had just dumbed down the language and not scribbled on two slabs of marble.

Have you not learned that stone is not the best medium to convey your wishes?

In fact, one commandment would have been an outstandingly elegant statement ,making us the envy of the universe.

Something like, Thou shall always look Good!

Remember: We are human, and to err is what we do best!

Our actions are guided by our image in the mirror.

We like attention, and well-cut designer clothes.

Those loose fitting robes may work in heaven, but are unrealistic in our fast pace world where we pray nothing distracts us from our mission to look our best as we vogue along that great runway in the sky. Or go down in flames!

If you wanted us to behave, why in this world did you deliver us to a planet with wind, water, and polyester?

But it is never too late to state the obvious.

Draw that line in the sand and let the Devil know. Hell could never afford to keep us!

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #292: Back at the Ranch II

 

Jeez! I can’t believe it’s come to this
Strapped to the hewn logs of failed policy
We all hurtle over the waterfall rapids
And land on the conveyor belt only to see
The buzz saw blade cutting its sharp way
Right through the dead wood between our legs.

There’s Agent Orange Head steering in the rear view
Mirror of a world which never really existed anyway
Negotiating, wheeler dealing, the paths pioneered by T.V.
By soap operas and horse operas and out on the range
With the Lone Ranger ( and Tonto) who have forgotten
1950’s civic life, union jobs and Mainline Christian Faith
That somehow still remembered what life was like then
Before there was even a glimmer of social security safety net.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Patricia Walsh

 

Animated Darkness

Sifting through paper, a niggling progeny,
whitewashed tombs betray their wares
shortage of ink to comfort the deja vu
strange solid art watches from above.

Collective champions eschew the later bar,
insulted injury too much to drag across
the dark-haired redeemer brings to notice
the unsung text of a forgotten queen.

Being rested and fed, despite any industry
colluding in its produce, goading further
the attention sought, gained and remembered
looking fierce shook, despite recommendation.

Intravenous for drugs, come along later,
minimal disruption of a working day
weighted, abated, a nightmare of excess
a noticed permission of means of production.

A closeted white, told to grow up
not even a break-in can move me far,
unless some getaway, through a galaxy nearby
fearing everything in sight, walking cleanly.

Solace in tea, a life-form worth dissecting
embarrassed in silence, burning in the truth
not getting over this, solidified wedding ring
crashed to obscurity, a lesson earned.

 

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland. To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals. These include: The Lake; Seventh Quarry Press; Marble Journal; New Binary Press; Stanzas; Crossways; Ygdrasil; Seventh Quarry; The Fractured Nuance; Revival Magazine; Ink Sweat and Tears; Drunk Monkeys; Hesterglock Press; Linnet’s Wing, Narrator International, The Galway Review; Poethead and The Evening Echo.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Richard L. Ratliff

 

Monkey Business

It just fell in my lap
says the playful primate
pivoting from his perch.

It’s a taste of forbidden knowledge
A pilfered apple that fell from someone’s pad
I will not give it back!

Jonathan, Fiji, Golden Delicious
Macintosh; all forbidden fruit
I want this multicolored knowledge
It is the best I’ve ever had
Just you try and get it

It just fell, blame it on gravity
Says Eve in Halloween disguise
Speaking with her mouth full

Was this Darwin, Newton or Einstein’s thought
Gravity or Quantum?
Discretely waiting to be caught
A falling god particle conundrum

 

Richard L Ratliff is a baby boomer, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, his midwest ties have built the foundation and setting for his poetry. He is a Purdue University graduate with two years of engineering turned into a degree in English Literature. All of these eclectic combinations have given him a career as a boiler and combustion expert and poet.He has had almost two dozed published poems in print and on line.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS), two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Oddball Show: A Stellar Conversation with Cecilia McGough, Founder of Students with Schizophrenia

 

Prof and Jason talk with guest Cecilia McGough about pulsars, her life as the founder of Students with Schizophrenia, her TED Talk #IAMNOTAMONSTER, and Prof ponders the age old question could the Marvel Universe happen in real life? Tune in to this excellent episode with advocate, activist and astrophysicist Cecilia McGough. Click here to listen.

 

Follow The Oddball Show on iTunes.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: The Roads Most Traveled

 

You ever get this feeling that MassDOT ain’t trying to fix these roads anymore? It feels as if these roads have been perpetually bad, and that they won’t get any better.

I know I can swerve around the potholes, but that’s a lost cause because there so many of them that you’re bound to drive right into another one. I look drunk constantly swerving around.

The roads themselves are just uneven. I’ve already had to get yet another repair to my car because of how shitty these roads are. I’m aware our weather sucks and results in such crappy roads. It’s just wicked annoying.

I almost wonder if the mechanics are conspiring with the construction workers, or the New England weather. Mechanics here must make a killing with the amount of people who come to them with undercarriage problems that are the result of these road conditions.

Maybe one day we’ll develop weather resistant asphalt, or at least asphalt that will last longer. Or maybe, we could get regular maintenance on these roads. Unfortunately our traffic sucks as it is and can’t handle sections of road being closed off for stretches of time.

Maybe one day these roads will get better, or maybe one day I’ll be living somewhere with better roads. Until then, one can only dream.

Stay classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought 280: The Anxiety Chronicles 4 – Therapy Session

 

How are you today?

I’m sick of it!
I’m sick of it all!

Sick of being oddball
Standing tall when there’s no hope at all.

Sick of rhyme!
Sick of this mind, sick of the ABC rhyme scheme!

Sick of it.
Done with this shit.

How else was your day? Sounds like a lot is on your mind.

Yeah, there is, but I’ll be fine. Lost in algebraic equations, my mind
Needs to unwind, maybe find a diary, write each line down.
Maybe just need to cry.
Maybe die.

Hold on now, let’s take it back to the beginning….
Can you talk about your weekend?

Sure, went to church, said I was a demon.
Went to the gym, out of breath breathing.
Went to the store for no other reason then to get some damn
Eggs, and coffee for breakfast, maybe some cereal.
And what I really want to say, I can’t.

Why?

I am just ranting, you know me well by now, been thinking about smoking again.
Releasing the anxiety through smoke filled lungs,
Breathing in those toxins, those sweet, sweet toxins.

Need oxygen.

What else is happening?

This rhyming thing…what the f, when did it come to be so predictable?

Rhyme, rhyme, rhyme

Yada yada had the lobster bisque.
Fuck it.

39, damn derelict.
Thick as a brick, with this uselessness.

Fuck this shit.

Ok, time to end for now.
Keep breathing.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Alec Solomita

 

All My Yesterdays

I live in all my yesterdays
grudges lodged inside me
like braids of barbed wire
from infancy’s forgotten slights
to the smirk from the Star
Market clerk just last night

I utter “fuck you” to the dead
who once broke my heart
and to old people who might
be dead for all I know who said
I drank too long or made love
too short or didn’t like
my pictures or my words

frankly it gives me pleasure
to curse the dead and gone
it must because it’s how
I choose to live for the time being
time being what it turned out to be

Alec Solomita has published fiction in the Southword Journal, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and The Adirondack Review, among other publications. He was shortlisted by the Bridport Prize and Southword Journal, and named a finalist by the Noctua Review. His poetry has appeared in Algebra of Owls, The Galway Review, MockingHeart Review, Driftwood Press, and elsewhere. His poetry chapbook, Do Not Forsake Me was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. He lives in Massachusetts.

Fabio Sassi makes photos and acrylics using what is considered to have no worth by the mainstream. He often puts a quirky twist to his subjects or employs an unusual perspective that gives a new angle of view. Fabio lives in Bologna, Italy.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon: 6D (Part Two)

 

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

Deep in the Core of the Crab Nebula
          by I. E. Sbace Weruld

Deep in the core of the Crab Nebula expolding star,
the inner regions send out pulsing particles afar,
about the same mass as the Sun, but more intensely dense,
a sphere of only a few miles, incredibly compressed.
While spinning thirty times a sec, the neutron star shoots out
the energetic beams detectable as cosmic shout.
The Hubble Telescope snapshot shows glowing gas in red,
that shows a swirling swarm of cavities and filaments.
Inside the shell, the ghostly blue in radiations glow,
electrons spiralling light speed around the stellar core.

I. E. Sbace Weruld is a poet of the cosmos.

~~~

Haiku
          by Ibe Ware Desu, LC

In the evening sky,
the thin sliver of the moon
shows a slender grin.

 

Haiku
          by Ibe Ware Desu, LC

The sound of water
replenishing petunias:
cicadas chatter.

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

Amidst the dull roar
of trucks, cars, and landing jets:
cicadas clatter.

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

In the hot, clear air,
the jet with flashing lights flies;
the landing is soon.

 

Haiku
          by “Wired Clues” Abe

The distant car sounds,
the magic of the evening,
the man feels warm.

Ibe Ware Desu, LC, and “Wired Clues” Abe are haiku writers.

~~~

Mori Ōgai (1862-1922)
          by “Clear Dew” Ibuse

Son of a doctor to the lord of the Tsuwano clan,
Mori Rintarō was born in the southwest of Japan.
At five he started studies of tradition’s apogees,
Confucius, Mencius, and classics of the Japanese.
He was sent then to Tokyo to study medicine,
and stayed with Nishi Amene, once in the Netherlands.
At university, proficiency in German grew.
He joined the army medic corps at age of twenty-two.
He found himself in Germany, there studying hygiene
and European letters, both the new and ancient scene.
When he returned back to Japan, some four years after that,
Mori Ōgai became a writing doctor-bureaucrat.
He married Adm’ral Akamatsu’s daughter for a year;
but acrimonious divorce left life a bit severe,
a bitter tear.
Resigned to working for Japan’s march into modern life,
he took up irony to cope with overwhelming strife.
Spars with superiors sent him to Kyushu in the south;
a quiet, four-year exile in Kokura for his mouth.
Remarried, back in Tokyo, he kept on studying;
then Bureau Chief of Medicine for the War Ministry;
but he was reprimanded by Vice-Minister of War
for his satiric Vita Sexualis mild storm.
Offended by official-dom and growing censorship,
shocked at the execution of Kōtoku Shūsui,
he wrote The Tower Silence showing government attempts
to banish certain thoughts was really an impov’rishment.
In 1912, the Meiji ruler, Mutsuhito, died,
and Gen’ral Nogi Maresuke did his suicide;
from that point on he gradu’lly moved to biography,
from thence he placed a greater value on integrity,
and chose to write of Tokugawa figures come what may,
himself a classic now, like Chūsai, Ranken and Katei.

“Clear Dew” Ibuse is a poet of Japan.

~~~

Past the Edge of Vast Eternity
          by Badri Suwecele
          “God is near you, with you, within you.”
              —Seneca

I saw him walking past the edge of vast eternity.
He made his way up to the vast plateau of ecstasy.
He was a fan of God. His heart was open to his Lord.
But he was not aware how He should be revered, adored.
O, he experienced a form of metanoia too,
but he was so astonished he did not know what to do.
Perhaps if he could climb the stairway to the cosmic El,
he could escape the horrid flames of living in this hell.
He raised his legs; he stepped up high, to reach another plane,
so hot he could not handle it, so close he was to pain.

Badri Suwecele is a poet of India.

~~~

The Conversation
          by Sri Wele Cebuda
          “I have fondness for deep conversations…”
              —Yashasvi Khushu

There in the corner of a room, in natural light lit,
they talked about existence, their beliefs, and even spit.
They talked about their likes, dislikes, and other things as well,
about career choices, voices from the edge of El.
The older one was questioning just what the young one thought
about his low position in society, his lot.
The young one answered everything that he was asked about;
but rarely asked the old one anything; he held no doubt.
The last thing that I heard them say was blah blah blah blah blah;
and so I left them on that plane against the bright white wall.

Sri Wele Cebuda is a poet of India.

~~~

The Silencing of Qurrat al-Ayn
          by Delir Ecwabeus

She cast off garments of old laws, outworn traditions too,
immersing in the seas of bounty, grabbing life anew.
How long must lovers still endure the curtaining of truth?
Bestow on them unveiled beauty, freedom, light and youth.
Tahirih stood before the World, adorned, unveiled and true;
but her own Persia cast her off, as one who was impure.

It was September 1852, one dark night’s gloom.
A military officer was coming with his troops.
She dressed up in a bridal gown, anointed with perfume.
She paced the floor, reciting prayers in her prison room.
They strangled her and tossed her in a well with earth and stones.
“Eye’s Solace” had been silenced, but her memory lives on.

Delir Ecwabeus is a poet of Iran. Qurrat al-Ayn (1817-1852) was an Iranian poet, firebrand and Babi religious leader. Iran, this week, after knocking down an American drone, began enriching uranium to 4.5% purity.

~~~

Chefchaouen, in Morocco
          by Eswer El Cubadi

It is so lovely where it lies at the foot of the Rif,
Chefchaouen, in Morocco, noted for its blues and kef.
So many of its splendid doors and walls are painted blue,
so picturesque they easily draw tourists to their view.
One can be taken in by settings, time and time again:
this gorgeous door! that pleasing form! o, beautiful! Amen!
It is as if one has a taste of heaven on this Earth.
O, such a rarety bespeaks such loveliness’s dearth.
So lucky are those souls who get to reach its showy streets,
for they possess its sweetness in the form of memories.

Eswer El Cubadi is a poet of North Africa. This week 55 nations of Africa met to create a more open African economic zone.

~~~

In the Küçükçekmece District
          by Çelebi Ürwëdas

In the Küçükçekmece district in west Istanbul,
the Syrians are targetted by groups of roving Turks.
With half a million in the province, there displaced by war,
the Syrians have set up shops to make a livelihood.
But rising unemployment and a slow economy
have fueled the anger of the Turks against the Syrians.
The night İmamoğlu became Istanbul’s mayor, o,
this hashtag spread fast: “Suriyeliler Defoluyor”,
which roughly is translated as “You Syians, get out”,
whose meaning, broken windows, goods and signage, left no doubt.

Çelebi Ürwëdas is a poet of Turkey.

~~~

The July 1st Nuclear Submarine Fire
          by Rus Ciel Badeew

A Russian naval officer said at the funeral,
of fourteen in Saint Petersburg, that they were heroes all.
Although they died within the fire on the submarine,
they had prevented, by their actions, a catastrophe.
The nuclear reactor was in tact according to
the Russian Defense Minister, tight-lipped Sergei Shoigu.
But news of what occurred July the 1st is classified,
though those who died on the Losharik were identified.
The sub was probably involved in intel gathering;
but what occurred deep down below is still past fathoming.

Rus Ciel Badeew is a poet of Russia.

~~~

Wise Words On Plato
          by Erisbawdle Cue

He was a man the wicked have no right to even praise,
said Aristotle long ago, among his works and days;
and Cicero said if Zeus spoke the language of the gods,
he’d use the language Plato used within his dialogues.
The European philosophical tradition is
a series of footnotes to Plato, Whitehead reminisced.
He took dramatic fire to the realms of the ideal,
Wise thought, by showing that ideas were in essence real.

Erisbawdle Cue is a poet of philosophy and philosopher of poetry.

~~~

The Selfie
          by Cawb Edius Reel

He stood up tall within the narrow hall where he was at.
He took a selfie in a sleeveless shirt and turned-back cap.
He stood upon a lovely carpet’s marvelous design
of shapely figures done in brown and gold, almost divine.
He stood upon his left foot, right foot off and up a bit.
His heels seemed as if they were uplifted in the pic.
He stood there seriously, catching glimpses front and back.
The logo on his sleeveless was a baseball and some bats.
He stood securely, but I wondered if he wouldn’t fall
into the crevice of some dark and cavernous dun rock.

Cawb Edius Reel is a poet of photography and a photographer of poetry.

~~~

An Injury
          by Edwe Bleca Ruís

It was another running of the bulls, Pamplona, Spain,
when Jaime Alvarez, San Fran defender, met his match.
He ran 850 meters to complete the run,
and felt that it was safe to take a selfie video.
But as he did, a bull charged at him unexpectedly
and stabbed its horn into the right side of his neck—such pain.
The joy and the excitement turned to fear—that awful latch.
The paramedics whisked him off to hospital—no fun.
Two-hour surgery required—he felt an idiot.
It did not hit his jugular—a miracle to see.

Edwe Bleca Ruís is a poet of Spain.

~~~

Upon the San Francisco Bus
          by Cal Wes Ubideer

Down cluttered Chestnut Street, the red and white bus chugged away,
past cars, shops, and electric lines, upon the pavement gray.
Inside, a woman desperate to reach the passengers
put her petition forth, intent to get some signatures.
In broken English, she went round to each one traveling,
explaining how in China there’s forced organ harvesting,
and Falun Gong practicioners are targetted because,
more disciplined, they’re healthier, and perfect for a cut.
One could not help but feel her immense anxiety,
amidst the honking vehicles and human trafficking.

Cal Wes Ubideer is a poet of California. Last Friday southern California experienced a 7.1 earthquake.

~~~

Upon Seeing a Red Mazda 5
          by Bruc “Diesel” Awe

It is an undervalued gem, the bright red Mazda 5,
with a wide range of attributes, unmatched by other rides.
Its sliding doors and seats make it a sweet alternative
for more-expensive larger SUVs and minivans.

Its tidy footprint aids in parking and maneuvering.
Its classy chassis makes it seem a driving lover’s dream.
With lots of windows it provides a very good view out.
It’s nimble and it’s agile too; it’s fun without a doubt.

It can be overtaxed on hills, but it is good on fuel.
Its traction and stability controls are standard too.
It’s like a flashy comet driving past one on the road,
unless it’s filled with luggage, cargo, and a heavy load.

Bruc “Diesel” Awe is a poet of vehicles.

~~~

The Business Man
          by Des Werkebauli

It was his early morning ritual to go to work.
He put on shirt and tie, and pulled each sock up with a jerk.
And then he took a pause to rest beside the staircase steps
to have a morning cup of tea to help build up his pep.

While eating buns with honey, he had to be careful not
to spill a thing upon his clothes; that was his foremost thought.
But he was also thinking that the time was passing by.
The black suit lay before him on the railing at his side.

He had to grab it quickly, o, he wanted so to stay;
fat-assing it was not an option for the coming day.
He had to quickly eat and sip, and then be on his way.
He had to leave behind the beauty of that lovely bay.

 

A Labourer in the Meat-Packing Industry
          by Des Wercebauli

I saw him only briefly once, and then he disappeared.
It was as if he’d vanished from the Earth. It was so weird.
He was a labourer in the meat-packing industry.
That’s where I saw him scrubbing up his workplace table clean.
But what surprised me was when he was done, he leaned on back
and rested on that table, though it was so hard, in fact.
What kind of peace could he enjoy in such a wretched spot?
But yet he seemed to be content with his vexatious lot.
The last I saw of him was when some stern co-worker came,
and hasseled him to get up off his butt and work again.

 

Plugging Nine-Inch
          by Des Wercebauli
          in memory of my father

The proudest moment of my working life
was when I plugged up nine-inch paper rolls
at Longview Fibre Company. They’d fly
out from machines, and we would plug their holes
with wooden plugs. Each minute there were more.
But we kept up, my working crew and me,
all the night-shift long, though our arms were sore.
It was a challenge of insanity.
I could relate so to John Henry; and
I knew that it was dumb, because we got
no more in money; but it was our stand
against machines. We laboured hard and fought
to keep up—and we did. Our victory
was sweet, if but for one’s night’s misery.

Des Werkebauli is a poet of work.

~~~

When He Was in a Tent
          by Cu Ebide Aswerl

When he was but a young kid and had not yet reached his teens,
the first time he was in a tent, he fell, o, fast alseep;
and soundly slept the whole night long; he did not wake till dawn;
and slowly woke up in the morning with a youthful yawn.
But when he did, he felt a stirring deep down in his soul,
as if some wonder to take hold had entered from below.
Some spritely elf had touched his being. O, how could this be?
Right then and there he entered in the realms of ecstasy.
Forever had appeared to him; he woke up from a dream.
Reality had brought him news straight from eternity.

Cu Ebide Aswerl is a poet of leisure.

~~~

The Brute
          by “Wild” E. S. Bucaree

He was as cra-zy-wi-ld as an animal at bay,
so haughty and so arrogant he had to have his way.
Whenever he proceeded mad, he went with raging force;
one wouldn’t want to get between him and his destined course.
He threw away decorum; peacefulness was not his thing,
He was a crude and brutal coot who shed all modesty.
He ripped away all pleasantries; he’d toss them to his side.
He didn’t give a damn at all. The dude was rude and snide.
Give in to his unruly wants, or get out of his path,
for only brave and hearty souls could take his mighty wrath.

 

The Ride
          by “Wild” E. S. Bucaree

The days of training bracing horses had already set,
and yet I saw him riding there astride a harnessed pet.
It reared up high into the sky to get away from him;
but he would not allow for that; he stopped the slightest whim.
He fiercely slapped that horse’s cheek and pulled upon its poll.
He seemed to be as fierce as any lion-fighting Pole.
He rode that horse across the grassland, galloping away,
its heels flying under him, its back on full display.
He held the reins and grabbed its mane to turn it to the side.
Then shot across the day. O, he’d not soon forget that ride.

“Wild” E. S. Bucaree is a poet of the Southwest.

~~~

The Exerciser
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

He did his push-ups on the mat, but only from his knees.
He lifted up as high as possible his shoulders’ frieze.
He kept on pushing, counting up how many that he did.
His breaths were hard; he felt the pains—there were a myriad.
He felt like he was being jerked around by some harsh god;
but on he went, continuing to work out on his bod.
He lifted up his butt and head; he kept his knees well placed.
O, he was flushed behind, below, o, even in his face.
He struggled on—that slightly bearded fellow—pushing up;
until it seemed as if his work-out truly was enough.
He wondered, though, why did it, o, have to be so damn rough?

 

His Exercising Class
          by Rudi E. Welec, “Abs”

He now was ready to begin his exercising class.
From stretching for ten minutes, he began to work his abs.
He started with some flutter-kicks; his heart was skittering;
like as a flapping butterfly, his legs were flittering.
Then came the he-el touches; he rose up to see the view,
an ordinary sight, but touched, o, with a golden hue.
Next came the pull-ins, where he kept his balance anxiously,
protecting neck, low back, and spine, projecting energy.
And last were crunches in reverse. He went through to the end.
Inspired so, he saw an angel in the air ascend.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Bamboozled No More! What Price for a Soul?

 

Who cares about what and whom?
People hide good will and respect.
I think there are days people hoard kindness.
Misers savor bits of respect to be dispensed
Under the most specific conditions
To be bartered as one would barter
For money, food, sex.

Kindness, faith, hope, are all dispensed
For people who have demonstrated
Their value on the open market.
In certain places, value is determined
By color of skin, size of body, speech,
Sex, age, ability/disability.

The list is so specific
It becomes unspecific.
The colors you wear are as important
As the color of your skin.
Blue uniforms are seen
As just another color
Designating gang affiliation
Because quiet as its kept,
Power is held in balance
By nothing more than a smirk.

Special occasions for special people
Who choose not to care
Unless there is a reason.
Values change on an open market.
Judas is a saint by comparison
In these modern times.

Children and adults
Will cast stones on a whim.
The law and the lawless shoot bullets
Randomly or with purpose
To settle scores, in the name of justice,
To balance demographics, whatever.

Your value is determined by strangers.
God is not consulted.
A soul can be purchased for an ounce
Of whatever is on the street
(Wall Street, any street USA)
Things outweigh people,
And justice is a word rarely said or heard.
Who knows? Who cares?

Few if any people pray to God.
The devil has more appeal.
Who wants to go to heaven
When hell has no restrictions?

Is anyone listening?
Does anyone care?

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s All One Thing #291: “Is This Still America?”

 

Republican congressman at “Scandalgate” hearing 2013

Lost in the daily revelations of exploding “Scandalgate”
the three ring political circus of protracted congressional overreach
the partisan Kabuki death dance that distracts from the larger pattern
of systemic failure growing all around or as my reading from the I Ching
the patriarchal Chinese book of changes said this morning when again I knew
                    Return: (the Turning Point)
     Six at the top means: Missing the Return Misfortune
     Misfortune from within and without
     If armies are set marching in this way
     One will in the end suffer great defeat
     Disastrous for the ruler of the country
     For ten years
     It will not be possible to attack again.
And there it all is again over a long tortured decade of murder
and enhanced interrogation like value meals or extra added vita-mins
one scandal after another over the long, long years one after the other
the Supreme Court coup, the President select, the selection elections,
deletion voter rolls, leaching voter polls, elect select, select elect the elect
so what’s a few scandals at Benghazi IRS and Justice what could they have to do
with anything except the most recent elect, the President who went along so
          nice
with all the war crimes and global fraud in fact continued all the prosecutions
of the previous whistleblowers and leftist activists and quietly accepted
that the crimes of the coup were to be just left behind so we all could now
“move on” and keep “looking forward” and never ever “look back”
at the road kill thrown out from under the wheels bouncing off the hood
and oh, yes inside the boat full of bullet holes scribbled in ball point pen
a message from the mad bomber with a name like the Joker telling us
he did it because of “Iraq and Afghanistan” so once again we are all
          “collateral damage”
to endless war with its forever terrorism the Great Terror War called War on
          Terrorism
strikes again and again spreading instability supported by ongoing financial
          fraud
nations disintegrate, whole regions collapse, the super storms swirl, the ice
          sheets melt
the climate changes, species go extinct, but now on Capitol Hill they gird them
          selves
for hearings and talk of Watergate and Iran-contra (oh, but not the Army-
          McCarthy
hearings or Whitewater, Vince Foster or Monica) while millions are out of work
          and
more millions still going through foreclosure and huge portions of the global
          economy
goes into recession again, Europe and China both struggling in the financial
          vortex
5 years after the meltdown and still no real recovery but they’re talking of
          impeaching
the president as they wonder what they can do with the reputation of the
          president
who should have been impeached and convicted before the present president
and what a bunch of war criminals what a bunch of phony frauds the more they
micro-manipulate the more they attempt to control the more out of control it
          becomes
but that’s all right because the inevitable consequences justify the next new set
          of
violent military solutions where the ambassador killed by the militant jihadists
in a C.I.A. station that was “working with” his killers just days before the Chechen boys
we gave political asylum to as we invaded Afghanistan and prepared to invade
          Iraq
end up exploding pressure cooker fragmentation bombs because of our own
          disastrous
occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan as our government taken over by
          international
corporate capital reels from one scandal to the next in one department after
          another
funny how it all happens ALL ONE THING all at one time just one ongoing
          Scandalgate.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Rajnish Mishra

 

The Economics of Going Home

The sum total is zero at the end, but
those three days count;
the three days on return,
the three days in which I live.
For in my city I’m powerful again, in my city
things forgotten are possible again, in my city
there’s youth, in my city
I live again, in my city
pain meets joy that meets pain.

I call my city my home and not just one house in it.
I keep looking out of the window an hour, or two,
before the train is due to reach my home.
When landmarks unknown run to meet my eyes
I feel injured, my pride insulted. How could I plain
forget them? And then, when I reach the station,
I feel elated, transported to a place more heaven
than earth, more in mind than is there.

 

Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. He edits PPP Ezine.

Luis Lázaro Tijerina was born in Salina, Kansas. Mr. Tijerina has a Master of Art degree in history, concentration being military history and diplomacy. He is a published author of military theory, short stories, essays and poetry. Mr. Tijerina resides in Vermont.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Matt Dennison

 

No Machine

As a child I believed no machine
could hurt you, that even the big
crushing ones would stop, would
have to stop, heads bowed, hats
removed, as the royal procession
of a single hand, divinely unaware,
passed among the common columns
of steel and teeth—that no man near
starvation ate berries at night only
to learn their poisonous truth
in the morning, dying, dying
in the snow, before poison, truth,
could be safely passed from mind
to mind, their deadly power wrapped
tight in the guttural cloth of warning.
Now, with the first faint cluckings
of tongues and sighs of the gathering
crowd filtering down, I wait to be discovered
beneath the snows of my life, desperately aware,
ravaged by the machines of yours.

 

After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor.

Bill Wolak has just published his fifteenth book of poetry entitled The Nakedness Defense with Ekstasis Editions. His collages have appeared recently in Naked in New Hope 2018, The 2019 Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Poetic Illusion, The Riverside Gallery, Hackensack, NJ, the 2019 Dirty Show in Detroit, 2018 The Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, and The 2018 Montreal Erotic Art Festival.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The E.A.R.: Up in Smoke

 

I haven’t watched “Stranger Things,” but I’m aware of the premise, and the era. Recently there was a study that blasted the show for the amount of smoking that is portrayed. Really, people? Y’all don’t have anything better to complain about than the amount of instances of smoking shown in a TV show? To reference another post, the show is based in the 80s where public tobacco use was RAMPANT. This is the era where smoking was still allowed in public establishments, even before it was banned on airlines.

I also come from an era where your parents smoked right in front of you, and it was totally normal. For “Stranger Things” to not portray that wouldn’t be true to the era. Of course, no one gives a shit about historical accuracy when kids are involved, which begs the question: why the hell are your kids watching “Stranger Things?”

“Stranger Things” ain’t a kids show even though it looks like it. “Stranger Things” is for all the adults who were teens in the 80s and weren’t raised by technology like today’s kids.

The people who are bitching about this are the same generation of people who want to leave little Timmy or Janice unattended with an iPad because they can’t bother to find other means of keeping kids engaged. Then they get angry when the very technology they hoped would raise their kids for them gets them into trouble. You really can’t expect media to teach children right from wrong. It is on us to teach our children right from wrong. If you don’t want your children to smoke, maybe you should sit them down and have that discussion with them yourself instead of relying on TV and cinema to teach them that.

Good values begin in the home. I grew up with a bunch of shows and movies that wouldn’t be politically correct by today’s standards. My parents were always around the corner to remind me what was right and what was wrong. With that wisdom, I was always able to watch whatever knowing it was FICTION! A lot of fiction is representative of whatever era it’s based on, but none the less, FICTION.

The hypocrisy however couldn’t be any more obvious. Y’all are freaking about people smoking cigarettes in TV shows, but are perfectly fine with your child, or teen playing Call of Duty online with random strangers using far more graphic language. These are the same kids whose parent’s buy them GTA even after the Game Stop store clerk explains said parent in graphic detail all the crazy shit you can do in that game (I was there….). People are freaking out about tobacco use in a TV show, yet a lot of smut slips under the radar because we’re fighting the wrong battles.

Can we PLEASE find an more effective use of our time? This kind of behavior is why boomers call us snowflakes, and I can hardly blame them some days. Now Netflix is cutting down smoking instances in some of its shows because some company known for scare tactics put out a study that has sent the internet into a frenzy. I can’t wait to see what the outrage machine will pump out next. Most certainly something minuscule compared to some of the graver issues out there. But hey, let’s keep complaining that there is too much smoking in a TV show.

Stay classy…

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jagged Thought #279: The Anxiety Chronicles 3 – About It

 

Too busy to be worried.
Too hurried to be down about it.
Strong in mind, let’s talk about it.
When the worm wriggles on the hook
What you going to do about it?
When the world silences you with a stun gun,
When’s the stuntman going to fight about it?
When the world is dilly dallying, when is Schmidt going
To be about it?
When the mighty have fallen, how are they going to pronounce it?
Follow me into the sun, let’s cast shade around it.
What you gonna do about it?
When the world finds you fallen, in green leaves around it.
When the sink is full of dirty dishes, and no soap around it.
What you gonna do about it?
When your flow grows rust, and the lead is growing from it.
When you’re sick of running, and the mountain is surmounted?
When will the mind find peace, not zombie shouts?
What you gonna do about it
When you’re surrounded?
And the shouts get louder, and you begin to vomit?
When the comet comes, and your pants are down
Will you be pissed about it?
Or will the blood stains, piss stains, whatever leak out around it?
What you gonna do about it?
When the lakes are frozen, and no trees to breathe around it?
When the clown in office redeems your coupons
Or you lost it all and sink into the group home?
What you gonna do about it?
When they lose your name in the walls surrounded?
When the stone find love, and you leave dumbfounded?
What you gonna do when your TKO’d and someone’s standing proud
With foot on your chest, and laughter is allowed around it?
When they are throwing roses, and giving someone your title?
When the vital signs are less vital, and you trying to survive at the recital?
Cause your demons are tattooed on your arms, and they start to lift you,
And the gift they gave you, has a return date on it too?
What you gonna do about it?
When the house of cards is surrounded by sharks,
And the timer goes off,
And you gotta go back to work?
Whats worse, the diving bell or this verse?
What you gonna do about it?
When it all falls down, and no one is around
To doubt you?

Stand tall, that’s what you gotta do.
You gotta be about it.

No one can stop you
But you.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Sam Silva

 

In Those Drowsy Sleepless Hours

Lazy bones!, in the thick of the night
your call to the ghost
of a sexual image
while holding that limp
lying flesh, upright
and singing your sad want
whisper to whisper

some dish or some imp
of your youth long gone.

In the tongue of your mind
while you wish you could sleep
in those drowsy sleepless hours
which you keep.

 

Sam Silva has published poems in print magazines, including Sow’s Ear, The ECU Rebel, Pembroke magazine, Samisdat, St. Andrew’s Review, Charlotte Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, as well as online journals Jack Magazine, Comrades, Megaera, Poetry Super Highway, physik garden, Ken again, -30-, Fairfield Review, Foliate oak, and dozens of others. Three legitmate small presses have published chapbooks of his, three of those presses have nominated work of his for Pushcart a total of 7 times. Bright Spark Creative published first full length book Eating and Drinking. He has chapbooks available at Lulu and  books at Amazon.com. His spoken word poetry is available at major digital markets such as Apple i tunes.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collabor