Monday, December 9, 2019

Two Poems by Mark Young

at least six toxic gases

The Galaxy came to Toyota
Stadium on Saturday after-
noon. This was their chance,
as we embarked on a new
century, to give a gift of great
value to future generations.
Turned out our browser
didn't recognize any of the
video formats currently avail-
able & the opportunity was lost.
Spectators under the control
of the Post & Telegraph depart-
ment were forced to pay a fee.

A line from Clara B. Jones

Death begins prior to death. Swimmers
perform synchronized routines that
mimic those playful crayon lines little
brother uses. It interrupts itself inter-

minably. The ecological correlates of
these patterns are marked in black ink,
sourced from lampblack, a substance
made in turn by burning tung oil or

pine resin, & produced for decorating
screens that were salvaged & remounted
as hanging scrolls because their usage dam-
aged them. Those very books themselves

record their own deaths, but also note
their reformation as a kind of resurrection.
Evoke the phoenix, hoping that, like the
terracotta warriors, they will return to life.

Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He is the author of over fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are The Perfume of The Abyss from Moria Books; A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks from otata; taxonomic drift from Luna Bisonte Prods; & Residual sonnets from Ma Press of Finland.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Three Poems by Connie Backus

white paint on walls

almost everything is doubled up
socks pants shirts

the mule deer are favorites
w/their own warm coats of chocolate
ice cream swirl

turkey mothers/fathers run close behind poults
always in a hurry playing in the park/the yard

& then

all the time

off the side of a hungry canyon

I.                grand coulee separates
she is aloof
she will claim
she is not in a serious relationship

II.              although osprey nests are empty
atop silos they still echo

leaves falling
if you are interested/

if you look close enough

III.            you might see canadian lynx/thick coated coyotes

& cackling geese arrive at banks
for winter

badgers hang out in large rocks
by the ball fields

then there are those rarely seen
but everyone has a story- & what to do
if you see bears & cougars


if we must have fairy circles
give them peals of wedding  bells

wedding mushrooms wedding
vows oaths explanatory phrases

& they don’t  promise marriage
from an old maple

you don’t care close you
are so mad at the rain in the lake

enough w/feelings enough
circles of greyish day

how about that how
about crying  rings
as a sign of commitment

circles of hollow
on the ocean walk

how about too much before
over & over

the same kind of what happens
give me a hidden tree umbrellaed

& I’ll see the allergies
in a forest of fairy circles

if it still feels if
it still smells sweet
what about circles 

Connie Backus was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She loves to write about nature and run along the coulee with her daughter. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

MBARI 7: Excerpt by Uche Nduka

Jean Genet is buried in Morocco. He is my out-law brother. Your swag in an airport security line.

A touch of bells. The clarinet has other things on her mind. Browning my bells.

A spine of steel or a spine of straw? A clown nose making a power grab. Or when your eyes change their minds about wonder.

He can’t look away. Who cares if you are distracted by the strolling moon. Telling us about a schlub as much as he knows.

Pitch-bending was a logical choice. They laughed at me when my lust got heard.

The external justifications for our existence are all conundrums. A slide into the sweetness beneath your clothes. Having fun sharing a laugh.

Spread on the surface of the mysteries that entangle us. Making sure the stiletto shoes stayed on point. I didn’t give you shit for doing that un-pop thing, saying that un-pop thing.

In the beginning was a playhouse where peace of mind became an evolving art project. Stressing people out with hopeless explanations. Remembering forgetting slow jams.

Depends on our knowledge of the pages just read. Oblivion without coating does look cool. Breaking water: junketeers, nestseekers, parachutists. A couple of death threats spotlit.

I serve you soup under pine trees. In search of what clarity is hiding. Idealism is not obsolete. Every living thing sings beyond railroad crossings.

Body of proof? Throes? Those drones sent to your cities. We waited until we couldn’t wait any longer to decompress, to deepen the shadow.

That juggler’s vertigo cuts to the bone. Pork cooked in its own fat. The air braids a mood. Floor sanding, dusty grooves. I’m alive because I was rocking away.

Breaking my vow to verbs. This exposure to the fabric of my life. Rubrics bristle, expecting rain. Gone missing, cylinders in a tunnel.

Ridiculing the placid screen. Plunging into fury, again and again. Driftwood teased the storm. You sauntered through the snarl of the storm.

I have placed saltlicks on foreplay and fellatios. You felt you belonged to another planet. You weren’t doing what you were supposed to be doing the way you were supposed to be doing it.

I needed to hear why you felt that way. Daylight threw us over the edge. By no means did everyone agree with the agitating slob.

Horses soaring through clouds. The chamber we share. It’s a little too late to walk away.

They claim they don’t want to take sides yet they crave awards/prizes for their photographs of your drowned bodies.

Boardwalk, mezzanine, past deception. Mountains are our neighbors. The aloof astronaut became cuddly. A pretty serious matter.

Beside the hardware moons locked eyes moons kissed. Beads of sweat on marked-up galleys. We really care about this place so now we shall take dissent to the extreme.

Stoking the lunar module. Even poetry is grist for their commercial mill.

Not the first of their moments together. Crowds gawk at colorblind lovers. It was once a safe landing spot. Orbiters in crescent curves.

Blemishes on lens. A testament to three moon globes. Those bombed out sculptures those bombed out statues those bombed out paintings in Iraq and Syria.

The squirrels and a canon of their own making. Marching music, footwork, watershoes. Too sly to be held back by mere exposure time.

This earthrise is an evidence. A flash fire breathing inside a muscle. Night again in a hand-corrected manuscript. Walking a runway: controversy still coming into focus.

Those broken manacles in the constellation of lovers. I can fuck myself up sometimes. I’m cool about it. You can’t say the dance-off doesn’t love you.

Uche Nduka is a Nigerian-American poet, essayist, collagist. He is the author of twelve volumes of poems of which the most recent is titled LIVING IN PUBLIC (Writers' Collective of Kristiania, Inc., 2018). Some of his writing has been translated into German, Dutch, Finnish, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Serbo-Croat, French. A 2017 NYFA Poetry Fellow, he presently lives and teaches in New York City.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Ra Blues by Shaimaa Abdelkarim

re/iterations of black gather around 
     our wailings

demanding flesh pain

as if we, black 
     not enough. 

remains of our white shadows,

affirming: we black 
     not us 

black is not echoes of you you you y o u y o u

black echoed in wewewe w w e e

black echoes tr us t

forged deep, 

clouding white skies with blues. 

we hail


opening our door
         to the cosmo s.

Shaimaa Abdelkarim (@shaimabdelkarim ) is currently a PhD student mostly researching into the resistant and idiosyncratic desires of legalists and human rights activists. She has some poems at Burning House Press. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Repent,revive,respire by Rus Khomutoff

to Nico

Hyraxia savior complex/ dreams are
lost memories of lineated time
The situation that exists signalling through
the flames, dreamcore season of stone voices
ghost in the ghost shuttlepod teleporting us
back to reason
Giving and receiving consideration in a hundred ways, diving deep with temperance burned from the 

mind's eye
Betadine wake of space beyond silence,
lifeblood irrationalia inamorata path of exile
thought fully detached in the temple of
the blood mirage
ubiquitous earth...
violent work of art divine,
what destroys me frees me
journal of trauma razor skyline

Rus Khomutoff is an experimental language poet based in Brooklyn, NY. Poetry has appeared in San Francisco Review of Books, Proprose Magazine, Mojave Heart Review and Hypnopomp. In 2018, Immaculate Days (Alien Buddha Press) was published. In 2019, Radia was published by Void Front Press.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Selections from Seep by Heller Levinson

Image © Maria Mavropoulou

in the poise of seepage
incipient bloat
perpetuity’s foreskin

pared to an a-meristic anachronic opalescent
undulance, in the shingled extravagance of
momentary let, a cache of resplendent accretion pearls an
inebriate puncture,
rouses this


seep in brood bedlam
broadside                    bowdlerize
         apostrophic rampage            helter welter
  collar holler yelp yeller giddy gallop gap song yup-a’long
yo-fiddlediddle            hard alee get a ped-i-gree
         wing wring wiggle wrack wattle
         wiggle wing wattle wring wrack
                     weed wrest
sap persuasion            shag a’long slur parade
count yrself in     groove to the
din                     slip-sully →
                 go deep
belly roundabout


seep liquesces
dehisces             dilutes
       de  Com  po  Z es
     rudiments of esteem

        estimables –

flossed to an inebriate

salience teems

Heller Levinson, the originator of Hinge Theory, lives in New York where he studies animal behavior.  These pieces will be featured in the forthcoming collection, Seep, which will be published by  Black Widow Press (Spring, 2020).

Monday, November 18, 2019

Cut A Hand From A Hand by Tongo Eisen-Martin

“if you reverse the car any farther,
you will run over all the scenes in the back of your mind”

I never cared for teachers…just the pattern of fainting spells induced by wall art.
Propaganda is courage, man

The price sticker hid my tattoo
-I treasure my problem with the world

“My mother becomes from Brooklyn first thing in the morning”
-a proverb around these parts
               proverb or peasant entrance password

Writing short notes to famous Europeans
On the backs of post cards
With ransom requests

They reply with a newsreel or cigarette announcement (I can’t tell the difference)

-Noble dollars then you die inside
(but only inside)

“They call it, ‘sleeping deeper than your stalker.’
And stalker is all that badge makes you,”
says a great spirit dressed in the bloody rags tuxedos became

meanwhile my punch is feared by no one
“Proud of yourself?” I ask the fret hand

“Porch Lights” is what they call our guns
I’ve seen this house in a dream
I’ve seen this chair on behalf of a dream

               I believe a trumpet was the first possessed object to fly

“keep going,” she cheers

               the draft in the room becomes a toddler
obsessed with the altar
the altar becomes  a runaway train
               got a thousand paintings cascading down my skinny arms
                                                            Dictionaries piling up to the window bars

basements called dope fiend cocoons
crowd into the part of my mind
referred to as my heart
-a reminder to the population that
your blanket can work with
or against you-

human reef/
we will be a big human reef
for concepts that finally gain a metaphysical nature
and they will swim around our beautiful poses

we stop being flashbacks
then stop being three different people
then I was alone [the pistol is one city away]

one of the drug triangle’s lines runs through my head
tap the bottle twice and consider the dead refreshed
“don’t you want to rest your bravery?
don’t you want to be a coward for a little bit?”
-back and forth to a panic attack with no problems nor fears

a man gets a facial expression finally
a Friday finally goes his way
his life is finally talked about happily in his head

I can’t possess the body of a hermit
I must be the last of his smoke
Now running away with three blocks of alley
Tucked under my arm
You ever see a man
get to the bottom of his soul
in a car ride down a missing cousin’s street?
half step to the right
I mean I took the whole car outside of history
Half step to the right
I mean a whole pack of wolves stepped to my left
-Deep in the recesses of the main recess

“road marker” is what I called the light bulb we had for a sun
                                                            a whole civilization might slink to the sink
                                                                                          chain gang shuffling next to a sucker

-the long look in the mirror [a stack of money starts talking from four cities away]

Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker, and educator. His latest book, Heaven Is All Goodbyes, published in the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award.