Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Outsider Poet Asked To Write On Walls Of Rockford Art Museum

Jenny and I were walking to the bus stop yesterday afternoon and Jenny said "They want you to write the poems from the book on the wall at the museum."

"Duh. What,?" I muttered, sort of getting what she was about to say was expected of me.

Write on the walls of a museum? What a perfectly childish and scandalous thing to do. It breaks every rule of civility and decorum I've ever been taught.

I'm in. 

Give me a marker.

U

U is for urination,
With boys and girls
There is a variation.
Boys pee, it seems,
Comes out in streams,
But often misses its
Destination,
While girls, we all know,
When they have to go,
Deliver theirs' with
Grace and precision.

I got a museum in a major American city to invite me to write a poem about urination on their walls. Move over, Piss Serrano. 

We have a few days left in our crowdfunding effort for the book. You can order Atrocious Poems A To Z here, and see the debut of my scribblings on the wall of the Rockford Art Museum June 9th, assuming they don't catch win of the whole nefarious plot. 


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Help Me Publish Atrocious Poems A To Z Because Writing Is My Thing

My 5th, 7th, and 9th grade English teachers all made a point out of telling me writing wasn't my thing, which was unusual because I wasn't even claiming writing was my thing or expressing any interest in it. They just felt it was their duty to alert me that it wasn't "my thing. I think they all used exactly that terminology. I didn't put too much thought into it because I always assumed they were right. After all, they were paid professionals. 

My first foray into writing was this gem, A Monster Dictionary, which I wrote and illustrated the night before it was due in 5th grade. Looking back it seems most of the monsters were variations of myself. 

Also, I seemed to be listening to Blondie Autoamerican on steady rotation that year instead of doing my homework. I remember having a tremendous case of the flu and my father trying to cheer me up by buying that album. The shoddy work got this notice from my teacher...

If you had made more effort... blah blah blah

All these years later I have made some effort, and decided writing is my thing, after all. My writing. Your writing. Everyone's writing. I just want to champion the written word wherever and whenever I can, and as editor of Zombie Logic Review, Outsider Poetry, and the Rock River Literary Series I get to do that. 

Book four in the Rock River Literary Series is my own, Atrocious Poems A To Z. I created the series to publish book by Rockford, Illinois writers because it is my hometown and because I think we need more national exposure for doing positive things. 

The book is about things kids hate. And my favorite part is I get to work with my real life partner Jenny Mathews, who did the illustrations. 


Atrocious Poems A To Z: K


Working with Jenny has made my job as a writer a thousand times easier because she always knows intuitively how to amplify or play down the message I am trying to convey in the poem. 

Atrocious Poems A To Z is a book that takes the problems and challenges of childhood seriously. VERY seriously. Some might say too seriously. By taking a comic approach to everyday issues children face in lighthearted poems and whimsical drawings we hope to present a jumping off point where children and parents can discuss topics like bullying, sharing, dealing with siblings, anxiety etc. It was our goal to ease into these topics employing comedy, sensitivity, and an understanding that although children may see these "atrocities" as the end of the world, they are really things we have all gone through and just a natural part of growing up. 

Another thing I was hoping to do in the book was to teach a few key literary concepts like half rhyme, to let kids know that its ok to make poetry their own, be themselves, and ignore the opinion of those who tell them writing isn't "their thing" when needed. 

The book will be released June 5th, and is part of a show at the Rockford Art Museum called Bittersweet Observations. It will be available in the gift shop of the museum, but I hope you'll want to support this project and order yours now at Kickstarter 


Friday, April 14, 2017

Gabriel Bugarin: The Dada Revival Manifesto

Gabriel Bugarin says in his email he has yet to be published. He is now published.

The Dada Revival Manifesto
Dada remains in the European frame of weaknesses, buried beneath the imperial and colonial regimes and the artistic fuckery of the bourgeoisie. It is dissolving beneath the ruin of a cataclysmic international hunger for border expansion, religious superiority, and technological and scientific “brilliance” (see examples: “The Tairy Greene Machine” by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, and “Pizza Ball” by Eric Andre). At least, some narrators would like you to believe it is dissolving or dissolved altogether—authors of big books with big words might argue that Dada cannot be revived, that its existence is purely relevant to the time and space in which its name (for those of you not paying attention, its name is “Dada”) was initially uttered. But much like utters, Dada is available for the world to suckle on, its teets plump with repudiation and stratagems; the repudiation meant to embolden the Dadaist to tear asunder any frameworks laid out by any and all institutions, and the stratagems to make the Dadaist a master of buffoonery and baboonery. This will allow the Dada to slip in unawares, like a phantom of the conscious, augmenting the very stasis of philosophy and art.
The time is nigh. Through showmenism, the livable sphere is quickly decaying. Men and women in suits grunt tirelessly at one another, bent at the knees with a kazoo nestled between their cheeks, pushing furiously to out-kazoo-zoo the other, all the while shooting shit all over their stage of performance. They buy out all competitors until duality reigns as the one-and-only ticket for the mud and blood showboat to proletariat Hell—if you have ever wanted to feel the sensation of eating saltine crackers indefinitely, purchase your ticket now! But as for the rest of you, be aware of these performers and their environments. There are several steps from many different angles in which we must hijack these bootlickers and their intolerance to anything they can’t bleed a dollar out of, and they will bleed it out of anyone and anything. Here are a few examples, but feel obliged to be more harum-scarum:
  1. Infiltration. Buy a pantsuit or other horrendous outfit worn by the bourgeoisie, the kind worn whenever they’re going to make a television appearance (which is literally every outfit the illiberal have worn since the time of Christ himself [yes, JC wore a Kiton ensemble]). Learn their tongue. Monitor their habits. Convince them that you are one of them. Eat their pheasant and drink their wine—dine with the vilest of them, go to their eyes-wide-shut gatherings, and so on. Once they have embraced you into their gluttonous fold, once they trust you, steal their fine china. Clog their toilets. Defecate in their gold-gilded sanctuaries. Use their 1st edition novels and black market paintings to decorate the dance floor of your Dada meeting places. Do not be afraid to liberate your communities of the stifling fumes of elitist rhetoric; disassembling monstrosity from within may break your bones and your sanity, but it is a surefire way to ignite the whole damned thing with  Dada-grade flames.
  2. Spoil the elite’s water supplies with PCP, but only after the Dadaist have taken root in the caverns of the underworld where a resurrected Cabaret Voltaire has been constructed, leaving the Dadaist safe until the surface-dwelling-dunderheads have eliminated themselves via drug-induced-coma-warfare.
  3. Engage in a campaign to free all from the veil that keeps humanity from reaching their Dada-Nirvana. Everyone is, has been, and always will be Dada, but the ecology of person and Dada has been unraveled by a few people who tout superiority and dominion over anyone who does not meet their axiom of intelligence—because the rest of us cannot afford to purchase “capability” or “genius.” These concepts, are in fact, ruses subjected upon the artist to deceive them of the nature of reality; no individual possesses art, we are vessels for which our environments instill us with art. Art is a means of communication, it is not meant as a source of livelihood other than making us scream “Dada” into the sky and the dirt. So, through this counterinsurgency, we must collectively implant the Dada egg and sperm within the bloated and ornate tabula rasa of the gilt-edged nobles, thus creating a womb ready for bursting. Once breached, Dadaism will spill into every cavity and crevice of peoples across existence, and each one of us all cry the great Dada cry of  “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPP.”

These are just the mechanics of the Dada revival. Again, it must be recognized that entropy is inevitable and necessary for the Dada to come full-circle once more; Dada runs on a disintegration loop. It pervades with perversion through the cosmos until it is aroused enough to resurface. Dada continues until nothing can tickle the spot between the rectum and the genitals, and dissipates into tiny particles that dust the phenomenon of intellectual existence. It rests there in the still light of day, seemingly useless and even bereft of mortality until it is stirred by winds of absolutism, of which Dada is a remedy for. And now is the perfect opportunity for its resurgence—now that the world has become reality TV. With the streets and the waters and the forests and every piece of land aching with the discarded remnants of materialism, Dada has a myriad of apparatuses to erect monuments of anarchy, protest, and anti-this-waste-that-inhibits-anything-that-feels-pleasurable things.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month Day 12: Poetry By Michael Aaron Casares

Michael Aaron Casares is the author of This Reality of Man, a collection of poetry published by LT Press in 2011. His latest book is a novel called The Distance To The End, published by Serasac Press. Michael lives in central, Texas with his boyfriend and their 15 year old Siberian Husky, Huckleberry.


On the Road in Phoenix

I once had a book reading
in Phoenix, AZ.
This post-grunge poet
who was going to Naropa
to learn to be beat,
and perhaps peaceful repose
amongst the yoga trees,
took up arms because someone
had double-booked a young nobody
on the road, on his own dime,
for a dual engagement on the eve
of his chapbook release.
What was his name,
the 35-year-old poet
in flannel shirt and Converse shoes?
I don’t remember—
all I remember was a
vexed martyr whom idolized
that exuberant generation
drilling me on the classics:
Who did I read? Where did I go to school?
Who was Ferlinghetti? Had I read Howl?
Did I even know who Kerouac was?
I don’t even remember his poetry.
His fans informed me
they weren’t there for me
as if I’d conspired his literary downfall.
Blame the promoter, I thought,
and he did. The hostile Naropite
argued with the host,
throwing a tantrum
outside coffee shop doors.
I watched,
awaited my turn,
delivered my work,
where my verse wasn’t
approved, but my style was;
I listened to hecklers who
mocked me during the open mic,
counted my money from books sold,
and went home, where the next day
the anarchists proved a far kinder audience
than these learned and lettered people.

I Feel Rage

Crafted in a world where people have
become useful commodities is the point
of your existence. Another turn at useful
idiots in a speculative world-view of selfish
prostitutes, princesses and millennials
whom think they know better. There
is ignorant rage running rampant
in the streets. For all the attempts at
education, the blind cannot heal
their own eyes, and the deaf
can only pretend to hear.
The aural dissonance of lies proliferated
through daily excerpts of infallible propaganda,
thoughtful historians draw lines in the sand
and watch as we cross them generation after
generation. And now the cowards of the world
stand up, another turn of useful idiots who
will not concede but through violence claim
superiority. And now the artists stand up,
the ones pigeonholed into a bleeding heart
worn tactlessly on their sleeve, declaring
their resistance, a message created
for historical value. The convoluted
stories of our time alter this experience
and its destination. Where leader’s lies
trickle from top to bottom, influence
creates a confluence of similar vice
and down it goes to the common
follower, a stagnant condonation,
a cess so thick even as the ropes
are thrown and the light is
cast, we struggle to see our
way from its quicksand.

Sad Height

after Walcott’s A Far Cry from Africa

Wind sweeps over the sullen
city as rats rampant reside
in streets and cracked buildings.
The wind pushes passed our dwellings,
mere boxes painted and carved to taste.
Roaches scamper, our homes their
food and fodder. They scurry, carrying
the memory of the world inside their mind,
hiding in the foundations with the fleas
and termites. Roaches, wise men
of old cry out, “Waste no compassion
on these separate dead!”

Separate in a unity that binds
us in stagnate desperation.
A nation bound, a truth is told:
It is in our boxes we learn,
in being bound we are separate
from each other. Separate, with
a sarcastic quip and a cynic’s lips.
It is in these hidden truths the subtle
lies have disguised the idea of
the individual. We’ve become
a homogeneous routine creating and
destroying time like a clock. Daily,
in-and-out in service or by necessity,
the chains of poverty and neo-feudalism
cast around our neck.

Climes of fear and terror realize the day,
arrogant bombs are scattered across
lands innocent of cause and the just
are played by willing deceit spoken
daily on programs through screens
that use light and pulses and get
smarter as the years move on.
The level of exposure almost
designed to rot. Entertainment
damn the soul; food and water
damn the body; false histories
and propaganda damn the mind.

And, this is my America,
a land I learned to love.
This is a country I have come to
understand as a symbol, an idea
now defamed, backwards, reversed
and upside down.

“Waste no compassion,” he says.
“Waste nothing, on these separate dead
for they are lost among the fallen
as the wind passes them by,
and they are fast asleep as
the wind leaves them behind.”

Dream of Sky

An ashen mask is worn
by the sun, a gasping rasp
that’s overcast the people
and the throngs of evil,
traitorous scum who’ve  
lost integrity and sold the
soul, or have held the souls
of others hostage in convoluted
warfare against the raising
of humanity. The dimming
sky, a chilling breath that
blinds the eyes, harkens
back to bleaker days.

The expansive gray
hides hopes and freezes
the nourishment the spirit
seeks in bleak disarray.
Trampled, boot-by-boot,
the peddles pulled and
rendered, bleeding violet
crimson, tattered bodies
underfoot. The sighs are
vexing as the vexed trudge
forward, pressed and conned
into deceiving each other
in a sweet repose condoning
condemned actions and
admiring the devils
even as they hold our
severed tongues
and hands before us,
daring us to speak.

The sky is darker now,
a fading plumb behind
gray plumes thickly
wafting. The cotton
underbelly bubbles
in the wind. Ash floats
down to a cess, stagnating
on a puddle of black brown
mud. A guard brutally shackles
our hands as we float back
into inebriation, and that
fulfilling sensation
of forgetfulness.

At the center of our encampment,
amidst the euphoria that sweeps
soberly into our stomachs, the sweet
addiction called promise licks itself
in nostril, on lips, and finds home in
the pit of our heads (it travels the
streams of our hearts), and we
breathe black lilies, our equivalent
freedom, and end all thought;
we dream of sky:

Tuft white dreaming rolls up
in spiral stratus clouds. Feathers
yawn in space afar and flow horizon
home. Azure blue ripens to royal
and fades into the setting sun—
carnation hues, magenta surges.
Eyes above as the stars look down,
our eyes in the stars are eternally found.


Mortality

I know nothing of death,
though I often think I feel it.
What curious obsessions
cannot relinquish the hold
of the misery that proposes
an end?

I don’t know.

I don’t know why in everyday
a tragedy, as if change were
something wrong and denial
a fiercely strong perception
of reality.

I know nothing of death,
though I often fear it, and
I fear my breath is fleeting
with no reason to believe.
Ignorance keeps people
frightened, for they do not
want to see the truth.

And in truth, have I
wept myself blinded,
and not wanted to see
the light of laughter
and happy recourses
to the curses of living?

Too many questions:

Why does my house reside
in pain and misery? Why
do I choose to reside
in the rye? Why
can I not break
from the bell jar
and breathe easy
and clear? Why
romanticize death
and fear it as if I
were dying?

I need to break free from this relic,
from this monument of the past.
I need to release all the demons
that have rested as ghosts.
Like the gods that break free
from the gates that bar them
from lush green; break free to
the pastures where I can roam
as me and the person I am,
unrealized in this decaying house
on the street that is a byway of lost
civilizations, a ghost road of dead
generations.