Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Surrealist Prose Poems By Giorgia Stavropoulou

Giorgia Stavropoulou is an MFA candidate with the Manchester School of Writing, UK, living in California. Currently she’s working on a novel but she also writes poetry inspired by the work of LA based surrealist poet Will Alexander. Other influences are Indian surrealist author of short fiction Naiyer Masud and the fiction of Roberto BolaƱo. Her work has been published in journals and in an anthology. 

Sonic Pisces Swimming in Skin 

Part I 

When you talk, you can’t see them
But they’re in you, and around you
You can feel them with your lips
Small slimy ones gently zigzag out of your vocal cords 
They escape through your mouth when you whisper
Slow inert ones crawl out of your throat; 
You can feel their scales when you talk while drunk
Fast shark-like ones bust out of your face
They irritate your esophagus when you shout

The fish I’m talking about are
Their scales sonic
The fibers of their flesh: decibels and particles 
They appear beneath the surface of your skin
You can see the contours of their floundering fins 
Their twisting tail
Their almond-shape
While stroking their hide
Which is, of course, your own skin
The Sonic Pisces ovulate Syllabs

Part II

Inside me sonic Pisces swim in sand
In and out of my skin
And back into my mouth
Millions of scales rub my lips
Thousands of fish wriggle through my flesh
Like parasitic worms, larvae made out of sound
They exit my eyes
And float on the surface of my gaze
These words have fins and gills
Rubbing themselves against my face 
I can feel their slimy scales
And with slime and mud
They re-draw my mask

After repainting my shape
They dive back into my pelt
I touch my face
My fingers penetrate my liquid hide
The mud has changed into clay
And I mold my meat
My cheeks, my mouth
My chin, my nose, 
And my eyes
I am the sculptor of my own skin 

A Room Not of My Own 

Something is cackling
Something cracks

Something crackles and crumbles

Moving through and out of the walls of this room
Jumping onto my body

Drilling into my orifices
Sizzling my body parts

Then it starts baring trembles

My mattress turns sweaty and restless
My eyelids start shaking

I see a second tremble
It crunches its way lispingly through the air

Gradually it transforms into a whisper
I can feel it crawling into my ear, like a little insect-fish

There is neither carpet nor desk in this room but there is an empty chair.

The curtains are made of thin red fabric.
They allow for the light to glide into my skin

I see a fish vibrating, as if it was spoken five or six times, becoming a larger or, rather, a thicker word.

It swims through the hallways of my body and just before it slips inside one of the other rooms, it explodes - in a rather dull way – into, surely hundreds of smaller words:

The words spread and try to glib, or rather slip into different rooms.  

In this room, all sorts of words swim.
 Some devour and stuff themselves daily with light

One of the thicker fish lives here with me

From the mouth of this fat fish, sometimes a thin fish crawls,
crackling and giggling,

Baring thousands of microscopic crabs
ferociously squirming up my spine

I am Hellenic Landscapes of Sonic Light

To those who believe I merely escape in language
I declare  syllabs to be my primary allies
And my currency the skin of sound

The alliance I talk about is fluid and 
Its essence wrapped in pure particle 

What I see is sand drenched in phonemes and pixel-derma 
Earth engulfed by libidinal waves of electromagnetic pigments
As the surface of my skin 

I am a choreography of shades of turquoise 

Smoldering in floating magma
An opera of shadow as black non-pigmented quantum 

In this way, I as landscape transmutes from mere cartography 
Into eloquent cold fire, liquid

I hereby declare that the frequency of my nutrition is brilliance
Oscillating through eternally black stellar mountains

As if my erotic excess is fused with electrons of excitement 
Filled with ocular, electric lust

In this liquid field
Volcanic spurs spit fetuses of transparent sonic drones
Bubbling word-sounds
Spinning glimpses of an undifferentiated intelligence

Tactilely and tectonically
Twisting the texture of language  

The Black City

Female sounds reached the territory of the black city
They speak to the fish while sliding, gliding, sneaking and slitting into mute buildings
The fish have no organs
Still they whisper, and through them

The buildings crack,
The bricks lament, 
The city moans 

From afar, other sounds approach
And from further away? 
Even more sounds: groans and rattles 

And then, there are the whispers again, sneaking into hallways, hiding in storage rooms where they sob like little children 

There they transform again into fish
The fish sob, groan and moan too, like sad women 
The female sounds stroke their cheeks
The fish hum while baring organs 
The organs speak a mute language – understood only by the buildings 

The fish, whisper,
The buildings crack, 
The bricks lament

Female sounds exit again the territory of the black city

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Michael H. Brownstein: Poems

Michael H. Brownstein has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).


One moment you feel a weight of gravity,
A blanket, for example, the first light,
A slight draft and then, out of focus,
You come into yourself and understand
The confusion of ghosts. How unsettling to be
Alone. You were dreaming and now
You are watching yourself sleep.
When they come, you will not be ready.
In those minutes, in those days, in that first week,
Can you not hear the thunder? The watcher?
The making of the pyre? Nails to wood?
Sorry, there is nothing here—just wind
You now control, a wall no longer in the way.
How do you make a ghost? Someone was not there
When someone was needed. You were alone
When you could not reach out to laughter.
Let the thunder roar, let the sitter sit with you,
Let a candle light your way, let the warmth come near,
Let your lack of weight make it that much easier.
Somewhere there must be a home for you.
Somewhere there must be a brightness to grow into.


Because I turned off the heat
Because I closed the back room windows
Because the wind is an empty threat
and the bottle is an empty bottle
Because the juice in the bottle was once sweet
Because the cheese in the refrigerator is molding
Because the bread on top of the refrigerator is green
Because there are seeds on your stockings
and you are tracking pollen through the house
Because antiseptic wipes can take only so much
and then they are as useless as the heat
when I went to the basement and turned it off
In the house of too much food
In the playground of too much exercise equipment
In the storeroom of too much of nothing
nothing to eat nowhere to sleep not a single seat
no toys no games no books no clothes
In the apartment of too many people
In the garden of too many weeds
Dandelions, clover, crabgrass and so many
leaves for boiling and baking,
stems and roots and large growths of mushroom
In the street of too many cars and trucks
In the beach of too many dead fish and seagulls
In the ocean teeming with algae and a lack of oxygen
and so much carbon dioxide and plastic debris
and strangled turtles decomposing for years
and years and then everything captured by large tangles
of forests of algae expanding and expanding
until the water is dead vertebrates
and all of the small invertebrates surviving
on this new quality of nonoxygenated being
In the banks full of too little money
but incredible amounts of greed and bloodshed

Then we’re in the castle of the big growth forests
Then we’re surrounded by acorns and pistachio nuts
Then the sunlight filters to the grandiose weeds
Then the path fills with sunlight and sunshine,
large clear shadows and large opaque beings
Then we run to clearings and find empty graves
full of stones, pebbles and grass clippings,
mites, centipedes and bluebird feathers
Then a dragon cloud devours the sky
Then it begins to rain and the roof of the castle leaks
stone and plaster and lead paint in large flakes
until the frescoed floor is dotted with white smudges
and our shoes are the color of lime ash and charcoaled wood
Then everything settles into a silence as great as God
and the nations of the planet do not even notice
Then the thinning begins, great birds, long reptiles,
one flick of the tongue of the Komodo dragon
Afterwards there will be little left of what was left to begin with
Afterwards the language of words will be devoid of vocal sounds
and pronunciation will be in the form of whistles and breathing
no one able to communicate until letters are again announced
fitting the afterwards of the world as we say it is directly now
Afterwards will be exactly after that one scar of a word loosens
itself into the realm of invention and intervention
Afterwards the pirates of Somalia will eat the dry fruit on the plain
Afterwards the pirates of Somalia will sleep in the tall grass
Afterwards the pirates of Somalia will allow us to speak
Afterwards the pirates of Somalia will speak for us and we will know
Afterwards the words will come freely and fill us with longing
Afterwards we will cry with relief and sing the song of words
whistling, breathing, growling, are teeth bright and sharp

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Becoming An Encourager and The Rock River Literary Series

Publishing and selling the books of writers I admire from my hometown is now my life's work. It became my calling in 2014 after I had heart surgery and took heed of a local gallery owner named Tom Littrel who had approached me several times previous to that to encourage me to become an ensourager. It's not necessary to explain what he meant by that, we all understand it intuitively, and I wanted no part of it. I was doing just fine with my own work, and my partner Jenny was doing fine with her work, and the last thing I wanted was to mess up something that was working fine to include other people.

Then I had unexpected heart surgery. Major surgery. Valves and sections of artery being replaced surgery. And during the surgery I died. Only with several hours of additional surgery were they able to bring me back. Interestingly enough, nobody told me this until the anniversary of my surgery a year later, and then it was only mentioned casually. It's strange what we probably never know about our own lives. 

I've seen a lot of shows and such speculating about what near death experiences might be like. Does one enter a realm where things unseen become seen? I'm not sure, because I didn't really have any unusually interesting NDE's, but when I awoke I knew what I wanted to do.

I wanted to publish other peoples' books. I wanted to be an encourager.

In 2014 I published the first book in the Rock River Literary Series. The Rock River Literary Series was an idea I got when I took a meeting with the late publisher of the Rock River Times, Frank Schier. His obsession in life was The Rock River Trail, and he wanted to develop a website that plotted the literary influence of past and present writers along the course of the Rock River. That seemed a little sweeping for me, but the idea of giving a spotlight to writers from right here in Rockford seemed more manageable and satisfying, and I knew local legend Jesus Correa was the obvious candidate for the first book.

So, we met at CJ's, and after a couple of beers and listening to some Johnny Horton songs on the jukebox I asked if he had enough material for a book. I'd been reading his late night posts since the My Space days and knew he had built up a backlog of work worthy of a book, and I also knew if I could intersperse that with his amazing artwork we'd have something quite worthwhile. 

Iced Cream

We just released the fifth book in the Rock River Literary Series, The Koa Tree by Stephen Schreiner. I feel so good I blew off an apppointment at the cardiologist's office today to tell you about why I publish these books. 

You can see all the books I've published since 1997 now at the Zombie Logic Press Facebook shop. When you buy one it helps me make the next one. You can like our Facebook page when you're there, too, which helps me not have to pay Facebook every time I want my followers to see what I post.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Poems By Jeff Bagato

Poems by Jeff Bagato

America’s Porn Star Love

down below heroes
lie the gods of good American mind,
dolly and doll boy of the video revolution
pumped and plasticized for day
dream constitution—you have
the right to your own hand—
at last thinking freedom has come,
but it’s only the mind-blown,
peter soft rent-a-box salvation
coursing thick thru American
veins like a gallon of white
paint in a money shot xtravaganza—
all over the tits and the walls—
never use a squirt when
a flood will do—heavier
love pretends inspiration arriving
in a naked eye; who does
the looking?
                     It’s the frozen
eyes of fear staring thru thick
glasses hoping to keep passions
contained to the screen & remote,
on/off knobs joy ride fast forward—
pause—look closer—we’re just now
going to come—when it’s all over
we can go back to living
deep in the superego duck blind,
the hunter gathering new
ammo for his next load

Life on the River, Ripened on the Vine

Mowgli sits on Baloo’s chest down
the river, smoking hash in a
turf brown water pipe;
“Pass the tube, please,” dreams
the bear as they drift by an
old guy with his thumb out,
nursing a cigar and shriveled
like a pitted prune—if you
are what you eat, they can’t
be that good for your digestion—
and the guy says, “Soup
at the All American, yes
boys, good boys”—
the river patiently pulling at Baloo’s
nuts before he realizes this is that part
of the Amazon infested
with pirahna; he sticks drainage
pipe from the bong below the surface,
and stones every water mite within
three miles in an inky cloud like a great white
octopus from the bowel of Satan—
bleaching the rocks, and
even his fur got blond—
“That’s all I need,” the bear laughs,
“to look like the president
of the United States of America!”—
white people now cheering
from the banks like bees around
fungus, each man seeing a
metaphor for his own fight up the stream,
each blow a good one struck for him
in his struggle, each footstep
made for his glory, that greater good,
linking hands across tribulation, one
long bridge of humanity kissing
ass like a leech—Baloo bellows
“I can feel ‘em from here”—
their words like white
petals falling from purling
lips, an ogre’s maggots fountaining
down on the pair—
“take the stage at your own risk
and walk swiftly lest
they pull the

Ouija at the Feast

Ouija dons her rags
and enters the illusion—
false colors, false waters,
blind corridors secured
with wire and video eyes,
where clumping slime prays to angels
for a dungball feast laid out so pretty
to feed the masquerade,
all the dancers pushing forward
to grab their share of an everlasting meal,
and so the fantasy begins:

“Once upon a diamond”
(Ouija writes) “we had plenty
and we made it scarce
hiding it in vaults of desire
and put price tags on the beauty of flowers
and took water and air out of circulation,
and so utopia was paved
for magic cars and magic beans
and the magic toys all dumped
from a sack like everyday is Christmas—
No bricks made those walls,
but they stand firm
as long as they remain invisible”

Ouija leaps into the punch
bowl, splashing fruit juice
on the monkeys and the mimes
who riot and wreck
the feast table to the ground
before running into the night
screaming for rain

and winds and destruction