Sunday, January 1, 2017

Poems By Mark Young

Mark Young's most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore & Ley Lines, both from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago. A new collection, some more strange meteorites, is due out from Meritage & i.e. Press, California / New York, in early 2017.



dated synths & retro ballads

Preachy comments about the
body weight of a two story
concrete building with tudor
style plasterboard walls cause

hip-shaking beats to be repur-
posed with a twist of industrial
here & there. Contextual factors
mean an abrupt increase in the

lateral stiffness. Learning needs
become asymmetrical. The wall-
of-sound harmonies are no longer
winsome in an absence of chic.


An increase in lipochrome

Riding roughshod over the
objections of a 1000 gypsies
& drawing sustenance from
the idea that communication
is more important than trad-
ition, she downloaded Michael

Jackson's autopsy report, the
biggest controversy in the entire
history of UFO research, &
spent the next five days picking
it apart. The 40 pounds of im-
pacted fecal matter reportedly

removed from his colon could
easily be obtained by a brief
search of the yellow pages; the
spin put out by the conspirators
heals the gun shot wounds to
provide pictures of an intact

head; & the symmetric calci-
fication in the basal ganglia
consistently acknowledges
another derivation from the
Alien Autopsy trope much
used in popular culture.



a mere black silhouette

Engulfed in shadow, with no
light reaching them, your

daughters will prophesy

that stormy weather can inter-
fere with cloud computing.



the / camel toe / of Esther Williams

She rode side-
saddle all the way
to the heights of
Macchu Picchu.
Then, now that
that was off her
bucket list, the
camel toe of Esther

Williams became
impatient. Paris
the next stop; & a
Busby Berkeley
romp that finished
in une des fontaines
des jardins du chât-
eau de Versailles.


The Color of the Earth

If the songlines are
unfamiliar, then look
to the rhythm of the
piece. The ear plays
tricks; but there are
only so many ways
the heart can beat.


bashed, stabbed, drugged, & stuffed in a burning suitcase
  
                Sadness, when mixed with
                             some self-pity, turns into
                       a chamomile rice pudding
                       with tea-soaked golden
                  raisins. Anti-aging medicine,
                          although a difficult topic
                      to address, can be simply
                            defined as an ongoing
                             invitation to any narrative
                practitioner whose golden
                             retriever has recently died.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

David J. Thompson In Ireland

I like it when David J. Thompson travels, because he always sends back some great photos of street art he encounters, so when I saw he was in Ireland I couldn't wait to the photos of his travels. Our Russian friends who have been extra-especially fond of this blog lately should enjoy this, too, because I know Russia has a fine and longstanding tradition of enjoying the arts. 

Our Fingers Crossed

The nurse brings you to the room,
says the doctor will be right with you.
It seems much smaller since the last time,
you sit with your elbows near your knees,
your hands surround your chin, thinking
you’d start praying if you only knew how.

Three months ago in this same place 
the doctor scrolled through his laptop
 for a few minutes, then turned to you 
and said there were tumors on your lung. 
You stared at him as if he were speaking
a language you had never heard before
as he explained that they were too big,
too close to some artery to operate right away.
We’ll have try chemotherapy first, he said,
try to shrink them so you can have surgery.
We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed.

Any minute, the doctor will come in.
You’ll stand, shake hands, say hello.
He’ll sit at the desk, unfold his laptop,
look at that scan you had last week,
and turn toward you again. You sit up
straight, take off your cap, rub your hand
over your bald head that no longer feels strange.

You listen for footsteps coming down
the hall that might be his, but all you hear 
are faceless voices from the nurses’ station. 
Well, what are we doing for lunch today?
NOT Wendy’s again . . . We could do Chinese. 
I’ll go pick it up . . . We haven’t had pizza
in a while. I have some coupons . . .
You slide down in your chair, extend your leg
as far as you can, and push the door closed gently 
with your foot. It’s quiet again, but somehow
the room now seems even more cramped, 
with still nothing for you to do but wait.

Belfast



Just The Opposite

Looking for something to read
before bed, I find Hesse’s Siddhartha
on the shelf in my friends’ guest room.
I pull it down, stare at the cover
still familiar forty years later. It was
my favorite book in 10th grade,
back when, I remember, all I did
was play basketball, think about 
making out with Sharon Miller, 
the new girl with the shiny blonde hair 
who was always chewing gum,
and listen to Dylan’s Nashville Skyline 
until I wore it out. I sit down on the edge 
of the bed, turn the book over, read
the blurb on the back. I try to recall 
what is was like back then to want 
to get older, how urgent to hurry 
toward a driver’s license, then 
to turn eighteen to buy booze legally,
hang out in bars, and get away to college. 

Now it’s just the opposite, you dread 
getting even older, your parents long gone, 
friends your age now with cancer or dementia. 
It’s all sped past, heading quickly toward 
what you can’t even force yourself to consider.  
You drop the book on the floor, shake your head 
at all that Hesse spiritual odyssey bullshit,
turn out the light, and climb under the covers. 
For a moment you wonder what it was even like 
to fantasize about hitting a game-winning shot,
or bubble gum kisses while Bob Dylan sings
a scratchy Lay Lady Lay in the background, 
then you close your eyes to another day 
about to slip by as quickly and silently 
as teenage dreams that never came true.


Cork




The Dullness of Such Protection

Back then, when I was in high school,
we called them rubbers, never heard
the word condom until years later.
I knew my dad used the classic Trojans
from seeing the little wrappers when I took 
out the garbage every Tuesday night.
The Health class lecture on birth control
made me curious, so when my parents left
me home alone on Saturday I went through
my dad’s sock drawer till I found a little box
of them, took one for myself figuring 
he wouldn’t notice, then grabbed the Playboy 
I kept hidden behind my album collection. 
It took a few tries to stretch it out the right way, 
but I figured it out pretty quick, then made sweet love 
to the Playmate of the Month, barely noticing 
the dullness of such protection. When I finished 
in a few minutes, I flushed twice to make sure 
all the evidence was gone. I grabbed a bag
of cookies and a glass of milk from the kitchen,
then went downstairs to watch Mary Tyler Moore, 
satisfied for once that Miss April wouldn’t be
calling the house for me again crying about 
how her period was late like she did once
last summer and got my parents all angry 
at me for jerking off so much. I finished 
all the Oreos before Bob Newhart even started.


Dublin


Limerick








Wednesday, December 14, 2016

John Grey Poetry

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.  


MY ANNOYING SELF

"What day is it?" I ask my wife.
I know the answer.
But the question is, does she?
"It's your birthday," she says.

I will not let her off easily.
"So how old am I?"
She does the math in her head
and arrives at the answer, "50."

I do not indicate if she is correct
but continue on with my interrogation.
"And what did you buy me for my
fiftieth birthday?"

An odd look precedes her response of
"I bought you absolutely nothing
because you are not fifty
and it is not even your birthday."

She finally confesses that she
doesn't know what day it is.
That's when I explain that it's the 75th
anniversary of the 18th amendment's repeal.

She often says that all this trivia
is enough to drive her to drink.
"At least you won't be breaking the law,"
I add.

  

IN THE WAY                       

You're in the way.
Could you move those clothes, those books,
And the appliances, please.
Especially that coffee maker.
The music collection, half-vinyl, half-CD,
why not make it all gone.
Thank you.

But there's still more clothes,
stuff you haven't worn in years,
that's clogging closets.
Why not just take the closet.
And hidden beneath the clothes
are more books -
classic novels, medical tomes,
and magazines, fashion and sports.
If you weren't such a well-rounded person,
there'd be less work for you to do.
Good.
You've removed the collected works of Collette.

Your car's blocking the driveway.
Your garden's encroaching on the lawn.
Yes, I'm aware that it's your lawn.
So move the lawn and the garden will come with it.
Get rid of the car and roll up the driveway.
stuff it in the trunk, if you wish.
Yes, it's okay to start with the little things.
The rake... if that helps.

Look, there's so much of you in here,
you may as well take the house with you.
Every room, even the cellar.
Boiler, refrigerator, trunk in the attic -
why am I not surprised the bedroom
is the first thing on the back of your truck.

While you're at it, this neighborhood is in the way.
Take it while you're here -
every house, every fence, dogs, mailboxes, fire hydrants,
even the corner store.
Grab the city while you're at it.

The country, The world. The sky both blue
and star-lit.
Of course. Of course, your childhood doll.
Isn't that the true source of all things accumulated?

I won't be satisfied until
I'm sitting, walking, living,
in this great bare landscape,
where I can go where I want,
do what I want.
No, you're right.
Nothing would still be in the way.
So why don't you take it with you
instead of all this other stuff.
Yes, take nothing.
That should just about cover it.


  
STONE  

I am a stone.
the lowest form of creation.
I'm granite,
a combination of quartz.
feldspar and biotite minerals.
I can only be moved
by outside forces.
from some brat of a kid
tossing me at his sister
to seismic donnybrooks
down below.
Otherwise, I am strictly inert.
I could have fallen from the sky
or been part of the rubble
from a long ago Ice Age.
What do I know?
I'm dense. I'm thick.
I've none of the five senses
and as for feelings -
where do you think the term
"heart of stone" comes from.
I am undeniably old
but that's brought me no wisdom.
No arms, no legs,
no muscle, no brain,
I can't do a damn thing but sit here.
You've heard the phrase,
"Written in stone."
I guarantee I didn't write it.



A FATHER-SON TALK REGARDING CANDY MACHINES

Love can be like that goddam candy machine.
You put your money in, make a selection,
it snaffles your coins, and then nothing
comes out the other end.

Then you go to the guy at the register
and he just looks at you blankly
and says something really unhelpful like
"I don't got the key."

Or maybe, just maybe, he's like me,
and he gives you a line such as,
"A candy machine is like love.
You're hungry for it,
you make your best play,
it takes all you've got to give
and then you get nothing out of it."

So have you got the key?
I sure as hell don't.



THE AUTISTIC BOY

You can't treat him like that.
Ask questions all you want
but it's not in his nature to answer them.

I tried that back when he first came.
He stared at me blankly.
And then I could sense him
drawing far back into himself,
like a tortoise retreating to its shell.
But, unlike that reptile.
his carapace was his face.

I thought, at first, that it was me,
that what I believed was kindness.
he interpreted as badgering.
But it was something within himself.
Hold his hand all you want.
even kiss him on the cheek,
but there were ways in which
he didn't want to be touched.

More than anything,
he loved having the hose turned on him,
that stream of cool liquid
splashing every part of his body.
It didn't even have to be a hot day.
The way he jerked about in that spray
was almost like dancing
which was something he never did
when there was music about.

He would reach up
and try to catch to catch the water
but it would slip through his fingers
or slap against his palms
and splatter in all directions.

He connected to that flow
more than he did with people.
I'd towel him dry and he'd be friendless.

  

THE MISTRESS'S LAMENT

Late at night.
she wonders about him.
He's living in another city now
which may as well be another continent.
When she says its name.
it seems so far far away.

She hopes he's doing well at his new job.
She's still concerned about
those pains in his joints.
She even finds herself concerned for his kids.
But not his wife.
She can see the two of them at the table.
Mona's prepared his favorite dish.
His lips smack their way into a compelling smile.
Mona beams.
Dammit!
Why must even her imaginary casserole
taste so good.

To think.
this was a man who once made
any excuse to slip away,
who rejoiced in the freedom
of kissing someone
who actually kissed back.
Her fingers massaged those aching shoulders.
Her soft words brought calm to that throbbing head.

And now the one who asked for nothing in return
has been gifted with exactly that,
plus too many extra pounds, a matronly appearance,
strands of gray perverting her nut-brown hair.

Maybe he thinks everything about them
was so implausible, it never really happened
Yet they were joined -
joined yet if only he could see.

And she knows things his wife will never know.
About herself mostly.





Thursday, November 24, 2016

New Zombie Logic Press Painting By Jack

My guy Jack, aged six, did this painting a few months ago, and I thought that's an awesome painting. Last week he gave me the painting because he said I didn't have one of his paintings at the Downtown Office. He then instructed me to post this at the Zombie Logic Press fan page. It is one of my favorite things in the world. 


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Outlaw Poems By Alfonso Colasuonno

Alfonso Colasuonno writes poetry, short fiction, and for the screen. Alfonso is the co-founder of Beautiful / Losers Magazine (beautifullosersmag.com). He graduated from Beloit College with a BA in creative writing. Alfonso currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Gutter Punk Poets on the 7 Train 

We talked about GG Allin 
He was a nice boy
Reserved, modest
When he wasn't on stage
Showing off his dicklet
Fighting like some mad bull
Cutting himself
Sticking needles up his cock made of hard candy
A master showman, no more no less

He met GG at a party
Awkward, of course
Standing near a stairwell
Not saying anything to anyone
Not looking at anyone
Almost bashful, that sensitive boy
Then he got knocked down a stairwell
By a misplaced shoulder

And I told the junkie on the 7 train
That same story after
He played that same Oblivians song
I heard him play that other time before
The one I mistook for a Social Distortion song
And we spoke about Reigning Sound 
And I mixed up Jack Oblivian and Greg Cartwright
He had a zine, of course
And I felt self-conscious about my khakis
Peppermint shirt, polished dress shoes
1960s Mad Men facade

And when I saw that punk on the 7 train
Busking on the subway once again
Oblivians on acoustic, again
I shook his hand
And we talked about Henry Darger
And Dead Moon 
And the Sonics
And Norton Rex

And for once, I didn't feel false.

Poet Alfonso Colasuonno



Clubs and Coke

He adopts the term
One percenter
Without the slightest bit
Of irony in his voice
And tries desperately
To hide his past
Defeats and miseries
He readily enjoys
His new life 
At the discos
Dancing to chillwave
And doing lines of blow 
With the models
In the bathrooms
Of the clubs
That he used to pass
And not bother
Even trying to get in
And I've known him
For a while
And I really want to ask him
How does it feel?





A New American Prayer

I should stop pussyfooting around and admit it to you, my love, I'm compelled by some strange force to travel across this smallpox-founded land, a nation born on blood, weaned on bones, to visit every nook, to poke around every cranny, to talk to our disparate people, to connect, to find out just what this country truly is, that question we've asked for centuries, who are we, who are these people...I came out the womb a gypsy, destined to a wanderer's life, to partake in fare at greasy spoons, and sleep next to you in cheap motels, wake up to syndicated television and the juices of your sex dry on my stubbly face, and we'll go for a smoke after we rub the sand out of our eyes, and then take a shot, and another, drive for miles on end, past the mountains, past the deserts, past the vast expanses of empty space, stirring in our mutually agreed upon silence. I'm a writer, honey, but I never wanted that; I dreamed of CB's and sixteen wheelers when I was young, the road always knew my name, dear. I didn't know Kerouac back then, this beast was intrinsic. I'm restless by nature; my demons cannot be exorcised.



Shotgun Blows

You remember that scene in that Hemingway novel where that old fisherman reeled in the lady fish cause the gent fish led her feed first because he loved her and besides that’s just what fish do and that old fisherman just reeled her in, and she fought and fought to no avail, and she died, and he just swam around, broken, his world upended, with no one to swim with, and she was gutted down, and he was gutted down.

That Hemingway was an interesting guy, you know, just the real swashbuckling type, a man, a real man, you don’t see that much from the writer types, and he went on his adventures, warring, and hunting, and fishing, writing, corresponding, womanizing, not much like a writer type at all.

Sometimes we all break, and if it could happen to a man, a real man, a man like him, well, hell, what hope is there for any of us?



Fortunate Son in Pennsyltucky

The men are all quite loud
The Latino is the loudest
The white man is loud too
The lilt of Appalachia in his voice
And his friend’s Spanglish
Converge like a symphony
At the McDonald’s on Main

The three of them talk about sex
The quiet guy
Latino or white, I can’t tell
Doesn’t say much
When he speaks, it’s loud
And it doesn’t sound like Appalachia or Latin America
The white man laughs,
“You like your coffee like you like your women – black”
The ambiguous guy asks,
“Your girl got out of prison yet?”
The Latino laughs,
“She already out”
“She got white hair?”
“No, she blonde”
“She got no hair?”
“No hair?”
“No hair down there”
The white man laughs
And so does the Latino
I lose track of the conversation

A slack-jawed boy
Next to his slack-jawed grandmother
Asks for my grease-stained Monopoly pieces
“Thank you”
I turn my eyes
Mutter a haughty “You’re welcome”
And empty my tray

I put fifty cents in the jukebox at the bar
Whisper into my beer
It ain’t me
It ain’t me
Even I know that’s a lie.



Hipster on the L Train Performing a Soliloquy 

I’m so fuckin’ happy, dude
I just moved into this sweet two bedroom in Bushwick
The realtor said it was in East Williamsburg
But I think he was just trying to make it sound all classy and shit
I don’t know why he was doing that shit, man
I mean, the neighborhood is getting some buzz
There’s a ton of chill people around doing shit, making art, living life
People like us, man, young people
I mean it’s not so sketch anymore
The homeless guys
You know the type, right?
The ones that sit on milk crates with their shirts off
Drinking 40s outside of the bodega
Well, I don’t know, man
I don’t think they’ll be here forever
I mean, shit, 1850 for a two bedroom?
Dudes like that have to be slinging some yay or something to afford that
Hey, I almost forgot, do you know that bar on the corner?
I went in the other day
It’s sweet, man
It’s nice to have a place like that around
I mean it’s all nail shops and cheap clothes and 99 cent stores and storefront churches, and fuck, man
I mean how ghetto can you get?
But, yeah, anyway, this place is pretty cool
They have a fucking cheap ass PBR and Old Crow combo for five bucks 24/7, dude
And they even have shit from Norton Rex on the jukebox
And, fuck man, the bartender last night was this totally smoking redhead in a Crass tee
I swear she wanted to hook up or something
She was downing shots with me all fucking night
It’s a fucking shame that I had too many or some shit like that
I’ve got to pace myself, man
But, hey, at least I didn’t get all whiskey dick on her
Fuck, it’s crazy out here
You gotta come out here, man
Bushwick needs you!



Section 8 

Pills that make you face another day at work.
Pills that make you not take another insult to heart.
Pills that make you alert - counteracting other pills.
Pills that counteract those pills - so that you can fall asleep
In order to take more pills to make you be able to face another day at work.
  
The gears continue spinning
Their clockwork motion, uninterrupted
Like BMWs in LA traffic moving steadily along the freeway
Driven by doctors heading to offices to prescribe pills
Doctors with second homes in La Jolla - paid for by Pfizer.

Patients stare glass eyed at doctors
New excuses given to obtain more pills
Handed out with beneficent nods and careful handshakes
Prescriptions with controlled substance warnings
Handed to knowing Russian émigré pharmacists
Who take their cut of the profits.

And when those pills stop working? 
More pills will be waiting in hand.
And what then?
Group therapy with illicit addicts, ex-cons, and patients
And a warm bed at Bellevue
With the eventual hope to be released back into society
This time with stronger doses of pills.