Compiled and Composed: Tapping Into Your Creative Spirit
"A Summer Institute for Artists and Writers" will be held at the College of Saint Elizabeth from June 29 to July 2, 2014.
Register today to take part in the all-day, innovative workshops and master classes. Choose from visual art or writing tracks, attend the Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery exhibition and reception, and come to a reading, Q&A and book signing by memoirist, poet, and essayist, Mark Doty.
Charles Darwin’s dying, you see—
his Origin of Species has stopped evolving. Naturally
the text unlearned the ability to mutate symbolism
into the next evolution. Flowers and fauna combusted
into parts—solve et coagula—and splattered against
the fibers of reality. Life in retrograde, feral
without composition. Even white noise filled white void
only threading the world rearranged—theory
unbuckled by breaking apart discovery and smearing jigsaws
everywhere. Pied confetti poppers banging bioluminescence
across abstract perceptions: reasons why enlightenment
isn’t empirical, only floating as eye flora. Chipped house paint
cries each more, vanishing when we shut our eyes. Look—
explanations are not truths. You only solved
a geometry lasting as long as you lived; what carries on
creates cults of scientism, entirely your own genesis
of genius. Genuine in approach, he closes in,
saying: The path splits off in a manner
of splintering fig roots… My name is not Atlas,
though a globe rests on shoulders inside
an aquarium. each footprint in Borges’ labyrinth
is a death wish—a prayer to Algol in Beta (β) Perseus
for a guillotine’s kiss! Dismiss me, Carelessness, so
I may fall and shatter, so the snakes of the Gorgon
can find their way through the haze of Hades’ maze
lest you fill this mind with nuclear fusion—
give me He-3 or give me eternal damnation:
dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux—tell me,
armchair philosopher! Science never dies, but Egon Schiele
will always prove no matter how far we expand for empires,
we’ll always remain primordial: the ooze we make
rambling like idiots in universal tongues, sharing
different experiences in a homogeneous solution—art!
One day we all make back to the River Lethe, following.
Slowly this coral
braces for the back and forth
by changing colors
beginning with moonlight –in time
the leaves become tea, gutted
the way an old woman with beads
weighs your palm for riverbeds
then spreads each finger
whose only memory is the darkness
that helps you breathe
underwater till it burns out
smells from emptiness
and standing in a circle while you drink
from a cup filled with some meadow
overgrown, forgotten, all at once.
Without the map you make a turn
the way someone pawns a coat
and butterflies disappear
though you remember the road
before it forked, became a valley
and the town, driving through
with the trunk propped open
helping you count over and over
to ten, half someone’s breath
half moonlight pressing against the hood
to open it, let out the wings, the road
and how much longer.
Don’t look around –it’s this conch
whispering back, keeping you awake
the way sailors embrace the stars
with rope when the rigging loosens
as the coming wave
falling to its death in your ear
–a nameless shell holds your hand
so it stays wet when lifted by moonlight
swollen from the darkness it needs
to flood the Earth, let go the railing
jump from the afternoons –you should look
for piling to carry away
on your shoulders as the voice
still circling overhead, almost a sea
almost all from your eyes.
You swallow head down
the way this hillside
sets for some far place
as evenings –it’s safe now
to drink from the birdbath
then throw your head back
purified by the pebbles
now gathered in a circle
as if they were the ones
you dead listen for
with your eyes closed
–in such a darkness
water becomes distance
finds the place in your mouth
for a field where a plane
skims by to cover you
as mist from its descent
still burning in the ground.
It was mindless gesture
greeting someone not there
though the cap still tilts
is falling behind as the gust
from passing sirens and bells
helps you close your eyes
where the brim from the inside
folds end over end
catches fire and over your forehead
cushions it with ashes the way a stone
softens another stone, moves it closer
wants it to press your mouth
against the evening and open it
for the darkness you bring
to loosen the earrings and sparks.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com
(Artwork courtesy of the poet, Ateet Tuli. Saturday Night)
The hot cappuccino
draws blood to my stomach,
leaving me cold.
from my spine
till they become epaulets
on my shoulders. I wear
the uniform of memory;
recall us laying in bed
waiting for the coffee maker,
on my back.
My warp still hugs
The loom is cracked in places.
When it’s hot
the cracks expand.
(From the unpublished manuscript Salts)
I work in a sushi restaurant.
Are you a sushi chef?
No, I’m a sushi cashier.
The second U2 song this night,
over which they strain:
Did you say you serve deer?
You’re funny… anyways,
plans for tonight?
flood her face,
with sprightly overtones.
He wants to verse
chorus verse her.
he wants to carry sweat
from her inner thighs
on his hands.
(From the unpublished manuscript Salts)
Ateet Tuli gravitated towards writing after using words in his visual art. He lives and works in NY, NY. His chapbook, “Posture,” is available from Cervena Barva Press.
The talented and wonderful poet Darla Himeles reading three poems at The Belfast Poetry Festival.
Hello friends, my chapbook Amores Gitano (gypsy loves) is now available for Kindle and can be purchased at Amazon, 7$.
If you’d prefer an actual book please visit the Cervena Barva Press website:
Otherwise, the Amazon link is below. Thanks again to Gloria Mindock and Cervena Barva Press for believing in my work.
(Photo courtesy of www.aaroads.com)
John Garfield died in New York on May 21, 1952. The actor, you know? Same day? I got drunk in a bar in San Pedro. Well, several bars, really. Not a nice place, San Pedro.
You ever been there… San Pedro? California. Up near Long Beach.
Bars there? Saloons, really, no class, no motif, no… what you call, ambience. Bartender’s usually the owner, lives upstairs in a walkup over the bar. Juke box, pool table, mirror behind the bar to look like there’s more booze inventory than there is. Just depressing.
So I got drunk, being as one shot becomes two, then three, four, who remembers from there? Next morning? Read about John Garfield. Or Loretta did. Was reading the paper, sharing it with her, in the kitchen with Loretta, my live-in. Or better, maybe, you could say that I was the live-in. Worked as an oiler on tankers mostly, and… between ships, I’d stay with Loretta. Loretta used to be an actress, pretty woman. Had small parts in a lot of flicks, nothing big. I remember she always kept up with the goings on in Hollywood. Back then? She owned some property out in San Pedro, lived in her father’s house near the beach. Her father was dead. Her Mom lived in Fresno with a poodle and cats.
She had the front page. I had the sport section, like always.
Had a beer for breakfast that morning. Beer and tomato juice served up as cold as the icebox could make it, laced with crushed ice and desiccated liver pills. Secret weapon against hangovers, that… got vitamin B12, those liver pills. Packed with it. And the cold beer and tomato juice? The ice shavings? Fixes the gut. Minimizes the shakes.
Breakfast of champions.
So, I’m sitting there, staring at the scores on the sports page, which are still a blur, waiting for the B & TJ to kick in. Lit up the first cigarette of the day. Loretta’s reading, sipping coffee, drops the paper down, says, “John Garfield’s dead.”
“What? That don’t sound right.”
“Yeah. Died in New York. What a shame.”
Thing was? I looked a little like John Garfield. Loretta liked that. She loved John Garfield. Saw every movie he was ever in. Back when she was acting, Loretta had a walk-on in one of his films. Seeing the man up close in action must have made her day.
When he got blacklisted? She was furious.
“John Garfield is a good American.” So she said when she heard about it.
She’s reading me the article the day after he died. Said, “It says here he was a Jew. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. You ever hear of a Jew named Garfield? That can’t be right. Can it?”
“And what if it is?” I says, “A Jew’s just like the next guy. Silly really, but … it’s a bad year to be a Jew.”
She put down the paper, said, “Why do you say that?”
“You Jewish these days? People think you’re a Commie.”
“Well, John Garfield was no Commie.”
“I’m just sayin’ …”
“He was a good American.”
Subject was closed. I wasn’t arguing, but even if I were to flat out say, “Darlin’… you are totally, one-hundred and eighty-seven percent right.” Think she’d accept that? No, she’d still argue. Women get like that. Get mad about something and want to fight. You the only poor schmuck in the room? She’ll fight with you just for the sake of fighting. That’s how they are. Why I never got married. Need peace in my troubled life.
Back then? Everything was about the Commies. Commie… not-a-Commie, didn’t matter to me. I didn’t care. Never understood what that was all about anyway. Commies are extinct now … pretty much. Aren’t they? All those years with people worryied about the Russians, the Chinese, the Cubans. People worried about the bomb. Old Joe McCarthy, that Senator from cheese, burning all those peoples’ reputations. Man was a nut job himself. Balloon-headed nut job with more power than a man ought to have.
Loretta read me another article a few months after John Garfield died, where the writer said he died because he was blacklisted. Drove him to drink and the drink killed him. He was young, only 39. Couldn’t work out in Hollywood, so he had to go back to New York. Never been to New York, but I hear it’s a rough town. Bad enough to get drunk in ‘downtown’ San Pedro. I can just imagine old John Garfield getting drunk in New York City, having been famous and then not being able to get a job ‘cause some asshole calls you a Commie.
Politics? It’s all bullshit, smoke and mirrors.
Look at these tea party people you see these days. Not much different than McCarthy’s crowd. Church people. Wrapped in a flag. Mean. Just plain mean. They get themselves in power? Be like it was back then. Back then, it was the Commies. Don’t know what they’ll call them now… socialists maybe, since all the Commies are gone… but you can be sure whatever they call them, they hate everything about them.
Old Loretta? She was quite a girl. Had the chance to marry her. We got engaged.
One day, I just woke up scared of the whole idea. Marriage. Getting a real job on the beach. Got drunk again in San Pedro that same night and ran into a guy who knew a guy who heard from another guy who knew about a berth on a tanker that was sailing that night. Sound complicated? That’s how things worked back then.
I checked it out.
Next morning? I’m sailing up to Vancouver, sailing up the coast in the wallows off the beach, sick as a dog. Coast run’s famous for that, for the waves out there, how they roll. Great for surfers, but not so hot for sailors off a long night on the beach with a bellyful of sorrow and a head full of cotton. Ship heading north or south gets caught in the trough, rolls from side to side. You got a hangover in seas like that? Don’t matter how damn salty you are, you wind up hanging over the rail, looking out over the water, calling for Ralph.
“Ralph! Ohhhh, Roowwlph!”
From Vancouver? Picked up a freighter and sailed across the pond to Yokohama and all points south. Did a lot of circuits around the really Far East, which is more like the far west, really, but there it is. Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok … those places? Not like San Pedro. Nothing depressing about the bars in those towns. You got to love the beauty of a gin-joint where the whores’ll tell you how handsome you are even if you’re plug ugly. Beautiful girls all and they work in bars with names like “Paradise Lucky,” “Everyone Joy,” or “Hollywood Happy.”
You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Paradise Lucky’s a bar in Hong Kong. Man can’t get depressed in a place like that.
Never went back to San Pedro, not for many years, but Loretta? She bought some more property, got lucky, got rich. Started backing movies for kicks, got richer, moved out to Beverly Hills. Married some pretty boy actor half her age and made him a director. Could have been me. Could have been maybe a millionaire if I’d married her, Loretta. Could have been a lot of things, but why worry? Life’s not so bad when you can walk away a free man at the drop of a word … at the hint of a woman talking about how nice things could be, if only…
Nice thing to get rich I guess and buy yourself everything you ever wanted, but… I don’t know. You get things? You get rich? Well, it might be nice for a while. But if you’ve got it and you lose it, you really pay some heavy dues.
Look at John Garfield. Man had everything. Money. Fame.
When he lost it? Damn if it didn’t kill him.
James Lloyd Davis is finishing an interminable novel.
His short fiction and a few poems have been published in literary journals and anthologies in the USA, the UK, Australia and Canada.
His wife, MaryAnne Kolton, is also a writer. You can catch some of her insightful interviews with authors at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
(Artwork courtesy of the author)
Lost in the booth of Mr Punch’s dreams,
Jack Ketch flinches at the images
flickering across torn curtains.
The chirpy projectionist
sits in his nest,
A snake, rising from a discarded pair of clown’s trousers.
A monkey, balancing on a watermelon.
A burning sofa.
A boat made of newspaper, translucent with vinegar, sailing on a sea of soggy chips.
Blackpool Tower, shattering into confetti.
A spiral staircase that is a shell, revolving in the salty breeze, turning into an ear.
An eyeball, floating in a toilet bowl.
A glove puppet and a love puppet, waltzing in space.
Flowers in a trance.
Two black chess pieces: a knight and a king with feathers, in place of a crown.
A tiny man, drowning in a bottle of tomato ketchup.
An upside-down bowler hat, full of custard.
A beach ball, bouncing in slow motion through a hall of mirrors.
A puppeteer, hiding in a bin.
A small child, cheeks pink with joy, holding an ice cream made of seagulls.
A dirty puddle, in which someone has dropped a slim paperback called Mrs Punch Screams.
A man with a knife for a nose.
A chainsaw-winged angel, slashing his way out of a cocoon.
A round mirror, mimicking the moon. A face like a cloud crosses its surface.
The forest in which stories are born. Bloody and raw, they bawl beneath the eyes of shadow birds.
The Umbrella Men, sacking the City of Rain.
Judy’s moody brood, sulking in the shadow of a bouncy castle. But there’s one ninny enjoying himself, bouncing, ferociously alone: Punch.
A palace made of crumpled lager cans, on the wet waste of a beach.
A blancmange, thrown at a face.
Roll up, roll up! Come and see the Tyburn Gardener get his just desserts. Roll up, roll up!
The mirror frame above the chest of drawers
is a yellow loop
around Ketch’s head.
The Tyburn tree,
the stinking crowd,
a rotten egg sun.
James Knight assembles junk poems and takes photos of your dreams.
James Knight is a member of Jeff Noon's experimental Twitter writing group, @echovirus12.
James Knight is the Bird King.
This poem will appear in the September issue of Poets/Artists. You can download the iPad version free on iTunes or go here: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/magazine/96324 to buy a hard copy.
Poets/Artists is a cutting edge blend of art and poetry that will blow your socks off. Check them out on Tumblr: http://poetsartists.tumblr.com/
If you’re a poet or a fan of poetry outside the U.S. and belong to a book club or just like to read new poetry with your friends please message me. I’d like to send you a free copy of my chapbook to create some visibility over seas. I’m not asking for a marketing campaign. I’d just like to see if the little chap will have legs overseas. Thanks!
(please reblog :O)
Two days ago, a friend of mine and I met at my house. She was a nurse, and could only visit my house very late at night when her shift ended. We don’t meet often because she is very busy saving lives and generally being a more useful human being in society than myself. It is a very time consuming thing, being useful. We had chamomile in our dining room. She was still wearing her uniform. She was very pretty in it. My shirt was all torn at the collar, and she said it made me look as if I had gotten into a fight. I’ve never fought for anything with anyone in my life.
She said: “I don’t feel very well because of,” she looked down at her tea, took a sip, and then looked at me. “You know.”
“You know” is a codeword for the guy who fucked her and then left. He reportedly fucked her like an animal, her legs up and everything, and after it all, he got dressed, and while You Know put on his belt he said, “I’ll text you.” She was still naked when he left the apartment. He never got back to her. They’ve known each other for maybe a week, and hooked up after flirting on Facebook.
“You’re a moron,” I said. “You deserve to suffer. If you have one brain cell more than I suspect, you won’t do what you did again. That’s all you can do.”
She said: “I want to see if it will work between us.”
“I hope to God, I hope to Jesus fucking Christ and the fucking Virgin Mary that when you say ‘us’ you mean you and me and not you and him,” I said. “I mean I don’t like pussy but you seriously cannot be that stupid.”
I’ve seen You Know at the McDonalds’ near our school a few weeks ago. He was with another girl. I’ve never told her. You Know didn’t look too bad, and I knew why she did what she did. I think I would have done it, too, if I were as pretty as her, but few of us are as pretty as her.
She looked at me with eyes that betrayed a soul within. “I don’t know what to do.” Tears were beginning to surface. “I can’t stop thinking about him. I know we only knew each other for a few days, but he was so kind, and no one’s loved me like that before.”
“Let’s get one thing straight,” I said. “He never loved you. He didn’t love you when you screwed, and he didn’t love you after that. He probably watched tv after fucking you, ate some chips, rubbed one out while watching porn, and forgot your name.”
She wiped her eyes, though there didn’t seem to be any tears. I don’t know why people see me for these things. I really don’t. Whenever I have problems, I try to run from myself, but I was unfortunate enough to be me and therefore cannot run fast enough. I will always catch up. I wanted her to be happy. I only wanted her to be happy. She deserved more than anyone to be happy.
We sat in silence for a few minutes. Then, she cried. I watched her as she cried. It was as if I wasn’t there. I knew somehow I shouldn’t be there. After a while, she stopped sobbing.
“Be strong,” I said. I reached for her hand. I don’t like touching other humans. I never know where they’ve been. Humans do disgusting things. Humans do disgusting things to each other. I made an exception. “Don’t run around rushing it, doing it with whoever. I mean you deserve someone who will really love you. You’re more than just for fucking. You make people happy. Please.”
“I can’t stand waiting,” she said.
“Please.” I gripped her hand.
She did one of those smiles that indicated gratitude and affection. I let go. We sat there until we finished our tea, and then I said: “If you don’t go now someone will rape you in the streets. Get out of my house.”
She gave me a hug before she left. I saw her car’s headlights pass by our house. I put away both cups in the sink. I opened my laptop and checked my inbox. The boy I liked still hasn’t replied to my email from across the world. I sat and waited. I can’t stand waiting, either, but we can’t all be pretty like her.
P.R. Mercado is a writer living and working in Manila. His work has been featured on Letras Caseras in the past.
West of the Moon
Pushcart nominated Poet Yesenia Montilla reading two of her poems: “Ars Poetica” & “Ode to the Mouth” at Cave Canem in Brooklyn, NY.
(photo by cageling.tumblr.com)
he was born of a wishbone
he fears briny backwoods
flavorful worms want dust
he remains too moist
layered silver face
you could say he is loose
that his tools took up the paradox
of many shores: a broken clock
he’s just playing possum
he rides bones hooked
he just wants to fish
but the worms won’t dust
time remains too moist
Jennifer Bartell is from Johnsonville, South Carolina. She is pursing an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Her work has been published in Jasper Magazine and The Art of Medicine in Metaphors. She is the recipient of the 2012 James Dickey Writing Award for Poetry. She is also the poetry editor of Yemassee, USC’s literary journal. She can be reached on Twitter @bartelliyo.