Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bob Marcacci

                                  catching up with Angela
                         you finally made it here and we went out together
           desert sun burned into us
                           the end of that month
                 walking across dirt clods          sand
                    drivers stopped to ask if we needed help
                              Vito walked in the shade of a wooden wall
                                    we turned back
                       wasted by heat                sweat
                                                                 defeated memes
                               those first few days
                                    admiring mosques
                                                                                   back inside
                                                             watch the clock willing
                                            a gecko poised in the corner
                                               turned toward a number
                                          not there


lacking alcohol
                                            drink a tall glass
                                     Florida’s natural brand
                                    premium grower’s style
                                                 most pulp orange juice
                                                                              a break from planning
                                                    arguments in writing
                                                            now myself
                                                         writing poetry
    or some kind
                                                  of narrative
                                                of the unknown
                                                Islam autumn
                                                i don’t know where
                                                  i’m going
                                                    i look at numbers
                                           five minutes have elapsed
                                                look again at the clock
                                                 no change
                                                    empty glass on counter
                                                all lights on in an empty

      we fade
     we who
     read     :     hurried
  we page turn and to
       each we love
      we improve
our desert home
     we hope
    we roam closer
     we dote


                                    Arabic numerals in their natural
                                                     sleep bends my head lower
                                    traffic hushes past the compound

    some great moment passed
          mark some coincidence
  in what dark fold
    some told of Al Khor
     we remain the roadside attraction
greater than we were
                                     words                  worms
       worried                look out
     across chain-link                   white brick
    expanse                sun turns scarlet
long straight highway

           wind tones
          around buildings
       presses against windows
      brings its desert salaam
                                  sand from Saudi
     its midnight demand and racket
       shakes screens in Riyadh
                                 almost screams
          curtains breathe
        and wind whines madly          man
         in moments
            nearly asleep


Matt Hill


Q - In your stylistics at least, you have been compared with various writers such as Beckett and
Pynchon. Would this possibly represent an opinionated distortion of your work?

A – The assumption here is one of tenuous identification, one that I assume also involves
the particulars of some author’s life mixed in with those of the characters depicted upon the
created pages. This would be folly. Sheer folly.

Q – But aren’t the technical maneuvers you use, for instance in your book Pellucid Inferno, such
as the shifting points of view in the same paragraph, intended to come across as meaningfully
effective? I’m thinking here somewhat like the function of a heat sink in the process of thermal

A – Well, that analogy would probably be a real stretch. Yet, one is sometimes forced to make
concessions towards what we call progress. Far be it from me to know the quiddity of these

Q – Your style is complicated, convoluted, some would say even opaque. Would this be a
residue of the surrealist influences you have alluded to in previous interviews?

A – Yes. It is all about working with fragments, the very increments of consciousness. To
juxtapose the quotidian alongside the ineluctable – yes, this would be the means to my end.

Q – In the New Yorker interview several years back, you indicated you thought writing is a
process which cannot necessarily be taught through classes and workshops. And yet here you
are today, teaching a graduate workshop. Is this mixed message a deliberate obfuscation, or is
it just off-the-shelf cognitive dissonance?

A – Both of these, and more. In the everyday sphere, one’s personal beliefs don’t necessarily
dovetail with the grim work of earning the daily bread and butter; one certainly must make
concessions in the garnering of food and shelter. And of course, the current feelings are ones
of ambivalence. So this topic might have to be left to the biographers. That is, if there will be

Q – Some of your detractors, if we might indirectly refer to them, have judged that your stories
are merely mélange. In other words, more bling than bite.

A – We’re all born clueless. It’s a darn shame that some insist on remaining that way.

Q – What would be some of the triggers that initiate your writing process?

A – Oh, I suppose dumpster diving through the debris of porous memory. And the multitude
of surprises that surface when researching the implausible. Random snippets of overheard
conversations also factor in. The subculture obliquities encountered while I desultorily roam
the forsaken streets. The unexpected whatnot one needs to continuously sidestep daily. Etc.

Q – Do you share in this notion that artists and writers should convey feasible truths in their

A – Excuse me, did you say feasible?

Q – In the sense of social responsibility.

A – [a long pause, followed by a gesture of shrugged helplessness involving the palms]

Q – Alright, what would it be that drives your use of the imagination in fiction? What gives you
the impetus to create these texts?

A – You mean, aside from some unbounded stupidity? Oh I reckon it has something to do with
catharsis. You know, like a mental bowel movement. Frankly, I don’t see much in the way of
impetus or having a “point” to this writing business. I mean, is the world really any better off
as it fills up with this stuff? I actually garner more satisfaction with helping out the neighbors
doing their monthly run to the dump. Or perhaps slapping a little paint on a wall.

Q – Your usage of hyperbole has been called ridiculous and juvenile. What’s really going on
here with this technique?

A – Well, aside from walking around nude in public, I can’t think of a more effective way of
turing people’s limited attentions. Which is no small task these days, what with the ubiquity
of all these digital devices and their attached distractions.

Q – Is there any pleasure in the writing process for you? Any satisfaction in what is created?

A – You know, I would rather clean the latrines of hell before I ever deliberately decided “to
become” a writer. For myself, and I speak in the singular only, it seems to be my fate to do
this, as opposed to other pursuits, many of which I have tried and spectacularly failed at. Any
personal say-so in the matter seems to have been overruled by unknown agencies. Most days,
this sitting in front of the blank pages, well, it just feels torturous, this making of texts and such.
But I suppose that’s why I’m condemned to this process, being the lifelong masochist that the
Catholic indoctrination so deeply ingrained in me.

Q – How do you know when a book is finished?

A – You don’t. Even with using all your instincts you don’t. When you have become completely
sick of working the damn thing over and over, it mysteriously just gets launched one day, and
there you are, crossing your fingers that it was all not in vain. Valery’s comment that a poem is
never finished, only abandoned, would also apply here.

Q – Literary influences – who and why?

A - Oh, all the big guys, with many unknowns and forgotten souls thrown in. Once I devoured
tons of literary stuff, but that was years ago. Now I’m down to reading almanacs and
dictionaries, which keeps me out of the bars at night.

Q – Your particular style, which features a cynical black humor, has been characterized as
rambunctious, vulnerable, volatile, vehement, and anything but subtle.

A – Sure, sure. Just throw it all into the blender and hit the Frappe button.

Q – And yet, there seems to be a vague evolution to your stylistics. Yes?

A – Maybe. Perhaps in the schizophrenic sense that underlies any effective satire. Perhaps also
in the sense that style can become a defensive mechanism against the ubiquitous stupidities of
the literal. I really don’t know … I’m just throwing stuff out here.

Q – Well, what about the God question. You allude in several of your stories, such as An
Impossible Life and The Patina of Neglect, to our existential status, our place in the cosmos, that
this is no accident. That there is some purpose-driven design behind all this quotidian mess.

A – I think it was Santayana who said something to the effect about our existence, that you
can either live in despair, or you can live drunk. Those are the only two choices. Having tried
both, I think the third option would be to proceed intrepidly, in stoic fashion, and keep smiling.
Of course, that presupposes having faith in the event horizon of an apriori consciousness.
More bluntly, yes, this mess is not just a random piece of cosmic excrement on the part of a
constipated deity. For my part, I do see the act of making books as a resolute praxis of defying

Q – These improbable situations you depict certainly are philosophically prone scenarios; ones
regarding the meaning of values, and the unusually fresh usage of language. But then the
dark humor kicks in, and is used to balance the weightiness of dilemmas faced by the various

A – Ultimately, after everything gets expressed, it finally comes down to just mustering a cogent
silence [shrugs again helplessly]. I think Beckett was mostly right on this one.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stephen Ellis


Afraid of how
time is past, but
not gone, I

search to pass
even more of it,
trying to feel

as it goes,
full of its vibrations
in the present,

in tenor
and producing

some relief,
but making me
humble enough

that I know I will be
doing this
as I do it now

for as long as
I'll be able
to remember.


Vernon Frazer

After the First

the fire 
quenched, its membrane burst

wiring as penalty granite a lineage 
of long

cigars, the stench 
staining worse than 
a turmeric rumor

the whim of its liminal synergy

charged both ways at once
a binary extension grounded
in variance, manic against

its ties,
teeth clenched as dental metaphor

the outburst filling the first frame

cinematic verity not required
at the low-down hinge grate

action fainting permitted
when tassel caps allure
the restriction gate print

a plural 
to ply the energy from its rank 

before the cost of first mitosis


Deliberating the Endgame

potassium jury terrors regurgitate
somnolent incandescence to heat
denomination scandals demonized
politely as their svelte turned acrid 
while repeating sample massages 
in passages unlit no message left
to guide defectors in error or patent
shoes longing to wade the subject
disabled the water cresting revelation
a tentacle rite distending vision leak
diffused the segue to ruddered drift
reaching ecliptic parameters gestured
desperate claw repetitions making
lawful their surrogate luster melt
on wry pastries icons bent ironically
overgrown to the seed of wilting
where revising terror medleys blast 
mustard sharks with rude apparatus
the marmalade montage blinked
a cascade bringing fury to saloons
proudly recapitulating night terrors
before dead wagons turned portable
whiskey transport dividend clusters
brown as weathered tassel fugues
caught up in climactic lift incursion
marches past tailor threads shoed
to market forces place the course
evenly spread crude border entities
activate the rippling flashes burned
across wood and concrete and glass
to slice the longed-for cleft and mutter
incendiary comments on slow release
sought as a rift in diversionary tactics
once equally practiced on bland futons
old springs creaking near the landing
above their lowering urge to include
bathysphere art forms that interfere
with every clearance modem clang
steeping its mercurial transit clusters 
with dyspeptic shark appellant mix
whose rebound cluster no aficionado
could translate into the coral findings 
where tantrum clusters delete fixation 
loose hatcheries impel a nominal delay
slow breath encumbers clothing tone
teeth chatter closing hair ensembles
behind their grins’ disappearing luster
the relics gum near periodontal land
whose water left them cresting tide
in toned motes delivered as modes
assigned to scrubbing their passion-
pitched aspersions laced with cheese
when no admonition ruptured faster
than either heat or light can breathe
wrong personification charts gone nodal 
as the surgical extremities of inventory 
tonsil thrillers turned prehensile longing 
to official grip wagging tailored dogs
before the sniffing poltroon decree
seals the seldom seen gripped between
the levered hands gone rounded leather
ceiling fans seek the fevered progeny 
that ground-seeking news will storm  
past the varicose rims of the horning
cartilage poppers mowing slow retreat
lodes refining their own scalar pattern 
the repetition stilled one turning past 
the agate fold enumerated at the offset
bleeding putts through lowered stitches
while marginal estuary blockers lack
the seminal impediments sequestered
in the moving tint of generation vipers
writhing against the horizontal sunset
to beckon the resounding messages
from the ancient veterans resembling
the wary farces of their lost protocols
crackling brittle as the kindle would
rise while darkening the interior view
encases required renovations that vary
the call to release their shaken umber 
from the padding charts that vessel
perturbed underlining at vesicle stops
denied the innovative transport view
snaking eyes dart across the tabular
vein stricken clumsily implied grace
as a well-worn tunic bled naugahyde
lard over the noon shedding caskets
to summer bulged in waiver saloons
where baskets lumber their shreds
under the faintly lasting motor itch


Md Khan

The Bedouin 

Wanderer, search but a moment longer,
what you hope to find is scattered throughout
the dunes of sand you must traverse
and by the gulf of crystalline blue water
where you will pitch your tents.

Pick up, if you must a relic of times
gone past, like hitchhiking memories through
pitiless terrain and invisible borders stationed
with soldiers well aware of bartering your
passage for a bottle of whiskey or a silk tie.

Abandon your ancestral modes of commute,
they can’t help you now for the world has grown
bigger, the outlines of lands erased and expanded,
whiteness growing, filling up maps on pages
meant for your father's poetry.

Uprooted, you are privileged because
a life that is troubled is a life meant for learning,
the hopes of your father, comfort only brings
bitterness, completeness bears no interest,
groundedness, nothing but fatigue.

Carry your homeland in your soul
for a carry-on bag can’t contain it, it can’t
weather a shower of bullets by your enemies,
your Being must conceal it, not to be unpacked
on your journey to homelessness.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Joel Chace

Pop-up 22


Mike Sikkema

from Three Cheers for the Women Who Built the Moon


the autobiography of Witch Bullet was a six foot two haiku box car every other coal 
car no passengers tall white letters with streamy tails and cartoon eyes you could 
never catch all of before the station bulls ran you off but also tree top carved for 
migratory types and low flying aircraft if not carved then shaped in the branches 
with impossible wind or written in waves of bees waves of future primates of all the 
ocean unknowns of glow-bugs you don’t notice until they fly out of your mouth into 
the dark room and arrange rearrange “Witch Bullet Will Eat Your Face”


Easiest to explain as parts of the brain living all over book shelf oak moraine parts of 
the brain in each knee and grasshopper brain parts in lake wave formation in yellow 
and red parts of the brain in a pizza box matching broken chairs are brain parts 
parts of the brain in a gear box rusting out in a bucket fucked freshly love faces are 
parts of the brain similar cinema every breast ever cupped uncapped parts of the 
brain in cryptids and hunters testicles highway cones precious metals left hooks 
fish mercury suicide doors terror birds flapper haircuts barber poles in cartoons all 
brain brain brain brain brain brain brain brain brain brain brain brain brain brain
phantom limb brain phantom phantom brain mirror box brain net of light brain 
parts of the brain are ears and eyes potatoes and a garden mole in moonlight an 
overdose brain a brown field brain an oil slick brain parts of the brain half life 
mountain top removal brain asteroid brain and moon parts of the brain in home 
room and celebrity upskirt parts of the brain hand held devices brain and brain


Peter Ganick


improcessual dint of creation
there that infundibulum voorsicht
tellingly protean
connectst connecting connectors
trooper incroyable 
the oval resistor meandering 
sleight of hand
comprehensively threaded mounts
volcanic endoue hierarchal notice
the same place from whichever ink

cajoling vanishing point from dimensionless
wherein a calyx voices demands
preen nor flaunt.



where commuting lastlingly presumed
the affirmation’s affirmative meanders
which horse connote resilience
predilection of morale unclouded.

degenerate barter fades
the candy shoes cake selves
denial untries enough spotless
wideness mirrored
so in meme a phoneme or which
weeps choice blinded fro
the aspect in remorse 
gallery coefficient natal
totem firecast neither wading sleight
preside mannerism thorough plans
wield mensonge there as further
notion seeming raffle coerces.

plankton to hawking whole syrinx
hedonist theatre smitten neither
blanket nor
permute seizes gravid 
enough screaming
collides manifest to behave
insequent those reminding slack the furnace
there procedural ingredient aslan
those replicate mindstyles these
from which starting
snowfall noestra opaque milling.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

                        from “wild black lake” 

my heart is tired and goes to sleep
my eyes were pious
or they were pies
ending in sighs in a skin of water

face of the earth 
all alone in heaven
the duplex never debonair
in rooms we exchange air for air

[i wondered what
it would be like
to sink into that wide black ocean
and never emerge]

stuck in a wall of song
regimes rush to fill the emptiness
the place i left
cascading intimate theory

lopsided applause
an example of bone
flowers controlled by blunt formulae
ending in effigy

ebbed from me
a naked screen
that touches me briefly

distances between artifice and
real objects serve as 
obstacles above glittering forests
in faraway debris

i become stone
enclosed by narration
hoping to melt
stem by stem

vehement ceremonies
for smiling gang members
colic latchkey
smeared on toast

concrete seepage
on the brink of artificiality
buried confessions
of dusty regimes

an excerpt cluster
carp motionless in a pond
torn red paper lanterns
scorched flowerbeds

almighty knees
in stately industry
collar of wind blows
a swallowed patch

figures leaning out windows
heels moving on a staircase
stiff floorboards
doubt waiting to be born

hot summer afternoon
exits closed
sudden belief in erasure
in a vast room of wilderness

hardened shoreline
a chimney of hula
volcanic discipline
guru gropes

dewy childhood
of slanted laughter
doomed to compose a moldy elegy
for muddy clouds

grating shipwreck in metallic silence
brushes my dry abdomen
a rice cake blockade
staggers cells of summer kites

tornado of dialogue
all failure begins to flower
false stony wandering
on a botched path

near a dismal fence
vanishing voices greet you
your body momentarily warm
my voice diagonal

formal grapheme
stalks clothesline pick up
a suffix of kidnap
shawls gallop

ivory delta
bucolic wave
a separate developmental line
in bareback fallout

vicarious geography
unending carnivore
sickening clouds
see you in court

squirrel on wire
rocks deep within
unhealing gesture
lost brick

a cancelled self
shady façade of fences
transparent street
dries up

a low birth
the rock’s experience of me
stars in my brain
along a greying bridge

my skin tears
butterflies of today
something is wrong
a waltz for the blind

perched on a frame
a muddled face
plaza at midnight
blinking away

spoonful of regret
shadow chatters loudly
birds become flowers
from far away

though warm it snows
on the back of a painting
my blouse unbuttoned
by a strong wind

the wind outside the mind
post mortem
angle of endless teeth
resurrect the quivering sun

protected by the forest
doll trapped in the house
my arm twisted
things to do

smoothing of space
millions of morals
womb for words
see enclosed brochure

perverse shopping
soldiers came home
what to do
exit wound

things not to do
corpse like
raybans and corncob pipe
endlessly old

the lapse in my eyes
in front of the bodega
catastrophic sandbanks
rest in peace

picture a girl
standing in rain
arrested by the mob
banal illusions

celebrity against gravity
function of language
internal hysteric
microscopic adventure

weird black lake
territorial mimesis
exterior milieu
dialectic protection

cellular syntax
slow labor of bodies
musty rupture
in analogous time

enunciation of voidedness
perpetual code
abutment aggregate
polyphonic elastic

interlink asignifying
motion of noise
presides over the world
quilted and axiomatic

elegant bird
under automobile tires
replying eagerly
a sun sinks

ambushed breasts
in wild silence
wintry carnival
of social systems

silhouette in a window
the night overtakes
waiting for a sign
becomes increasingly still