Monday, September 22, 2014

INTERVIEW: MIKE MERAZ


Name? Mike Meraz

Age?
It’s 4:22 am and I am tired. 43

Location?
Whittier Ca. for now but plan to be in Long Beach later.

How long have you been writing? Since I was in high school, but seriously since I was 30. When I say seriously I mean with the intention of being published.

Do you have a specific writing style? I am trying to create my own which is probably a bastardized version of many writers: Kerouac, Bukowski, Brautigan i.e. all the writers who I’ve read and admired.

Do you write as a career? Yes but it pays very bad.

Do you write full-time? I write when poems come to me.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? I suppose being able to stay in the game, to keep writing poems. I had writers block from 2009 to 2011 and it wasn’t a good experience.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? To quit my day job and make a living off my books. To sit in a big chair, drink beer and accept royalty checks.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Keeping things fresh, reinventing myself, staying relevant.

What projects of yours have been recently published? I have a book of quotes out called Black-Listed Thoughts published by Propaganda Press. Some free stuff online through Free Penny Press: Writhing & Alive and The Art of Work. I have a book of poems from Dog On A Chain Press called Watching It Burn and a new book out by Epic Rites Press called 43.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I have been writing a lot of poems lately about women. I hope to collect these poems into a chapbook one day.

Where can we find your work? At Dog On A Chain Press, Propaganda Press, and Epic Rites Press. Also if you google my name/poems a lot of stuff will come up.

How often do you write? I’d like to write everyday but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. I write when poems come to me, I am not a “sit down” writer. I am usually on the go, in my iphone or on a notepad.

       How do you react to rejections? I just send the poems elsewhere. It is usually a matter of taste. I don’t take it too personal.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? I think when I first starting getting published it was a big high, now it’s a sign that I can still write publishable work, which is a relief.

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s fatal.

       What is your favorite book? I tore apart Kay Redfield Jamison’s Touched With Fire in a matter of months, I also did this with John Berryman’s The Dream Songs. I suppose that is a good sign I like a book.

       Who is your favorite author? I don’t have a favorite. I like many.

        If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? Henry from The Dream Songs because he is so fucked up.

        What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Becoming self-satisfied and big headed.

      What is your favorite word? ahh

      What makes you laugh? Irony

      What makes you cry? Heartbreak

What is your preferred drink while you write? Beer or coffee.

Beach or Mountains? Beach though I’ve had some memorable mountain hikes.

Cats or Dogs? When I was young I would have said dogs, but as I’ve grown older I tend to appreciate cats more.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? The Beatles, I had a Beatles Documentary obsession a few years back, couldn’t stop watching the damn things.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix.

Shakespeare or Bukowski? Bukowski


     Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.

Personal website/blog: Don’t have one. Google me.

Facebook profile or page: Mike Meraz

Twitter profile: Same, though I’m not there much.

Other page(s) or profile(s): I run a online lit mag called Black-Listed Magazine: http://black-listedmagazine.blogspot.com/

      Books for sale and/or press: Watching It Burn/ Dog On A Chain Press, 43/Epic Rites Press, Black-Listed Thoughts/Propaganda Press.

      Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals? No, not really. It’s 5:15 am. I either have to go back to bed or make a pot of coffee.      

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No More / The Crawl


Jonathan Butcher has had poetry appear in various print and online publications including: Electric Windmill Press, Gutter Eloquence, Underground Voices, Dead Snakes, The Blind Vigil Revue and others. His second Chapbook 'Broken Slates' has recently been published by Flutter Press.


No More

In that flat you rented, that gave us shelter
after clubs, the morning sun's nagging beams
never offering any form of comfort.

Through the blue glass of the bottle I see your face,
pretending to sleep, but with your usual sly grin, again
sending me shivers.

The others that lay around the tiled floor in
sleeping bags, like fragile snakes awaiting to shed
their now useless skin.

I take my last sip, and approach the balcony and exhale
the last of the smoke, and allow it to cloud over this view,
that at this time loses its beckoning edge.

The sparrows that cast tiny shadows upon the
passing stolen cars offer us a little melody, and once
again we promise, never again, never anymore.



The Crawl

Entwined with those cold winds, edging our way
home; stoned, and wrapped up against the world that
has yet to inflict its climatic evils upon us. We held
our collected breaths, our lungs heavy under the onslaught.

You, stood on the corroding brick wall, that surrounded the
sky-rise flats, the lights of which stared down upon us like
a thousand disapproving eyes. Each one however, seemed
as blind as the last, raising their eyebrows at our
every move.

We left those squalid rooms of peeling tiles that curled
at the corners like sun blistered, peeling skin. The walls
as blank as they where damp, yet as inviting as the
abandoned super-market, that our idle hands could never
leave alone.

At the bus stop we leave tags and crumpled Rizlas, the
shelter at this time offering cover from the passing blue
lights and neighbourhood watch. Our sly laughter offering
a welcome distraction from any mis-interpretation, our
hands never bound.

As the breeze settled, through the transparent screens,
that were shattered into tiny fragments like mud stained ice,
we once again halted the orchestration of this shambolic
parade, and again remain the drunken conductors of
a soulless chaos.   

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Untitled Poems by Mike Meraz


Mike Meraz lives and writes in Los Angeles, CA. 


My step mom
Says poetry
Is something
Children
Do

I think of all
The poets
Who have helped
Me along the
Way

Kerouac
Bukowski
Brautigan
Plath

Hooray
For the
Children.


*

We kissed
In the pouring
Rain
Like some
Stupid
Romantic
Comedy
 
Then we
Broke up
Under the
Hot
Sun
Like in some
Chekhov
Novel
 
Then I wrote
About it
Later in the
Style of the
Street
Poets
 
Everything
Is
Art.


*

A book with pages
A girl with love,
Some things actually do
Make sense.


*

You made
Your stand in
An old house in
New Orleans
2 blocks from
Bourbon
Street
Like some 
Rumi of the
Red light
District

You penned down
Every instance
That shined
Light
Or
Captivated

You ate
All the Southern
Style
Foods

Even fed
Cats

Ate up all
The 
Magic

Til one day
It 
Ended

Just like
It
Began

With hell
On your
Heels 

And
Poems in
Your 
Head.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

REVENGE OF THE FITTEST / I AM ADDICT / A NEW DAY


Jay Passer hails from San Francisco but sleeps on a bed of nails in Oaktown. He hates the Yankees, loves cats and elephants, and won't answer his cell phone for fear of extraterrestrial intervention. His newest chapbook, At the End of the Street, is available from corrupt press, based somewhere in Europe. One may view his novella, I Can't Wait to Never See You Again, on the inimitable arthouse-slash-brothel, Horror Sleaze Trash


REVENGE OF THE FITTEST

how many times down to the last quarters and dimes
headed for the store to discriminate the cheaper bottle of vodka
the street like an eyesore to the spine after lack of sleep,
the itch of epidermis defeating
full body armor.
we’re quite alike, me and my enemies.
they crawl the ceiling in myopic territory, staring down 
with microscopic litanies of radar,
communing surely with alien intelligence
bent on enslavement of every rapture.
I don’t mind much, kill on sight,
fingertip against the fruit fly
using the bottom of the drinking glass against the cockroach,
staring at me from the verticality of hotel room
floor, with feelers bold and contingent on
ten million generations of progeny,
conspiring to consume the food supply
not to mention will to survive.
which is fine I guess, we as a species haven’t really been
very much the genteel hosts, let alone life of the party:
and even then our ship mates
don’t bother to discriminate.


I AM ADDICT

I am addict
of small rooms
lots of loud noise
I can't prevent
and pornography
in my head
not bodies per se
but oil percolating
running slim
beneath the ground
I am sound as I notice
the dubious air
sneaking features a floor above
somebody the son or daughter
of another 
motherfucker
plots and plans the demise
of my conscious
insignificance
it is no small rule
a blue pint bottle
a little whitewashed fool
girl reckoning womanhood
demon asthmatic hands amidst
clouds ponying up for pollution status
I am big feet
gray hair and brain
need shampoo
a break from logic and opera
industrial streets
refrain



A NEW DAY

just after 6 a.m. eyes reeking hate and a fight
the garnish of love grumblingly succumbs to victory
so we celebrate get a steak
drive to the store over paved-over soil
jacked on foreign oil buy some beef
salt and pepper it good then broil
kitchen good and filled with smoke
drinks in hand smile of wine traffic going by
who cares there is a sun up there it’s just you and me
celebrate and toast ‘to the roasting flesh’
can’t wait to eat yank it out of the oven slice off
ends against the grain once taught to do by a sot
at a campfire years ago after a U.S. Government commodities score
St. Johns Santa Fe New Mexico
that bastard used my pocketknife he later pocketed for good


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Anthem for the Age / The Peahen / Ice Cream Honeymoon



Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, he has had poetry and fiction published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/


Anthem for the Age


Two evenings a week
he goes to Melissa’s,
to talk and to fuck.

They talk first,
they fuck later.
Summer, fall,

winter, spring,
nothing distracts them.
They are to each other now

what they were at the start:
someone to talk to,
someone to fuck.



The Peahen

         A dream wrought by curry

Somewhere in Mumbai
great fans whir against the ceiling

as the old madam reigns
from her rocker and has

the girls come out, one by one,
picks this girl for her own

won’t let me pick mine
from those she has parading.



Ice Cream Honeymoon

On a sunny day
in Harvard Yard
blonde from Norway weds
son of chieftain 
from Rwanda after 
both receive degrees 
with high honors.

They drive off
in a silver Porsche
touring America
on their honeymoon
until they're stopped
in a small town.
A taillight's out.  

The officer says 
"You're the first 
salt and pepper  
I've ever ticketed"
and the bride says
"Sir, we're your first 
hot fudge sundae."


Friday, August 29, 2014

BELT SHOPPING


Russell Streur runs the Camel Saloon.


BELT SHOPPING  

Lost a couple pounds recently
So I went to the local Kohl’s for a pair of new belts.

First debated the two inch spread
The over or the under of a new waist.
Placed my bet
In the middle of the play.

Then color.
Aiming for black and brown
Traded off the black
For a Marin County burgundy. 

Versatile.
Like that thin one.
Great for using with doorknobs.
No joke.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Twenty One Guns

Doug Mathewson is publisher of Blink Ink.

Twenty One Guns

     That Army bus was a small one, just enough room for the eight of us and our gear. 
It was hotter than the Devil’s own oven in the summer, freezing in the winter, and leaked both spring and fall. I lived inside that olive drab shell for better than two full years with the rest of the Honor Guard as we bumped and wound over and back the Appalachians through West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee. War was what keep us busy those years ’67, ’68, and part of ’69. We took turns driving, those of us who knew how, but when we got to our stop it was always Larry who played Taps and presented the flag to the family. The rest of us stood at attention, after we each fired three times. Then Larry, horn under his arm, would salute and give who-ever the folded flag. Then we’d drive to the next one. Little towns mostly, some places not even towns at all.

     When they sent us out from base that first time, That ole Sergeant explained;
      “Just because you boys ain’t too sharp don’t mean you can’t serve your country. 
  You’re doin’ your duty at home is all, shootin’ off blanks in honor of the dead.”
      We honored the dead alright, if there was enough left of ‘em to send back home.  Soldiers families tried real hard to be strong and proud for their boy, for their country.
 It was the brothers and sisters, high school friends. Them all being just kids like us, crying maybe or everything held all tight inside. Wives and sweat-hearts were the worse. Seeing them just tore me up. Tore me up bad every time. Bothered us all one way or another. Some guys drank enough or drugged enough not to feel it, or maybe
just not feel it as bad.

      I turned eighteen on that bus, nineteen too, and we gave out must have been better
than a thousand flags. Didn’t keep one. Didn’t keep anything really, just my boots (them being the only shoes I had). Other guys on the bus, them GI’s, came and went, and I left in my time too. What stayed with me was the families, keeping themselves together when they were in such pain because they didn’t know what else to do. Young girls in tears, or worse real quiet. I’ll never forget them. Went back my old job, or near enough. Still workin’ Dairy Queen. Just mostly on the grille now, only mop-up weekday nights’. I see kids come in, no older than we was. Always hungry after the game or a school play. I think; well maybe where I was those Vietnam years was like a school play. I wished so hard the dead boys would come in from the wings, pushin’ each other and taking their bows. The broken hearted girls smiling now, holding roses their proud daddy’s brung ‘em. But the dead boys were still dead, and the sad girls was left to heal them selves all up and down them back roads.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Some poems / The Ventriloquist / Breathless


Sreemanti Sengupta is an anxious poet, a self published author, a despairing copywriter and a dangerous Bipolar. She peaks on narcissism and has recently decided she cant do without eloquent abuses. Her brain's GPRS is konked and she can land up anywhere in Kolkata, India when poetry is chasing her. Alarmingly, she has been published in some print anthologies and web journals. When nobody was interested in her, she partnered with a beautiful Brazilian artist and wrote a crazy book. Buy it, will ya? http://www.amazon.com/First-Person-Sreemanti-Sengupta/dp/1497324084/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399985940




Some poems


Some poems
are about
lemons, flies,
shampoo or
something else
when a trapeze
man with a
softened dick
is flying to meet
a ballerina with
flattened breasts

The Ventriloquist


The show was a hit. Woody seemed more animated than usual. His jaws moved like a dream. He talked of slavery and bonded labour and world peace. Everybody thought it was cute.


Breathless


strike a match and come closer and devour my kisses into christmas trees with angels sitting pretty on frosted windows with naked pinup girls staring on with kohl ridden eyes of far flung arab refugees hiding in camps and pirouetting in green caviar sauces their canines printed red with wine and avocados the strawberry juices flowing down to the breasts like huge heaving sand dunes shifting places like rita on the day in school when she started menstruating out of the blue she stepped inside the cellar where the vampires were feeding on dead presidents sucking out their brains to decode what they had to do with the nature of darkness that scares little billy every night on the hard steel bed only before he cocks his ears and hears himself masturbating in lavish dreams of a field of poppies snoring against the trade winds and daffodils dancing against the cheek of an ugly princess whom frogs refuse to to kiss a book of scandals its pages flying off in bits and pieces a beggar catches them from a window ajar where wafts of Beethoven fly into the ears of witches spinning around slowly on a spell to kill the earthworms that grow under the feet everyday you wake up and find that the tub is filled with a mermaid all desiring your body and when you offer them your soul they try to become humans who will rule the moon where leaps have been taken a long time ago and signs of primitive lovers who crouched on each other and mated like dogs in broad daylight under a canopy of dense green trees where light glimmers through into a shackle where the pygmies are crouched over the woman in labour her cries pierce through the park and frighten the trained mongrels who ruffle and woof and the ladies kiss you on the mouth avoiding the ruptured lips and nose for bad breath of a prisoner who has weird foot orgasms for ten years when he looks for freedom for the boy from school when puberty has hit him hard and fast and he ran and ran to a wishing well and fairies rose and rose up to the sky and spread out their broken wands only to bid goodbye to magic