Sunday, September 22, 2019

Mendes Baratti

Mendes Baratti in Prisoner of War Camp in WW 2

Prisoner’s Song

Since I’m here prisoner I do nothing but thinking
To the day I’ll be free again
And while the old mommy is awaiting for me in her little home
I look at the moon murmuring to me in the sky covered by a veil

O bright stars! That you stand united
Why don’t you comfort my poor heart
You silent! You’re still shining
While I stand here sighing full of sadness

I remember the last winter, evenings of sorrow
With cold and hunger and the hiss of sirens
The evening I got back into the lager and I watched the void long
A frosty wind was blowing and my lips started murmuring this way

Oh sad fate! You were ungrateful to me
Because you gave me so much pain
At least, would you tell me if you’ll make me come back
To hug my Mother who’s still waiting for me

Let me come back! Into my beautiful Italy
There where, maybe, a star is still shining for me

The end

Luckenwald 20/8/1945

Only For IMI’s
From the Luckenwald concentration camp 14/5/1945

The boaster German people
Greedy of fat
Makes no longer tremble
It is on the ground prostrate and defeated
It is no more straight
It makes no longer tremble
It won’t have freedom anymore
It has just the honor
While it’s thinking to greater pains

We won’t forget about you
Scoundrel Germans
Now you’re destroyed
Let’s hear us singing

You think to the good past
When you were strong
Now destroyed and dead
Who will soothe you?

Tommies Russians British
Italians and the French
They made you collapse
The Belgians, the Poles and Danes
Greeks and the Dutch
They saw you displace
No more terror
But only love
Happy life and work
No more war disasters and horrors

Infinite pains and torments
Are now run away
Everybody knows it
With them the forced labor
Is now ended
It’s time to enjoy
We will go far
Where we want to go
We’ve got joy in our hearts
And we leave the pain in Germany

The End

Sad Life

I wrote this little song
To say in two words
How big is the hurry
To see again the sun
Without peace sad alone
I drag this heart
Battered by pain
Life sad life

Day after the armistice
They brought me in Germany
To suffer this torture
Kicks punches beatings
As a closure the scolds
Turnips only for dinner
That are not peeled too
What a piss

To fulfill what I said
So to write a notebook
Because is forbidden to touch
even the finger of the women
about posts we know here
it will never arrive
and packages what a pity
they are eaten by censorship
sad life

four o’clock the waking up
five o’clock the gathering
so the day starts
thirteen hours of work
with no rest or refreshment
to smoke a cigarette
you’ve got to do it quickly
what a mess.

The end

Luckenwald 23/8/1945


Dino Mendes Baratti was born January 18, 1914 in Sailetto di Motteggiana. Since he was a child he follows his grandfather Vittorio into the family's boatyard settled on the bank of the Po river between Borgoforte and Motteggiana. On June 2, 1943 he went to the Pontieri Regiment as a soldier. When the year of service ends, he is recalled to arms during the Second World War and, on 12 September 1943, he begins his period of imprisonment. In fact, he was captured and taken prisoner as IMI (Italian Military Internee) by the Germans until 18 September 1945. Once back home from the war, he continued his profession as master shipbuilder and master caulker, moving to a small town on the banks of the Mincio river.

Sreemanti Sengupta with her husband in Sikkim, India


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

India LaPlace

Name?  India LaPlace

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely):: I’ve been excited to be in my 30s since I was about 12 years old and I just turned 28 in March of this year so I’m getting close!

Location and occupation?:: I work full time as a legal assistant for a small law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you know, I’m also the Associate Editor for Horror Sleaze Trash. I live about 20 minutes north of Salt Lake City with my daughter. 

How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?:: I’ve been writing since before I can remember, probably. I remember writing little books with really bad illustrations and stapling them together to give to my grandparents and parents when I was in 1st grade. I was in 5th grade when my dad yelled at me and told me to stop “writing silly stories” because it wasn’t a practical thing to do with my time, so I just got sneakier about writing in notebooks or saving things in hidden folders on the family computer so he didn’t know I was still writing. I do not play an instrument, however. I used to play the piano when I was a kid, but when I turned 14, I decided boys were more fun to play with and stopped going to my lessons.

Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?:: I don’t know if I have a specific style. I guess I like confessional and memoir-type writing. I mostly write poetry or short stories/essays about things I’ve been through and experienced. Family and childhood trauma. I used to write more fiction, but I have a harder time connecting with that genre as a writer now. I like my writing to feel open and honest. I want to talk about things that other people would rather sugarcoat or that other people don’t feel like they’re allowed to have certain feelings towards or about.

Do you write full-time?:: I do not, though I technically do write and edit legal documents in my line of work so sort of?

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?:: Gaining the courage to start sharing my work.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?:: Usually it’s just staying consistent and making time to prioritize my writing. I struggle with depression and, especially when I get low, I really struggle to give time to my writing.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  Books or Magazines?:: I had a chapbook called ‘Sad Discoveries’ published last year. This year I had some poetry included in ‘Horror Sleaze Trash: Poems,’ which you can purchase on Amazon.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?:: I am currently working on a collection called ‘Functional: A Collection of Writing About Your Average American Family.’ It is a collection of poetry and writing about my dysfunctional childhood/family and upbringing and, as you might have guessed, is inspired by my lovely family.

Where can we find your work?:: My work is on Horror Sleaze Trash’s website. I also have a poem published on Silent Motorist Media’s website and will be included in John D. Robinson’s upcoming poetry card series.

How do you react to rejections?:: I don’t, really, because I tend not to expect to have my work accepted in the first place.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?:: I’m thrilled! Not even because it (hopefully) means that the piece was well received, but (again, hopefully) because it means that there was something in my writing that another person connected with and that they see other people connecting with as well.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?:: I don’t think any writer is sane.

 What is your favorite book?:: ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess. A couple of my favorites growing up were ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Beautiful and the Damned’ by Fitzgerald. I loved ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ by Betty Smith as well. I read a lot more fiction when I was younger too and have stayed a huge fan of ‘Sabriel’ by Garth Nix and ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’ by Libba Bray. There’s also a picture book by a man called Jon Muth, which I guess was based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, called ‘The Three Questions’ that is so dear to my heart. I’ve been reading it to my daughter since she was little and I cry every time that I read it.

Who is your favorite author?:: I don’t think I have a favorite author. There is too much variety, but F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway have always been up there. I read a lot of autobiographies by comedians and poetry as well, but it’s hard to say specifically who my favorite is. Sometimes that just depends on where I’m at in life.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?:: Beetlejuice. He was my number one childhood crush. Or maybe Kit-Kat from the movie ‘About Time’ or Steve Zissou from ‘The Life Aquatic’. I just have a deep love in my heart for imperfect characters who are sort of “off”. They resonate with me.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?:: Oh, probably more depression or exacerbating their own mental illness.

What makes you laugh?:: Everything.

What makes you cry?:: Everything.

What is your preferred drink while you write?:: Well, I’m always drinking water, but I love red wine and tequila as well.

Beach or Mountains?:: If I had to choose, I’d pick the mountains because I grew up and still live in a small town right by the mountains. But I love both very much.

Cats or Dogs?:: Probably dogs, but to be clear, although I love animals, I’m not really a pet person.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?:: There are so many classic rock bands that I like so much better than either of these. They both have songs that I enjoy, but I’m not super into either.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?:: I love both, but Frank Sinatra, although I’d pick Bobby Darin over Sinatra most days.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?:: Bukowski, definitely. 

Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear
about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit
your country?:: Well, I live in America and I don’t know about dangerous wild animals or fish, but this country is really big so there’s a lot to visit and a lot of very beautiful places that are very different. If you’re talking about my (current) state in particular, Utah has some gorgeous National and State Parks. The deserts down south are beautiful and the perfect place to get lost in, especially if you’re looking for yourself.

That Little Voice
I think,
“I will surround myself
With positive people
So that I can learn how to exist
But I’m missing something
In my genetic makeup
That allows me to exist that way.
So I think,
“I will surround myself
With people who are more sick than I am
So I will be inspired
To be the most positive part
But that only works
Until their struggle
Begins to pull mine into focus
And soon,
I can’t face myself in the mirror
Once again.
And either way,
I find myself left
Lying on the carpet
Of a dark room I can’t seem to leave
With half my heart whispering how strong I am,
And the other half drilling into my head
That this is the only way I can ever be.
And I don’t think that dark little voice is right,
But so far,
It has never been wrong.


“I think I need to quit my job,”
I tell my father.
He doesn’t look up from the too-loud TV
blaring Fox News to ask,
I sigh
and it comes out shaky,
the way it always does when
I’m trying not to
“I’m so depressed,”
I whisper.
“I’ve never felt like this before, Dad.”
He glances at me.
“When did you get so sad?”
he asks.
“You used to be a happy child.”
“You must be thinking of my sister,”
I respond.
He knows which sister I mean
because there’s only one of us
that didn’t appear to battle her mind as a child.
And even that is a lie.
She battled demons too,
just different demons than I did.
“I’m  not sad,”
I hear myself say.
I’ve heard myself say these words too many times.
“I have depression.
It’s different.
You taught me that.”
He took me to get on pills when I was
And I think he thought those would fix me.
I think he thought
he’d be done dealing with this
and I’d be married off
with 3 kids
and a testimony by now.
I never could have been a house wife.
I always knew that,
so of course I had to try and fail.
That’s my pattern;
I come to a fork in the road with two signs.
Left points to “the hard way”
Right points to “good, easy decisions.”
I’ve only ever known how to go left,
If only for the sake of being different.
I’ve only ever known how to make things hard on myself,
If only for the sake of art and comedy.
“Back in my day,” my dad says,
“If you could do a job well,
you do it.
You work your way up.
You work hard.
And then you retire.
You don’t jump from job
to job
to job
the way you do.”
I purse my lips.
“Dad, I can’t do any job well,”
I say.
“I’m depressed.”
“Then quit,”
he shrugs and turns back
to the television channel
that probably pushed me into being more liberal than I ought to be.
Teenage rebellion and all that.
“I hope you get this figured out one day,”
he mumbles as I leave the room.
As if I like feeling this way.
As if I like worrying how I’m going to get by.
As if I like my daughter seeing me struggle
to  get out of bed for days at a time
or feeling compelled to take my hand
while I sob
and she whispers,
“It’s going to be okay, Mama.
Life isn’t so bad.”

Monday, June 17, 2019

Ppigpenn Interview
pete donohue.

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)
more than sixty-one wild & painful years baby. sixty-two come june 18th. do i feel it in my wasted body. only when i breathe. do i feel it in my addled brain. only when i’m sober. do i even feel. you better believe it.

Location and occupation?
well. you can’t get there from here. or maybe you can. actually. i was born in county cork ireland. raised in london. & been operating from hastings on the dirty south coast of england these past thirty-three years. i work in mental health. to pay the bills that is. we’re all troubled to some extent. & we’re all crazy in our own different ways. i grew up in a maelstrom of dysfunction. not all of my siblings survived. but i was the oldest and somehow i made it through. i support folk with severe & enduring mental health issues. like paranoid schizophrenia. bipolar affective disorder. obsessive compulsive disorder. stuff like that. & some with learning disability. or acquired brain injury. it’s a stress at times. but can be rewarding. my aim is to help people achieve the best quality of life they can. often through adversity. & sometimes torment. that can take a certain amount of creativity. poetry story-telling music & art can all come into play in this kind of work. & you always have to balance empathy & sensitivity with the right level of humour & self-disclosure.

How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?
been writing since i could write. that’s a few decades ago now. stories poems novels songs diaries reviews apologies & nonsense. whether anyone wants to read it or listen to it is another matter. but if i stop i’ll die. & i’m not ready for that transition just yet. & i know i play a bad guitar like keef & mick in loving cup. but i’ve written songs all my life. had some radio play. & i survived for three years as a full-time musician. back in the day.

Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?
this is it man. suck on it & see. as for hobbies. staying alive is probably my favourite one. i do that in lots of different ways. many of them quite risky. i like to explore the world in all its glorious seediness. from the love of seeds to the seeds of love. i cook. & try to eat at least once a day. lovemaking is private. use your imagination.

Do you write full-time?
in my head yes. believe me baby you don’t want to go there. i have to constantly juggle the weirdness of my thought processes with the practicalities of getting on with life. i hold down a professional full-time job. have a rich family life. nuclear & extended. edit the literature pages of a free community-run fortnightly local newspaper the hastings independent. host regular local poetry nights. & perform my own poetry & short stories at various gigs around the place. draw cartoons & illustrations. sometimes for money. sometimes for pleasure. sometimes to support the underground & alternative literature scene. in between all of this. & sometimes simultaneously. i scribble & type. fuck only knows how i ever get any of these things together.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
getting out of bed every morning.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
getting out of bed every morning.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  Books or Magazines?
i had two chapbooks published in 2018. poems for tommy two-guns by analog submission press. scream before they kill your poetry by holy&intoxicated publications. also a double broadside with john d robinson. poems & short stories of mine appear in a constant stream of independent  alternative litzines & collections throughout uk & us. check out paper&ink. glove. razur cuts. alien buddha press. rust belt press. horrorsleazetrash.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
too many projects to mention. everything i encounter & everything that ever happened to me inspires my work.

Where can we find your work? 
on the edge. be careful not to fall off though.

 How do you react to rejections?
when you throw your soul at a vehicle & it bounces back then it must have been the wrong number bus. just wait until the right bus comes along to take you to your destination.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
like i’ve hooked up with some long-lost brothers & sisters. it’s always a privilege & a buzz to know that some of your stuff is out there & may touch people in ways you’ll never even know about.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
don’t bother. the best writers walk a fine line between sanity & insanity. often slipping. or deliberately hop-scotching between one & the other. sometimes writing can drive you insane. other times not writing does that too. we do crazy things when we’re wounded everyone’s a bit insane. so sings tom waits on please call me baby. that applies to all true creatives in my view.

 What is your favorite book? 
the one i’m reading at any given time. otherwise I wouldn’t be reading it.

   Who is your favorite author?
impossible question to answer. it’s probably an author i’ve yet to read.

   If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
 satan. he/she seems like a character with a lot of ideas & attitude. i imagine we’d have plenty to talk about. we could share vices & maybe turn each other on to some new ones.

 What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?  
getting out of bed every morning.

What makes you laugh?
looking at life.

What makes you cry?
looking at life.

What is your preferred drink while you write?
the one with the most alcohol content.

Beach or Mountains?
my lungs are fucked now so these days it’s beaches.

Cats or Dogs?

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
crazy cat keef became my role model at age ten & that still hasn’t changed. you know what i mean man.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
please excuse me while i kiss the sky.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?
shakowski for sure.

 Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit your country?
it’s no country for old men. poets are dangerous. fish are mesmerising. all is wild. alcohol is cheap. drugs are good. revolution approaches. everything is everything. peace & poetry baby.

Pete Donohue works in community mental health in amazing Hastings on the Dirty South Coast of a proudly multi-cultural England and preserves his dubious sanity through creative writing, drawing, editing, reviewing and performing poetry and music.

Twitter: @petedonohuepoet
Instagram: petedonohuepoet
Facebook: pete donohue

poison within

in my early twenties
i went along
for sinus treatment
a full flush
good poker hand
those days were free
& easier than now
the nurse was a dish
she pushed it
between my legs
a metal kidney
confused me
the doctor had
a secret drawer
to unlock
cocaine hydrochloride
in a labelled bottle
with skull & bones
& a cotton-tipped
to tickle my brain
into anaesthesia
welcome territory
as he shoved that tube
through the holes
in my bonehead
& syphoned off
gobbets of
clotted blood
green phlegm
& custard yellow
to swirl in harmony
as gruesome gumbo
balanced between
my numbskull legs
the doctor smiled
with satisfaction
the nurse
scratched her breast
as if
to torment me
& her action did
in a way
but i got over it
to focus upon
things closer
to home
& as i floated
through the streets
of west london
heading towards
my city garret
i began to realise
that this is what
i am
made from
& no amount
of medical sucking
can free me from
poison within.

woman i love

woman i love
is serious as fuck
that’s a good thing
& when she laughs
she sounds like
the little girl
inside her heart
so i melt
at her feet
what times
we have known
over three decades
& when
we make love
you don’t wanna know
you probably do
but fucked
if i’m gonna tell you
so just be happy
within yourself

pete donohue

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Brian S Gore

My name is Brian S Gore. I’m 34 and work as a bartender at New London, Connecticut’s oldest bar (second oldest in CT), Dutch Tavern. It’s located in a pre-Revolutionary War building, which is saying a lot, since Benedict Arnold burned down the rest of town.

I began writing in earnest back in 2007 as I finished college and set out to learn about the world. I play guitar and harmonica and write songs, as well, primarily as a solo act, but more recently in duos, trios, and a year-stint with a rock and roll band, Brian & the White Birds.

As for style, I can’t say I stick to a specific one. Sometimes things come out more sing-song, and sometimes more prose, and sometimes either one will work as a song. I wouldn’t say full-time, but between music, poetry, and stories, I do spend much of my time creatively. In my down time, I enjoy cooking and coming up with recipes very much.

A woman bought my book as a gift to her husband, which I would consider my biggest accomplishment. My biggest challenge would have to be publication. I self-publish, which is easy enough, and I encourage people to do it, but stepping into the queue of a publisher who looks at so many poems a day can be daunting. I do it, of course, but to stand out in the lineup is what matters, and this is the biggest challenge.

I have recently been published in the Rye Whiskey Review and, last year, Outlaw Poetry, as well as several poems published at In-Between Hangovers. A poem called “Homage, for George Antheil” was accepted, along with mixed-media images, to Swifts & Slows - a project started by ARTEIDOLIA.

My newest chapbook, Drawn Thread, is now available. It is a follow-up to Tangled World, which, collectively, will include a third book that I am working on.
The Tangled World project looks at the current global socio-political atmosphere and inspects relationships and the everyday things that affect people more directly. My goal with this book is to address the issues and not dwell on them, but move from the anxiety of the news to a level of transcendence, but still refusing to accept the malevolence of current politics. All my books are self-published and available at my music website, which is linked below.

When my work is not accepted to a publication, I don’t have much option but to shrug and move on. A tinge of frustration slithers through my gut, but quickly leaves. Frankly, my rejected folder is heavier than my accepted file, and I have come to terms with this. But if I change my approach, I would be doing my Self a disservice.

I maintain a skeptic optimism when my poetry is accepted. I want to see it published before I get too excited. I had several poems accepted last year and I was very excited. Then, the month before I was to be included, the publication became defunct.

If I offered any advice it is to not take yourself too seriously. Be truthful. Write the bad ideas.

I’ll give you my top 5 favorite books, in no particular order: White Jacket (Melville), The Songs of Maldoror (Comte de LautrĂ©mont), Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott), Something Wicked This Way Comes (Bradbury), The Town and the City (Kerouac)

Herman Melville is one of the funniest and poignant American authors. Queequeg may be an interesting person to have dinner with. Maybe difficult table conversation, and the spread may be outside my area of comfort, but a very interesting time, no doubt.

The greatest occupational hazard for a writer is Ego. Whether too little and afraid to put oneself on the line, or too much and confidence gets in the way of growth, ego, in all aspects of Life, is the most dangerous thing in humans.

I enjoy stand-up comedy and TV shows like Bob’s Burgers, Stoned Quakers, and Dr. Katz. George Carlin was a great comedian and poet. In the world, kids make me laugh. Sometimes, obnoxiously stupid situations make me laugh, in a desperate kind of way.

I don’t cry at sad things so much, but do get a bug in the eye when I share a look of sincerity with someone, or a sincere conversation. Nothing crushes me more than a kid having too much fun and then is scolded for doing so. A good conversation will get me teary-eyed.

Coffee in the morning, maybe some seltzer water during the day, alcohol as soon as possible. A line from Ivanhoe: “For my part, I like to feel the grapes in my very finger ends before I start the strings to tinkle.”

Beach in the winter time, mountains the rest of the year.

Cats and dogs, for different reasons, but I’m trying to figure myself out, so I’m not ready for anything else to be under my care. Maybe a pet Tardigrade.

Beatles or Rolling Stones? Depends on the day.

On cold nights in the middle of winter, I sit outside shivering with a glass of gin and cigarettes, listening to Frank Sinatra.

Shakespeare before Bukowski.

I grew up in the beautiful state of Texas, which is full of great, deadly critters. Copperheads, rattlesnakes. One time, I went into a newly-built garage in an otherwise undeveloped field. The floor was littered with dead June Bugs and strung about with thick spider webs. As I walked through, I realized thousands of Black Widows were nesting in every wall, nook, and cranny. I have come across black widows probably a dozen different instances, never bitten. I grew up with heavy thunderstorms and the occasional tornado. Once while on my bicycle through town the sky turned Wicked Witch of the West green and the storm sirens began to blare. New England is a bit tamer, although my first two visits here while hoboing around in 2011 and ’12, a hurricane showed up. The scenery is beautiful across the US and taking a road trip is strongly encouraged. Southern New Mexico, for me, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but then, I’ve also watched plenty of Nature Documentaries to know there are some truly remarkable landscapes I’ve not had the joy of visiting.

Mendes Baratti

Mendes Baratti in Prisoner of War Camp in WW 2