Sunday, June 22, 2014

INTERVIEW: RUSSELL STREUR


Name?  Russell Streur

Age? 60

Location? Johns Creek, Georgia

How long have you been writing?  47 years.

Do you have a specific writing style?  Postmodern American I guess is the best title for the style.  I try to be short and quick about it, 14 lines is my preferred length for a poem, I like having to fit something into a certain construction. 

Do you write as a career?  No.  I analyze healthcare data.

Do you write full-time?  No.  I hardly write at all anymore.  My last period of concentrated ran from 2004 through 2010.  After that, I figured I had said what I needed to say.  Now, I run The Camel Saloon, which, as far as I can tell, can accurately be called the world’s original online poetry bar.  I edit a lot, and I stay in the conversation of poetry on a daily basis. Come visit:  http://thecamelsaloon.blogspot.com/

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?  Creating The Camel Saloon.  Why is that writing?  Because I knew that it was time to start giving something back to the community of poetry and other free speech.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?  From the time I was young, I wanted to be a minor American of the last half of the 20th Century.  It didn’t happen.   No matter.  Running the Saloon is where I ended up from poetry, and that’s a good place to be.  Personally, I am into other forms of self-expression these days—photography for one, I’ve had works hanging in Atlanta galleries off and one, mostly on, for the last couple of years, and have sold a few things off the walls.  That’s a high, I tell you.  And I’m teaching myself watercolors, except I’m not a very good teacher.  A picture, you know, is worth a thousand words.  Maybe it’s just poetry by other means.  







What is your greatest challenge as a writer?  Finding something new to say.  Something that isn’t just typing, something I haven’t said before.  That doesn’t happen too often these days.  

What projects of yours have been recently published?    Ten Pages Press published Table of Discontents in 2012.  The link to the pdf is here:


Discontents is part of a longer series of very blunt data sets meant to mirror the traffic stream of information and how it dehumanizes the individual by marginalizing language.  Here’s Number 17

Day of reckoning
Cusp of an apocalypse
Boiling over
Invalid entry
Long shadow
Phantom limb
Consumer stupor
Detour
Into the sea

“I am astonished at the moment,”
the commissioner said.
“It does not represent current progress.”

Wave of self-immolation
Data furnace.

The quotes in all the pieces are all real; the events surrounding the quotes are taken from corresponding TV sound bites or newspaper pages, usually other stories but within the same reachable frame of reference:  a time or a place.

       How do you react to rejections?  I laugh.  I react in a feigned shock:  Don’t they know who I am.  Rejection is part of the game.  You can’t hit every pitch.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?  It’s still a big thrill for me. 

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?  Don’t fall in love with your own thoughts, your own personality, your own words.  Stay true to the image, and let the truth of the thing be the goal.  Staying sane as a poet is simple. Remember you are not writing for yourself.  You are writing for the benefit of, and from the mercy of, the Muse.

       What is your favorite book?  I really really like Whiskey River by Loren Estleman.  He’s a mystery writer.  River is about bootlegging days in Detroit.  Great writing and great characgters—Jack Dance as the lead gangster, and Connie Minor as a newspaper columnist.  It’s a marvelous read.

       Who is your favorite author?  Poet is Li Po.  American fiction writer is John Steinbeck.  Both hands down.  I’d like to have dinner with Doc over at the Western Biologic one night.  Sounds like it would be a grand evening.  

        What is your favorite word?  Blossom. 

        What makes you laugh?  The high and mighty falling.

      What makes you cry?  How often they don’t.

What is your preferred drink while you write?  These days, green tea.  It used to be vodka.  Real serious vodka drinking.  I’m done with those days.  The last year or so, I’ve started to enjoy craft beers.  A good Czech style Pilsner works for me.  Pilsner was created at the Citizens Brewery of Pilsen back around 1840.  Some say Town Brewery.  Peoples Brewery works for me.  That’s the ancestor of Pilsner Urquell on the shelves today.  Urquell means the ancient source, or the old ways.  So it’s town beer, the old way.  I have three bottles of Third Shift and an equal number of Endless Rivers in the refrigerator now.  Christ.  It’s nine o’clock on a Sunday morning.  All of a sudden I’m thirsty.

Beach or Mountains?  Mountains

Cats or Dogs?  Cats.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?  Stones.  Especially Exile on Main Street.  Especially Rip This Joint. Happy.  Tumbling Dice.  Love those tracks, the whole line-up.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?  Jimi in the small dose, Sinatra for the long haul.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?  Shakespeare, live, on Navy Pier in Chicago, at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  Nothing better.

      

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ode to a Cat


Nancy May has haiku published in Haiku Journal, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Inclement Poetry, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Vox Poetica, Eskimo Pie, Icebox, Dark Pens, Daily Love, Leaves of Ink, The Blue Hour Magazine, Kernels, Mused – The BellaOnline Literary Review, Dead Snakes, Danse Macabre – An online literary Magazine, High Coupe, A Handful of Stones, Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, UFO Gigolo, 50 Haikus, The Germ, Boston Literary Review, Be happy Zone, Every Day Poets, Cattails and Creatrix Journal. Haiku will soon appear in M58. She is a monthly contributor at The Camel Saloon and Poems and Poetry. She has reached The Heron’s Nest consideration stage twice and the Chrysanthemum consideration stage once. She is working on her first haiku collection.

Ode to a Cat

winter dawn
I wake up early
since you left

since you left
taking your last breath
I am here

I am here
our time has come
for us to part

for us to part
I come back home
to this empty house

to this empty house
the absence of you
I start to notice

I start to notice
we walk new paths
I understand now

I understand now
in this passing of time
spring dawn

Monday, June 16, 2014

Not Dark Yet / Tonight / Out There In The Sun


James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small Illinois town where he grew up.  He has published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years and, more recently, a few short stories.  James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013).


Not Dark Yet

all day long I felt cold
kept pulling the hood of my sweatshirt
tighter around my head
but I never could seem to get warm
so the leftover vegetable soup
I brought home from my sister’s
earlier in the week
sounds pretty good tonight
I’ve got some crackers and
one bottle of wine
but I don’t have any beer
on my way home from work
I was thinking about
stopping and getting some
but decided I didn’t need it
not tonight anyway
I stir the soup with a plastic spoon
put the crackers on the table
before glancing out the window
I don’t see anything out there
earlier today
I drove past a cluster of
rusting farm wagons
abandoned near an empty field
and it reminded me of something
but now
I can’t remember what it was


Tonight

I’ve been drinking again
stumbling around the house
going from room to room
watching inanimate objects
changing into cartoons and
I go to the basement
because I hear noises and
I know someone’s down there
waiting for me in the dark
when I turn the light on
at the bottom of the stairs
she laughs at me
while I try to tell her
how beautiful she looks
reaching for her
lunging at her
but I fall against the couch
the carpet’s blue down here and
it reminds me of water
sometimes I know exactly
how it feels when you drown
I look around
but she’s already gone and
I remember one time
having a dream like this
floating on the surface
not knowing how it would end


Out There In The Sun

I no longer write poems
I no longer feel inspired
I just sit here at the kitchen table
listening to the radio
sometimes
I work crossword puzzles
trying to keep the words close
most of the time nothing happens
and I sit here waiting
drinking coffee and whiskey
while out there in the sun
the black cat prowls the grass
along the edge of the field
stalking some invisible prey
all the way to the end


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Fav'ritist Thangs / One fo' the Hist'ry Books / 16 Lines fo' a Girl o' 16 / Long Distance Lullaby



Johnny Longfellow's poetry has appeared online at The Barefoot Muse, Thieves Jargon, Thunder Sandwich, and Underground Voices.  He is also curator of the online art site, Midnight Lane Gallery.


My Fav’ritist Thangs
                        —after Rodgers & Hammerstein

Sunset in Vegas ‘n’ bottles o’ whiskey
Cocaine on mirrors ‘n’ chicks who ‘re frisky
Hellin’ ‘roun havin’ my meanin’less flings
Them there’s a few o’ my fav’ritist thangs

Bright feather boas ‘n’ red satin sashes
Sprinkles o’ glitter on plastic eyelashes
Black leather bustiers laced up with strings
Them there’s a few o’ my fav’ritist thangs
           
Coppin’ a blowjob jus’ east o’ El Paso
Slingin’ my Stetson aroun’ like a lasso
Drivin’ so fast that it’s like I got wings
Them there’s a few o’ my fav’ritist thangs

When the cops come
When the coke stings
When I go boo hoo
I simply remember my fav’ritist thangs
An’ then I don’t feel so blue





One fo' the Hist'ry Books 

Her hist’ry’s full o’ cheatin’ men,
Or so I heard ‘er say.
She made the same mistake again

With Verne ‘n’ Clyde she’d made with Ben,
An’ not to mention Ray.
Her his’try’s full o’ cheatin’ men

Like Leon, Bubba, Jake 'n' Ren,
Though Ren—turns out—was gay.
She made the same mistake again

Once she’d hooked up with this guy, Glenn,
Who banged ‘er sister, Fay.    
Her his’try’s full o’ cheatin’ men,

So once, with Liz—an’ their frien', Jen!—
She swung the other way. . .
She made the same mistake again,

When back at my place, nearin’ 10,
I figured, “Fuckin’-A!
Her hist’ry’s full o’ cheatin’ men?—
She made the same mistake again. . .”



16 Lines fo’ a Girl o’ 16

Yo’ mama was a porno queen
Befo’ she was a ho,
An’ come the day ya’ turned 16

She walked on out the do’.
She walked on out the do’ that day
In jus’ the clothes she wo’,

While daddy up ‘n’ had ‘is way
With you the who’ night long.
Now, who in Hell’s the right to say

That what ya’ did was wrong,
That time ya’ waited with a gun
In jus’ yo’ bra ‘n’ thong

To shoot that fool fo’ all he’d done?
To shoot that turkey dead?
To shoot that father of yo’ son
Straight in the fuckin’ head?



Long Distance Lullaby
                       —after Shakespeare’s “Sonnet CIX”

Come midnight, should a gath’rin’ thunder start
To rumble ‘cross a glow’rin’ Texas sky,
Big Mama, don’t believe my wand’rin’ heart
Would give ya’ cause fo’ cryin’, “Why? O Why?”
Your soul’s my double-wide: it’s where I park
When I’m not haulin’ freight through pourin’ rain;
It’s where I lay me down inside the dark,
Returnin’ from my ramblin’ ‘cross the plain.
Now sure, I’ve seen them down ‘n’ dirty chicks
Pannin’ their slinky wares on rainy nights—
But why, fo’ all their wigs, rhinestones, ‘n’ tricks
Would I throw on my brake ‘n’ parkin’ lights?
            Big Mama, cat’s meow!? my one ‘n’ all,
            Across the plain my Wrrrrrrrrrrr! returns your call.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

INTERVIEW: GERALD SO



Name? Gerald So

Location? Long Island

How long have you been writing? 26 years.

Do you have a specific writing style? I try to write what fits whatever I'm working on. My writing is usually spare.

Do you write as a career? Yes.

Do you write full-time? Yes.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? Not giving up poetry, nonfiction, or fiction to do just one type of writing.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? My goal is to always have a next project, to never run out of things to write about.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Writing long, since my natural style is short.

What projects of yours have been recently published? I just had a poem accepted to Midnight Lane Gallery's Midnight On the Stroll poetry contest. MLG is a digital art gallery curated by Johnny Longfellow that solicits poems on the theme of street life, the site's art, or its music.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? A novel about a 1930s aviator has been on my mind for twenty years. I hope to write several novels someday, but today, does this interview count? Inspired by Catfish McDaris.

Where can we find your work? Online and in print. I regularly plug my work at my blog, http://geraldso.blogspot.com/

How often do you write? As often as I can. When I get absorbed in projects, I forget how long or often I write. I keep at it as long as it takes to finish.

How do you react to rejections? I react well since I'm also an editor. If I agree a project needs work, I work on it and submit it until it's accepted elsewhere.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? I thank the editor, feel good about myself for half a day or so, then try to find the next thing to do.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Stay in tune with what each project requires of you from moment to moment. Serve those goals, not your ego or other people's ideas of what the project should be.

What is your favorite book? Don Quixote.
Who is your favorite author? I read too many to have a favorite.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? Robert B. Parker's Spenser because he can cook.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Spending too much time in one's own head, not connecting with other people or the outside world.

What is your favorite word? I like too many to have a favorite.

What makes you laugh? The right words in the right order, delivered the right way.

What makes you cry? Loss or memory of things and people disappeared.

What is your preferred drink while you write? Water. It's at the heart of every drink. Might as well get down to it.

Beach or Mountains? Neither. I prefer level ground.

Cats or Dogs? Neither.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Either.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix.

Shakespeare or Bukowski? Both.


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

Personal website/blog: http://geraldso.blogspot.com/

Twitter profile: http://twitter.com/g_so

Other page(s) or profile(s): http://poemsoncrime.blogspot.com

      Books for sale and/or press: http://geraldso.blogspot.com/p/buy.html

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Feminine Key



Ali Znaidi (b. 1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia, where he teaches English. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies in 2002 from the University of Sfax for the South.  He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translation.  His work has appeared in various magazines and journals worldwide. He authored four poetry chapbooks including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of A Hurricane Press, 2014). Links to his published and forthcoming works can be found at  aliznaidi.blogspot.com
1 erasure poem titled “A Feminine Key” (based on chapter 15: Circe, page 485 of Ulysses by James Joyce published in 1922 by Shakespeare and Company, Paris) I chose chapter 15 of Ulysses by James Joyce because it is a hallucinatory chapter par excellence. Besides, I love the strong language. The erasure poem was taken from page 485 with words being continually crossed out using patterns like those of quilts. The poem took shape, and came to life to reflect the hallucinatory fantasies of the chapter.


A Feminine Key

Where are we?
Cometh forth!
I bring
thee thy answer. Redbank oysters will shortly be upon us.
Those succulent bivalves may help us.
Though they stink yet they sting.
Yet Eve and the
serpent contradict. Not a historical fact. Obvious analogy to my idea. Serpents
too are gluttons for woman’s milk. Wind their way through miles of omnivorous
forest to sucksucculent her breast dry.
In
outlandish monotone the cows with their distended udders
have been the known…
I am going
to seek out the saurian’s lair in order to entrust their teats to
avid suction. Ant milks aphis. (Profoundly.) Instinct rules the world. In
life. In death.
Luss puss puss puss!
Well, well.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Parkinson's


Miguel Sanchez                                                      



Parkinson's

everywhere, everything 
stains, tears, come, 
puddles of memory, 
an unmade bed, 
an uncombed head
teeth unbrushed, heart 
not beating depression

shaky hand. awkward gait,
can’t roll over, avoid 
friends, friends avoid

used to save lives.
rarely eat out
difficult forks and knives.
  
tried cheating. tried suicide.
empty bottles around the sink
powerful medications 
half empty, half fool
  
shirts remain buttoned. 
shoes slip on.
love on top everytime,
hot wife stories
everyone suggests
they are unsure whats true


compersion. only joy
reality fantasy life
writing everyday now.

last possible dream
to come true. 
the best medicine

a love song
procrastinating
the massacre of cells

life and death never sleep.
they visit and leave
gifts with blank cards,
to be filled with meaning.