Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Ppigpenn #2

Insane Clown

           ---graffiti of Banksy

Set the clown loose
from its tiny car
with a weapon of its choice;
free it from
its alternate reality
of pratfalls and gags
with makeup on its face;
permit it to purchase
in full-clown clothes
and red, bulbous nose
a Kalashnikov
7.62x39pmm assault rifle
effective at 390 yards
for 20% off
at a Labor Day Sale;
and watch the bullets fly
and watch the others die.

Neil Ellman

fuzzy logic

i am a non-aristotelian ape
with both demons and gods
within my heart.

i have loved and hated life
at the same time

on a roller-coaster ride
swinging between the light
and the darkness.

i have found zero in the one,  
and one is zero

and i have missed you in my marrow,
at the meantime hoping you were
never there.

i am all the colors
between the incandescent white
of my truth-consciousness-bliss
and the black of my innermost sins,  

i am the scream of the deads
and also the book-keeping
of all the innocence coiled in life.

fuzzy and plural; you can find
my truth-values
scattered around the place in infinite shades. 

Sudeep Adhikari

Publishers Never Call

            Caller I.D. says it's New York. A 212 number. Could be a publisher. It's about time, novel languishing for five or six months. Some of the sonsabitches never even email you.
            "Sir, good news, your doctor has ordered a MedCall for you, you know, a system similar to the one on 'I've fallen and can't get up', those TV ads? Well, you might even qualify to get it free, with a slight service charge..."
            "Oh no, no, no--I'll be dead in a week. I hope you will be, too."
            "What? But your doctor..."
            "That loony pimp for pharma, that unspeakable fucking morphine addict...why would you believe a wet-eyed freak so thick-tongued he can't even talk? The last time he wrote a prescription he stabbed himself in the crotch with a Mont Blanc. That crazy guy, he's always pulling stuff like this..."
            "We'll send it to your present address and..."
            "Did I stutter, you fucking imbecile? I'm dying. He knows it. A week."
            "You sound fit to me sir, in fact..."
            "What are you? A seer? A remote viewer? The army needs you, the NSA...oh, oh no, I, I, (choking noise)." I drop the phone. It lays there.
            "Sir? Sir?"
              I dance my redneck dance, arms out front, causing my dogs to bark with joy. It’s a dance I often do to banjo solos and duels. After awhile the phone begins to buzz. I replace it in its cradle. 

            Publishers never call.  

Guinotte Wise, self-anointed poet lariat of Resume Speed, Kansas has wrote books and many many stuff for literary reviews. Some have published them. Some have declined, tho politely. Some less so. He leaves things unfin

Some Quick of Hope

The river is sweet tea and way high
and although it's one hundred and five
the humidity makes it feel like hell blew through
and found it couldn't take the heat

but the water is cold from last night's hard rain
and the only way to survive getting in
is to do it all at once, surrender with breath held
and this is how we dive in and come up again

the river is for letting go the sweat of the cage
is the place for inventing what comes next
and here is where we come together to decide
how and what we name the unknown future

why the cost of starting over is so steep
and who the ghosts keep haunting day in and out
while the current keeps each of every us
newly touched and baptized clean

there's no two ways around this river
only one way down and no way out
before we cross her with pennied eyes
to some sort of wet heaven we haven't yet dreamed.

You Sing Your Arrows Against the Rock of Me

You have created a bow
you have created a gut string
which tenses the blow
you have created a bamboo
arrow you have created
with rock against rock
an arrowhead made of wail song
this is the thing you sling at me
you have created a way to pull back
the gut string until it is taught
beyond taut
until it is so ready to pounce
against something like a good girl
like me that you are already ready
to sing your arrow against the rock of me
pull back the string on the nock of the arrow
you aim closely higher higher
and you pull back and let loose
does it feel good to let loose
does it feel good to let that bamboo
feathered tip hand-chipped arrow-word
go straight into the body of a bear
of a boar of a wolf of a deer of a girl
of a good girl
the kind of girl you'd call a wife
does it feel good to stretch your wife taut
here I am
here I am bleeding
surface bleeding
from your near-miss
it's a good thing
it's good girls get out
because the whisper-song
of your killing prayer
otherwise lasts a lifetime.

Jeanette Powers

From the Roof You Can See Forever

His voice sounds like a swallow
of pure lemon juice, no sugar.
You choke as it goes down
and the studio orchestra swells.
Acid waves creep onto cold sand
as the garden dissolves in rain.

You try to remember if this
is Lennon’s voice, long silenced.
You wonder how he would sound
as an old man, bent, bald, blind,
his son long grown.  Still smoking,
he’d be a remnant of the old
city on the new island of
purified air, ringtones, vapes,
iced coffee infused with nitrogen.

Men like him live in fifth floor
walkups, crowded with hardback books,
vinyl records, cigarette butts, coffee cups.
Halting, they climb to the roof,
awaiting what the city will become
once the asphalt-colored rivers rise
and the island dissolves in rain.

Marianne Szlyk

Ppigpenn Interview
Jeanette Suzanne Powers

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)
Location and occupation?
Belle, Missouri in the Northern Ozarks at Osage Arts Community residency program. I am the executive director for Uptown Arts Bar, a performing arts venue in KCMO, resident fellow at OAC bringing in arts programming in 2019, board member of FountainVerse: KC small press poetry fest and founding editor of Stubborn Mule Press.
How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?
I taught myself how to read at four years old, before kindergarten even. I’ve been writing ever since. Sometimes I forget to mention it about myself, because it’s like saying “I eat. I fuck. I take up space.” Not that I take the writing for granted, it’s my lover, my greatest relationship, an essential part. Not that I’m melodramatic, it’s just true that I’m melodramatic.
Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?
Let’s think about the connection between writing style and hobbies. Hobbies: owning a dog, being a parent, drinking whiskey (gets up to grab whiskey), painting, drawing, reading, stick and poke tattoos, sewing, masturbation, social media, listening to records, kayaking, hiking, swimming rivers, investigating the non-binary, math, physics, philosophy, pendulums, reading my invented tarot, building books, collecting rocks with holes in them, playing therapist for my friends, taking ibuprofen, sex, watching my fish grow, sitting still for extended periods of time, reading the Tao, editing, traveling, looking at the moon, memorizing sunsets. If one style of writing could encapsulate all of those things, that would be my style. As Bruce Lee said, “my technique is to have no technique.”
Do you write full-time?
I write when it pleases me, it usually does. If you mean does it pay my bills: no.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Hmn. Weird question. Once I did this performance piece with Mazzy Mann where I screamed “KEEP IT UP” repeatedly while reciting some poem and she crumpled pieces of paper up and threw them at the audience. A couple weeks later a junkie saw me on the street and remembered this piece. He said “Hey! I still have the paper that says “Keep it up,” I keep it next to my bed and finally started writing. Can I read you a poem?” That’s probably as good as it gets. (Search “keep it up poem by Jeanette Powers” on youtube to see the poem)

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
I guess getting the work out there is the biggest challenge. I’d like to have more readers, reach more people. Also, editing. In 2017, I started writing novels, and going back into them to polish and improve is really difficult for me. I’ve done two hard edits on one of the novels, it still needs another. The other two are in dire need of real time with editing. My new years resolution is to not write another novel until all three are in good shape, and the movie, too. It’s still a wreck, a cool wreck, though, it’s called “Southern White Democrat.”

What projects of yours have been recently published?  Books or Magazines?
My latest two books are “America Stabbed James T Kirk in the Arm with a #2 Pencil” through Kung Fu Treachery Press and “Sparkle Princess vs. Suicidal Phoenix” by Spartan Press, and a chapbook through Analog Submission Press in England called “Killing Karma’s Goat.” I have a new poem out on the amazing Thimble Lit Mag right now.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
Well, I’m doing a final edit on a novel, “Victimless Crime”. It’s, I guess, partly motivated by the #metoo movement, it’s an attempt to get inside the mind of an abused woman, a testament to the rage and self-harm, and a sexy dish of soap opera melodrama. It has absolutely no politics about it, it’s just her story. She doesn’t have a name, but I think of her as Lot’s Wife. I’m working on that “Southern White Democrat” screenplay and also painting this immense eight foot by six foot work of the mother, maiden, crone symbols. Also, since I told myself to stop writing poems till I’m done editing, I’ve been writing a bunch of new poems. Typical. Can’t stop, won’t stop, don’t tell me what to do! ha.

Where can we find your work? 
jeanettepowers.com has most everything. My youtube channel has a bunch of my performances. Or just come visit me, that’s way more fun.
 How do you react to rejections?
Rejections don’t bother me, it’s like whatever. My art is not for the public at large, I’m not a Rupi Kaur, a Thomas Kincaid, or an Andrea Gibson. I’m not into healing or bettering the world or telling anyone how to live or dwelling in trauma, I’m a problematic feminist, I don’t lean on my queer identity for content, I write about weird shit that often doesn’t end well, I call people out on their shit and point fingers at the self. It’s not popular. That’s ok. I’m not trying to be popular, I’m trying to figure out who I am. It’s part excavation and part invention. If you dig it, then baby we can run together. I’ll take you kayaking on a new moon through the world where man hasn’t touched. You’ve never seen dark like it before. It’s something else. I pet snakes, I carry wasps around in cupped hands, I don’t fear what most people fear, so I’m not for everyone. Fear bonding is very powerful, to bond with me, it is through fearlessness … so I don’t connect as easily, but I would say I connect more permanently.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
I add it to my resume, my website and create snazzy graphics to promote the publication and share on social media. In these moments, it’s really more about publicizing that publication to my followers and creating connections. Also, it’s hella cool when that acceptance gets to folks who haven’t seen my work before. I love meeting new people. There’s a few places out there that are my white whales, if I got an acceptance from them, I’d celebrate and freak out. If one of my novels or the movie gets picked up by a big publisher I’ll definitely buy some nice Rye and grill scallops, real scallops!
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
It’s not the writing that makes me crazy. The writing itself is probably keeping me sane, and kind. How to stay sane as a human? Exposure therapy. Don’t be satisfied with telling yourself “I can’t.” I had a total breakdown in 2014 and long-story-short became an agoraphobe, refusing to really even leave my bed. I would say “I can’t walk out the front door. If I walk out the front door the atmosphere will crush my bones to dust and I will die.” And on and one with the 10,000 things “I can’t” do. So I started this practice of whenever I tell myself I can’t do something, then I have to. At first that just meant walking out the front door, or on a wet surface, or upstairs, but over time that meant traveling the world, quitting my solid-ass job to live at a residency, getting a dog and all sorts of things that are now amazing. I’m not afraid to build and fail and rebuild and try and dream now.
 What is your favorite book? 
Oh golly. OK. I’m gonna tell the truth. Dune by Frank Herbert. I fucking love that book! I’ve read it hundreds of times. When my son finally read it, he texts me, “mom, so you totally raised me as a Bene Gesserit.” I texted back, “you survived my GOM JIBBAR!” It’s so good. But also, Wislawa Szymborska, Margaret Atwood, Umberto Eco, Jonathan Safran Foer, Ursula le Guin, fucking Vonnegut man, Irving, Palahniuk, Annie Dillard. I’m kinda one of those read-everything-you-ever-wrote readers. Indie poets I love: Nadia Wolnisty, Ezhno Martin, Mike James, Jason Ryberg.
   Who is your favorite author?
Oops, I answered that above on accident.
   If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Horselover Fat from VALIS by Philip K Dick, because I have an absurd penchant for men who are genuinely out of their minds.  

 What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?  
I guess most writers really struggle with Imposter Syndrome. It’s, to me, a form of self-abuse meets a genuine concern. Fuck it. Forget it. Unless it’s actually helping you write more and better, then fuck and forget me. But, in my experience, it’s an inhibitor. Just let it go, be ok with being a fake, an imposter, or be ok with not knowing if you are any good, or just stop letting that sore tooth distract you from writing. Focus more on just writing about what you know, what you feel, hope, need, don’t want to tell. Just write. The world beats you up enough, don’t lend it a hand.

What makes you laugh?
I love to laugh, waking up next to my dog makes me laugh. Poop is always funny, farts too. I just started loving memes, so now I’m a meme whore and laugh at those. Existential dread makes me laugh, ennui makes me laugh, people being awkward makes me laugh … that also makes me horny. Yikes. TMI makes me laugh.
What makes you cry?
I cry at the drop of a hat, at least three times a day. Usually though it’s like these weird heart cries, like when I see a photo of MLK or Marie Curie, or think about how no one knows if an electron is a one point or a field that reaches through all of infinity, or how the relationship between the unit circle and a right triangle implies they are really the same shape, or when a kid smiles at a balloon, or someone is brave. The last time I cried for a “normal” reason was when this fellow broke up with me before we could fuck because we lived too far away from each other. It was so unfair!
What is your preferred drink while you write?
Whiskey or tea. Depends on the time of day. Curiously, those are basically the only two things I drink, always with a water back.
Beach or Mountains?
Beach Beach Beach Beach Beach Beach. Forever.
Cats or Dogs?
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
Jeesus, neither, but if forced, Hendrix.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?
Well, Willie has his charms, but definitely Bukowski. I used him as a moral compass when raising my kid.

 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?
My country is technically the United States of America. An important statement about America, and maybe the whole of the world, is that it has always been about Fake News. You can’t read a history textbook to learn about my country, it’s full of lies, or half-truths. You can’t go to a small town or a big city and expect to find out what America is like, everyone will spin a yarn about how great and mighty and good there whatever they think is. The common denominator is that everyone effortlessly thinks their way is best. It is quite divided into a binary system of incompatibilities which supposedly define the whole mess. Underneath all that are kind people who don’t see the harm they cause. We have grizzly bears and rattlesnakes and brown recluse spiders and anti-biotic resistant gonorrhea. There are no sexually transmitted diseases amongst the “animals” … do you ever wonder about that? PSA: humans are also animals. But you know what I mean. People should visit the USA to see the Ozarks and Yellowstone, and they should hurry before the whole thing is flushed away so we can keep polluting the world into oblivion. It’s ok. Earth will kill us off soon enough, she knows how to survive tough times.


Blue Throat of Day | Catfish McDaris

"Catfish McDaris’ engaging assemblage of gritty, sensual, working class characters thrive, or barely get by, in second-hand stores, down on the Bowery, and low rent establishment. Though various lusts run throughout the collection, what McDaris writes of human nature is funny and often sadly true at the deepest levels of ourselves. Blue Throat of Day is a generous offering, an expansive, engaging collection, written in McDaris’ distinctive style, essential reading for those who love poetry and prose written eloquently from the gut." 
— Jeffrey Alfier, Founder and Co-editor, Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review 

First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places | Mike James

This exquisite collection is the 12th in James' ouvre of full length books of poetry. It is a rare and unique voice in contemporary writing, without pretense and decidedly original. The poems range from nostalgic assays on television stars of yore to questioning gender norms in an unsupportive environment, to a delicious and irreverent association with not just one river, but all of them. It is the kind of literature which investigates deeply personal obsessions, foibles, longings, repressions and joys without lingering on a terrifying political climate. This book celebrates identity in a deeply intimate and powerful way.


After the Flood | paintings by Greg Edmondson

COMING SOON! April 2019

 "After the Flood" is a series of 18 paintings by Greg Edmondson, completed in a whirlwind of creative energy after the last big flood on his nearby river, the Gasconade. In addition to creating the series of paintings, Edmondson has curated a knock-out selection of poets and writers who have created pieces to accompany the visual work and compiled everything in this beautiful and piquant book reflecting on what we are left with after disasters ... of nature and of the heart. 

Leadwood: new & selected 1998-2018 | Daniel Crocker

Daniel Crocker brings an exquisite tome with this 200 page book of poems, many unseen before and all gut-wrenching in their honesty and intimacy. The poems are a side of Missouri all too common and all too unspoken of: lead poisoned towns, child abuse, bi-sexuality, poverty, coping with mental illness. What makes Crocker's work so astonishing is the deep sense of humor that comes with the most gut-wrenching truths. Let Elmo tell you all about it, you will be tickled! We hesitate to call a book important but this is a voice unheard in the poetry world and we are honored to be publishing it. 

Against the Dark | James Benger & Tyler Robert Sheldon

COMING SOON! March 2019

Against the Dark: Road Poems
Benger and Sheldon team up for this split investigating the power of life on the road, with the focus of high beams on country roads and the squealing tires of sudden veering, these poems will take you for a ride you won't want to end.


A Hundred Years Among the Daisies | George Wallace

George Wallace – winner of the First International Poetry Festival ÓRPHEUS – PLOVDIV 2018 with his poem ‘Orpheus on the Elbrus’ — is one of the best contemporary world’s poets I have ever read. His poetry is like a message from God, but it isn’t enough to say that because while plenty of poets think that they write under God’s dictation, to hear the message, to catch the message, is different.
—Anton Baev, poet, writer, Chairman, Plovdiv Writers’ Union

The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away | John Macker

Award- winning poet/playwright/essayist John Macker lives in Santa Fe, NM. His latest publications are Gorge Songs (DCArt Press, 2017) with Denver woodblock artist Leon Loughridge and Blood in the Mix (with El Paso poet Lawrence Welsh) Lummox Press, 2015. Other books include Woman of the Disturbed Earth, Underground Sky, Adventures in the Gun Trade, Las Montañas de Santa Fe and The Royal Road: Impressions of El Camino Real In 2006, he edited the Desert Shovel Review. 

Dog Alley | poems and paintings by Hugh Merrill

 Dog Alley is a hybrid, full-color book of poems and paintings by the renowned artist Hugh Merrill. The poems are an intimate look at memory, aging, loss, privilege and sexuality all wrapped up in the potent and visceral language of emotion that only Merrill can achieve. These poems signal the beginning of a two year journey Merrill has traversed investigating his deep family ties to Jim Crow, legal lynching and his attempts to atone by telling the story. 

Idylls of Being ... | Melvin Litton

Melvin Litton’s stories have appeared in Chiron Review, Mobius, Foliate Oak, Floyd County Moonshine, Pif, First Intensity, with poetry in Broadkill Review, The Gasconade Review, e Literary Hatchet, Stray Branch, and a chapbook From the Bone via Spartan Press.  He is a retired carpenter and lives in Lawrence, KS with his wife Debra and their black and tan shepherd Jack. He also writes and performs songs solo and with the Border Band: www.borderband.com