READY, AIM, SING – Steven Deutsch

Ready, Aim, Sing

My sister, Angie, thought

she’d save the world.

She grew her black hair long

and fancied herself

the next Joan Baez.

Angie was sure song

would silence the guns.

Never shy, she belted out

a steady stream

of Paxton, Prine and Collins.

It made dad smile to hear

“Farewell Angelina,”

though he couldn’t fathom the lyrics.

He tried to save the world once,

humping an M1 across France and Germany.

I used to make her crazy—

isn’t that what brothers are for,

with a refrain from Lehrer’s spoof—

Folk Song Army.

You must know it—

At sweet 16, my sister played

the pass-the-hat dives

on Bleeker Street

where drug

and protest culture collided.

Sure, she would save the world,

but wasn’t it easier if you were high?

She hit the road at 17–

four wannabes in an old Nash Rambler

heading for the summer of love.

They never made it to Haight-Ashbury—

burned so much oil crossing Kansas

it looked like they had chosen the Pope.

Dad drove out to get them—

the car tomb-silent all the way home.

I have her old Gibson 12

and pluck out a Paxton now and again.

My sister, Angie, married money—

she lives in Dallas and voted for both Bushes

while her grandson, Dylan, vows to save the world.

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2 POEMS – Daniel Schulz

Afghanistan (August 25th 2021)
-FOR HEELAI
Watching TV at home.

Twenty years of history
undone
in not much more than
two days.

What happened
to the person I studied with?
The woman
who moved back to Kabul
and founded
a feminist magazine?

She has a family now.
She has a kid.

Hoping
she is among the refugees,

I constantly watch my phone,
hoping it will ring,

as the old regime drives in.

~

Hollywood
When managers audit a factory,
we workers call it Hollywood.

Because
we make all your dreams come true.

The floors are clean,
the assembly line in perfect order.
Not one thing out of place.

No cursing: perfect discipline.
Everything in perfect shape.

Then the manager
goes out the door
and everything
just dissipates.

We have a tight schedule.
Don’t you understand?

Everything follows this principle.

An increase in production.
Supply and demand.

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3 POEMS – EDWARD ANKI

Prior to Departure



The old man

opens the

airport bar

at 5 am.


He wipes down the bar stools,

chops lemons and limes,

completes his morning inventory.

 

He subsequently directs his attention

to a television screen

behind the bar.

 

He is not particularly

interested in sports highlights

but what are his options?

 

Monitor the departure board?

 

He has witnessed enough

departure. 

 
~

Grave Marker

 

I notice one,

covered with dirt

and leaves                                                                                                                      

which I brush

aside with my shoe:

 

Mother,

it reads,

just

Mother.

 

No date of birth,

no end date,

no first name

nor last name . . .

 

Mother.

 

Enough

said.

 
~

Something Like Living

  

Get home

unload the groceries

take a crap

pour a drink

check on the kids

kiss a spouse

answer a phone.

 

Prep dinner

eat dinner

masturbate.

 

Pay a bill.

 

Sell a car

buy a newspaper.

 

Watch The Bachelor.

 

Bury a hamster.

 

Trash

cash

mash.

 

Flail

wail

junk

mail.

 

Attend a wedding.

 

Book a plot.

~

Edward Anki’s poetry has appeared in The Feathertale Review(parenthetical)QwertyThe Chaffin Journal,and others. A chapbook of his poetry, Remote Life, was published by BareBackPress. 

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ROBIN WYATT DUNN – hell has all of the amenities

hell has all of the amenities



bellboy

laugh track

showers that last as long as you can stand

a full spice rack



the names of your lovers

the sound of dead friends



a huge music encyclopedia

full employment

adequate leisure time

contests and prizes

social gatherings (carefully mediated)



a robust artificial intelligence system designed to give you what you want



a realistic landscape

full of trees and sounds

water

sky

earth



a violin and drums



a pressure to perform

ennui, packaged and shipped



death managed

rotated

exoticized

eroticized

named again

and again

stamped onto your face



written into your balls



a touch on your shoulder

a whisper in your ear

a heart attack



hell should curl and twist over your arm

take it up

a packaged arrangement

for your love affair

of no iniquity

of no distance

of no priority

the badge of honor

stamped and carved into your skull



the name of god

and the name of god's god

periodically revisited



available to to call

beautiful as a winter storm

beautiful as a woman enraged



the color of the ocean

the gravity of despair

the writ of your permission

to travel

and fuck

to rise again over the air

with your eyes on your quarry



hell bellhop

towel and dry

perfume and wash

television sunrise

news at ten

and eleven

corrugated iron

art in the plaza

the name of the receptionist

a beautiful chinese woman

the parking lot attendant

with his huge telephone in hand

informing

all your relatives

your superior officer

your wife and lover

your children and friends

of all your movements

every meal

every look

every gasp

the name of your event

carefully managed

colored in blue



hell is blue

radiant cornflower

hyper intensive

surreal party for the coolest women

cut in the fashion of timeless angles

unreal against the light



your deepest fulfillment

at the correct hour

heated to the right temperature

coated in wax for you to eat



amenity is love

that which is able to be loved

the most pleasant of sights

the most pleasant of bodies

the softest skin

satin and lace



the mare of the body

the sigh of the sun

the color of the air

inside of your rapture



take me beneath the world

inside of your suitcase

I carry the love of your brethren

I carry your honor as my prize

silver and marred by the dangers of your clan

ancient and wise



dip me into the Styx

for my hour and weight

hold my hand in the fulfillment

of the contract

of the unreachable stem

world tree

hotel of all the finest enemies

my deep and caroled beloved enemies

splashed out along the plaza

buried in my grave



named for my children

unreachable

unnameable

deemed unsuitable for acolytes

in their rue and rain



lovers beneath the veil

wracked and warded for your investiture

my dear guest

please come in

Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. You can read more of his word at www.robindunn.com

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MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON – VODKA OMELET

Vodka Omelet
 
Make it clear in my mind, Jesus,
am I whacked-out on Double Cross Vodka
or have I flipped out calling myself
Limburger omelet chef?
I hate question marks and angels
with crazed wings.
You know the type, John the Baptist
toking weed, stoned out of his mind, storyteller,
foul smells from poor hygiene, eating habits
open mouth, swallowing grasshoppers,
so silky, smooth as sweet honey.
Add 3 eggs in a skillet, Parmesan/Romano blend,
2 cheeses add-on, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric,
chopped kale, hint hot chili peppers, cheers.
Scramble me, I’m cracked.
I rock faith in jungle music, dance nude.
Everything is a potential poem to me.
My omelette, my life, my booze, master cook,
vodka
omelet
2:38 a.m.
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Kasimma – a plastic bowl of snake

A Plastic Bowl of Snake
There was bowl on my kitchen slab
Its flesh was plastic
Or was it ceramic
It was the colour of seduction
Drizzling with beauty
Coated in nsibidi
Spiced with the language of the fathers
It drew my name
Wrote my name
Sang my name even
Beside it was a clay bowl
Bland
Screeching of ugliness
Lidless
It called my name
Are you kidding me?
I reached for the white lid
Of the beautiful red plastic bowl
I flipped it open
A
An
And
Out popped the slithering head of a snake
As if it had long-awaited this day
The freedom promised someday
The freedom covered in hay
It stayed with my freedom
I fled with its fear
~
Kasimma is an alumna of Chimamanda Adichie’s Creative Writing Workshop, IWP workshop, and SSDA Flow workshop. She’s been a writer-in-residence in artists’ residencies across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming on The Puritan, Kikwetu Journal, Kweli Journal, The Book Smuggler’s Den, Jellyfish Review, Afreecan Read, Orbis Journal.

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JOHN TUSTIN – 2 POEMS

DRUNK AND HELPLESS IN THE DARK
 
Some of us lie
Drunk and helpless in the dark
Waiting for the angel that never comes
Because there is no her
Beyond the sad spiraling reveries
Of the drunken insomniac
Smiling wanly in the glow
Of a halo
That exists only
In his
Fevered
Imagination




HUMANITY IS DOOMED
 
I heard the birds that chirp at night
And I saw the cats under the tree.
I know the cats need to eat
And I know the birds want to live.
 
So here I am
In the parking lot of a Walgreens,
Rooting for nothing.
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BOOK REVIEW: Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry by LANE CHASEK

Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry by LANE CHASEK

book review by Tim Staley  

At high noon my wife smashed a fly against the living room window with this book in the middle of our first pandemic summer. The room erupted into puppy yelp, child screech, fly-wail and the desert sun breaching the ceiling, grabbing us by the ankles, holding us upside-down to drain us into our shadows. All this, especially the fly-wail, fits flawlessly with this book about fly swatting, language, number theory, action and surrender.

Hugo Ball was a German author, poet, and essentially the founder of the Dada movement in European art in Zürich in 1916—maybe you already knew that. Maybe you learned that from some stuffy-teacher-induced-research-based-half-cocked-noviate-solo-tour. Maybe you visited some cold websites in search of Hugo Ball. Did you ever figure out why nonsense is such an enduring quality of art?

Emerge Lane Chasek, from behind the purple beaded curtain, to introduce us to Dada and Ball—the way a friend might—in his new book: Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry (Jokes Review, 2020). Chasek is anything but a stuffy teacher. He’s drunk—but it’s an airy-lover-don’t-mind-inviting-“My Back Pages”-kind-of-buzz necessary for this type of Hero’s Journey where the Hero seems to be speaking the most rarefied strain of white gibberish ever.

Chasek has found himself dangling from his own family tree like a crucifix on a dandelion chain wondering how to handle what he’s hearing on Democracy Now. Hugo Ball had the same problem. Like one veined bubble sharing a townhouse membrane with another in the vesper service of language’s aftermath: Chasek–through Ball’s sound poetry—connects us with the madness of the past.

The way this hitchhiker’s guide of sound poetry surveys post-language allows us to make discoveries right along with the author. The tone is serious insanity, congenial nonsense. For example, there’s a rando paragraph on page 76 that starts like this, “My poem would involve chinchillas. Lots and lots of chinchillas, since I really like chinchillas. And thousands of keyboards hooked up to thousands of main frames, all dedicated to storing the corpse that will be my magnum opus. I’d caffeinate those chinchillas and make them immortal if I could.” Will the chinchillas help our Hero acquire the superpower of not making sense?  

Sound poetry is a kiss in the face of Shakespeare. Sound poetry is what happens when language stops feeling pain. There is scat singing and math and laughs in this book.  There are childhood friends, new friends, and a few sound poems. American Puritanical Christianity™ is here too, “Sucking out all the poetic verve Christianity used to have. After all, there’s an entire book in the Old Testament that’s an erotic poem. Never forget that.” Had you forgotten that? I sure had.  

By the end, Chasek has written his own sound poem; in an interview, he said writing it, “felt like a creative temper tantrum—uncontrollable, but oddly liberating.” Through the course of the book, he shares his process of hamstringing language; I felt comforted by his tremendously mellow and jovial tone. Maybe this book will inspire you to write your own sound poem. Logic is all there is to lose.

Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe: Adventures in Sound Poetry is currently available in print and on Kindle.

About the author

Besides writing, LANE CHASEK enjoys watching 90s horror movies and cooking plant-based Sichuan recipes.

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Robert Allen Beckvall – a jazz poem

shh sh  shhhh  crack,    “hhmmmm”  he hums while he waltzes


shh shhh   shhhh   shhhhhhh  shh  crack   he waltzes


shhh   sh shhhhh shh  crack, pop  oh two at a time


I watched the man in the white suit, night after night, dance the soft shoe,  then tap dance on the cockroaches, under the light by the pawn shop


sh  shhh  shhhh  sh, crack    “hhhmmmmmm”    He seems so happy.
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