Thursday, June 21, 2018

Acts of God

Let the Egyptians boil in the foam of their roiling
Red Soup, choke on goat bones, meet the wrath
— though, think about it:  They were just grunts,
doing the Man’s business.  Sometimes, the Hebrews
were the mercenaries.  This time, the Egyptians
were Chaldeans and Persians and, for all I know,
Prussians.

Moses walks into McDonald’s with Aaron and stutters
his order for a large f-f-f-fries.  Aaron rolls his eyes. 
“Take a breath, little brother, no rush. Sigh a moment
of peace.  God knows, you seared your hands wrestling
the bush, and your face, the ripples of your scars are
hard to look at.”

Miriam, the youngest, wanted to take that raw face
in her hands and fold it to her breasts as if to suckle
the sad, stunned boy inside.

God claims full measure.
​--​

Six distractions
during five dances by the Chicago Repertory Ballet

Mother sins. Women save.

The dance,
elegant clumsy thighs,
thick steel, smooth strength.

Mother thunder. Women meadow.

The dance,
sleek ancient,
buttocks beauty.

Mother stone. Women touch.

The dance,
shoulder, shoulder, shoulder,
blue pulse.

Mother shut. Women shout.

The dance,
long leg, long arm,
sinewed song.

Mother dark. Women shine.

The dance,
full-bodied Alleluia
and thanks be to God.

Mother fear.  Women hope.

---
Stone and flesh


Eternal, I stand dark before
boulder on boulder on
boulder on boulder, floor
to cave ceiling, voiceless
idol, her face the top, with
toddler brother’s hand in
mine —- our dread, our
yearning, our electricity too
frail to puncture her stone
skin and guts and mind and
heart, her vengeful glare
lighted by all the lights of the
Cosmos, blinding, one stealing
around to the next cave and
the same idol, and my brother
staying behind to bash his
skull all the days of his life
against the stern inert flesh.

---

Words and phrases from William Styron’s book about depression, highlighted in yellow by my brother several years before his suicide — a found poem*

wasn’t cheered by the festive occasion dank joylessness habitual pretense failure of alleviation laid low gloom crowding in excruciating near-paralysis maintain rosy view need day over shadows encroaching anxiety and dread demanding struggle obliterated any enjoyable response
close to actual pain drowning suffocation positive and active anguish immobilized trance of supreme discomfort helpless stupor full-time exhaustion almost measurably worse brownout ferocious inwardness immense distraction

guilt and self-condemnation absence of hope leaden and poisonous mood pattern of distress intensity and relief incomplete letup immediate upheaval nearly helpless a bullet through his brain

black despondency

melancholia howling tempest in the brain less zestful waiting to swoop down indifferent suffocating gloom aching solitude violent thoughts near paralysis sapped drained without savor absence of dreams death a daily presence think ceaselessly of oblivion

stretched on such a torture rack dependence a world soon obliterated full of anguish suffering crucifixion

an end to myself either course was torture inner convulsion despair beyond despair an irreversible decision oncoming disaster extinction inadequate apologies go out in silence numbly unresponsive some last gleam of sanity

only duty try to get well

the abyss mysterious in its coming still shaky

struck again grip of depression at its ghastliest unrealistic hopelessness genetic roots

a dark wood horror of depression only remedy behold the stars



*Words and phrases highlighted in a paperback edition of Styron’s Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness (Vintage). Each stanza is from a different chapter in the book.

Patrick T. Reardon


Monday, May 28, 2018


Kids in Florida

The Trials of Nuremberg
never slowed down the anguish
that man tried to pass on within a stepping stone
of dissociated guilt…
And if Buddha is your “thing”
Well then bow down to the chanting
harmony of want…

Do we ever climb into the space that
saves seventeen kids? Theorize what
agony is within our own little mind…

Prancing with false bravado…a
Twitter rant or faceboob comment about
how actors can play the role of deviant
political farce…
Then the sickening larva will
lick their glistening lips…looking
over the bodies of souls in camps or
step around the blood of a freshman band member…

Crying “the horror, the horror…” That was good
enough for Marlon Brando…but it could never
extinguish the rationalization of another, another
Pathetic look-away.

Dan Provost

Devout



At length

we are born to wonder…

My God is better

than yours—but,

in the end…the same place

will be dark…

Rancid…

Smelling of sweat.



Deep –we will think

for years, but settle

nothing…in failure

mode of whatever

sin may be in vogue

today…

Dan Provost

Jesus in the Garden

 Gethsemane…

You begged.

You failed.

Others have pleaded

on a smaller stage,

Maybe not with big

time consequences…

But tasted the poison too…

And they wanted to get out just

as much as you did…

When their sentence was announced

and the blood refused

to stop flowing…

All of you died…

Some with fanfare…

Others in fields in

the middle of nowhere…

Jesus…your morality is commendable

An unselfish spirt …

Who to some, was killed

for our sins…I just

know of others

who took the quiet

way out…No prayers

or books were written

about them…Some

pained faces, staring

into a faceless mirror…

Day after day after

day…

Dan Provost



Sunday, May 20, 2018

Rude Awakenings
A poetry collection by

Gary Beck

For Immediate Release
 
Can an artist achieve the American dream without compromising creativity? Can lovers navigate the search of their desires while mourning the loss of past connection? And if the disillusioned accept our world of empty promises, don’t we all lose when that fire burns out? Poet Gary Beck masterfully approaches serious questions of human integrity, as well as the small odd moments our realities may share, in his brilliant new collection, Rude Awakenings.
 
We love your poems – Orchards Poetry
 
Wonderful work – Panoplyzine
 
Imagery and emotion that felt unique yet universal – Paradise Review
Rude Awakenings is a 112 page poetry collection. Available in paperback with a retail price of $11.99. ISBN 1941058809, and a kindle edition for  $4.99. Published by Winter Goose Publishing. Available now through all major retailers. For information or to request a review copy, contact:
jessica@wintergoosepublishing.com
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1941058809

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 13 published chapbooks and 1 accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations and Rude Awakenings (Winter Goose Publishing). The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications). Blossoms of Decay and Expectations (Wordcatcher Publishing). Blunt Force will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions) and Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). State of Rage will be published by Rainy Day Reads Publishing, Crumbling Ramparts by Gnome on Pigs Productions and Acts of Defiance by Wordcatcher Publishing. His short story collections include, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications) and. Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing). Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City where he’ll be directing one of his plays.

Winter Goose Publishing is an independent publisher founded in 2011. We are a royalty-paying publisher dedicated to putting out the best literature in prose, poetry and art; covering a variety of genres. For more information go to: www.wintergoosepublishing.com
Internet Yearnings
A chapbook by

Gary Beck

For Immediate Release
Internet Yearnings is a chapbook that reveals the need for relief from the afflictions that assail us in a complicated society.
Internet Yearnings is a 32 page poetry chapbook published by Fowlpox Press. ISBN 978-1-927593-69-1. The price is E3.60. For info contact: virgilkay@gmail.com. For sales http://fowlpoxpress.yolasite.com/
 
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors Perturbations and Rude Awakenings (Winter Goose Publishing) The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications). Blossoms of Decay (Wordcatcher Publishing) Blunt Force and Expectations will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions) and Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). State of Rage will be published by Rainy Day Reads Publishing, Crumbling Ramparts by Gnome on Pigs Productions. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications) and. Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.
 
Fowlpox Press
Our publishing house was established in 2011, following the demise of our previous incantation, Continuous Now, and a dare from a Delhi haute couture insider. We publish new, used, and salvaged poets through our quarterly, Fowl Feathered Review, and our chapbooks. Both the quarterly and chapbooks are available in electronic and print form.

             Over The Process

I ran amongst the best only to realize they were all worn out as me .

I made it to the front the best never concern themselves with what others are doing .

One day we sat amongst one another .
We were what most considered to be the standouts at what we did.

I still after all these years can't figure out what I do to begin with.


"Hey man great job on that last one I read fucking really made me laugh" .

Randy said to me in his usual laid back manner .

He had been at this as long as me.

It's just unlike me he had been knocking down doors and winning the race long before l even knew I was in the running .

"I appreciate it bud ".

Stan was silent .

Stanley was a far more polished writer than I.
And found success quickly and easily once made some fellow writer's hate him.

I didn't hate him I simply respected his gift and kept my distance .

To them both I was the freak of nature a worn out train wreck that could hold his own .

Crazy wasn't a act when it came to me .

I lived my work and most respected that although in my ever declining health they recognized a sinking ship for what it was .

We saw the kids catching up they flew by us as if they were really doing something .

Most made sure they said hello to Randy as they passed .

None said shit to me .

Most never understood the only true competition is ones self .
Not letting your ego override your ass .

I let the others chase their own tails  as I sat there in the sun relaxed not giving a single damn.


I was over the process long before I even began .


John Robbins


                Paint By Number

Beyond this page there is nothing more for you to see.
I bare no truths you cannot read .

I am miles and miles of pavement concrete and stone .
Broken bones mended now replaced by something far more brutal than you can comprehend.

Being tuff means nothing.
It is no badge of honor .
If you live to be seventy and never knew a ounce of pain then I believe you never lived a day in your life.

Pain is just something we cannot avoid .


I hate to tell you that.
I hate to be the one that admits the truth when so many rather protect you with a lie.

Don't chase dreams when you can have happiness instead.
Don't feed you ego's cravings to say your tougher than the rest.

Don't believe the bullshit in old westerns .

Death comes quickly for most and never soon enough for miserable fucks like me .

We all bare are scars .
Sometimes it really is best to leave well enough alone .

John Robbins

                               Pimple Popper


She always spent her nights watching pimple popping videos and sometimes she wondered why she was alone.
Some were small others looked like something out of B horror movie .
All filled with pus .

The woman who made the videos just kept talking like everything was normal as she squeezed and scraped out more and more from these people.

For her it was another day at the office and for my friend it was her entertainment .

She got me to watch a few with her my stomach turned as I fought of the urge to puke as we spoke on the phone .

It became a regular thing .

And I had to question her sanity but then I would have to look at myself in the process .

We talked every night as she sent video after video.

Most men wanted naked pictures I just wanted anything but to see another damn infected sore popped in front of my eyes.

The nights we didn't talk I really missed that woman .
Now every time I saw a zit I thought of her .

It was a strange relationship indeed .

John Robbins


The Page Won't Have Me
I was burnt out for months I was swinging for the fences and hitting them out of the park.

Then one day it happened.
I sat there hung-over feeling like shit I had a deadline, but I never worried over deadlines.

I stared at the page.

Nothing was there.

I once saw a highway now I simply saw a page with no direction.

I panicked.

It no longer was a hobby it was my job I swam with the sharks and now here I was standing upon the shore afraid to even dip my toes in the water.

What the fuck was happening!
I couldn't afford to choke and I wasn’t about to grant the wishes of those who yearned to see me fall flat on my ass.

We were about to face a drought.
And I was fucked in the worse way possible.

I found the nearest bar and vanished into a corner booth.
Maybe I was losing it finally.

People always leave.
The page never had.

The mental ward was always an option least there I could hide amongst the forgotten.

Everyone was lost far to deeply within themselves to give a damn about you.

I sat in front that page bottle in hand like some scalper waiting in line for hours just to get those tickets and make his hustle.

I sat there like some woman waiting for a man who was off enjoying his life while she wasted hers alone.


I needed a home and I needed a drink, the page stood before me like some tempting lover.

She knew I needed her she simply wasn’t having me tonight.

John Robbins 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Story I Always Wanted to Write:
An Ode to My Childhood Imagination

Welcome to the City, once called Salem, changed to Slam, a bit of scratching on the road sign.  Maybe it’s a change in the atmosphere, more rays allowed through, but here people could do amazing feats.  Just the kind of feats I wanted to do as a kid.

Slam City is where you can find…

a slender robotic assassin with ebony liquid skin, probably inspired by The Matrix;

a man with implements on his feet large enough to cause an earthquake.  I called him Stamper, imagined his thudding steps shattering the world to its center.

A guy who could leap a tall building in a…well, you know.  Kangaroo. I drew him once or twice, complete with hat and bionic legs.

Because who wouldn’t want bionic legs?  

A figure from my dreams with gun metal gray hair and a mouth sewn shut, stitched dark clothing, went by the name Silence.  He was probably inspired by The Crow.

I drew his costume in between drawing the one I would wear when I could save the world.  Superhero was going to be my hobby, I suppose.  I settled for writing about them instead.

An unfortunate fool who turned the wrong knob in an experiment and became a living creature of stone, dubbed Cement.

My family pet, the barky Chihuahua, blown up into a fifteen-feet tall monster, his bug-eyes bouncing along a dark street.

A character inspired by Jim Carrey’s Mask with purple skin, a lavender suit, and two ping- pong paddles to spin him into manic orbit.  He would deliver jokes I had not written yet.

Maybe I read too many comics.  Maybe I watched too many films.  These days, I embrace my graphic novel reading and blog about it.

To finish this world out, an entire race called The Lizards who lived on the bottom, darkened level of the metropolis, led by a scarlet-clad reptile man called Levine.  Surely this many-leveled world was inspired by my frequent visits to Batman Forever.

Another race of creatures called The Sand who live in the outer recesses where the urban landscape meets what used to be forest.

I dreamed their stories daily in my childhood walks with my father and his large black dog.

In those reflections, I saw a figure with the wings of a hawk and the body of a man who could swoop down deliver them all, if he only cared. 

JD DeHart

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Green Sandal Monologue

Laundry has to be done, but I am not doing it today. I am on break today. All day long.  The world is not perfect, you will not find it this way and you will not be responsible to leave it this way. 

Strawberry wine is good when executed correctly; when the air gets to it, it tastes like tires. Drunkenness is not essential to a good drink. If the drink isn’t good, then you might want to shoot it down fast. But, then, why did drink it in the first place? The best winery in town is actually outside of town; you can settle for the closer one, but the air gets to the wine too easily there. You will be embarrassed if you buy it as a gift for someone.

I do not like lawn chairs but I do like a nice chair to sit in the shade, beneath an umbrella. I burn too easily. My sandals are clumped up with grass. It will need to be mowed again, sometime after I finally do laundry. The dogs bring in evidence of the yard each time they step back into the house. Summer goes quickly, but so does everything else; in autumn, the feeling of death is in the air. It is the process of leaving something behind; winter comes and we sit quietly in our houses, staying warm; spring opens up the opportunity but be careful because cold still comes as part of the package – sometimes, rarely, and without warning.

JD DeHart