Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Release: Stickman Review, V10N1

I am absolutely and utterly honored to have poems in the 10th anniversary issue of this superlative and unforgettable magazine.

To read the issue (including my poems "Ouranophobia" and "Siesta"), go here:


To read my review of this zine:

Owl's Appraisal

Congratulations to editor Anthony Brown on ten years of masterful leadership.

Thank you, Sir. You are a most rare, discerning and heroic soul.


PS: The sculptor, Guinotte Wise, featured in V10N1 is phenomenal. My favorite is:

Angel Tired of Avenging

That's how I feel!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Acceptance in Taj Mahal Review???

I submitted three poems to Taj Mahal Review, based on its listing in Poets & Writers, which generally provides excellent leads. Unfortunately, this was not one of them.

Within an hour of submitting, I received this response:

Dear [Owl Who Laughs]

Hope this finds you quite well. You have sent your poem Sunset Walk for publication in June 2011 issue of Taj Mahal Review. Our Editor Dr. Santosh Kumar has approved it for publication in Taj Mahal Review to be released in June 2011. Proudly published by Cyberwit from the finest paper and composing including beautiful cover and design, Taj Mahal Review gives you the finest that the Publishing has to offer. A global feel with authors around the world. We are small press publisher so cannot afford international shipping and handling charges to send the book of more than 200 pages from India to your country. Will it be possible for you to subscribe the Journal in just $25 per copy only, after it is released in June 2011?
A kind reply will much oblige with your short bio.

Karunesh Kumar Agrawal
Managing Editor (TMR)
ALLAHABAD - 211011 (U.P.)

I then did some research and found that Duotrope Digest had blocked Taj Mahal from its own journal list. The reason was as follows:

We received many complaints that they seem to require purchases from accepted writers. When we wrote them with questions regarding this policy, they did not respond.


Sadly, my experience backed up Duotrope. When I responded to Managing Editor Kumar that I could not pay the $25--and also did not include the requested bio--I never heard back. I've never received any response.

The good news is that I've spruced up the poems and re-submitted them elsewhere. The journey of submitting is an adventure in itself.

Every journal and editor has a different personality. It's part of what makes the journey meaningful and often fun.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Poem: Reflection In Cola

This poem was published eons ago in a journal called Octavo, run by Alsop Review.



Reflection in Cola

white hair against effervescent tar.
blue eyes gone black, unwandering,
while nose accuses nose,
ribbing a liquid mirror
with each breath.

man in a brown moon,
he cannot hide,
dimples bubbling up
near a mouth airbrushed
by curves of glass.
his head, more eggish than realized,
glistens with cracks,
following the tap of a fingertip.

his pedestal of volume
shrinks as he sips himself away,
ever smaller, maintaining
a mutual stare, bemused
that eyes could fixate so long
on someone as thin as a surface.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Acceptance: Rufous City Review

Rufous City Review -- Go!

Go to Rufous City Review and discover an anti-urbane (and anti-mundane) urbanism that breaks apart city life and turns it into everything else, or vice versa, or whatever, and yet it’s all good--brilliant actually--no matter how you define it: something that Chief Editor Jessica Bixel grasps fully in her own definition of this superb journal:

ru•fous cit•y re•view \ˈrü-fəs ˈsi-tē ri-ˈvyü\ (n.) Where industry encounters raw earth in a heightened passion of expression; see also: the best of what can be read. Origin: [Latin] red; rusted memories; russet sparrows; random whimsy; really great writing.

You are going to find rusted memories, russet sparrows and a lot more within the unhallowed halls, warrens, alleyways and towers of this mind-blowing metropolis. The current issue features a line-up of toe-curling, scalp-tingling poets, both the prestigious and the nouveau.

There is someone named Alixia Doom who writes sensuously about swans; there is a “green chemical engineer” who croons in stanzas; there is one of my favorite poets, J.P. Dancing Bear, and there are several others, including Mary Mackey, a true great, whose lead-off poem, “The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number Four” will twist you into a happy pretzel.

When I submitted, Editor Bixel took the time to do something rare and, to my jaded eyes, even shocking: she said she was interested in one of my poems, and would reconsider it; but only after I reworked the middle.

Why is this rare and shocking and especially kind?

Well, when editors show interest without accepting a poem, it is risky for them. The poet can get an unjustified sense of expectation, and become annoying. The poet can get overly enthused, and pepper the editor with requests for suggestions. The poet can, in other words, proceed to take up more and more of the editor’s valuable time, becoming pushy, whiny, beggarly, sly, pathetic or just straight up rude.

Editor Bixel took a chance with me, and I am honored that she did. In my initial response, I thanked her, and emphasized that I had no expectation of acceptance -- and then I went to work, putting in over a dozen hours on the poem over a stretch of delirious days. I even did a sweat lodge.

Of course, I made sure not to bother the editor again until it was time for the resub.

Luckily for me, my extra work paid off with an acceptance; but if it hadn’t, I would have done what I have many times before: said THANK YOU for the extra attention and wandered away with the joyful thought that my work merited serious appraisal.

The moral of this story is that Editor Bixel is open to giving poets an extra bit of consideration. However, if you get a suggestion from her on a poem, or from any other editor, don’t become a pest.

Editor-in-Chief Bixel is joined by Associate Editor Brittany Balyeat and Artist (“the one with the crayons”) Alex Parker.

This journal boasts talent as wide as a city can sprawl -- or a rainforest can expand -- and I hope you get a chance to visit. Even better, send Editor Bixel an email of encouragement, commenting on your favorite piece.

You don’t need a game face, stylish clothes, or a bullet-proof vest to enter Rufous City, only the anticipation that your emotions will be engaged by some great minds.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Unlike other species,
humans can choose not to compete;
and so we all win.

Setuva Puma Dancer, Soul Leaps


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Release: The Toucan, including Lust

Spring Issue Of The Toucan

The Toucan Magazine is an ongoing party of witty, perceptive and slightly ribald tropical birds. It is run by the talented duo of editors Liz and Laura. In this latest issue you can find one of my most prurient poems, appropriately titled "Lust."

This poem, in addition to being suggestive, has a neat kind of verbal trick that doesn't occur in any of the other 500 or so works I've published. Scroll down through the issue (see above link) to find the poem. If you discover the trick, I will send you a free copy of my latest chapbook! (limited to the first two sleuths)

In the past, I have given Liz and Laura a pretty rough go. At one point, I callously suggested that they were a Jekyll & Hyde: two personalities living in the same body. I even concocted some elaborate and rather schizo argument to defend my claims. End result: I ended up with mud on my beak and bedraggled feathers.

Fortunately, these editrices (as they prefer to be called) have a great sense of humor and took it all in stride. It was all a joke anyway, I never seriously suspected they were actually one person playing two roles ... Never.

If you want to submit to this awesome and rollicking zine, be sure to be extra polite and yet don't be afraid of a little humor (though nothing offensive). Odds are you won't outwit Liz and Laura, but it is fun to try.

Read this journal!!! You will find yourself immersed in a likeable, laughing community of intelligent players--I mean, word-players.

Nothing else need be said!

Owl out.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

US Decadence Destroys Mexico, Starts a War

It is pretty clear that Mexico is in a state of civil war. The mainstream media has not acknowledged it, but the evidence is there.

Huge swaths of the northern sector of Mexico are controlled by drug lords. De facto militaries have set up road blocks, taken over towns and now terrorize cars and buses that drive the national Highway 101:

Highway of Death

When a country has lost control of a huge chunk of its land to violent resistors, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that internecine conflict has gone beyond criminal wrongdoing into the realm of outright battle.

Again, the mainstream media is silent on the topic, but it seems like the system could be corrupt enough, and the drug lords mighty enough, to defeat the official government of Mexico. One way this could happen is if President Calderon is assassinated, flinging the nation into chaos and catalyzing a coup d’état by the military.

The military is currently described as vicious and wanton, and may be split into various factions under the leadership of particular generals. Some of these generals are probably willing to make a power grab if the possibility arises, perhaps with the backing of the drug lords.

If the official government goes down, the United States might have to go to war with Mexico. The reason is that Mexico will be controlled by pro-drug criminals and their allies in the military. The war on drugs will effectively cease south of the border, and tensions will escalate rapidly across the latitude splitting the continent.

There are millions of people in the US buying illegal drugs, and that voracious hunger has crippled and debauched the entire nation of Mexico. Wealth in America, coupled with hedonism, has lead to the destruction of the integrity in its neighbor, and also the moral character of the Empire itself.

Like the Roman Empire, the US is crumbling, but at a much faster rate, aided perhaps by (a) the power of advertising and consumerism to make the citizens neurotically needy and (b) the power of imperial capitalism to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few hundred billionaires while spreading stress and misery to the rest of the population. Another negative influence is militarism. Soldiers that return from war, if not crippled in body, are often crippled in soul, and they turn to drugs for relief.

Perhaps the most powerful catalyst in the quick destruction of the US reign is technology. Information, logistics, combat, commercial transaction, production -- all happen much faster than in the era of Rome or even that of the British Empire.

Americans’ addiction to illegal and potent drugs fuels the sadistic evil of the drug gangs. These gangs, for instance, treat women in the worst possible ways -- worthy of hell. The mass murders of women along the border has been well-documented and linked to perverse gang rituals.

The gangs also murder each other and innocent civilians in barbaric ways hailing back to crucifixion, impalement and dismemberment.

In conclusion, the United States is being eaten out by the greed that its wealth generates, resulting in immoral and doom-summoning failure. The disease of our national soul spreads far and wide to infect other countries as well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poem: Vultures

This poem was published long ago (March 2004) in an online journal called Wings. It is representative of my 'early days' as a poet.




vultures had their day of bliss,
sawing the air with sloppy wings
and christening wild tombs.
their feathers were black tongues
that spoke to the wind
or mumbled in a headdress.
calm and arcane, they watched
like cloaks the last battles
of long wars, then swooped down
without eulogy or burial
to chisel with slimy heads.

shaman astronomers
watched the weird orbits of these birds,
and divined the flow of galaxies--
that Earth had female curves
and danced around a fire of life and death.
they saw their own world shrink
in a ravenous feast, and then the
feasters stumble away
from cities of bone
to brood above cliffs in exile.
today you can still see
in the gloom of vultures
that they are the last spells
of an ancient orgy, when death
scattered itself about like spent petals
and forgotten clothes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Acceptance: Blast Furnace Press

This extraordinary new journal/press is run out of Pittsburgh by Editor and Publisher Rebecca Clever. When the very first call for submissions came out, Blast Furnace generated quite a bit of excitement. The site is rendered in blog format, and preparations were made well in advance through carefully timed and enticing announcements. All very professional and even savvy on the part of Ms. Clever.

So impressive was this pitch, that when we writers were finally allowed to submit, we reacted like thoroughbreds leaping out of the gate. My submissions, all chosen with great concern and worry, were rejected almost right away. I guess I was a draft horse instead of a Zenyatta. If you look at the premier issue, you will see part of the reason I fell behind: astounding talents such as James Robison and Jennifer Gresham:

The Incredible First Issue of Blast Furnace

I stubbornly stomped my foot and furiously began editing and selecting poems. After a month, I submitted again and happily Blast Furnace is going to publish two of my pieces (“Inside Metal” and “Leaf Struck”) in upcoming issues. This is a very great honor for me! The editor is a genius at finding her way. She has true publisher charisma. I have little doubt that she is going to make a significant name for herself, reaping the fruit of poets, distilling it, and showcasing the best.

Blast Furnace’s latest announcement reveals the results of a poll; and the conclusion is that BFP will run a chapbook competition in 2012. Five hundred dollars for the winner. If the entry fee isn’t too steep, I will definitely be entering the game, even though I’ll be up against some of the best poets in America and possibly the globe.

I suggest submitting your honed work now, before the inevitable trappings of prestige and glory make Editor Clever inaccessible to us mere mortals.

Clink on the link above and enjoy the molten excellence from the first smelt in the Blast Furnace. You will be scorched by a passionate glow.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Poem: Light and Air

This poem, and three others by me, just went up in the latest issue of Pirene's Fountain. To read them all, go here:

Owl Drinks of Pirene's Waters

This is a high quality site that is ambitious and marvelous due to the superb synergy between the minds of the editorial staff. Pirene's Fountain gives off one of the best auras of any journal I have ever encountered. What this means, I don't exactly know--but it is my heart, speaking out from ineffable caverns of passion--that bids me say it.

Fly Well,



Light and Air

light sits on an infant’s face,
frightens him--for the colors
are the fires in things,
shifting on a field
where contours burn and rub.
only liars can make sense of it,
this cinerarium.

air avoids such violence.
the infant does not drown
when suckling it
into his confused mouth.

air, that constant womb,
it regenerates him over and over,
deflects the pure bright stab
of light’s splinters.

air so dark and encapsullating.
light the hatchet, coming down
to slay the cosmic Egg.
once it was a universe unto itself.
no complications in the orbits.
no flame.