Saturday, July 30, 2011

Release: Red River Review August 2011 Issue

Go To Red River Review!!

Red River Review has been revivified by editor extraordinaire Michele Hartman. If you go to the website, you’ll find a quirky dichotomy. On the left side of the screen is a statement that says RRR began in 1999 and ended in 2007, during the noble and impressive tenure of Bob McCranie.

On the right side of the screen is an announcement for the August 2011 Issue and an announcement titled, “What’s New With Red River Review?” (What’s new is that they are currently receiving a lot of submissions from Canada).

Michele Hartman has taken the journal out of desuetude, scaling back up the pedestal of greatness with a trove of fantastic new poetry on her back. I am proud that my poem, “Evil Queen” is included in the August 2011 issue, and that my chilling piece, “TOD” is in the previous (May 2011) issue.

To read these poems and others, you must go to the main page and navigate from there, either to the current issue or the archives. For some reason, no matter what page you are on in RRR, the http pane always reads “” and nothing more. This makes it impossible for poets to provide links to their particular work; but it also insures that the reader gets a good look, or at least scan, of the magazine when ferreting out a specific gem.

I don’t know of any other magazine that has been revivified in this way--by an editor different than the one who started it. I have seen editorship change hands midstream, but never after a hiatus of years.

Brava to Hartman!! She is a champion of recrudescence! When you submit to this fine literary venue, be sure to thank her for keeping the waters flowing.

The current issue of RRR contains a lot of soul-biting work. Ann Howells, one of the editors of Ilya’s Honey, has some great poems included. Another excellent poet represented is Jennifer Hollie Bowles, who runs The Medulla Review (albeit Medulla Publishing, a separate venture of hers, seems to be fading out).

Enjoy your visit to Red River Review. Say hi for me!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

80 Ideologues Hold the World Hostage

It should be obvious to anyone how dysfunctional and twisted the Empire has become: about 80 Representatives in one branch of the government are holding the economic health of the entire world hostage. These Representatives are all members of the Republican Party, but more accurately they belong to an ultra-reactionary right wing subgroup called the Tea Party. They stubbornly and ignorantly cling to their ideology of slashing and burning government, which effectively transfers authority to the hands of billionaires and multinational corporations.

There was no crisis. Not until the Republicans decided to create one over the issue of raising the debt ceiling. The government effectively uses credit cards to make purchases, and has the power to raise its own credit limit. The purchases were made. The time came to raise the credit limit. The Republicans took this opportunity to extort everyone else, though they are the minority party. They demanded vast cuts to programs that help the sick, aged, and poor and utterly refused to cut one penny from the tax returns of the rich.

These rich are people like Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, which spews distorted propaganda full of hate. Mammon-serving bullhorns like Fox have poisoned the minds of a large slice of the population. Murdoch and his minions are in trouble in England, where they have spied on the private communications of a family mourning the loss of their daughter to a horrible and lewd crime. All to make a buck.

How did the intransigent Tea Party ideologues get into power? When the economy crashed in 2008, the people voted wildly and naively for candidates outside the norm who promised vast change. Enough votes were cast to get 80 dangerous politicians into the freshman class of the House of Representatives. When the Republicans decided to extort the government, and the world, by creating a standoff over the debt ceiling, these 80 dug in their heels and refused to cooperate with even their own GOP members, let alone the Democrats.

Why did the economy crash in 2008, creating the Tea Party? It was Wall Street, the financial center of the Empire. It became so corrupt that it encouraged the practice of granting bad mortgages wrapped in complex jargon. It made bets called derivatives on the collective fate of those mortgages. The money came rolling in to the banker’s coffers, but the train of greed, as always happens, slipped all control. There was a sick deceit at the core: the bundled mortgages were effectively junk but they were being rated as very high quality investments by the corrupt Wall Street appraisers (who were in collusion with the bankers).

Bad times breeds dangerous and fanatic politicians. And so, as the world watches, several dozen Tea Party fire-eaters are leading billions of human beings into misery and grim peril.

We are caught in the jaws of Greed and Stupidity, one and all.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Release: Rufous City Review, Issue 4

Rufous City Review has released its Issue 4, which includes “Possession,” an elegiac and lonesome poem by Owl Who Laughs. I was very lucky to get into this journal. The Editor, Jessica Bixel, gave me a chance at a rewrite but my soul locked up and wouldn’t produce. At the last moment, after a sweat lodge, I had a breakthrough.

Editor Bixel is a great writer herself, as you can see from her prefaces and, perhaps more importantly, her reviews. They are exquisitely crafted.

Here is an excerpt from her words about Issue 4:

[These] songs are old and they seem to know their own burdens. Here memory is like thick perfume, cloying—a scented cover for panic. Things are disappearing, between these pages, and uncertainty is rife. It is easy to get lost, cloaked in dust, shadows of unreliable light between freight trains.

I have looked over the issue and the poems, indeed, haunt as much as they tantalize. Are we 21st century citizens already walking in a world that was?

Regarding Rufous City, if you spend some time in its ethereal yet gritty halls, you will find it an addictive yet satisfying place. Be careful!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Poem: A Hummingbird

This originally appeared in Off the Coast, an international journal based in Maine.




A Hummingbird

thought me a mirror,
then realized, two feet away,
i was too solid,
more brick than free.

it sported emeralds,
flawless of gorget;
yet i an ogre
of clay and iron.

it hovered,
birthing its wings
through many incarnations,
as i managed once
to blink,

grasping, too slow,
that it had offered me
a vanishing act of doors—
and i would have found heaven
had i entered

just one.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Me and 42opus, aka My Worst Nightmare

On December 9 2009, I submitted five poems to 42opus using their online form. This zine has a great reputation and deservedly so. They have done marvelous work over many years. I was pleased to see my submission making progress toward acceptance. There are three stages in the process, all of which you can track by returning to the submission center:

Editor 1: makes a recommendation

Editor 2: makes a recommendation

Final Recommendation: publish or not

On April 7 2010, Editor 1 finally made a recommendation on my submission. Since I did not receive a rejection letter at this time, I assumed it was positive. (Note: the submission center does not tell you the nature of the recommendation, only the date on which a recommendation was made).

On August 4 2010, Editor 2 logged in, and made a recommendation. Still no rejection letter. I waited with bated breath for the wonderful moment, when my acceptance, or I guess rejection, would finally come and ease my building sense of anticipation.

As of today, Friday, July 15, 2011, no final recommendation has ever been entered. My submission remains in limbo, almost certainly doomed. However, I admire 42opus so much that I keep clinging on, desperately and pathetically (translation: I’m a selfish bastard who wants 42opus on my résumé ... )

I have directly emailed the chief editor, Brian Leary, twice about my submission. Both times, I received no responsive. Now I simply bite my nails and wonder.

The poetry editors, if they truly exist, are Caroline Klocksiem and Sarah Vap.

The sad fact is, 42opus has virtually shut down operation. They haven’t published a fresh bit of poetry in a very long time. The last poem they published was by John Donne on October 13, 2010. Yes, that John Donne, the dead famous one who could care less about whether he gets into 42opus.

Meanwhile, I neurotically and ridiculously continue to wonder about whether I’ll ever hear back from Editor Leary. The obvious thought is, “No, you won’t, they are experiencing difficulties which are probably far more important than your petty, whiny ego.”

It’s true, something very bad might have happened to one of the editors. I truly hope not. I hope it is just a mild case of frazzle, which is totally forgivable.

Whatever happens between me and 42opus, I hope this journal gets placed in the Poetry Journal Hall of Fame. Admittedly, the Poetry Journal Hall of Fame doesn’t exist yet, but then neither does my acceptance from 42opus.

Brian Leary, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you are all right, and--


A despondent Owl

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zombie Hedonism


Every day I marvel that we walk in a landscape which could be destroyed by fire in an instant. Humanity has the power to annihilate the vast bulk of life with the current global arsenal of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Who is to say they won’t be unleashed, en masse, in a great tide of fear?

It only takes one launch to spark a fearful counterstrike. And then another. And another.

Aaren Greystrom, Zombie Hedonism


Friday, July 8, 2011

Poem: Scissors Cut Newspaper

This poem originally appeared in Pemmican Press, and was written to criticize the policies of George W. Bush.




Scissors Cut Newspaper

stork beak
squawking in snips,
gabbing as shreds
form a nest below its

it deceives
with a peace sign,
two glinting fingers
that close with the grace
of long teeth—

extracting another organ
from the cadaver
of the newspaper,

dissecting politics
into nothingness,
stripping the economy
down to paper ribs,

laying a bite
across the smile
of the president,

as if the two deserved
each other’s kiss.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank You to My "Followers"

I would like to thank the people who have taken a moment to become a ‘follower’ of my blog. You’re a great group of editors, poets, artists and simply intelligent people who tolerate the cantankerous. I encourage anyone reading this to click on the icons at the right. You’ll find souls better than mine, more insightful, more generous, more rich in thought.

I babble away in my own little world, hermetically absorbed. I suppose I am interesting, in a way, as a symbol of fixated angst -- but I do not give much time to the realms of others. That takes courage I don't possess. I am too selfish to take the time to possess it. Even responding to comments is often a chore. I am horribly neglectful in terms of tending to bridges.

Thank you for enduring my serious faults.

I don’t have a zillion followers, and I know that many of my followers have moved right along and don’t read my blog. But I am very proud that I attracted some notice from a select randomness of internet wanderers.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Homeless Story of J, Part 15

This is a work of fiction.



I was born into abuse. My parents have never admitted that they used their child to vent their brutal anger.  No, they are innocent and loving.  I suffered their halls of lies long, and became devoured by the gaslight theater. 

For years, I thought I deserved what it got.  Angry, bad child.

Finally I broke away, only to find that society was a macrocosm of the microcosm of  my childhood. Cruel leaders and manipulators, devoid of conscience, abusing others.  And yet flowery speeches arise from their podiums, to proclaim in fine oratory how wonderful they are, at the helm of this country so fine and fair.  

So, I learned that evil rose to the top.  I learned that narcissism and molestation call themselves gentle and kind. 

 To disagree with powerful is to get beat, especially if the powerful are evil.

I walk around homeless now, looking for one fine heart. I have the Lamp of Diogenes.  I found it in a gutter, next to a shattered whiskey bottle.  

That bottle might as well have been a human soul.



Monday, July 4, 2011

Poem: Twister

Another piece from Danse Macabre (see "Slave Ship" below). Life is full of inspirations for such poems, unfortunately.




some hearts have only
ornamental doors, the sort
that prettify brick walls.

it seems they want
to invite you in, and learn
about where you came from.

you even have a key,
gold and ornate,
entrusted with a smile

under eyes as open
and accepting
as graves.

as dutiful.

yet there’s no warm bed
as you shiver in search,
losing your heat.

what kind of home is this?
you think.
where are the mementos

and the drawers?


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Release: 2River View 15.4

This world-class magazine just released its summer issue, including "Ghost Trance" and "Crow In a Gale" by yours truly. There is audio available of the contributors reading their work:

2River 15.4

The above link zips directly to the issue; but I recommend visiting the home page ( and looking around. This is a great journal. I've written a review, available here:

Owl on 2River

I hope you have time to peruse. Enjoy the writers' offerings, including audio!