Blank Verse – David Lohrey

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Blank Verse – David Lohrey

I’m asked to ignore too much…look the other way.
In fact, I should call my poems empty poems.
“Never-mind poetry,” that’d be a better name.
I’ll write poems about nothing. Poems that say
absolutely nothing but say it well. I’ll write poetry
that resemble Rothko’s paintings of voids, great hollow,
pulsating works of art, undulating existential blobs
from the bottom of the heart, written down but just
as easily forgotten.

Poems celebrating everything that’s good and wholesome,
that’ll be my racket. Easter eggs before they’re broken,
poems about Elvis as a matador printed on black velvet, with
HOME SWEET HOME embroidered in sequins and little
plastic pearls, with hymns to the Almighty. They’ll be called blank
verse and can be served with dessert toppings like apple sauce,
chocolate or maple syrup. Those would be apt subjects for a howdy-doody
poet like me. We’ll call them frozen yoghurt poems and serve them on a stick.

Today’s editors dictate the content of poetry. They remind poets
that anything found to be inappropriate will not be tolerated.
They are little Ivy League Gorkys. I’d be happy to write what
they want but only in exchange for a dacha on the outskirts of Moscow.

These sensitive souls demand a poetry that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
These self-satisfied prudes are backed by their attorneys. “Mustn’t give offense.”
Poetry is to be edited like church letters in the 1940s. They’d change the title
of Ginsberg’s “Howl” to something like, “Help Me!” Hallmark America.

By the time I’m finished editing out everything offensive, I’ll be left with
4 or 5 safe words: the, yet, then, too, and but. All the rest relegates me
to Facebook. Everyone is offended by my rubbish as every decent
human being in 1957 would have reviled Charles Bukowski’s poetry,
or T. S. Eliot’s, Henry Miller’s and surely Jack Kerouac’s, too.
The New Yorker did so and refused to publish them.

The internet editors now take it upon themselves to enforce common decency.
So off we go, back to the genteel tradition, back to placing covers on piano legs,
back to saying nothing that gives offence, back to the times when dreams
meant nothing, back before Freud, when a pickle was just a cucumber in brine.
And for what? The defense of Christendom? Not at all. No! So we can be nice.
And all this on the advice of corporate lawyers and the guys who make cereal.

The purpose of poetry after all is to make others feel good. This was cooked up
by some madman, a recent graduate of the school of insanity. Be sure that the fat
feel good about being fat, that blacks have black power, and the disabled are made
to feel they can do whatever the next man can even if they live in an iron lung.

I’d prefer to go back to the mimeograph machine, or back as far as the quill.
Forget internet courtesy and creative writing school notions of politeness.
Twenty more years of this and we’ll be back to where we were in the 1900s
when Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein left the country. Back then the boobs in charge
were mainly little old ladies holding a Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other.
Now the magistrates of decency have MFAs from graduate
writing programs with certificates in censorship signed by the Governor.
They can have it.

[David Lohrey is the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. He is also an editor for Sudden Denouement and a mentor for me personally – Jasper Kerkau]

Evolution – Aurora Phoenix

I was a corporal corpse

disposable

I thought I was a woman

flawed

yet substantive

solid

quivering with fear

clotted cream cellulite

I had plotted a course

plodding

methodical

 

the world split up

and I was no more

not woman

not human

no longer actual

factual

incarnate

just the antagonist

in a surreal nightmare

 

I ceased reviewing

past portfolios

threw wide the sashes

shuttering the future

I am no longer myself

not woman

not human

incarnate

I am elemental

bounteous

essence of munificence

reviving as I flow

redolent

of jasmine and petrichor

scented essential

 

 

 


 

[Aurora Phoenix: I spent over 2 decades as a clinical psychologist, prior to the decimation of my world when I was suddenly incarcerated 2 and a half years ago. My writing was born in that caged existence – not a choice but a soul-saving necessity.  I write as Aurora Phoenix at Insights from “Inside”]

Nathan McCool – Response to Mick Hugh’s Proper Disturbia:

I’m just gonna puke it up. All the worthless
words. The studies that didn’t mean
a fuckin thing. All the ways I was
taught to think. The shitty, remedial
lessons I learned in school
that were so pointless.

“Let’s focus on some boring writing that
says nothing, isn’t worth a damn, and most importantly… was given high praise by people
all conditioned to clamor to the classics
and the worlds of happy endings.”

My A.P. English literature
teacher was always so determined to
analyze what every poem meant.
But only in line with what the textbooks
told her it meant.
Things in my stomach still turn to rot when
I have to breathe in the words of people like that.

Our tiny little advanced placement class,
(Mostly just people who could offer
advanced payments for their A’s)
we were supposed to write our own poem
to be analyzed. A poem that fit some bullshit
rhyme scheme that I didn’t give a shit about.
But I did it anyway, cause I’m a sucker for
making a point.

And at the last minute I wrote a poem
titled “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”.
And after the clichés and happy endings
and sad attempts to rhyme “good” with “God”, that teacher read my poem out
loud to the whole class.

And they all got to figure it out.
Take their turns at firing off assumptions about
what I really meant. Until it was determined
I wrote about all my internalized emotions
and the hopes that I never showed anyone
how much I suffer.

And when I was asked to explain my poems intent,
I told them. I proved my point about their
shit method of assuming what someone
is trying to say. And then I laughed uncontrollably
until I puked on the floor and walked out.

Because “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”
was about anal.

 


 

[Nathan McCool is the dark lord over on Instagram at God Of Dregs.]

Viperidae – Howl Davies

You are a dangerous game,
my paralyzed portrait of sweet disposition,
my little nest of vipers,
painted arsenic like sugar,
I don’t want to shoot up –
crack the ribs,
defile the prison,
defile the sanctuary
and drive it straight to the heart,
pump, pump, burst,
make me worthy,
make me a martyr in my own right,
string up and collapse my lungs,
my depleting feeble lungs, rot,
paint over the coarse black taint
coated fumes of my
first home burning,
your transgressions,
your violence,
your horror,
your paperclip demonology circle
of office rituals and nameless memos
oh, how I obsess over you,
the caress of your venomous words,
the way I picture you;
your depriving cobalt eyes,
hunchbacked over a cat-skull-lantern,
obsolete as the nuclear gods,
are you satisfied?
never
have I come so close to
being paralyzed,
stone breath vision,
gorgon Viperidae, succulent
sidewinder black lies, I can taste
you on my teeth,
my dear,
turn me to stone,
make a saint out of me.


[Howl Davies is the groundskeeper of The Sounds Inside. Also? “Cat-skull-lantern” is one of the coolest fucking things I’ve ever heard. – Sam L.]

bogged, buried, bridgewatered-Lois E. Linkens & Malicia Frost/Malicia’s Malebolge

I was fourteen, and starting to decompose faster

the water spilled

over the years,

over her body

like a plague of ants.

Already kneeling in the mud

I could feel my body being stretched out 

nipples aching, labia swelling

it drove its way in,

with a silent battering ram

and swords of silk.

you were the first time

I felt the touch of death 

between my legs

oh, hateful –
but grateful she was
that the stone struck when it did.

a cry of despair,
like when I was nine,
lying on the hard parquet floor of the living room
cupping my breasts,
trying to push the knots back in
I’m just a child! I’m just a child!

she lifted dead hands
in praise of her protector,
for protect her he had,
and as layers of dirt built up,

I threw rocks after boys
who came yelling my name

she pitied them,
Leave me alone! Leave me alone!
And oh,
didn’t you know?
You’re supposed to bleed

bound to lie
in pungent darkness
that she only made danker.

Year by year,
as my body sank down in the bog
I grew more and more desperate
searching for ways to cleanse myself
an orgasm,
a reckless mascara plump on the cheek,
a slit wrist,
an aching need
for affirmation
the summary of an entire childhood,
tucked into a bra

the sores on her skin
filled with soil,

all girly things are good,

the scars on her arms

bright in the black of the bog

all girls to learn how to play nicely

how to decay without a sound

compressing yourself into a fossilized smile,

a blindfold

and a constantly repeating

“yes, I forgive you”


Lois describes herself as a “confused english student,” though one quickly finds a polished, charming poet in her work. She has an elegant style that compliments her keen insight and whimsical sensibilities. It is a pleasure to present her work, and we ask you to take a second to look at more of her wonderful work.
Malicia Frost, or Henna, is a hobbyist writer and an aspiring novelist from Finland. She enjoys surrealism, sci-fi and horror, and her works often deal with mental illness. More of her works can be found at her personal blog.]

Lilith-Christine Ray

You look at my nakedness

and call me Eve

name my sins

Disobedience

Greed

as you take the apple willingly

from my hand

But I am no Eve

offering temptation of the tree of knowledge’s sweet fruit

serpent wrapped around the branch above my head

 

I am Lilith

the first

shaped of the same dirt

as Adam

so the legend goes

But I am not of dirt

but of fire

His equal

unbending

headstrong

refusing to lie beneath him

in supplication

 

Society names my sin

calls me

Whore

Temptress

Sorceress

Demon

accuses me of

vexing the sons of men

with lustful dreams

leading them to defile themselves

as though it matters to me

where their seed is spilled

 

I will travel the ancient ways

clothed only in my dark tresses

my alabaster skin

don a crown of rose and poppy

their scent filling the air

I will take back this night

shape its darkness with my hands

make it blaze with stars and moonlight

create a road for my daughters and sisters

to follow home


When not running around pretending she is Wonder Woman, Christine Ray can be found writing for Brave and Reckless and passing herself off as a managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Whisper & the Roar and Secret First Draft.

She is also an aspiring badass.

Guest Blogger: Sook Samsara, “Driving into the Sun”

Driving into the sun
Hands over my eyes like a child
Afraid of the future’s big face in mine
Playing games of peekaboo and scream
Natural causes working always incorrigibly behind the scenes
Bringing knees to concrete
Staining out the colour in my cheeks like mum’s washed jeans
Feeling the movement of the bitumen under me
Measuring time by how the white lines merge to one
Life recapitulates death
Recapitulates life
And again
There’s no such thing as time
Just the body falling back to dust
Eating itself alive
The best bits first and then hungrily the crust
Inner mechanisms causing scabs of ugly rust
In the destruction of husked cells
The days have gone quick
—I guess I binged on them too


 

[My name is Sook Samsara and I’m an icon of the universe. I reside in the year 2017 within the confines of the Australian continent. If anyone cares to find me they can look into the darkest part of their shadow, the part that’s cast in the middle of the night when you’re standing under the bathroom’s halogen after waking up from a dream of falling. You can talk to me there. I am a man and the hourglass has already been turned. I am aging without grace or respect. I have never managed to successfully escape the demon’s that rely on me like useless friends. I am worthy of love but have just temporarily forgotten why. I write poems and upload them to https://koalabeartea.wordpress.com When I’m not writing who am I? Just another scared boy.]