Saturday, June 22, 2013

Doru Chirodea

kool da sax

same dipsoxenoglossia
my Wailuku wailing
while my 12 year young son
pulls my coat

why iz granpa glaring at that wall
1 inch off his face?”

i dont know luKa
perhaps the wall aint there
maybe all this shit is barely probable

remember when I put you on that boar
and you ve ridden him no more than 10 feet
and then he shook you off

No! But i remember his name, haha!
Tolstoi, right?”

i dont remember anymore luKino, ask uncle Mark

he’s the only earthling that hadnt lost
his $5 Rolex
in Kearney, Nebraska
in that cathouse

4 dogs

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mark Sargent



World cut diamond fine,
air swept clean by a west wind,
mountain, olive, dry grass quiver.
I take off my glasses to test the clear,
okay, not that sharp and how could it be?
We create the world we see,
human filters are myriad and layered
and not focused on clarity.
Still, I want to see further.

I heard from my friend, Dr. Brandes, re my speculation that global warming may bring more Saharan dust storms to Greece. 
“I am sitting in Pécs, southern Hungary, ready to go to Osijek, Croatia, reading your words...
I think the political situation in Greece/the crisis, especially with the young guys, calls for something "new".   It will set free a lot of creative approaches to life and work, hopefully also to politics. At least that is what I hope...

We will see if the crisis will force the Greek people to overcome old habits and foul society traditions. I am really intrigued. By the way: Looking at the countries Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Greeks still live a "fat" life.

Well, please keep me posted! And do not worry about Sahara dust/climate change...if you look at my tree ring data from Taygetos from the past 500 yrs. there have been worse years/periods of drought/heat (coming with African air masses?) in the past than in our days.”


I’m developing a relationship with this Roma woman who works the streets of Sparti shaking down thems that got.  I’m not that good at age guessing, but with the Gypsies it is particularly difficult.  The women age swiftly.  The beautiful thirteen-year old is hard, weathered and tough at twenty, perhaps because she’s the mother of two, or more.  So this woman is maybe thirty, let’s say.  I’m using that social term, relationship, very loosely.  If I’m anywhere in her vicinity she’s on me, flies to shit.  She can be incredibly annoying.  If I give her a euro, she wants two and will follow me through the farmers’ market bugging me relentlessly.  So much so that sometimes I stiff her ‘cause she was so aggressive in our previous encounter.  And, if you give to one Roma, all the rest descend on you.  The middle class attitude is: damn, why doesn’t she show some appreciation?  Or, oh, that lovely word, gratitude.  But really, why should she show gratitude for the undeniable fact that I was born into comfort in the States and she was born in a structure made of scrap wood and plastic sheeting along the river on the outskirts of Sparti to a harsh Roma life without, really, the possibility ofanything else?  Why should she show appreciation for the change I toss her way, money I didn’t even earn?  A near sighted vision might be, well, I didn’t have to give her anything.  Better question, what did I do to have that power, to give or deny?  Nothing.  So much of life functions this way.

I’m in the supermarket queue.  Through the front windows a small gaggle of beggars is milling about the shopping cart rank.  There she is and she sees me.  I know she’ll be waiting and I’m trying to arrange change.  Not that you can believe in, but change  you can hand out, which doesn’t require any faith.  It’s hard, makes noise when you combine it with others, you can buy shit with it, though not much.  (Shortly after the last presidential election in the U.S., I critiqued Obama to a couple of my American friends.  They were indignant and moved to name calling, but here mere months into his second term I don’t imagine that would be their response.  Faith melts ‘neath the dull heat of the current political situation.)  Okay, I’ve got some two euro coins.  What a high rolling muthafucka!  I should have a limo idling out front, or, really, a guy on a motorbike wearing a balaclava.  How do we get away with it?  I grease the palms of the old folk regulars and my gypsy woman.  Immediately two children with her start haranguing me for baksheesh and then,she calls them off!  They give up reluctantly, but do.  Hey, that is progress.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it respect, hey, that ain’t never coming, but I’ll take it.

From what I write you might think that the streets of Sparti are dense with beggars but that’s not actually the case.  Since the economic crisis the number has risen slightly, that is, there are a few Greeks asking for handouts, very few.  It’s mostly the Roma, who work it through feast or famine.  I’m unsure how much the crisis impacts them, though they can’t be immune.  The men sell stuff off trucks and the past few years they’ve become quite organized and on market days earlier this year were on every corner selling artichokes and now, garlic, great ropes of it.  Cheap ceramic pots.  And now they’re being blamed for an increase in burglaries and drug trafficking.                            


Who is brave?  The longtime war correspondent and now vigorously partisan political activist/journalist Chris Hedges once wrote, “Physical courage on the battlefield is common, but moral courage is very rare.”  That makes sense in that soldiers risk their lives for each other all the time.  How could you enter combat without believing that your fellow soldiers would take that risk?  But to speak up against the atrocities committed by men in battle everyday on every side of every conflict, that is breaking ranks, that will be looked upon by your fellows as betrayal.  There is never any joy for the whistleblower.  So what is bravery, what constitutes courage in the quotidian middle class existence?  I’m not interested in extreme sport and the like, nor am I’m considering occupations that may call for it regularly: fireman, policeman and the like.  Physical danger is not necessary for courage to come into play.  There are other kinds of risk.  I don’t know. 

I have been brave a couple of times, I suppose.  You be the judge.  It’s 1982 and I’m living with Nancy in an old two-storey wooden house in southeast Portland, Oregon.  We’re living your regular bohemian life, making art, playing music, writing, all that good stuff.  Okay, and she had a day job.  Our bedroom was upstairs, no bed, just a mattress on the floor.  One night we’re in bed snoozing away when Nancy whispers in my ear, “Mark, there’s someone in the room.”  I came out of a deep sleep instantly, opened my eyes and peered across the floor.  There, vaguely illuminated by dappled street light coming through the window, was a guy on the floor going through my pants pockets.  Damn that’s bold.  We were right at the same height and I paused for just a couple of counts before screaming, “GET OUTTA HERE!  GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE, GODDAMNIT!”  I’m loud to begin with and this was as loud as I’ve ever been.  The thief leapt to his feet, paused there in the door way for just a moment, I was still screaming, and then was down the stairs and gone.  I jumped up and was going to chase him but Nancy convinced me to wait, he might still be downstairs and dangerous.  Our phone was downstairs too, so she shouted out the window to some neighbors and they called 911.  The cops eventually came but by then we’d already gone downstairs and inventoried our losses.  People who break into old beat-up rental houses are generally junkies, so they need stuff they can fence quickly.  He took my camera, a really slick mobile tape recorder and my alto saxophone.  Steal my axe, that is some cold shit, muthafucka (There are, I imagine, those who feel that stealing my sax is a righteous gesture).  And the little TV we had.  He had loaded that stuff out before interrupting our dreams.  There wasn’t anything else of value in the house, which was why he was upstairs going through my pockets.  Desperate.           

I have two things to add to this.  One, it made me glad that I didn’t have a gun or even a baseball bat next to my bed.  I might have used it and that would have been awful.  The stuff he took, we replaced it (Nancy went right downtown and put a down payment on another horn, bless her heart.) and it certainly wasn’t worth someone’s life.  If he had attacked us, or Nancy, then I would have used extreme force—I don’t have any weapons, but you know, kick him in the nuts, hit him over the head with something really hard, take a bite out of his throat.  I wasn’t a tough guy then, but I wasn’t a wimp either.  The other thing is, just two or three days before we had asked Nancy’s alcoholic uncle Billy to move on.  He’d been sleeping on the couch just below the window the thief had entered.  He’d have stepped right on Billy and Billy would have resisted.  I had felt a little bad about asking him to move on but there was no way he could stay.  He didn’t have anything to do and so would sit around watching me while I wrote or painted or whatever.  I’m sorry, these are solitary activities, or communal ones, but not performances to be observed.  If we hadn’t thrown him out, it would have played out differently.  Probably wouldn’t have been robbed, but people would have been hurt.

Seven years later I have a family of four and I’m running a little Mexican themed bar/restaurant in the old town area of Portland.  I often walked to work but this morning I got on the bus about nine AM.  Having paid the driver I turned and began to walk down the aisle.  About eight rows back on the right some big guy is leaning over the seat behind and beating on someone.  Once again, I don’t think, I just say, very loudly, “HEY!  STOP HITTING THAT GUY!”  The assailant stands up and faces me.  He’s big, much younger than me and giving me a dull evil look.  Seated next to the victim is another guy who is obviously the boss of this outfit and he starts talking fast and loud.  “Who the fuck are you, Mr. Good Fucking Citizen?  If you know what’s good for you you’ll mind your own fucking business.”  I was committed at that point, stood my ground and said, “I don’t know about all that, but you don’t need to hit him.  You’ve already got him scared shitless.”  This prompted a stream of invective from the Mouth, though he called off his Muscle with a nod of the head.  There’s at least fifteen people on the bus and they are staring straight ahead, they see nothing and hear even less.  Same for the driver.  The two gangstas are black, their victim is a small white guy maybe nineteen.  I sit down two seats ahead after reiterating my no need to beat him suggestion.  The bus starts up.  The Mouth rains more abuse and threats on me and then turns his attention to the punk, lowers his voice and tells this poor bastard just how deep the shit he’s in is.  Four blocks later the tough guys, there was a third I hadn’t seen sitting further back, got up and off.  The Mouth pointed his finger at me and parted with, “You better watch out, muthafucka!” 

I glanced back at the victim but he didn’t want any eye contact.  It hadn’t been a mugging or robbery, this young man had obviously gotten involved somehow with these guys and it was time to pay up.  A little further into town he got off and ran into a well-known gay restaurant.  I never saw him or the gangstas again.  But that was not the end of my urban troubles.

The bar/restaurant, ¿Casa Que Pasa? was right in the center of the old hip part of the city.  Unfortunately, a lot of Hispanic illegals were selling Mexican tar heroin on the street corner where my front door was.  Often to rich young kids from the suburbs in their daddies’ BMWs.  So if you wanted fajitas for lunch you had to run a gauntlet of hard-looking Mexican teenagers whispering about their wares.  I had nothing against their business, but it certainly wasn’t helping mine.  I would go out several times a day and try and move them on.  Sometimes it worked.  Usually I got a ‘fuck you!’  If the cops drove by they vanished into the air.  Sometimes I’d get my waitress Rosa, from El Salvador, to talk to them but she had too much sympathy—the poor boys, there isn’t any work, they have to do something.  Cool, but can’t they do it a block away? 

Then a friend of mine, George the Greek, owner of the hippest rock club in the ‘hood and thoroughly plugged into the scene on the streets, told me that the word was that the Mexican guys were pissed at me and I was going to get stuck.  Stuck?  You mean stabbed?  He nodded.  Is this a sure thing?  He shrugged, “Well, there’s not a contract out on you or anything, but that’s what they’re saying.”  Jesus Christ, now that’s scary.  But what can you do?  For the next few weeks I avoided these guys on the street and looked over my shoulder relentlessly.  And then I forgot about it, sort of.  Two months later I walked into the bar one morning and there was the owner, a very rare sight.  He proceeded to give me my walking papers, along with a severance and my accumulated vacation pay and I was back on the streets.  It was nine thirty in the morning and I went into a bar and had a scotch.  Then I went home and said to my wife, “I got fired.  How long would it take us to get the hell out of here.”  We got out a calendar and figured with garage sales, emptying and renting the house, selling the car, going away party, we could swing it in three weeks. 

Three weeks to the day we were still vacuuming the house when a taxi pulled up.  Our neighbors said they’d finish and we rode to the airport with all the shit we could carry and our five-year old son.  The teenage daughter had already left.  We had one-way tickets to London, really cheap, 750 bucks total.  It was the third of February 1990.  We stayed in England for six weeks, bought a beater and drove to a small village in the mountains of southern Greece.  I’m still here, though nobody else is.  And now the country is breaking down.

Am I brave?  Not if I think about it.  But my mouth gets started before my brain has it sorted.  I guess I’d act the same now.  I’d shout at an intruder and would, at least, try and stop violence verbally.  That’s my only weapon, my voice.  But I don’t actively enter potentially violent situations.  I don’t have that level of confidence in the power of speech.  It’s a limited tool.  If I was somewhere where people started shooting others in the street I wouldn’t walk out and shout, “Hey you guys, chill with the bullets!”  I don’t believe we’re headed towards a breakdown of civil society here nor does it appear that the army is eager to try their hand, but the possibility for chaos exists.  It always does.  Greece had a very low crime rate before the crisis began, but it’s creeping up.


“anyone waiting for tears of regret or remorse was disappointed”
That’s from a report on the trial of Sergeant Bobby Bales, who yesterday pleaded guilty to the murder of sixteen Afghan villagers.  He couldn’t remember dousing some of them with kerosene and lighting them on fire, but conceded he must have done it.  “It’s the only thing that makes sense, sir,” he replied to a question from the bench.  Sense, a curious use of the word for acts that were, indeed, the opposite of brave, but cowardly, venal, craven.  Or, if you will, pathologically insane.

Brave or cowardly, what will it be?
Type of question that drives you
to look for a cat in a tree,
something not too risky to do,
that will throb blood up a bit
without the shedding of it.

6 June 2013

Alexander Limarev

Was the little boy?

Who was that little boy
a frill of magpie down?
Who was that little boy
whose fingers tenderly wormwood?
Who was that little boy
a cape from the tears of Harlequin?
Who was that little boy
with eyes stuck to the chopping block?
Who was that little boy whose thoughts ...
What do we know?
... overthrown in a hellhole
(next to shame)
for that which is not made
in his emaciated body
the gift of God -
beautiful soul?
Was the little boy?
It seems that all this bullshit
and cowardice.

Lewis Gesner

Approaching the Hill

at least it was a trace
in our fiction
cultivating objects to remain within our spin
mismatched in the maturity
can feel attached in association to many parts
bloating blurs the fringe
a light pressure on the back, but is only an indicator
an internal reaction
primitive voice, squeal of falsetto
smell of dirt, chickens
highway to the cubicle
rhyme study, flattening of one syllable and another mounting it
ornaments a column
false choice to escape cause
transforming into popping bubbles
returns in a canister, the bones white, having been cleaned and separated
thus have slipped into something new
vegetative and smooth
rejected copies
are a better presentation
calibrate how put together are the thinkings
adjust to timbre
inserted, and today is celebrated a body of insinuated topics
the tube is clogged
study these requirements
steer toward the slope
external to formal education, and what is had within it
often cloistered to a second set of clothes
based followers through the
contract team expect close alliances
and the drill team still it was
beyond an empty shelter slowly
through observation and romantic
conjoining has a waiting period unlike
sleep, the time the engine runs as
a path readjusts constant briefcase
five pallid templates watchful lens
true punctuations of the window,
traded filters the eyes follow
something in the sky behind the
sculpted head, responsive language
restlessness at the window the beaker
is overflowing now excited to combine 
finer static scopes the lateral shape
in our process, gleaning, putting aside, compromising and rejecting
pokes in a grid in as many direction as the shift allows with complete 
rotation – thus a set, each flat space with a focus
can attest to anything

John M Bennett

John M Bennett

lomo lengua

red banal view the
epsom fault corpse
hovered comb paper 
intentions lagging aft
the leftist soap butt
ons chains rusted
in a cave o ologies c
lanking road and ham
surprises called the
caulking zone war fun
neled off your cold
shoe extract bailing
out the river of yr
autonomous zone’s steep
finger and sawdust l
anguage wandering br
eath or D waffle
where the blue sh
ape wiggles off your
wall an ant shovel
bang beside the head’s
clot noun list mor
sel of digestive sh
am coherence brisk
slobber and a hypno
tist’s erect fire form
radish brooming thru
the dirt

pool ,heel ,dry frogs

John M. Bennett
with some clods from
Jim Leftwich’s
Six Months Aint No Sentence
Book 46, 2013

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Gregorio Gomez


The telephone kept ringing again again…
As I run towards it I can’t dissolve the gap
Between us…but no matter how much
I struggled to reach it…it's always a step in front of me…
Pausing for a moment to figure out the challenge
It quiets as if to allow me to think
To review my thoughts to engage in personal talk
You know - let that little voice inside the head - fuck with me…
I look around me and I am bathed by a singular spot light
Coming from the heights of somewhere up above
The ringing continues and although I can’t see the phone
I know it's there – just within my reach – I feel its essence…
Does a phone have an essence? Or are my fingers wishing it
Wishing it so that the web of my mind does not collapse
Right there into a pile of goo…in front of all you…
But there is no you…not even a me I think…is there a me…?
Yes of course there is! I mean – I am beneath or within
This bright light - coming from somewhere up above
Above the above…near the clouds maybe even close
To the Milky Way…but immediately below the Universe …
There was a moment when I felt cold or was it hot
No really what did I feel…fear? Joy? An emotion in motion
Like the first time I saw her…in the garden…
The sign said it was an Italian rose…I said wow…
And the fucking phone began to ring…ring ring…ring ring…
And in precisely that split second I lost my train of thought
In exactly that flash of surprise - I lost my place in line
I lost an instant of time…it was a paradigm or was it a pair of dimes…
Am I confused? I loose my balance and fall to the floor
It is soft like one of those posture-pedic bed commercials
Shit…! I mean holy shit! Is it an acid flashback? or just plain paranoia
Hearye hearye hearye… we’re here to condemn a man…
Fuck me man! fuck me!…I hold my head between my hands
Trying to keep it from exploding into oblivion in a million pieces
Who the fuck is pulling the strings…and then ring ring…ring ring…
As I scream at the top of my voice…there was a crack of thunder…
I find myself within that circle of light in the fight of my life
I had let my demons on the loose…I lost control of my moral reality
But as I opened the window…a surge of fresh air swept in
As the lid of the coffin closed an Italian rose was placed upon it…
Ring ring…ring ring…ring ring…

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bogdan Puslenghea


clown on this feeling
running me
from afar
outside is
pouring convincingly
to a close second
every other word
you outgrow magnitude

(lost the way
&found the way)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Noemi d

At night

we plunge through walls
through sounddwaves and soundscapes
our bodies pierced by lights
white stripes
our mind everywhere
lost and found
and lost
at 1000 times speed

we slide through others
the other flesh
pumping sweat
the other minds
pupils dilated
eyes mostly closed
mouths moving
lungs shouting into the void
arms shining
thoughts moving
and moving

Back then

we had our dreams
wrapped around each other
like strings of rope
tied together

we thought they were stronger
this way

but they weren't

they became tangled
chocked on each other and
the purpose was lost

as we became one
they became nothing

and so did we

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ionuț Ionescu

O cameră lipită de zid
are cearşafuri ude
şi tăcere înghiţită sub degete
se întinde afară
dar nu te poţi întoarce

Monday, June 3, 2013

Nathan Curtis Warner

Of A River Running North

The wind or the clatter of waiters in the way
wrapped every word of theirs in wrinkling foil
making my stomach push my heart up
into my throat and my throat up into my ears
to try and tell my brain what I was actually hearing.

She was there and I was here.
I could lean back in my chair
and hear the subtle conversation
only whispers to the wind's howl
my bottles had piled on the table
all i needed was a washtub basin
a thick string and a stick tall enough
to play a thump-thwack rhythm section
to their melodies.

“no shin do los ca baltool
pree pree I do lonoco batere”

His hand winding his knuckles around her thigh
inching slow slow slow with each word 
I could only see from my spoon and I knew

“duba no lan caltonle soudy ma keep
no ple no ple duno can le monda”

So I hopped a freight in hopes of trade,
this life for the next and whatever in between.
When I found my nieces and nephews
riding elephants on the shores of a river
beside the tracks their father built
I got right back on, never to be here.

“frendaln formora doka freetsay laka metso
pela mainlean rutobela kepsang toolo sayt”

There I stayed, his fingers forever burned in mid-crawl
against the walls of my memory
slowly walking up between her thighs.