Feature Poet: Ben Newell

Ben Newell, 46, works as a dishwasher in Jackson, MS. His poems have appeared in Chiron Review, LUMMOX, Midnight Lane Boutique, Nerve Cowboy and others. He taught high school English for one day.

*

fucked

I’m watching
an episode of Live PD.

Suspect pulled over,
pockets and vehicle searched.

Police find a syringe,
a baggie of meth
and a backpack full of dildos—

Poor guy.

He’s fucked.

Just not
the way he had hoped.

*

wipeout

Stricken
with chronic hemorrhoids,
I’ve tried every last brand
of medicated wipe.

No doubt
Fred’s are the best.

Far superior
to the more expensive
Preparation H—

You don’t always get
what you pay for.

If you doubt this theory
and are lucky enough
to have a healthy asshole
you can always go to college
and learn the hard way.

*

sold

I receive
regular emails
from Hustler.

Cutting edge
pocket pussies
and
blowjob simulators.

$75, $120, $150

Expensive products—

But you’re not paying
for pleasure alone.

You’re paying
for
immediate availability.

You’re paying
for
peace and quiet.

And not
spending time
with her lame family.

Or feeding
her fucking cats.

And that
is priceless.

*

All Hail! Ben Newell’s first chapbook, You Are Being Detained (2017), is available via Epic Rites Press. A part of the Punk Chapbook Series, with all cover art by Janne Karlsson, you can learn more about this chapbook by clicking on the image below . . .

Previous Feature: Jonathan Hine

Jonathan Hine‘s work has recently appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, The Beatnik Cowboy, Hobo Camp Review, In Between Hangovers, Pyrokinection, and Synchronized Chaos. Previous poems appeared in Gutter Eloquence, Nostrovia!, Thunderclap Magazine, and Underground Voices.

*

Unknown Station

there was only
slight interference
among the strains of
ethereal music
a choir of
a thousand voices
singing softly
getting closer
until
a myriad of tiny
dazzlingly white
luminous figures &
heavenly apparitions
descended on a
beam of light
THIS IS ROMEO 3, OVER
THIS IS ROMEO 3 TO
UNKNOWN STATION, OVER
IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE
IS REQUESTED, OVER
millions of them
floated about in waves
as they sang, they
touched his hair
played with his
eyelids
THIS IS ROMEO 3
I SAY AGAIN
IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE
IS REQUESTED, OVER
the whole horizon was filled
with their brilliant
formations
as they rushed through the
electromagnetic fields
searching for a
suitable receiver
he pressed the
transmission button
THIS IS ROMEO 3
I SPELL
INDRA
DELTA, OSCAR, NOVEMBER, TANGO
KILO, NOVEMBER, OSCAR, WHISKEY
WHISKEY, HOTEL, ECHO, ROMEO, ECHO
INDRA
ALPHA, MIKE,
OVER
this transmission was
followed by a swirling cacophony
of swelling static
low whines & whistles
crackling & hissing
reflections & refractions
running out everywhere
in all directions
’til turning back
on its own
centripetal pull,
it curved & coiled
around his center
THIS IS RADIO 3
BREAKING STATION,
OUT

*

Silvery Space

the sky shines
tremulous death
as i follow trails
through the forest
denseness falling away
like a dismantled dream
only the stillness is left
in which the
trees stand

*

All Hail! Jonathan Hine’s poetry collection, Ouija Madness (Sanctimonious Press, 2013), is available for free in PDF and Ebook formats via Ebooks Downloads. Simply click on the cover image below to learn more . . .

Previous Feature: Jeff Bagato

Jeff Bagato is a multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, who produces poetry, prose, electronic music, glitch video, street art, and pop surrealism paintings. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including Chiron Review, The Five-Two, Otoliths, and Outlaw Poetry. Short fiction has appeared in The Colored Lens and Gobbet. His published books include the poetry collections Cthulhu Limericks (lulu.com, 2011) and Savage Magic (ibid., 2016), along with the novels Computing Angels (ibid., 2015) and The Toothpick Fairy (ibid., 2015).

*

Ouija Gets Infected by Flarf

Ouija hacks up a big ball of phlegm
marked “Grow penis like the pros”
and “wife won’t stop flirting;”
her temp rises, fever coming on strong
with visions of “Russian brides
do it all night long” and
“soap on a rope for your sins”—
the thermometer pops pretty
quicksilver stains on the bed spread,
then another hacking cough,
gagging and hawking
until out comes another blast:

“Fly a real airline route on autopilot.
We know exactly what you need
to feel satisfied.
Don’t slow your life down,
step into the future. Feel
the call of your body;
feel the passion of life.
It’s going to be a beautiful evening”

Ouija sticks the point
of her planchette in a tissue
and blows out the final indignity:
“Make dollars just sitting
at home. Even a child knows
how to make money.
Launch the robot
to get more money”

And as the cash rains down,
Ouija falls into the deep
sleep of the spammed

*

Ouija Leans In

Ouija knows what it looks like
when letters fail:
a gibberish, a hash, alphabet chop suey
with crumbs and bits falling
off the table and onto the floor,
where the dog eats it,
sucking up trash like a vacuum cleaner;
his little doggie nose
makes no more sense of it all
than the brightest on the block;
it needs ginger or spice
or char from a hot griddle
lighting up the broken words
until meaning catches fire
and the gravy forms thick in the pan;
she has to discard the dead letters
like the offal of a gutted message—
a false vowel bumps up against
a string of ohs or eyes already too long,
or two consonants that don’t pair
like bee vee or zee tee
or que anything—
still Ouija plows on, pushing
against the alphabet
like Sisyphus at the stone;
one false move and the avalanche
will squash her flat,
but it’s hard to salvage
a thought or prediction,
or missive from beyond,
when you forget where you started
and can’t remember
where to begin

*

Ouija’s Vacation

Wading into the kiddie pool,
Ouija dances a little jig,
kicking up spray on the breeders
and the bores, until some
boys and girls hose her down
into submission; taking a seat
at the side, scowling and gnashing
her dainty plastic teeth,
she growls out a few choice
phrases: “What prizes can we find
in piss water and diaper rash
when little monsters keep manic
joy in check like sheriffs
at a carnival or a needle
among balloons?”
She throws her pretzels in the water
and heads for the showers,
washing off the goo
and buzzing on about soap
in her eye; soon she can see
clearly, picking out the letters
spelling: “Don’t get greedy at the picnic,
keep laughing into the sun,
and run into the night
with fireflies and moonlight
and a head full of golden rum,
leaping at letters outlined by stars,
a message of summer dreams
and your angels at play—Run now
before the sun catches your death
and burns it on your soul”

*

All Hail! To learn more about Jeff Bagato, click on the Ouija board below and all will be revealed . . .

And, be sure  to check out all of Jeff’s glitch videos (accompanied by his own original music) at Bionic Eyes.

Previous Feature: Jonathan Douglas Dowdle

Jonathan Douglas Dowdle was born in Nashua, NH and has traveled throughout the US. He currently resides in South Carolina. Previous and forthcoming publications include 322 Review, After The Pause, The Big Windows Review, Blue Hour Review, Hobo Camp Review, The Right Place At The Right Time, and Whimperbang.

*

The Boneyard

I was good there, shaking the dust off of you,
Peeling back the spiderwebs
Woven over the catacomb heart. I’m good at this
Type of discovery, my hands
Don’t shake when I place stitches,
When I pick up the pieces of the puzzle
That fall out of the fractured heart.
I know these things, like a surgeon
Knows instruments, but you should
In the hour of recovery
Be glad
I did not love you.
I have no problem with barking shadows
That launch themselves
Inside your skull
Like roaring dogs, mouths frothing,
High on the heart of destruction,
Waiting to tear their teeth into any given flesh,
Because few wounds mean much
To one like me. A bruise can only rise
So many times before the nerve dies, and
A similar sensation becomes
Like being kissed by the wind.
I can take the heat of a smile
Rising like an atom bomb sun;
Kindness . . . graciousness . . . I can stand
All of these things. Still,
Be glad I did not love you.
For I can just as easily take apart
The human heart, listen to it ticking
Like the soft hum of a clock
On an early Sunday morning
Where the shroud of darkness has settled . . .
I can keep the pulse, the rhythm,
I can unwind the secrets hidden
Beneath the floorboards, and not flinch
Even when you will.
I know well enough, these things for you
Would only be
Methods of destruction,
A work of kindness, undone,
Pointless, empty,
Desolate.
I was good there, brushing
The dust from your bones, and slowly
Stitching the heart,
But let me tip my h(e)a(r)t, and depart;
And, as the door closes on
Another small story, meaningless
Or filled with glory,
Repeat in your heart
To the closing door,
Be glad
I did not love you.

*

Paper

I have always been the one
To cut myself out. You never quite understood it.
I’m sure you still don’t.
There is a tapestry to not belonging
To much: the stray dogs, mongrels,
The cat that was beaten so often
She developed a bad temperament;
I’m not quite the same, but
These are close enough, aren’t they?
I want to tell you of the little things;
The hours when others cowered
And I would not be held back,
When my only violence was vengeance.
The rest of the time it was listening
To the way a tree might speak
When the wind was blowing through it,
The way the sun kissed everything.
I was not built for this life,
That of violence, of worries . . .
Still what is there to do?
“Admitting our fragile nature
Breaks us,” you would tell me
In so many quiet ways, more comfortable
Playing the games of crime,
The games of accusation,
Small and hidden, so common
That we’d pretend
Not to notice the crimes against others,
The crimes against ourselves.
I knew, because when I spoke softly,
When I spoke with kindness, it only
Broke you all the more. That is also my story,
In small acts of mercy I watch
Bruises reveal themselves in the eyes
Of so many things; I watch them flinch,
I watch them turn away.
You would say, without words, quietly,
“Your softness is your deadliest weapon.”
My heart listens, quietly, and refuses
To resign itself to that
Fracture of truth, that fragment.
I listen: for the noise, for the accusation,
For the story beneath the moment.
It has always come, perhaps
It always will. But in the shout of
Fury that could crack the walls,
In the eyes which burn fevers,
I merely cut myself
Back out of the equation,
Into silence . . . not a refuge, but a world.
Make of it whatever story you wish,
Because the tale, despite what we say
Also tells itself. It cuts itself out,
Away, and remains,
A truth that refuses
To be fragmented;
I cut myself out and
Join it.

*

The Silent Game Of War

Not all knowledge is bad. But there is
Bad knowledge, where people dance the rhythm of
All that separates them, barking against it,
Biting against it, marking it as the stumble
Against anything decent. Some eyes must
Mark and tag the living like the dead.
There is no quarter it does not creep into,
No segregation in that story.
In the tales told, those who learn to hate
Perhaps were born into it,
Into the stories, into the trapeze mind act,
Where a single occurrence, or many,
Stitched the eyes closed, and left
Only a single vision they’ll see
For all eternity.
The killers are born in that den.
Whether slow or true, it ends the same:
The thieves, the liars, the losers
Mark out their lives by the things
That they hate, and even in their love
That hate remains.
On occasion, there is still cause to speak against it,
Not to the many, but perhaps, to the one,
Always to the one.
I want to say: “Stop killing yourself slowly
Through the world.
Stop becoming the monster
That created you.
Here, look! There are other games to play.
Here, look! This war ends
The moment you decide it does.”
For most this is only music for the deaf,
Something said in a language
They long ago learned not to hear.
They wait for a prophecy fulfilled that time
Wrote in their own blood,
A mantra, that they must recite
Daily.
But I know, even in this hour,
A word is a chance;
I leave it, like a folded prayer,
Then leave them, if they will,
To stitch their eyes back closed,
To continue in the hunt
For themselves.

*

All Hail! Moran Press is a micro-press dedicated to producing Arthouse Paperbacks of the finest fiction and poetry. Each title is paired with a custom artwork cover. To learn more, click in the cover image of Scott Wozniak’s full-length poetry collection, Crumbling Utopian Pipedream (2017), below . . .

And, be sure to follow Moran Press on Twitter @moranpress, and also @smoran26.

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