avant-garde

3 Sonnets from 555 by John Lowther

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Lowther for AltPoetics

Note on text: 555 is a collection of sonnets whose construction is database-driven and relies on text analytic software. I crunched and analyzed Shakespeare’s sonnets to arrive at averages for word, syllable and character (inclusive of punctuation but not spaces). These averages (101 words, 129 syllables, 437 characters) became requirements for three groups of sonnets. I collected lines from anywhere and everywhere in the air or in print in a database. The lines are all found, their arrangement is mine. Values for word, syllable and character were recorded. Typos and grammatical oddities were preserved; only initial capitals and a closing period have been added as needed. The selection of lines isn’t rule-driven and inevitably reflects what I read, watch, and listen to, thus incorporating my slurs and my passions as well as what amuses and disturbs me. These sonnets were assembled using nonce patterns or number schemes; by ear, notion, or loose association; by tense, lexis, tone or alliteration. Every sonnet matches its targeted average exactly. Think of Pound’s “dance of the intellect among words” then sub sentences for words—it is amongst these I move. The dance in question traces out a knot (better yet, a gnot) that holds together what might otherwise fly apart. I espouse only the sonnets, not any one line.

Comment on Poetics: Of late I’ve wondered why the poetry produced under the LGBTQIQA-etc umbrella is so markedly averse to experimentalism, to the avant garde legacy, etc. Why it tends toward the middle waters of the mainstream, poetically speaking. Why shouldn’t Alt-sexualities encompassed by and exceeding those four letters find more common ground with Alt-poetries in common resistance to normativities whether theybe of the hetero- or discursive- sort? That which is ostranenie is also queer, or no?

Bio: You can find out about John Lowther’s work at his poetry blog where there are many links to online poubellications and details about a few of his ongoing projects. Or if you prefer the tangible, pick up one of these anthologies The Lattice Inside: An Atlanta Poets Group Anthology (UNO Press, 2012) or Another South: Experimental Writing in the South (U of Alabama, 2003) or wait for Held to the Letter (co-authored with Dana Lisa Young) due from Lavender Ink in 2015.

 

THAT GUY (STANDING ON BROKEN LEGS) by Jared Schickling

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THAT GUY (STANDING ON BROKEN LEGS)

by

Jared Schickling

 

Dear Dick:

 

if there were power enough to do so

but who believes there is

someone—yes—someone

would use it

apes

a good ape

a bad ape

perhaps human

though probably not

(a poem)

us—where we were

some chief proponent—un elected

(un assailed) assistant

(to the) boss

of nothing special—

already—

a motherboard’s groan

too loud

hears a fan going

the way of heat

I no you do—

 

were there power enough to do so

yet you believe there is

someone—yes—someone

would take it

chance

a chance

the despicable and heinous

practice of printing

practice of printing

torture reports

cuz—cause the many

be many

un shocked

only disgusted—

the transparency and honest

nature found—in such printing

(really made you)

really makes you

shit your pants.

 

but not really.  permanent.  did you think

they were coming—that they’re here—

if there were powers

enough (& I believe

there are)—[redacted

redacted] forced

[redacted]

is like something that would that

could

have been—properly utilized much

to wish for—

 

We’re here—

a documented medical need

 

Poetic Statement: I began this poem learning of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture during the transnational American war begun in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It is a test for the poem committing the emotion that would like to see especially those war criminals that look and act like something called us subjected exactly to what they’ve accomplished.  To commit the beauty of stone legs made trunkless and the reality of social order.  Mechanically this was difficult to achieve, if I have at all.  The poem does not bear witness.  The poem is romantic, kissing mere instruments.       

 Bio: Jared Schickling’s recent books include Two Books on the Gas: Above the Shale and Achieved by Kissing (BlazeVOX, 2014), The Paranoid Reader: Essays, 2006-2012 (Furniture Press, 2014), and Prospectus for a Stage (LRL Textile Series, 2013).  He co-edits Delete Press and eccolinguistics.

Terrible Animals by Chris D’Errico

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Terrible Animals

by

Chris D’Errico

Terrible Animals by C.DERRICO

Bio: Chris D’Errico has worked as a short order cook, a doorman, a neon sign-maker’s helper, and an exterminator, among other vocational adventures. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, he lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife Tracy, and a small clouder of house cats. For more, visit www.clderrico.com.”

SOURCE TEXT: “A Field Guide To Critical Thinking” by James W. Lett, from the book “The Hundredth Monkey And Other Paradigms of the Paranormal”… Filtered through insomnia  and nervous impulse. Inspired by Salvador Dalí’s description of his paranoiac-critical method: “a spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivity of the associations and interpretations of delirious phenomena.”

Faded by Matina L. Stamatakis (with KJP Garcia)

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Faded

by

Matina L. Stamatakis

(with KJP Garcia)

plancelled

– kept aside

while sweeping from cell

dispersions

driven back to center

-clarified edges exposed

as indefatigable limitations

* * *

envelope disorderliness

of infinite spaces

─ghost automatons

                                rapt in lush circuitry

─synapse

a refuge

                            in the tumult

* * *

for every longing

overdue

evolution             /              sin          /              violence

purity + deeds

(s)wearing

circumspect technology’s

                                introverted shame

* * *

                                                ─rising

through darkness

                                                                                                                                                 [a doomed conception]

of alien sentience ─

throat                                             spilling-out accursed

ejectamenta                        (im)pulse,  a quiver

* * *

                                over(t)ly

(e)motion

:all – foreign to imminent

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             choke down

of thrust              –              throb                     –                              set

aside with missteps

of speech yet to attain (a)trophied silence

* * *

                                                incommunicable language ─ exasperating

shape of open

mouths─ illusion’s desperate

trigonometry //  a priori: as tongue,      refracted

by  birth’s
origin
[un]wavering crux, thus Being

* * *

humble rivets – know trivial confusion for slack of steel

.  time bends light with/in gravity’s tru(e)st

– accord.

stains are false brands stubborn – undisturbed by wash and play

= only age (befri)ends ultimate options

faded beyond

e                             +/-                          legibility

* * *
the mind’s errata,

                                cognition: a synaptic labyrinth                                    ─disappears between

oceans of membrane                                   [un]familiar portals  in a dream

mechanized & extraterrestrial

expresses incomprehensible
know/ledge

only exists            in/complete

* * *

nothing(ness) posesses an indisputable perfection

corridors are heavens between disconnective voids – space unto space

of emptiness is resemblance – in likeness is always an image cast

to describe is to steal details from abstract almosts

equal = equal – alone

all + one

together is own make up of parts formed from (a)maze[me(a)nt] to be

  * * *

     synthesis──  needs flesh                          expect no answer    ──depend on distances/instances
breathing tomorrow    comes knowledge

& question                     rearranging patterns   of usual places

displaced                               in con/text                   +    elements + soft texture
obscured [by]  teeth

sensors behind senses
sense[less] // structures                                                           set  up to collapse
* * *

what detach meant was to say – give it time.  and it is standing in for what?

it detache(s/d) from meaning, past occurrence, infinitives, speech

.  in future’s tutorials examples, systems, and designs are ennobled unseen gases kept under bell jars filling in for(eign) core responses of familiarity disjointed                                                                                                                                                                                                observed

insistent upon bonds                                                                                                                                                                                                  broken                                                                                                                 in death and half-life

* * *

a dimming beacon, this half-life, a cling to           improbable senses       wavelengths       bodies
endless exploration of dire conditions─                           volition, non-present  & all the wilder, studying it
through liquid air, its immortality                only a mortal mark on blue matter──dissolution, suddenly
emblazons it──aether disperses             corporeal space, the observed half-life radiates a permanent
dystopia,   detach//collapse:             organs     wild flowers      malfunctioning   & uncertain── wet
as nothing, nihil in its skin              calls to speech through the bell jar, hollowed-out ghost-air
abyssal  [ as endless]                 algorithms
* * *

inches                                                   gamed                                  –                                gained

askew – a slant measured in available degrees

–              misfired on demand                                                                         – on target                         insides out        –

by want – need – have – control is bought borrowed sold

echoes in chamber push other voices to sleep

phantoms sacrifice death in total for glimpse = mired in local conditions of

staying housed/coursed where curving bells contain deviations derived from models

(A portion of this poem originally appeared in Barzakh)

The Lungfishes by Jesse Mitchell

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The Lungfishes

by

Jesse Mitchell

 

I. And the ice floe became endemic, because the water was cold

    And it was thin

    And it spread everywhere, all around.

    Standing in the backroom of a noisy petshop, waiting to drown,

    Imagining Cocteau, a film (a shimmer) on the storefront window

    Orpheus: Le Sang d’un Poete

    As the rain came down.

    Leaving dirty streaks in the dust, dusty streaks in the dirt.

II. And composition suggests death.

     The boundaries are set and they are smooth.

     The periphery is set and it  is smooth.

     It is a casket-aperture to let in the light,

     Because life needs random.

     Because vitality is chaos.

     And all we see are borders

     Fill them in, fill them in, we fill them in, fill them in.

III. And then it all gets old, it gets old

     And all you have left is bones and soul, bones and soul.

     The cars idling in the streets,

     The roar of engines

      The clouds of smoke.

IV.  “Greetings and welcome to Jaipur.”

      The bathroom smelled like soap, old ratfaced brown towel hung over the railing.

      All the way back to Earth, were lines, full spectrum  bright lines, like sunglare, lines streaking back.

      Trusting the burst behind them, the rushing crushing transfer of light, the blur between them,

      Weaving around them, the dangerous-shaking shapechanging

      building images in my mind, the images my mind will come to commit to memory, outrageous

      namecalling, tracking mud through the room, confused feeble little mind,

      The last second reflection of light (fluorescent) in a passing by mirror, sheen of the glass, corner of

      an eye.

V.   And don’t ever be afraid, there is nothing to fear.

      And don’t ever be ashamed

      Of what it takes to get back home again.

      Busted blind, or deaf and lame,

      All the bended bent outside in, dim lit,

      Rushing rivulets away,

      To get back home again.

VI. Lungfishes

      Lungfishes

      Amphibian reptilian paraphyly

      Air-filled-lungs, expanding gills, words falling out of ash like scales off of eyes.

      Plague, pulque, fire, flood, and gramophone.

VII. and we sat in schools, in little classrooms, bounded in by glass, bounded in by glass.

       And we listened,

       James Fenimore Cooper, Max Planck, the dreadful XYZ affair.

       Have mercy.

       The devils on us that hide in every subject, behind every pause.

       Deconstruct the clause, graph the sentence out.

IIX. Fire-pimps that hide behind the tinder.

       Lightning-skies that hide behind the storm.

       Reckless are the curtains torn, the rattle of the steel.

       The storms behind the clouds

       And this is what the tuhunder says as it begins to pour,

       Rushing rivulets, rivulets away.

IX.  Dans cet abime, abondance.

X.    and the fire became endemic, it was far too hot,

       The blood so warm and the skin so flushed,

        And the rain come spilling out.

       The noise so quiet and the light so bright,

        The visions so blurry, the lines so static, the colors so fade.

        Fill them in, fill them in.

Three Poems by Frankie Metro

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Three Poems

by

Frankie Metro

 

-Real Pagans Drink Blood-

Pianos made for dragons are pushed
into the crevices of their hearts,
in places where music doesn’t exist,
bare, prone and pungent
like a piss-stained mattress on
the best friend’s floor.

They dream of a pianist career
w/o fingers,
impossible and daring
a 3rd (& fervently dissociative) party
rattled by the bleak standards of a 2 party system
often find themselves in the company of
those willing to question which endeavor
is higher and best suited,

chase down the avenging spirit?

or

wrestle the diluted dream into submission?

werewolves on the prowl
in darkstar nebulae,
violinists w/ bionic attachments,
eventually a pattern erupts
& it all leads to jungles
in full moon pitch & high strung
engagements w/ Morse enemies
wearing bridal gowns & a ring
of upheaval that holds their full
attention/dedication.

 -Polyester Grift-

 The midnight stumbler

is grifted by locusts in

detective coats/monocles cuz they’re

winged scrutinizers who

can really stomach all the clues.

 

But he’s not too naïve

that he misinterprets their deliberations

for the sound of palmetto bugs

flying in the dark

and even though he can’t really

call this night a win per se

it’s a hard one to chock up to a total loss.

 

The pair of knuckles in

his polyester pants are made

from brass and dragon teeth.

Everything feels justifiable/within bounds

Ideas of self defense leading to Homicide aren’t necessarily unappealing.

A rat lives another quarter of a decade

inside the walls of an AIDS house w/ green energy

powered utilities.

 

The broken glass in the parking lot doesn’t make it

into the heel of his polyester Vans.

It’s not a TOTALOSS.

 

& when the sun comes up,

all the dismay bleeds off like a cherry popsicle

on a hot sidewalk. Everything’s got possibilities to

turnitallaround.

 

He keeps stumbling,

carrying an empty Mason jar of something dark & rich

like virgin punk blood.

A real pagan on holiday, the reaper

Ignoring locust theories &

palmetto songs heard exclusively in notes of pianissimo.

  Basquiat Wannabes w/ I.E.D

winning staredowns w/ Cooper’s Hawks perched on chain-link fences in need of repair just as bad as the park itself,

ripped apart by monsoon storms that soak to bone like baptismal water or motherblood,

running away from unfit challenges & lightning bolts in the eyes of predator,

hand mirror stand offs made square on the

edge of a hairpin inevitably play out between men of similar/unequal understanding.

Stringing all those crypto-maxims together w/ a chip on your shoulder that feels like a bulbous clot and having tunnel vision ahead of mowed grass is convincing enough.

It’s a prominent argument to be self-reliant when you can only see what’s in front of you, that moments where vigilance falters, someone’s ready to cut down your neat,

 

unilateral visions of what is achievable in a codependent world where nothing out-rightly expressed or offered is genuine and w/o consequences.

What a fuct way of coming to some grandiose & ill-formed conclusions about the people around you, the people ‘willing to lend a hand’.

You build mantras and weigh daily affirmations around your exposure to stressful situations, against the fact that Cooper’s hawks aren’t passive aggressive, the monsoon season isn’t passive aggressive,

predators, hand mirrors & hairpins are not passive aggressive. But you’re not an elemental reaction to hot air or a hunter with the nerve.

You’re used to avoiding direct confrontation,

so you relate more with the broken fences, you’re ripped apart on a regular basis, you’re very used to running away from perceptibly insurmountable challenges, shying away from standoffs w/ crypto-delusions in the mirror.

 

Do. Not. Fall victim. To self righteousness, to fear, to apathy as a result of bearing down/trudging through. Slink back into the earth like something coiled w/ venomous teeth when the blood is cold. Be brazen and unassuming in matters of wisdom, stretch yourself against Cooper’s neck and stop fucking running.

 

Let yourself fall prey to being

carried off by a purpose bigger than yourself.

 

Bio: Frankie Metro is 1 slice of the pie and co-founder of Kleft Jaw Press, which celebrates transcendental realism (a fancy way of saying we like to put stuffed baby bears in t-shirts with the sleeves cut off and read poems in front of it.)

Poetic Statement: Transcendental realism is the equivalent of butchering your grandfather’s WW2 notebooks, but throwing a party for him afterwards, which includes every Decepticon you could possibly conceive, wearing baker hats and grilling your sensibilities/conventions with a fire that is only stoked by your capacity to see past moral ambiguity.

Three Poems by RC deWinter

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Three Poems

by

RC deWinter

shedding stardust

i am unglued
from the world
freefloating
a bit of cosmic dust
the moorings i fly past
limned with thorns
my hands are still

Madman’s Cathedral

You’ve been here over and over and over again.
This place is so familiar it almost feels like home.
It’s the hell behind your eyes,
the goblin-made cathedral in which you worship –
unwillingly, it’s true, but faithfully nonetheless.
And it’s not even hushed as a cathedral should be.
Screams follow you down the aisle,
echoing endlessly off the arches crowning you in bloody thorns
that tangle in your antlers and slide down your corded neck
to rest against your much-decorated chest,
inside which your heart beats an arrhythmic conquista.
No one awaits you at the altar where the thousand skulls grin,
mercilessly mocking sleep as you kneel unshriven
and know you’ll make this pilgrimage again.

Dorothy Gale, B-Girl: The Real Story

Did I ever tell you about
how I met the Wizard
and how there was nothing
in that black bag for me?
Because there wasn’t any black bag.
You think you know this story
but you don’t.

There I was,
hanging out all innocent
in my farmgirl jumper
and dorky ankle socks.
I kept my hair in the braids
to keep it out of my face
while I was bushwhacking
my way to The Emerald City,
but yeah – I was wearing
those killer red shoes.

I ditched the damn dog
because he just couldn’t seem
to get with the program –
which was
to get the hell out of Dodge
(and never back to Kansas).

Anyway,
the dog was always nervous.
He peed in the basket,
yapped like a springsprung
windup toy,
ate grass and puked it back –
once almost on my shoes –
so I left him with the strawman
and the clinking, clanking,
clattering collection
of calliginous junk.

More on that in a min…

The lion – that pussy! –
had run off ages before,
back to whatever hidey-hole
he inhabited before that lousy
halfhearted attempt at courage.
He was more trouble
than he was worth anyway,
all the time sniveling and shaking
and hiding his eyes behind
that stupid plume on the end
of his tail.

By the time I’d got within
spitting distance of the Wizard
the other two had decided
they’d had enough of
sleeping in the dirt
and talking trees
and pelted apples
and that hag on the broomstick
with her underwater face
always showing up and yelling
about something or another.

They settled in a cottage
on the outskirts of the city,
for all the world like any
old married couple.
Lemme tell ya, though,
somehow i can’t see
either one of them in an apron
and I bet they fight about
who does the dishes.
‘Cause let’s face it –
wet straw is no fun
and neither is rusty tin.

Anyway,
I sashayed alone
through those monster gates.
I never had a problem
with a guard.
I’d smile and flirt
and give ’em a little
of the good old wide-eyed admiration
and boom!
I was wherever I needed to be.

When I’d cleaned up some
and gotten a new dress
and traded those socks for silk
and found a shoemaker
to put some higher heels
on those killer red shoes
i didn’t look half bad.

All that folderol
about the Wizard
and killing the witch?
There was no curtain.
There was no loud
and angry voice.
Pure bunk!

He was a regular guy,
sitting there just bored to death.
He took one look at me
and he was mine.
And funny thing –
I kinda liked him too.
He asked me what I wanted
and all of a sudden
I wasn’t sure.

It’s been a few years now
and I’m still here,
just the Wiz and me,
living it up in this huge
art-deco monstrosity.
We play cards and we dance.
We take bubblebaths
and never have to worry
about bills or housework
or any of the stuff
that eats away
at most people’s lives.

And on Sundays
we take the carriage out,
all decked out in our best.
We ride through the city,
waving and smiling
and getting hit in the face
with flowers tossed by
adoring bumpkins.

I don’t know how
he got these people
to put him in charge
and I don’t care.
I’m sitting pretty, I am –
good food, nice clothes
and no more slopping hogs.

And if I have to listen
to dreary stories about
hot-air balloons
and hocus-pocus hokum
that’s okay – fine by me!
I’m not even sure
where the hell I am,
but I’m the wife
of the most powerful man
ever to rule a country
that doesn’t exist,
and yet is more real
than any place
I’ve ever known.

Poetic Statement: Although the majority of my poetry to this point might be called confessional,
it is important not to conflate the poet with the poem. A germ of truth can blossom into a tree leaved with outrageous fantasy. I find exploring and experimenting with new forms helps keep perspective fresh, and I no more limit myself to one genre in writing than I do in art. Poetry is communication. If I touch one heart or provoke one mind to think through my writing, I have done my job.

 

Bio: RC deWinter is a photographer, digital artist, poet, essayist and singer-songwriter currently living and working in Haddam, Connecticut. She has been shooting photos for over 25 years, using both traditional and digital SLR equipment. Her digital work is created using a variety of software and includes oil paintings, watercolor sketches and drawings.

Her work has appeared in print, notably in the New York Times, chosen for publication in the New York City in 17 Syllables haiku competition, Uno: A Poetry Anthology, Pink Panther Magazine, Arts Creation Magazine, The Sun Magazine, 2River View, Poetry Nook, Garden Tripod and The American Muse as well as in many online publications.
In addition to her personal online portfolios, Ms. deWinter’s art is exhibited on of several internet-based showcases, including Saatchi Online, ARTbracket, The Art for Cancer Gallery, Copperflame Gallery, b-uncut and Artists, Writers and Photographers in the Raw. ABC has licensed several of her paintings to be used as set decor on the television series Desperate Housewives.

Ms. deWinter is honored to be the first digital artist invited to exhibit her work at an October 2011 solo show the Arts of Tolland Gallery in Tolland, Connecticut.

Two Poems by Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia

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Two Poems 

by

Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia

For

. . . it’s tight around here. nothing’s changed. what’s ever been easy to come by other than space and dead hours past memory’s reach to resurrect?

* * *

believe

in

M            I               R             R             O             R             S

W            I               N             D             O             W            S

one        same

in

sight

encompassing

in biggest picture – minor part – but a role – in thought/deed

* * *

feel more

/sense/

* * *

come, be light upon keys

play soft

deliver gentle notes

into air

-correspond-

.

pluck a drop from sky

for drum’s head lonely

-incomplete-

pining

for touch

.

* * *

give it a try. what it? which it? give what to it? give it what? to what? to try. to try it. try it. try what? give.

* * *

this is the best pane of glass in town.                                                      this corner is awake and daydreaming.

* * *

sell the world. two for one. everything’s got to go.

felt on the lake

suede on the pond

velvet eddies in leather streams

silk creaks

cotton inlets

polyester reservoirs

nylon canals

merino wool rivers

rayon fjord

woven ocean

canvas clouds

showroom models

best looks left on hangars

 

Blurred

no promise

in possibility

exists for daydreaming

 

fear clings with its name given

-irreality

 

even as it is

forgotten

and overcome

 

when truth returns

to vision

blurred

 

Bio: 

The author of What Do The Evergreens Know of Pining, Yawning on the Sands, This Sentimental Education and Distilled! and A Northern Elegy was raised in Brooklyn, NY and has a degree Linguistics. Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia was a cook for over a decade and has studied several living and dead languages. Garcia’s work has appeared in BlazeVOX, ditch, Eccolinguistics, Caliban Online, Boog City, Barzakh and many others. Currently, Garcia’s nights are occupied by putting boxes on shelves while days are spent writing, reading and editing kjpgarcia.wordpress.com. You can also follow KJP at @KJPGarcia on twitter.