poem

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.

 

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Lodging by Stephanie Kaylor

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lodging

by 

Stephanie Kaylor

 

the other world rewards me

with memories

blank eternally

as a photograph,

shapes and colors

 

the remnants of their explosion

out of context

 

at land

there was a flock of starlings,

I could not tell you anymore,

 

not even if the creatures,

breathing,

surrounded me again, here,

 

now

I would only see a monochrome

grouping, I would only see

the whole

 

what more could you see

when one of us breaks

 

or cloaks herself in new silks?

the great changeover armed itself

in nothing but the delusion

that you were always master

and these are all your tools

 

far-sighted

I see myself at your side, eye

-to-eye, inside which is still a tincture

of the time before you and I

 

in my eye too

was the house, the glorious

overthrow of the ledger

the markings of our losses

 

I never saw

the inside but as spectator

I knew, with all the windows

leading to all the rooms

that I could house them together

there were no padlocks

here nor a single car

not a telephone wire, a time

or a name or a face misplaced.

 

Poetic Statement: Let me mourn. Let me dream. Let me see you not as how you present yourself to be but how I envisage. Let me write my story, let me turn the pages, let me bridge subject and object with my own brand of ink. It isn’t white ink, ink of life, the glorified rape of the canon, sowing its seed in anyone’s lap. It’s the red ink, the ink that transcends the permanence of the whole thing and rewrites, retells, the nagging voice in the background your history sought to cut out. It’s the ink that seeks not to hide glitches but to bring them to the center light.

 

Bio: Stephanie Kaylor is based in upstate New York where she is completing a MA in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies. She is also a current MA student at European Graduate school, concentrating in narrative structure and desire. Though her musings are not political in content, she is an ardent supporter of activist causes, including sex workers’ rights and prison abolition.

 

The Parisians by AJ Kaufmann

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The Parisians

A Chapbook 

by AJ Kaufmann

Bio: I am a Polish poet and songwriter. I have been around the small-press poetry scene since 2008. “Siva in Rags” is my most recognized piece of work when it comes to English-language poetry, I think. I have been published in the USA (Kendra Steiner Editions mostly) and UK. My work has been also translated into Bulgarian, and I recorded and released 2 solo albums with self-penned songs. I also have a band.
Here are some links, where information about me can be found.

Three Poems by Michael David Saunders Hall

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Three Poems 

by

Michael David Saunders Hall

Analog Soul: Ode To The Ark of History

 “History is never silent, it reminds us again and again and again, that we live its presence in every part of our life every day.”

–Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky)

 

#1) In the Fountain of Now

 

in the beginning

of the end, in the fountain

of now, where youth

is the eternal exuberance

of expression

choreographed

to the sound

of breaks

extended on

phonographs

I once telegraphed rhythms

purposely

abrupt

cutting in, out—

between scenes

of sound

& silence,

ambition

& ambivalence…

sermonizing

the psalms

of drums

in the cadence of heartbeats

with rhythmic instinctions

transcending the trek

of life. it’s all a mystic brew

of rhythms spun from

constant conjures cooking

in the cauldron

of old record

crates

creating concertos

of the crossfader

with coaxing

diminuendo…counterpoint

…& crescendo, making

music from noise wandering

amidst the voices

in the margins, lingering

& loitering

like echoes, refined

by time.

 

#2) In the Tongues of Talking Drums

 

Everyday is the big playback: listening

to ex libris

excerpts & excursions in aural alchemy enjambed

 

& juxtaposed within the soul vibrations

of lingua franca

conjured in incantations of rhythm, connecting

 

us to the continuum of lost & found moments

spliced by

the metronome of memory into the digitized

 

diary of the mind where our analog souls

segue

into the ark of history, rehearsing & conversing

 

In tongues of talking drums

versed in

hieroglyphics & a tapestry of folktales.

 

Words on Fire (or: Destiny…in search of the light)

 inspired by Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale

Are we ever to be old

 

As the destinies or dreams

Of our own decree we seek?

 

Connected by light

We are stars ageless as God

More ancient than Earth

 

In a clockwork of spirits

Born out of our words on fire

 

& loves unbroken by time.

 

Two Views on Love

 1)

What’s this thing called love?

Kisses coming off the tongue

Hearts beating like drums.

 

2)

In the scrupulous scribbles

Of  life painted freehand, love

 

is the serenade

of whispered watercolors

echoing anon

 

& on, dancing in the flesh

never to be forsakened.

BIO: My name is Michael David Saunders Hall. Born February 24, 1970, I am a graduate of University of Illinois at Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts. I’ve worked as children’s counselor and a laborer for Firestone among many other jobs. Presently, I am employed by Walmart. My love for poetry and the arts has me putting all my passion, energy and zeal into an effort of building up a following and becoming a published poet, going wherever the journey takes me. Presently, as part of the process, I have two blogs I maintain, The Poet Tree Will Be Streamed and Life’s Last Labors of Love. I also head and help run (with the aid of RC deWinter, Chris Flegel, and Uma Venkatraman) a community on Google Plus called Words On Fire and ezine of the same name. By the end of this year (if not earlier), I hope to self-publish a couple ebooks of my own verse: one entitled Haikooley High Harmony: Life, The Duality of Love Vs. Lust & The Sunshine After The Rain (which will be like a chapbook of haiku and tankas), and the other is to be called Like Blue Notes For Poetry.
Poetic Statement: I believe, When you write how you feel, all dimensions of yourself come to light and cannot help but be exposed as genuinely real. For me, writing is truly the balance of “delicious agony” and suite ecstasy, always revealing itself as both the process and the product of catharsis.

 

Three Poems by Tyler Dixon

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Three Poems

by

Tyler Dixon

 

Enough

One day when I’ve had enough
I’ll pack my bags and hit the road
hitchhike out past my life
and leave myself alone.

  Shouts Heralded in the Wind

Caustic moments left to rot
in trying times maybe we’re not
all that we say we’re meant to be
on burning ground from sea to see.

Shadows light the way today
in triumphant gazes that we make.
The heroes lie dead on the floor.
Nobody lives here anymore.

In the midst of all this hate
the drums, they beat a lying fate
to which we submit and bleed
and struggle for the ones in need.
To grasp at a moment’s peace
on our backs we salivate,
sweating in the noon-day sun
how much longer can this go on?

 

Caustic moments left to rot.
Silhouettes of what we’re not.
Crowded dreams shattered in
a broken down and beaten heap
of sun bleached bones and shiny crowns.
The jewels we fight for make us drown.

Weighed down and tied to stone.
No one suffers here alone.

 

Circles and Cycles


Faces scattered in the wind.
Some things seem to never end.

Unified in isolation
suffocating with shining sand
reaching for a helping hand.
Deep breaths void of oxygen
Disappearing into the ocean
One by One
Again and Again.

Some things seem to never end.

Random particles and chemicals.
Organisms composed of molecules.
Finite beings with infinite potential:
Owned and controlled by debt and capital.

Drowning in the deep end not knowing how to swim
Pulling each other down with the best intention.
Some things seem to never end.
Spirits scattered in the wind.

Game over… Start Again?

 

Bio: Hi, my name is Tyler Dixon. I’m from Vancouver, British Columbia. I’m 29 years old. I’ve been writing “poetry” for a long time, probably since I was seven or eight years old. I’ve self-published three books but have never sent anyone, anywhere, any poems to be considered for publication. If I had to classify this work I would call it Poetry Without Borders…

Poetic Statement: These poems, much like their author, are unpolished, uncensored, unabashed, and uncompromising. If you believe that poetry and politics don’t mix, or that abstraction and metaphor are the most efficient tools of the poet, these are not for you. These poems are as much a direct resistant action as they are a collection of literature. Our lives exist in a constant state of information warfare, and the poems you are about to read are weapons in this fight. This collection represents a battle fought for illumination, freedom, and love, against servitude and fear. Which side you choose is up to you..

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 Arthur Turfa

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Two Poems

by

Arthur Turfa

 

The Conversation

 

Several years after the break

we stood together near the house

early on a summer evening

as the sun slid into western skies.

There we reflected on past years,

expressed mutual remorse

(at first so tentatively)

because the wounds had been healed.

 

Searching the wreckage of it all,

we salvaged enough to move onward

along separate but often parallel paths.

 

Thousands of miles behind me,

tens of thousands awaiting me,

we started the process of becoming

the people we were intended to be

even though the horizon was hazy.

 

Times and places slip away

softly and inexorably from us.

At times several chords on an acoustic

bring back walking over hills

or a sprawling campus.

For fleeting moments we are again

as we were but did not remain.

Far better to be who we have become,

to realize that it was better because

we stood together near the house

early on a summer evening

as the sun slid into western skies.

 

Precession of the Equinox: Polaris Shifts

 

Slightly tending westward, gradually

the lodestar  yields to its successor

as a new Astrological Age begins.

A residual memory, following me

from the Planetarium in Junior High.

Polaris’ replacement will then

give direction to new future stargazers.

 

One of the last young people to escape

from Kensington’s web of snarling streets

and elevated train lines, you seized your chance.

You became our Polaris, colorful in action

and attire, caring and cajoling, steadying

us to be the people you knew we could become.

 

Across the county or continent, we returned

and you greeted us, gloried in those returns.

As colleagues we spoke when storms neared,

and I kept your counsel in sight toward calm waters.

 

Now I know you began your precession,

stepping aside, though not then out of view.

Some of us search for you, exchanging pieces

that do not always fit together.

Second-hand accounts, some leading closer,

others in contradiction, point to a lodestar

that no longer shines in our heavens.

 

Every so often I scan the spreading stars

for our Polaris, until comes the realization

we are now lodestars for ourselves,

for stargazers we need to steady, for those

who receive the light as we did once

while scanning skies for our Polaris.