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.
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.”
He was called for making Thajmahal
A good, dirty man with talents
One day he saw the Emperor
Heard an unknown toungue
May be he was the first in kerala
Who heard that…
It is stone not a white sun
There were no friends
In work they spoke one
They were one lettered humans
kept stone like his letters
That day he spoke to the king
In dream… in his stone realm..
The man of palaces didnt get his stone-lip
Beheaded that kingdom
Saw his rustic speech in its silence
True, It is fear not whiteness
The white geometry
I looked into my android
There came a white geometry
Here and there roads
Here and there malls
Here and there talkies,
Hospitals, banks, A T M,
Railway station, hotels, pubs,
Café, bars, bus stand…..
Nothing but a white – haunted piece
Of barren world.
Where is this one, the road?
Hospital? Schools? army camp? Small teashops?
Loitering goats and many more….
Are they too big to map?
I looked again
Where I am?
Bio: is an established bi-lingual poet, novelist and translator from kerala, in India. He has two volumes of poetry and a children’s novel in his credit. He has also penned stories and dramas. He has bagged for many prestigious awards such as Culcutta Malayali Samajam Endownment, Madras Kerala Samajam, Muttathu Varkki Katha Puraskaram etc. for young writers in kerala.
Bio: Wayne Mason is a writer and sound artist from Central Florida. His words have appeared across the small press in magazines both print and online. He is the author of five chapbooks. and is the former poetry editor for Side Of Grits, and The Tampa Bay Muse. Wayne Mason has also been active in experimental music for nearly twenty years. He records ambient, experimental and noise sounds, formerly under the name of Zilbread, and is also a founding member of the experimental/noise project Stickfigure and electronic duo Blk/Mas. http://brokenzen.wordpress.com/
Poetic Statement:When I was much younger I aspired to change the world. Now years later, my work stems from a desire to change myself by exploring my own internalterrain. In the end the strangest, most profound journey is not the one outward, but the one inward through my own psychic landscapes.
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
to the sound
I once telegraphed rhythms
cutting in, out—
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
of the crossfader
…& crescendo, making
music from noise wandering
amidst the voices
in the margins, lingering
like echoes, refined
#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
the metronome of memory into the digitized
diary of the mind where our analog souls
into the ark of history, rehearsing & conversing
In tongues of talking drums
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
What’s this thing called love?
Kisses coming off the tongue
Hearts beating like drums.
In the scrupulous scribbles
Of life painted freehand, love
is the serenade
of whispered watercolors
& on, dancing in the flesh
never to be forsakened.
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
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.
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.
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.
Again & Again
I know your body like I my own, every muscle, tendon, freckle, atom, and before you are near
me I feel you everywhere like the wind, all encompassing.
I knew the sound of your voice before you spoke,
and in the moment our eyes met I knew that I loved you
and could not stop myself from being with you,
and could not stop my hand from reaching for yours,
and could not stop lips from finding yours,
and could not stop myself from knowing you,
as I have always and will always know you, because we are one in this moment.
The moonlight streams though exposing every ounce of your flesh like a gift.
You have been waiting and I have been waiting to find ourselves here, intertwined by a lust old
as time, animalistic and humble.
There are no words, only the beauty of the feeling of my tongue on your tongue as I explore
you again and again, (ever undiscovered and discovered and longing).
You are tuned to me, your hands make music on my body and every note that we discover
makes the birds cry out in jealousy,
And until the earth ceases to spin, and the tide ceases to rise, and the birds cease their cries, until that day we will not be apart.
For as long as I breathe, you must breathe, and as long as your heart beats, my heart must beat.
Blue Raincoat Roadside
Lighthouse limelight shines,
Cedar chest lunchbox
and weathervane wine.
Knife chopping onions,
shudders in the know.
The porch boards bend and
creak under the weight
of her unleaving.
My face is her face.
Hush – when I am old,
sideways and troubled
I will absorb home,
searching my memories
for a glimpse of that light.
Cheiloproclitic at your feet
brush, touch, taste
Cheiloprocilitic at your feet
resuscitate, breath, heat
Cheiloproclitic at your feet
pucker, suck, bite
Cheiloproclitic at your feet
lick, swoon, punch
Cheiloproclitic at your feet
Brief bio: My name is Jessica Chickering. I live in Denver, Colorado. I am 34 years. Getting old is both awesome and terrible. I hate people who say cliché things about aging. I write, (say something self-effacing about my writing followed by something redeeming). I graduated from the University of Colorado – Denver with a BA in writing and an emphasis in poetry – I pay the bills doing something that utilizes little of the talents I crafted. I have cat named Girl Kitty, I call her GK for short. I am happy to be alive.
Poetic Statement: Poetry is amazing and undervalued. This is true for so many things I find important and worthy in the world as it stands at this moment. I long for a place where I feel more at home. I feel at home in poetry.
-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
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?
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
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
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
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.
Looking to the Edge
Looking to the edge
Of the dawn-tinged mountain
Tops’ cliffed flaming skyscape,
The ladder to the brow of the morning
Star leans against the wall between
The night and day of a new year.
I peak over the sky, blue as the part
Of a candle flame that entrances
A child in Easter Sunday’s Grace
Before what’s thanked for is consumed
For weight toward Earth’s center.
And I see it’s the same primordial pool
Of fire and flame and lust that does
Dervish whirls from a screen door
To a backyard. April is draining
Its pain of birth, thaw and rust
As though the hinges
Of soil opened to houses
In the enclosed bark of trees.
Poetics Statement: My writing invariably goes back to the basement apartment where I lived when I had a nervous breakdown over twenty years ago. The different parts of the apartment symbolize various parts of my psyche; for example, the door leading into the apartment is the location of the pineal gland in the center of my brain. And the window across the room, which is the title of one of my books: The 4D Window, is the sensorium screen where my worldly experiences, including poetry, take place. I consider myself to be a student of Charles Olson’s Projective Verse essay.