06 December 2023

Four Poems by Mark Young

An emancipated fondue


The body has a structure, sponge-

like, cone-shaped. When coiled

it becomes enclosed within the

body — a crucial epistemological


                             The cathedral is

a unified architectural symbol, un

projet artistique et culturel de terri-

toire. A position of the legs, the

sense of two very separate forces.


Imperialism is about to reach its

limitations, part of the collective

memory. She spoke to me in French.

I use the warehouse template. It

does not produce any translations.



Le Voleur

after the painting by Magritte


The hot air balloon has

been stolen from another

painting; as have the river

& the hills it weaves be-

tween. Then there's the

curtain which has been

on show so many times

that it would otherwise

appear threadbare were

it not for the wardrobes

full of similar things —

taken from clotheslines

& salons & a number of

theaters — which are easy

to switch between. Now

focus on the thief himself,

who, out in public & with

an eye to propriety, has

foregone the purloined

jacket worn in tense times

past — including le prĂ©sent

on the off chance he might

just come across its owner.



from 100 Titles from Tom Beckett

#6: Undone Songs


El Scorcho is absolutely amazing. I'm

a lonely nerd in high school so I can

relate to the sad constant pining for

people who don't want you pretty well.




We just caught the lightning. Uplifting, but

not happy. Somebody who walked her

own path. I wanted you to get chills, go in

reverse when you heard. Time After Time.




It’s easy to assume that because you’re

texting you're in a relationship. Sawing

strings supported by guitar. Bitter Sweet

Symphony died in the backseat of a car.




I took the road to hell. Freedom. I took

the knife as well. Freedom. Sometimes

the clothes do not make the man. Free-

dom. On your rock & roll TV. Freedom.



A line from Chubby Checker


I am wearing nose clips: the

Randy Codgers Band has a song

about them; along the lines of keep

those nasty amoebas away from


the chicken coop — or was it

chicken soup? Either way, I have

a 3-year kitchen appliance pro-

tection plan that should take


care of me as long as I stay out

of the sunlight. I'm well aware

that someone who didn't follow

similar advice was found dead


last month in a Medina County

culvert. It's why I wear a medical

bracelet to make it clear I want

my flowers before that happens.

29 November 2023

Four Poems by Adam Deutsch

Soft Watershed
Where every door today opens 
to some farm, horses’ teeth grass in a season 
of no blankets strapped to bodies in mourning. 

A pig scratching rib-chub on a hayloft ladder, 
and there, between toes, a nugget of garlic
to sooth an itch. Your knees are on 

a cracking shower mat you thought we threw away,
rolled out at the crawl space mouth
where earth is dark and rain moves it to mud.

A pipe leaks irrigant, a root 
giving its younger brother a noogie, 
a valve acting like it’s a dam, 

a city fleet en route on some planting day. 
For the area of intentional garden, 
our mothers go to succulent vendors, 

landscape tenders, haul surplus
amended earth to cover ground. You hide hands
under the house, where palms get enflamed 

from some force task. A sprinkler goes 
off in an hour near noon, 
and everything it touches singed by sun.

Around the Nice Mall

once driving, we’re all brutal together—a conga line mosh pit. red lights hitting heads. if one hand comes off the wheel and those two fingers rise, it’s the sign for peace or taunting victory. you’re all, thank you, or, take that, buddy! the cut off. winning in a road, and an arrival home some few moments later, without having missed those commercials that run before the previews before the movie. these clearances from these clearance racks.

where people get off and on free ramp ways, and everyone needs to blinker over lanes you think all the vehicles must be friends. the Liberties, Infinities, Sols, Civics, Tundras, Explorers, Avalons, Centuries, Crowns, Beetles, Quests, Leaves love each other, and we raise our arms out their windows, to make the mergings with consent. 

it’s possible, in gratitude, you’ve looted time. but then nobody follows you off the southbound. there’s no counter strike coming through the juncture, so a battle you didn’t even mean to declare, friend, gets decided for you. 

When This City Isn't Made Loud
You wake again to the feral parrots whistles, 
each of their little hearts that beats, then beats, 

and starts over again. The marine layer this early
swaddling our region the way a yawn makes a song

of abundant wind: mostly silence. It’s in that space
you invent, and reinvent the hot shower 

in a light that’s never dissolved, claim it clearly 
like ice water in tall glasses, and your toes

in the narrow nails of grass that barricade a park’s sprinkler
head with soaked shanks. You can hear you think 

about your rituals that rumble, that peace of repetition,
dependable as a stone in the middle of sweet drupe.

Count on it, and the clicking of its bounce on concrete
down the steps, along the gutter. You can hear it long.

Neighborhood to Neighborhood
A walk from the mesa to the down
town is a rock’s little dance atop a toilet paper roll 

a freeway shelters, arterial ramps, and faded line paint.
Fingers that make sounds also stretch 

their knuckle collection, or’re tough meat mounds 
of hand that rest half closed in what feels like

the safest space between palm and fist. 
And gravity holds you, so reluctantly you know

you could go flying at any moment. You’re fragile
as a homemade microphone, a piezo held 

to a beer can’s bottom with gum, an uncomplex system 
that draws a mouth from a body, it’s soft chitter 

that translates to a city that reaches up to clean mess off of us. 
A deep shadow, a walking sweat, is thrown

from a car: an egg you can catch
in a sling of bandana gently torn of blanket

17 November 2023

Grandpaland, or the Isle of Jean by Lard Alec

Whenever I ask my mother-in-law, Jean, a question that requires only a brief, factual response, she answers with a story. I’ve even tried to ask her yes-or-no questions, hoping to nip the inevitable onslaught of flashbacks, flash-forwards, and breakneck pronoun shifts right in the bud. But to no avail.  

Fortunately, I’ve never had to ask her a high-stakes question during a time of crisis, though I can imagine it clearly.

(Lard Alec arrives home to a burning house and meets Jean in the driveway. They cough mightily and dodge flaming debris as the scene unfolds.)

Lard Alec: Jean, where are the kids?

Jean: Well, Colton wanted to make a house out of matchsticks and Jenna Marie said, “That’s not fair, I want to make a house out of matchsticks, too!” And I said, “You’re too young to make a matchstick house” and, anyway, what’s his name, Steve? The guy with the wheelbarrow store on Logjam Road? Well, I knew he kept a bunch of matchsticks in some old buckets out in his shed. And she, his daughter, I forget her name—you know, she traded in the car? It’s like a Subaru but it only has one door? Well, I got an email from her—or I thought it was her, but I guess it was someone else sending a, whatdoyacallit, a SPOOF-mail, and now my phone has a virus and whenever I press the on button it takes a picture and makes a sound like an airhorn?

Lard Alec: Jean! Are the kids in the house? What room are they in?

Jean: Well, Steve only had the one kid—the daughter I was telling you about—but she had a son, Torrance, I remember his name, I don’t know why (laughing). Well, he wanted to be a tattoo artist, but he went into the soup business instead…

My other great fantasy is that she bears witness to a crime of historical dimensions—perhaps she takes a bus tour to New York and finds herself at the Museum of Modern Art where a pair of David Niven lookalikes, clad in black, creep in, create a diversion, and then steal Van Gogh’s Starry Night off the wall while everyone’s looking the other way. Everyone except Jean.

Afterward, investigators from a dozen agencies and journalists from around the world swarm her house and ask her to just describe what she saw.

Jean: Well, my daughter thought I should take one of these bus trips to New York since I’ve wanted to go for…forever, basically, and I’m always talking about seeing a show, like that one time we saw The New Jersey Boys off Broadway. In Albany. And it was SO. GREAT. And she said, “Don’t drive, you’ll just get lost.” So, I said, fine, I’ll take the bus, but when I went down to the bus station to buy a ticket, they told me they don’t schedule bus tours—that’s someone else. You have to go through like a trip provider or something (shaking her head)? “Go ask someone at your senior home if they know anything about bus trips to New York.” And I talk to Jan sometimes at lunch—she’s kind of (moving her hands around in an ambiguous but emphatic gesture), I don’t know, LOOPY. But she knows Mike, the CEO, and Mike tells her everything, like when they’re gonna start renovating the East Wing apartments—that’s where I live, so I want to know. But Jan knows other stuff, too, because Mike and her are like this. “So, Jan,” I say one day at lunch. “What’s this I’m hearing about bus trips?”

One by one, the cameras lose power; microphones wilt; cops shuffle off with sad notebooks full of goop.


One of Jean’s signature phrases is load down, as in, “I’m going to load down some pictures from my camera onto your computer.” If you hear this and say something reflexively pedantic like, “Oh, you mean download?” She’ll just reply, “Yeah, I LOADED DOWN some pictures onto your COMPUTER. Look, here’s one of Colton making a sandcastle out of seaweed. A seaweed castle, I guess. But then Jenna Marie comes over in this next picture and says, ‘Why does he get all the seaweed!? That’s not fair!’”

            My friend’s mother likes to say download in place of down low, as in, “I’m keeping it on the download,” by which she means the Q.T. Another friend’s father refers to texts as phone emails. And my grandfather calls ESPN ESP, arthritis Arthur Itis, and HBO Home Box. Both he and my mother-in-law refer to the regional grocery store chain Wegman’s as Weymann’s (pronounced WHYmans). All of which is to say that Jean, despite her peculiar facility for coughing up unsolicited rapids of blather and brain breaking neology, is not alone.

            Now, granted, people like my mother make it well into their seventies without acquiring Jean’s or my grandfather’s funhouse vocabularies and narrative pratfalls, so these hallucinatory linguistic traits are not, solely, attributable to age. Jean has lived a long life full of whirligig, context free hyper-narration, and my grandfather, despite spending decades as an English teacher, has always been entirely too impatient and habitually expulsive to speak in anything but his peculiar back-alley peyote language of malapropisms and homespun solecisms. He just doesn’t slow down enough to properly listen to anyone or think things through.

            Nonetheless, it is clear that, at some point, a merely eccentric idiom can mature, or decline, in shocking ways, and there seems to be a point somewhere in late middle-age where linguistic idiosyncrasies morph into new looking-glass tongues all their own. I figure I have about 10 to 15 years before this happens to me.

            For my part, I mumble, curse, and take long pauses between words where the world turns into a gently swaying ship, and I’m in the crow’s nest, looking for word-land, seeing nothing but sea. While once my voice was fairly deep, it’s since grown faint, crackly, and a little dry. I repeat myself more than I used to, and my memory is fuzzy, worn down by fatherhood and old dodgeball injuries. By my early 60s, I might speak exclusively in staticky bursts of forgetful profanity whenever I’m not absolutely forced by circumstances, if even then, to act otherwise.

            Should I get to this point (call it Grandpaland, or the Isle of Jean), I will exist in a deepening privacy of expression. I will grow increasingly adamant in my cryptic notions and turns of phrase, wondering why everyone is looking at me that way but never bothering to ask. I will be impenetrable and unassuageable, driving my speech before me like a plow through miles of undifferentiated snow. It is something to watch out for, though, of course, no one in Grandpaland knows quite where they are.

            I am not talking about Alzheimer’s. My father has that, and his speech is a broken promise, a stuttering machine missing half its parts. It is too ghostly and whispery to revel in, even when it is funny. Like my grandfather and Jean, he is incorrigible, but he lacks the consistency to say the same wrong thing over and over and over again.

            The great moral of my 40s is that the dream of education, of edification, is over. Try as I might, I cannot add any volumes to the library of my mind. Or, rather, as soon as I add one, two others are eaten by shadows and dust. I can change, little by little, but I will never improve. Nonetheless, I can still see myself as others see me, if only just. But once you make landfall on the Isle of Jean, or your own version thereof, the era of assimilation is over. You and your language become an island filled with toppling coconuts, sun-dazed lizards, and wobbly, flightless birds. You are a sovereign there, though you are also marooned.  

            Lardland will not be as lush and colorful as the Isle of Jean, nor will it be as tetchy and gruff as Grandpaland, a smog-choked little city of pickle barrels, butcher shops, and mines. Instead, it will be an island with a little schoolhouse where I’m neither the teacher nor the student, and I’m trying to figure out what to call it, the thing I do there, and making up a new word when the old one won’t come.

17 October 2023

Four Poems by Mark Young



is available for you

to download with a brazenly in-your-

face, raw sound





a blockade of chronic catecholamine mediated stress

which expands or primes



more confident and powerful in her femininity

an ideal basis for the next step in creating HTS assays


fundamental to setting the stage


moral terrorism has a long history

studies indicate some role for genetic influence

on psychosocial, growth, scar, & physiologic

outcomes after massive burn injury



His 'consultant' wife & kilos of gold


How much does it cost to ship

a dog to Las Vegas, if it is actively

learning agricultural techniques?


Everyone I talk to says it depends

on whether or not it comes with a u-

nique & monoblock shell that serves


as the data historian in process-in-

tensive industries or, sometimes, on

who happens to be doing the surgery.



de Boulogne


Left over from the day

before, & lost for several

decades inside a film by

Robert Bresson, Napoleon

III was formerly a forest,

designed by Baron Hauss-


mann with sex workers in

mind. Apart from being in

a format that will not play

on most DVD players sold

in Australia and New Zea-

land, it comes primarily as


wall candy wallpaper, sub-

ject to change according to

dates, hotel policy, & other

factors. Sometimes may be

made of shortcrust pastry.

Zoom in to discover more.



A line from Wassily Kandinsky


A cartoon man. Double-click to

consume. Test certificates are

available upon request. Very pop-

ular for those that forge with a


striker. We blink, explore the

tracklist as well as various

archives deposited at Yale’s

Beinecke library that range


from casual to sophisticated.

Elsewhere, the dolphin, with

its notes of blueberry pastry,

has been upgraded. Sometimes


appropriate protective footwear

may be required, especially when

the eyes are the hammers. Around

sixty people attended the auction.

09 October 2023

Sex, Violets, and Other Words for Love by Kyle Kennan

It has been three and a half weeks since I saw him last, but I have not forgotten his violet eyes, at once secretive and sad. “It’s been too long,” he says. He kisses me deeply, guiltily, in the shaded driveway. The heat of the summer when we met has weakened. Now, the eastside air is even, warm, and soft like the inside of his forearms resting helplessly around my waist.


Like old friends we pick up where we left off but there’s a thin veil between us and I don’t want to be the first to move it. He is guarded and measured when he speaks, but in his silence, he is clear as the full moon. There is someone else.


He takes me to a dive bar where the amber light turns his violet eyes murky, obscuring his thoughts. I lean into this moment where I can be spared the truth and play pretend. He keeps his right arm around me all night long. When it’s not draped around my waist, it’s running up my thigh. It’s tucking hair behind my ear. It’s clutching my left hand. It becomes a part of me, another limb, another I piece I want to protect.


We go to the photobooth and kiss. The strip comes out wet and sulfuric. There’s a black smudge down the center, dividing us neatly, a smokey tear that reaches all the way to my heart. “That’s so strange,” I say. “I’ve never had one print like this.”


At home, he unties my linen blouse and pulls it gently over my head. He unbuttons my jeans and kisses my hips. He’s careful, or afraid, like he’s touching hot coal. On top of me, he kisses my ears, then my lips. “I’ve been thinking about this for weeks. I’ve missed you so much.” He moves further and further down until all I see is violet.


He tells me about his synesthesia. That’s why he likes shoegaze, the dreamy reverb, the harmonizing pedals, the sound you can see. I tell him I like sound you can feel. I feel his voice like a silk sheet, and I want him to wrap me in it.  “What color do I sound like?” I ask him in bed. He thinks deeply, his eyes suddenly still and intentional. “Orange… no more red. Salmon, coral maybe,” he says. The colors of sex and sunsets. Bursts of fleeting ecstasy, showstopping, chaotic. My color, my soul, is lustful. It is impermanent. I’m not sure where he goes on the nights he’s not here. I wonder what color she is. I wonder if she’s iridescent, indigo, enduring. I wonder if she soothes him in her cool emerald glow.


Later that week he is gone again, his reasons tenuous and last minute.  I go to a concert one night, the type of dreampop that breaks your heart and mends it in one set, only it doesn’t mend it this time. I devolve into hazy, hot tears and again, I see violet. I get terribly drunk off well tequila and the whole night is violet so I can’t escape it.  I stumble home and into bed without taking my clothes off.


He texted me at the concert, late, almost 11PM. “What are you up to?” In the morning I respond, “Sorry, went to a concert. Hope you had a nice night.” He comes over in the afternoon and we share a bottle of wine. He grabs my waist, both his hands tepid, but gentle and safe around me, and he guides me to the bed. On top of me, he holds my head between his hands and kisses me but stops abruptly, serious yet abashed. He stares down at me and brushes hair away from my eyes so I can see his clearly: violets in full bloom. Just in that moment I can hear the feint echo of something behind them, an earnestness for the first time. It’s just a flash, then it’s gone. He moves in me until I feel violets growing inside, blooming from deep within, reaching my smudged heart, permeating my red-hot soul. “I wanted you so bad last night,” he says. He makes my name feel soft in his lips, feminizing it, like he’s holding a crepe paper rose between his tongue and teeth. I want to feel him say it again and again and again.


I imagine this must be how the sunset feels each evening as people flock to appreciate her coral hues, her waning fury. Or how the fields of violets feel, their window for blooming and pruning short, fleeting, special. The love they must have for those brief moments of care and tenderness. Is it so bad to just be adored for one small moment, for nothing I’ve done but for my mere existence? To be objectified like a sunset, a flower, or a woman?


When he climaxes, I hold his head to my chest and think I love you, I love you, I love you. He leaves then, he’s stayed too long. He has plans, somewhere to be. I wonder, then, if he goes to the iridescent girl and holds her head to his chest and thinks I love you, I love you, I love you.