17 June 2022

Four Poems by Mark Young

here & thereabouts


We are offering an extensive collection,

unmatched strength, exceptional durability, done

independently of any autonomous homeotic gene.


          Most cadaver studies are :

          separated from :

          some aspects of peri-operative care.



             be given over to the care of layer hens,

             made to obtain more details,

             productivity increases.


          Try hypnosis for personal development

          & stress release,

          for pragmatic stuttering intervention.


In the old teutonic tales they call her Lorelei.

Will always appreciate it when there is an affair ;

a good way of coping with stress or anxiety.




A line from Alexander Trocchi


She pulled the baskets down.

That pulled her bones out of

their sockets. This new tech-

nology is far from fit for the


purpose. Her knees are bent

inward. There is a gap between

the ankles that forms a triangle.

Rather than discuss workers de-


formed in factories the talk is a-

bout robots in the kitchen. A need

to improve intelligence-sharing

is becoming obvious. There are


raids on errant nightclubs. Mi-

grant protests gather steam. The

triangle is a continuation wedge.

The jazz & barbecue is from 6-9pm.




status fundamentals


Some say the latest thing is

molecular beam epitaxy. Now

you can learn its vocabulary

& more with simple flash-

cards. M is a retract of F. Thus

any cycle of M which bounds

in F also bounds in M as fuel

cells adopt a carbon-coated


titanium-based porous flow

field in the cathodes. There's a

whole new set of trend-forward

basics that will be reaching cult

status in no time, manifold forms  

from different historical periods.



In the realm beyond


The corollary opens outwards. There

are clouds of various colors inside.

Some sit silently, waiting for the rain

to arrive. Others attempt to teach

others the Marseillaise, project that

scene from Casablanca onto the open

doors & suggest that the bouncing

ball be followed. Schrödinger sits in

the quietest corner, writing in a note-

book. His cat is nowhere to be seen.

09 June 2022

The Mansions in Our House by John-Michael Bloomquist

The tapered windows of Byzantium

pierce the sky with their crowns.


The gothic stained glass, refracting the marble

columns, lets the blue sun grow the vine

between the mortar. For centuries,


the Pantheon’s domed roof puzzled architects

who’d forgotten the recipe for cement.

The flotilla of all the gods enters

as rain through its oculus.


Myrrh rises from the altar, nightly

entwining, uniting, spreading

as fumes into the furnace of stars.




Snowflakes cannonade our room.


We turn on the furnace and watch the heat waft up

the windowpane.

A rectangle of evening flickers

on the ceiling.


Shadows soughing the cedars of Lebanon.


Shadows spreading through the room like water,

spiders walking upon the meniscus.




The black Japanese futon

on the floor, where we lay. The foundation


of this palace. The navel of our Via Appia.


And like the blind road builder, Claudius

crawling barefoot and on all fours

to check the quality of each stone,


we are preparing the earth to receive us




beneath the road. The eternal road

ushering in the triumvirate. A march

through the rampart of Rome’s walls,

stallions gliding, the day’s dictator

on his chariot with his train bearing in his claim

of foreign lands, the gods

of Visigoths, Syrians, Macedonians, Carthaginians, Greeks and Egyptians


evoked to abandon

their lands for a temple built in the city of Rome.


The plume of Caesar’s red-feathered galea jounces,

making him Jupiter for a day.

The laurel of his labors on Capitoline hill,

his murex robe flowing down

the steps.

The Mediterranean

over the sun.




We bring home our groceries after work.

The Italian winter oranges, Japanese yams,

rainbow trout from Germany, and eggs

from the factory outside Krakow.


The world a kitchen. A nook


where we take in the morning news and drink

Earl Grey. The British added bergamot to cover 

the taste of spoiled tea


on long sea voyages. Now it accompanies bird song.


Across the Atlantic our other cities

cast lights over black waves.




Kleos: the glory, the desire for eternal life.


It is like trying to be remembered

by those who lived before us,

said Marcus Aurelius, ignorant that he was the last

good emperor.


If my son is sick, it doesn’t mean

he is in danger—


ignorant that his son,

to whom he’d give the crown

would tip the fall.




But the wine the mourners

poured upon the ground of their beloved

dead made mud beside the road

that clung to the wheel

of chariots, carrying their grief

further along. 



John-Michael Bloomquist

03 June 2022

Mr. Valentino by Lard Alec

At some point in my un-illustrious boy scout career, several other frumpy scouts and I piled into a weirdly hot earth-toned sedan to sell tickets, door to door, for our troop’s annual pancake breakfast. The car was driven by a thin, loping, amiable, Wrangler-clad, socially peripheral man whom I’ll call Mr. Valentino. He was father to a greasy-haired scout, a few years older than me, named Jimmy who was basically a human pocket protector. The rest of the troopers were outgoing lumpy adolescents who seemed to me entirely un-neurotic about their homeliness and sorry pastimes—they liked fart jokes and campfires and preferred chummy hijinks to things like sports and dating. I could have learned something from these kids but didn’t. I sometimes enjoyed their company, which was bumptious and wisecracking, but I tended to concentrate on wishing I was somewhere else, which was a particular skill of mine at the time, no matter where I was.

            Mr. Valentino, despite being a wholly unintriguing man, intrigued me because, as I’d learned from my father, he once split from his family and didn’t return for a while. The actual details escape me, but I got the impression that it was a Paris, Texas kind of misadventure, poorly planned and doltishly poetic. I pictured him wandering off down a gravel road with a bindle stick thrown over his shoulder, as he tramped his way into harsh but promising country. Whatever the circumstances of his departure, he eventually slunk back to his family and resumed his dreary obligations, having briefly experimented with freedom and learning what, I don’t know.

            Mr. Valentino’s actions confounded me because they seemed both dangerously liberated and childish.  I wondered, futilely, what he could have done with his time away and imagined him hiding out in some makeshift adult treehouse somewhere. I knew I absolutely could not ask him about it, which drove me nuts.

            Mr. Valentino and Jimmy sat jammed in the front seat with one other compressed trooper and the rest of us were tightly arrayed in the back. Together, we cased some rural enclaves on the periphery of my suburban school district: weedy country neighborhoods full of ranch houses, chain link fences, and trampolines.  The exercise was fascinating. The good people whose weekends we briefly interrupted agreed to impersonate Depression era commerce with us, trading money for pulpy admission tickets[1] to a future, clamoring Saturday[2] morning buffet that would never survive a visit from the Health Department. Some 15 years later, during one woeful job search, I spent a day, just one, tagging along as a kind of doomed, unpaid trainee with some salespeople from a subcontracting outfit that upgraded Verizon customers from DSL to 21st-century internet. During that time, I thought about selling tickets for the pancake breakfast, remembering for once, and for once only, how much easier it was doing something as a Boy Scout.


            We seemed to interrupt one couple in middle of fooling around. Others harrumphed and shuffled from their dark, fusty living rooms back into the light with splayed wallets and pocketbooks, their little dogs and TVs going apeshit in the background. Weeks later, I recognized some of them as they lumbered in for the big, charitable pig out. It was a good deal, I thought. All you can eat.

            The premise of the Scouts, as far as I could tell[3], was that, ok, sure, your school, work, family, and religious life should be conducted with perfunctory diligence, but a full life, a real life, only began once you donned olive green shorts and a strangling red kerchief. Whatever else you did with your time, be it playing Sega, riding bikes, or throwing a bounce pass out of bounds during a rec league basketball game, didn’t matter quite so much as knots, wood sculpture, and camping trips in horror movie backwaters. I liked the pocketknife and thought that, under profoundly different circumstances, camping with your friends could be fun, but that was it.

            I was a shitty boy scout. I think I retired with maybe four merit badges after three years of foot-dragging semi-protest. I would have flunked Basket Weaving if my instructor had not, in a moment of beatific charity, agreed to let me toss my psych-ward basket, which looked like a normal basket that a bear had tried to eat, down a latrine. I could swim ok but couldn’t tie a knot to save my life. I didn’t know what anything meant, and I didn’t care to learn.

            Incidentally, most of my reflections on early-to-mid childhood experiences leave me wondering what, exactly, was wrong with me. Answers, I’m afraid, are not forthcoming. But I now feel a dim camaraderie with Mr. Valentino, who probably sensed, in his ambling, helpless way, that he was not cut out for his own life. I sensed the same thing, but just had to wait a few years to grow up and move away. After that, things weren’t great, but they were better, and I preferred the wit-pro anonymity of my new lives, always grimly shallow but free of historical burdens, in various cities far from home.

            While I think the Boy Scouts should be outlawed, I do admit that it’s the right fit for some people, like my grandfather, who went from Eagle Scout straight into the Marines, or pious overbearing meddlers who euphemistically refer to harassing the young as molding their character, or what have you. There were a few such jerks in my troop, and it’s too bad that Mr. Valentino didn’t have more of a leadership role with us. He was friendly and wayward and, of course, no one would have listened to him. But if we did listen, he could have told us some things, about getting lost, or feeling alone, or thinking you’re a failure, and then, at last, about coming home.



[1] The kind an unlicensed travelling carnival might use.

[2] I’m guessing here.

[3] I never, of course, read the fucking handbook.