28 September 2023

*** by Mykyta Ryzhykh


My dog suddenly turned blue

My friend the groomer only sparingly said that he sympathized with my grief
No doctor or zoologist could help either
The psychological support service also did not help me
The dog looked at me sadly and pressed against my leg

It's been a day since my dog died
Exactly a day has passed since I imagine that my dog did not die, but only turned blue
Exactly a day passed like a day, I throw out the dog food from the bowl and pour a new one

My dog suddenly turned blue


My green throat has turned into a garden
I have to be silent a lot
I have to drink a lot so that the trees grow
I have to breathe quietly so as not to frighten the birds
I don't want to scare those who are happy


damp forest
how does the butterfly come out
heat from the clip


Shh shh she she she along with your hoarse cough
Leaves fall to the ground and you don't understand
Will tomorrow knock on your door again morning…


Red Sky. The birds went south. People flew into the abyss.


the cat walks along the cemetery of smiles
the mimicry of memory plays the piano of silence
four-legged foyer of the human soul in search of the owner of the hotel of
what will a cat find in a place where there is nothing
the grave exists for the sake of absence
memory exists in the form of an absence
flowers of dead views grow near the monuments
the trees sway their leaves and drop their leaves down to die
crunch of foliage-bones under the cat’s paw
cat childishly playing with a leaf
adult cat plays with someone’s soul
the wrong side of the universe in the cemetery
the cat freezes and calms down
the cat falls asleep among the graves
a leaf that has fallen from a tree whispers a request for help to the wind

27 September 2023

feral dunes by Tim Lang



in a





formed in


pulsing past




Tim Lang 

23 September 2023

So Beautiful and Elastic by Gary J. Shipley

Gary J. Shipley’s latest offering, So Beautiful and Elastic (Apocalypse Party, 2023), is a challenging book and not for the faint of heart, but those who commit to it will be pleased to have done so.

On the most superficial level the plot concerns our narrator, Ann, leaving London and returning to the unnamed seaside town from which she escaped as a teenager, in order to bear witness to the death of her father. The journey is twofold and fraught. Ann is full of contempt for her father, her dead mother, her past, life in general, and herself. The reckoning the reader suspects Ann will have with her father will also necessarily be one she has with herself and whatever secrets her past contains and that she may or may not be keeping from herself.

There’s plenty to chew on there, to be sure, and the book’s brief chapters skip through time, giving us a kaleidoscopic view of a turbulent life, though Ann gives equal weight to the life of the mind by offering ekphrastic disquisitions on the visual arts, those being her chief obsession in life and the primary way in which she constructs her identity. In the place of what we might call “normal” human relationships, Ann has her intellectual relationships to philosophy and art; Magritte, Cioran, Schneider, Lynch, et al., provide the scaffolding which allows Ann to continue her own insubstantial existence.

For all the disorienting weight of the subject matter, So Beautiful and Elastic reads quickly and in an engaging manner due to Shipley’s fine prose. Here is Ann, early in the book, offering comment on one of the ways in which she created herself: “I suppose I’d made a point of not sounding like my parents. Not that their bare-bones syntax, stunted diction and coy expungement of expletives was the worst of it, and not that there weren’t cringier examples – those parents of friends, for instance, who’d made a point of not sounding like themselves, but whose impoverished disguises only ever managed to emphasize the lowliness they were attempting to conceal – but because the sound of them carried with it everything they were, the tawdriness of their thinking, the repulsive biological link that in the end no amount of articulacy could undo.”  

What’s noteworthy here, besides the elegant sentence construction and rather pointed observation, is the way in which Ann perceives language as a means to imprison, dissemble, and also construct. The book is obsessed with this kind of thing, how tenuous and flimsy the self is and how the essential “lowliness” of the human condition might be mitigated (whether Ann cops to that desire or not) through engagement with intellectual and creative endeavors. About midway through the book, Ann quotes Magritte as having said that “what is important is that in a hundred years’ time, someone finds what I found, but in a different way”, to which she adds, “I too have found what he found. I found it altered and perverse, lucid in its mystery from every available angle, and maybe awake to it, refusing to look away or squint or think it into something else.”

So Beautiful and Elastic does not squint or look away. It is full bore in its ugliness but never gratuitous, and in doing so it invites the reader to think about what makes a life, what exactly they love and why. What’s more rewarding than that?

So Beautiful and Elastic is available from Apocalypse Party.

18 September 2023

Four Poems by Mark Young

A songnet


Community life
falls short of the
occult. It begins 
with choice & ends 
with a vaginal de-
livery where the 
uterus is removed 
for greater visibility. 

Conflict is a natural 
component of such 
a structure. Playing 
with dolls is some-
thing we have all
done in the past.



830 pages of secret cabinet papers have just been released



                   may be a         blue bar

                        death & burial        rant that

                             dates back at         least a

                                  century That's        the last

                                       time I tried               to move

                                 the sternum             toward the

                             chin & quit           smoking.           

                        History is            historically

                   against me,         though in the

                   interim, for          the sake of my

                        loved ones           who always

                             go round              dressed as

                                  if they were          attending a

                                       family                   member’s

                                            wedding,              I've stood

                                            on the                    shoulders

                                       of hobbits &          examined

                                   myriad ways        of injecting

                             hot lunches             with green

                        growth hormones   & all without

                        risking my                inflated sense

                                              of self.



A line from Fernando Pessoa


So how should we record the

conversation when ordinary

language is not precise & what

is left out is precisely what


constitutes literature? There are

no norms, no scientific language

which might be intrinsically pre-

cise. Rather we turn to meta-


physics & violate ordinary usage

to show that violating ordinary

usage accomplishes nothing ex-

cept to demonstrate that we are


proud of the violation, do not

claim ignorance of the legal dict-

um, ignorantia legis neminem

excusat, but instead spit in its face.



A / Significant History / of Domestic Violence

                     Her profession de-
                         mands a lot of
                 her. A massage
                            therapist, on the
                     World Heritage List,
                    skilled in techniques
                          used by Native
                               Americans long be-
                           fore Windows was
                               introduced. Grat-
                         uitous photos
                    will be sent on
                             request. Federal
                energy tax credits
                             are also available.

14 September 2023

Five Poems by Joshua Martin

Falsification Aquarium Dental Instrument


foamy echo & other fins

sneak through organs

stooped like tent poles

wearing dynamite


outside apprehensive tones

scattered ashen quantities

wallowing pinwheel grease

tapping Byzantine prunes

nearest floating curds

seldom a tarmac oven

breathing callous ink


parachute pine snails

beating colossal shrimp

while withering beards

uncover trachea delusions


submerged mantle

fishing scuba bear traps

warming lantern acoustics


microchip whining nested eggs

half-spun cinematic bluff

sheared unknown comedy thorn

scene by mythological kilt trap

ornery in sweltering door jambs


once likened sprain

hunted rabbit shifting

preaching thunder shrines

fling showboat fauns

drifting piecemeal galaxy

tundra of classical staples


dalliance shiver iron

best kept meandering

strapped kissing bounce


fish for a son-of-a-grift


boxing keyhole lawsuit

invading tawdry allusions

shredded horrific beans

upstart cobra zoot suit


riot squad makeshift jar

collapses best kept nuclear haircuts

Hunks of Slipper


aging mammoth & the rafter

having spoiled intake valve

handsome daylight darts

ducking out hole-in-one cone


          fumigating lizard porch swing fancy

          typhoon skeleton curfewed glove


                   handle for a scandal

                   fly-on-the-wall profit


solid as a pondering campfire

rigidly strangled hillside cakes

self-absorbed wholesale nostrils


                            vignette fading stream

                            radiation tunnel drawl

                            impose failed rackets


porridge sundial as it rises

locked stupefaction monsters

iris in on swallowing upheaval

straying notepad crocodile fiend 

Relentless Egalitarian Forks


When it rains golf ball handkerchiefs

the river bats an eyelid lobster scam

pristine as an axe symbolizing grunt

pushing daisies into hedonistic postures

all gaunt & straining incognito warts

gruff yet somber in shelf life

wandering knife party memorials

singing wary similes without credit

while positioned as stick figure puppy

guessing at wastepaper victories

tired muffled forsaken squirming

aluminum and all and persistent 

desire sings new wave possibilities

all schmaltz preening complexities

widely unread poetic universalism

screeching to halting purple frown

liquid as vegan clockwork hats

pouting manic breastplate functions

tied then loosed then warped

where the farmhouse adjusts static



Blasted hostage tracts


on charred notepads wither linguistic manatees

gesturing around the ballpark rental graphics

            subtle directed wingspan

            diabolical ringtone cruise

            shipping postal hurricanes

                              organs force hockey chants

                              harbors mistake arraignments

                              errand limiting doorstops

Belly Cannot Shade Paperclips


sphere trims the cauterized fables

fattened as an invitation

to a catacomb pageant.


the many pointed thirsts

collide in unison before

antechamber skidding



and meanwhile,

               darting     in/out/

                        collide - - -

marble head lice

embalming relics - - -


                      then fleeing)

without productive impulses

spinning gaseous pimples

scurrying industrial fumes.


               at least less envious than

               laser blankets shifting

               impresario paranoiac


bob and bob and shelter,

mercurial by sheets,

                           racked tongue

                           lacking tourniquet.


Joshua Martin

11 September 2023

Three Poems by Oliver Kleyer


When Elon Musk became president of Mars, I migrated to Saturn. At first, I wanted to go to Venus, but the jogging route on the Rings sounded too promising. Initially, it was hard to get accepted by the Saturnians in my village, but after joining the volunteer fire brigade, I became a valued member of the community. The food is also very tasty, very spicy and mostly vegetarian. I have not yet learned the language here, so I can not tell you the names of the dishes. I am communicating in Swedish, which is the second official language after Saturnese. I am living now a far better live than before. My favourite part of the day is seeing Earth rise on my morning jogging round on the Outer Ring.


The bath

Today, when I went into the bathroom to take a bath, I found a mermaid in my bathtub. She was about half my age and had long brown hair, completely covering her upper body, so everything I am telling you is SFW. From her waist down, she had a fish tail, which is no surprise, since she was a mermaid. She smiled at me whimsically. After all, the situation was embarrasing for both of us.

“How did you get in here?”, I finally asked, hopefully not too harsh. “Your caretaker let me in” she answered. “She said you wouldn’t mind since you have a soft heart for refugees and are also an expert on folklore and mythology.” “Yes, that’s true. But right now, I want to take a bath.” “No problem. I don’t mind you joining me.” Remembering the reputation mermaids have in some stories, I denied, saying: “I prefer my bath with foam and I don’t think that would be good for your scales. But can’t you get out for a moment? Doesn’t your tail turn to legs when you’re out of the water?” “That’s what you and Andersen think!”So I just brushed my teeth and went to the bedroom. I wasn’t even surprised anymore when I found a dragon sleeping in my bed.


The Tattoo

A longhaired man went into a tattoo parlour. Actually, he wasn’t really the tattoo type, But he wanted to try something daring. He thought that the shoulder would be a good place. Unsure which motive to choose, he skipped through the suggestions folder. At first, he opted for a screaming Frank Zappa, the Chunga’s Revenge cover picture. But then, he found this lovely portrait of a beautiful woman, drawn in a 1950ies style, but with a 2022-vibe. The tattooing was a bit painful, but afterwards, he thought, that it really was worth it. After all, he now would never be lonely in his life again. 


Oliver Kleyer

01 September 2023

Two Poems by John Kucera

Dow Jones Dream

Someone is tossing fish from the roofs
And you swim the violent current down Broadway towards Central Park 

Past steel hot dog carts and rusted fish caves once garbage bins brimming with takeout boxes.
Perched behind a drowned oak tree

Alice and the Mad Hatter ask

About the state of the markets.

When the helicopters shred the sky 
They will ask if you are here for the light show 
And for proper identification

Cash is also acceptable.
The annual burning of the older 
Houses bring the wealthier crowds
On their fancy foam noodles, rubber hands 

Built with waterproof cameras
They only like the old houses,
Those rusted gates and outdated 

Number plates when they burn.
Here come the sirens, 
Those jazz songs that warn of the waves, the 

Breached seawall Sinatra always plays on payday.

The tourists are never ready for the skyscrapers,
Their windows crashing against rocks until the shoreline

Dots with gray sea glass the marble stairs to the library a hill of preening seabirds.

When they invented the boats, we knew the worst was over, it had to be. So, what more could we do but celebrate?

A body that no longer needed to swim.


She only opens her door to the winds who liberate the dead pinned to her mirror
      To bury them higher up in a hole in the air

The cliff, she says, is crumbling like a poor man’s bread and it’s not those taciturn
      Oaks which will save the landscape’s reputation

She also says that she only has to wait for the fifth season for her dead to come
     Back to her honeyed tears on the apple-tree’s cheeks

They’ll straddle the fog
Mount the dogs
Soil the hallway
To express their disapproval
Questioning the calends complicates the route of the sun lodged in her chicken house

      Since the hens began laying their eggs in the river
Curses on thresholds that don’t know how to gather footsteps she repeats until

      It intoxicates her
Curses on hands that turn bread into grief
Curses on water which becomes frost when you drink it

Her long cohabitation with the mountain taught her that birds migrate at night so
      That they won’t know the road is long.