Review: Mountains – Alan Dunn & eleni poulou by K. A. Laity

Punk Noir Magazine

Review: Mountains – Alan Dunn & eleni poulou

Many people have found the lockdown a time of loneliness and isolation. Others have jumped into collaboration to assuage that feeling and to find hope and the energy of inspiration in new ways. The fun that springs from good collaboration is a magic of discovery and frisson. As Western culture begins to move away from the myth of the ‘lone genius’ we re-discover the power of collaboration.

Last October, Alan Dunn (TAPE BRITAIN, tenantspin, FOUR WORDS) and eleni poulou (Honey-Suckle Company, Nohe Noshe, The Fall) investigated the ephemeral joy of wandering the streets of their respective cities (Glasgow and Berlin) in the conversational composition ‘Bestow’ which includes ambient sounds, music, and spoken word in a back and forth dialogue that captures the in-betweeness of life in quarantine. Sometimes it can feel like going in circles. The omnipresent bird song becomes a third voice in the conversation, but one that’s not really heeded by the musing walkers. It’s a vivid slice of life from these extraordinary times.

Their new recording ‘Mountains’ take the collaboration further with more music and a structure that builds more of a collage than a conversation, enhancing the complexity of the mix. Poulou’s bass and keyboards give a richness to the palette with the occasional guitar riffs from Loose Articles. This piece looks back as well as forward, revisiting ‘splinters of the past’: the cover art has the two as children. The bespoke LP also has poulou’s sketches, as well as an orgami rabbit and stitched postcard ‘hand-made by Alan’s mum, Agnes.’ Dunn muses on having hated the sound of his voice, how he learned to be more silent in art school, and the mortifying experience of drunken relatives at Christmas demanding ‘gie’s a party piece!’ but not having a song or poem to recite. Poulou contemplates the ways we get through hard times: ‘People say since the last full moon everything is better.’ As low points become mountains, we make choices: left, right, forward, U-turn. ‘We’ve made it this far. We can go on a bit further. I am hopeful.’ The mountain itself becomes red, having read a book on human psychology and learning that people feel less depressed when they wear red. Mustn’t grumble.

There’s a lot of healing in this meditative collage. The looking back is never just nostalgia, but a kind of wonder about what has been survived to be where we are right now. The video created for playschool of the damned/The White Hotel adds another layer of pleasure. The footage has the warmth of home movies yet the clips remain abstract enough to immerse you in someone else’s life for a short journey. It’s good to get out of yourself for a little while. You return with thoughts of how to look at your own situation from a different vantage point. The best creative works inspire you to do more. Mountains will make you itch to create something yourself.

Find Dunn and Poulou on Bandcamp, or follow them on Instagram (DunnPoulou).

Diablo Ex Machina by Marko Antic

Punk Noir Magazine

They took me into the room and ordered me to sit down. The handcuffs tore my wrists, and the doctor’s forehead glowed with sweat. He asked me about my health.

– Bad, doc, bad. I dream of everything these days: pink elephants, old women with machine guns, the Taj Mahal on fire, dead and living relatives – they follow me in a full bus and banging my mind! Yesterday, I dreamed of Omar Sharif wielding an ax and Raquel Welch in a negligee! And then Slobodan Milošević – he was driving a scooter around my building! Then suddenly he sits on the edge of my bed and whispers something to me. He was dressed in that pre-war children’s navy suit…

– Listen, boy, I’m a court expert, I’m here to assess whether state will reintroduce the death penalty because of You, or whether You will still be in a madhouse for the rest of your life. Let’s talk about that laptop and Azazel again?

-I found the laptop next to those containers with graffiti – “The Salvation Army”. I took it, at least for spare parts, and these rich people throw away everything. And the laptop was not to be thrown away, I easily fixed it!

-And Azazel?

Azazel is a demon trapped in hardware during a mathematical calculation with the aim of determining the coordinates of hell by taking into account certain variables …

– And You … set him free?

-Let’s say. Azazel and laptop are actually one. A chat window popped up on the monitor and that’s how we started communicating. He became my master…

– You met the victims through various social networks… What would you usually talk to them about?

-Literature, music, film, life… you know. Although I was just a messenger.

-Messenger?

– Well, Azazel spoke through me…

-Remember the first girl, boy. You raped her and killed her, and cut her body and hid it in the basement, just like the others. But you didn’t film her. Why?

– Azazel still hasn’t asked me to. He later wanted a new battery and a webcam. He became hungry. He demanded to watch.

– Explain to me what this is? Look at the photo. There are carvings on this laptop – a strange alphabet engraved with a sharp blade… and straw, feathers, a hen’s foot and a human toe adhere to duct tape…is this a pentagram drawn with wax?

-Nothing unusual, a standard magic ritual according to Azazel’s instructions…

The doctor looked at me sadly. I didn’t want that idiot to feel sorry for me. I started screaming, got an injection, and before the sedative knocked me down, I told him everything about the world he lives in, about hell on earth, about Horror.

It’s dark now. I feel that my hands are tied. I sit and look around. I’m looking for Azazel, wherever he’s been. I am waiting for a sign. He will appear. I know he will. I listen as silence creeps into my bones. Creepy, imperishable silence.

Marko Antić was born on October 11th 1980 in Paraćin, Serbia. He is an underground poet and writer.  His work is published in the fanzine “Green Horse” and Serbian and regional poetry and short stories anthologies. Formal education: Bachelor of Laws

Four Poems by J. Travis Grundon

Punk Noir Magazine

J. Travis Grundon is the author of more than 500 short stories, including crime fiction published with Alien Buddha Zine, EconoClash Review, First City Books, and many other anthologies and publications. He is the editor of Hoosier Noir Magazine and several anthologies, including Forrest J Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead. His other work includes two years as an editor and columnist for Rudo Can’t Fail: Lucha Libre and Lucha Culture Worldwide and reviews for Life Along The Wabash. He lives in Indiana. @JTravisGrundon http://www.jtravisgrundon.blogspot.com

BROTHERS

Thick as thieves

An unspoken rivalry

Lines that should never be crossed

Cleaning product into his drink

Vomiting, diarrhea

A trip to the ER

Attempted murder charges

Nothing will ever be the same.

PANIC

My chest hurts.

My body feels tingly.

I get dizzy.

Ice is running through my veins.

Shallow breathing.

Heart racing.

I can’t stand up,

I can’t speak.

Pain all over 

I can’t breathe

I throw up.

Walls closing towards me.

Spotty.

Tunnel vision

Numb.

the building is on fire

no escape.  

Everything is watching

Oxygen

sucking air

Pins and needle.

Pulling the ground from beneath

BAD BREAK

Santiago got popped a few houses down

A drug deal gone wrong

Some misunderstanding about price

One man was dead

Another at large

All over a bag of ice

My neighbors were all standing around

Their faces aglow with red and blue lights

All of them chomping at the bit

When the pigs were gone

They would loot the house

The Man confiscated the good shit

Poor Santiago was a goner

Bound for Hades

Or the big opium field in the sky

I don’t do drugs

I only smoke weed

And I needed to find a new place to buy

DRUNKS AND POETS

Beats brought back

by Kerouac’s feet

In a car

On the road

Big Sur

Having fun

Have drink

Have another one

A generation of weirdos

Telling stories

with their feet

Grand adventures

Making music

Making love

Writing bad poems

Not going the Hemingway

Five Poems from Tom Pescatore

Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine, Tom Pescatore

Bio: Tom Pescatore can sometimes be seen wandering along the Walt Whitman bridge or down the sidewalks of Philadelphia’s old Skid Row. He might have left a poem or two behind to mark his trail. He claims authorship of a novel the Boxcar Bop (RunAmok Books, 2018) and the poetry travel journal Go On, Breathe Freely! (Chatter House Press, 2016).

Still Life

a creek drainage

                           –down the hill
below the development of
snow covered plastic houses
whose assembly line windows
watch the continuing storm through
clones of door clones of space
clones of lives–

               rests stagnant in milky orange night 

recedes as the oppressive aura of street lamp grows
wider
          brighter
                         definite
like a ship’s light winking out of the abyss

Salt.

through claw marks
     a frothy white piss

                                     on my window shield
fingers draw rifts in the snow

the blood wheel between my nails
                                                        turns kidney pink
like a body of stone
     salt lingers above the freezing line

when the pavement gives out the road sinks like footprints

leaves a fleeting trail
                                   like a baby’s first words
                                                                       
for the hunters to follow

exhuming the unfinished corpse

we are tasked in the painting of the village’s faces.

they are death masks made of living

soil.     worms boil up to the surface boring

eyeholes into the facade. the stench is that of

the earth.     the earth is that of death.

the mask celebrates life.     the mask celebrates

the opposite.     only at night can they be carved.

in the morning they will be fashioned. we are tasked

with the setting in place.     we make the lines

meant to become mouth with our claws. we breathe

life into the mouth with mud red lips.

we dig deep and draw the iron out.

My feet dangling off bridges

thunder

        then

the rain comes;

when I was 13 I would close

my eyes and walk across

Macdade Blvd

                        into traffic

the cars never found my body

or understood why

they just hurtled on into their future

leaving me there btw the lines

to mourn their passing

in the chamber was left one bullet

for Jami…& Roger

the trigger pulled and your brain escaped

there was no magazine but the house rang

hollow after the quake

in the chamber there was left one bullet

it burrowed itself into the wall

to die

the smoke took the form

of your youth drifting away

beneath the floorboards

the basement was bathed in your blood

Out NOW! Pax Victoria by Liz Davinci

Euro Noir, Indie, International Noir, Jim Shaffer, K A Laity, Liz Davinci, Music, Paul D. Brazill, post punk, Punk Noir Magazine

Pax Victoria is a concept album about a fictive character named Victoria whose mundane Californian life was interrupted by an all-consuming love affair that led her into the world of underground crime and having to choose between right and wrong.

The songs describe Victoria’s struggles as she faces realities she doesn’t want to believe possible and finds a strength she never knew she had.

Credits

Released January 23, 2021

All tracks composed by Liz Davinci except “10:23”, “The Club” and “Deserted”, which were composed by Underhatchet. All tracks recorded at Liz Davinci’s house. All tracks mixed and produced by Liz Davinci and Underhatchet except for “Oh God”, which was mixed and co-produced by Simon Bartz and “10:”3”, which was mixed by Liz Davinci and Simon Bartz.

Thank you to Underhatchet, K.A. Laity, James Shaffer, Mark McConville and Paul D. Brazill for providing beautiful and inspiring texts for the five album trailers. Thank you Underhatchet , K.A. Laity and James Shaffer for your additional contributions to the mini-chapters (which can be read here and comprise the whole story of Victoria: www.lizdavinci.com/blog).

Redacted Murals, Redacted Memories by Kristin Garth

Punk Noir Magazine

Redacted Murals, Redacted Memories 

after Servant 

Painted nude woman you hide with a chest,

Victorian, three drawer, exposes

the rest of a bleak mural which dresses 

your guest bedroom wall, white chenille roses 

a bedspread she’ll crawl upon, a Puritan girl

you choose for innocence, a young moral 

guardian you are convinced won’t cast pearls 

before husbands, crucifix transfixed.  Mural’s

prayerful inhabitants, appropriate 

amens, girls in bonnets, butterfly wings,

den of lions decrying redacted 

scenes because you have screened everything 

for this puritanical occupant —

your own worst transgression you will forget.

 

Two Poems from Mehmet Akgönül

Punk Noir Magazine

Bio: Mehmet Akgönül is a poet who lives in Ankara, Turkey. He is studying at Hacettepe University Department of History. He worked as an editor  in an online newspaper GazeteHacettepe. His poems were published in Bosphorus Review of Books, The Nonconformist Literary Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, Punk Noir Magazine and The Dope Fiend Daily.

Twitter: @akgonulmehmet

Instagram: @mehmetakgonul

Birth of a sinner

Echoes dancing around me

They are whispering lines of a poem in my ear,

Even though the words warm me up

I am trembling with fear.

The vulture perch on a black cloud

Are they waiting for me to fall or fly

The echoes dancing around me take shape

I can swear they’re demons!

They force me to kneel in the mud.

The vulture is laughing with pleasure.

Demons must be cutting my invisible wings off.

A fluid warmth coming down on my back

Clouds black as sin seem closer to me,

I rise and share the joy of the vulture.

I’m either dying or born,

I don’t know the difference anymore!

The Role of Literature as a Motive for Murder

Words were carving out her skull

Then gave shapes to her mind

And razor-sharp thoughts

that leaves her reality in blood

She thought of the lives she took for pleasure

And every souvenir from them as reminders

The paper cut her finger while turning the pages.

A literary flavor aroused hunger in her.

Her deepest personality—

began to prepare for the banquet

Her darkest personality—

 was already ready for the hunt

She shot a bullet into her victim’s pen

That was cruel considering that her victim was a poet

While literature was the motive for murder,

the Killer became the literature itself.

I REMEMBER BY BEAU JOHNSON

Punk Noir Magazine

I remember holding you in my arms for the first time.  How you turned your head and grasped my finger with yours.  It’s how I fell in love.

            You had blue eyes at first and eyelashes as long as your mother’s even though you weren’t an hour old.  I remember feeding you, bathing you, and pretending to hurt myself because of how it made you laugh.  All told, the very best parts of any parent’s day.

            I remember walking you to school.  Pre-school.  Kindergarten.  All the grades up to and including four.  You are ferocious in your learning, hungry for everything that was new.  I remember figure skating, Minx the cat, and all the times I carried you to bed.  The teeth you lost and the smiles you gave; a heart which seemed to dance.  All of it, every part: our lives as meant to be.

            I remember the officers, their posture, and how they held their hats as they stand outside our door; that our prearranged meeting time for walking home alone had come and gone and the grace period you knew nothing about had come and gone as well.  This is how it starts.  How we knew something had gone wrong.  Once he has been caught, I try my best to burn holes into the back of what passes for his head.  He never turns to meet me, not in all the years it takes. 

I study him, dream of him, and become something less in the exchange—a version of myself I can’t help but begin to hate.  Your mother tries with me, cries with me, but everything you were is bigger than the sun.  I give her what she wants, but not what I believe she needs.

I fall further, deeper, the blackouts I create as feared as they are embraced.  I want oblivion.  I want clarity.  Each and neither at the very same time. Only when I’m told he’s been granted early release am I able to put these things away.  Not for me, but for you, because you were my child.

            Free, I remember the day he is paroled and the day I follow him back to his father’s farm.  He bolts when he sees me, recognition creating flight.  I pass goats and cows and un-mucked stalls as my body becomes younger than it is, faster than it should be.  Unlike him, this comes from memory.  From days I longed to know.

            I follow him up the silo, his face turned down toward mine.  It’s exactly as I picture your face, there when your fear was at its worst.  At the top I stop, step forward, my mind ablaze and set.  He knows this, sees this, his mouth going on and on and on.  I don’t think, only act, and ensure I end up on top.   We fall, him screaming, my hold upon his body stronger than the stone atop your grave.  It compresses when we hit, collapses, crushing breath and bone alike.  Liquid splashes upwards, outwards.  I feel it mix with mine.

            I recall all of this, every bit, but the part I remember most is how I held you in my arms.  How you turned your head and grasped my finger with yours. 

It’s how I fell in love.

Three Poems from Stephen J Golds

Punk Noir Magazine

Holes 

I still remember

the park we played in as kids.

Griffiti riddled slide and rusty chained swings. 

Broken glass scattered in crab grass. 

And the girl who lived in the block of apartments 

across the street with her grandmother. 

Her smile the whitest thing I’d ever seen. 

Lips the color of cherry bubble gum. 

She smiled a lot. My mouth would always 

go very dry whenever I spoke to her. 

Once she asked me 

why my friends called me ‘poor’?

I opened my mouth and closed it. 

Stuttered. 

My friends said they would show her why.  

I still remember

I laughed 

that begging, breathless kind of laughter. 

The sound you make when you realize 

people you trusted 

are going to betray you, hurt you and 

you want to show yourself 

much stronger than you are. 

It’s all just one big joke 

and you can take a joke. 

I still remember 

they ripped the sneakers from 

my feet exposing the holey socks

concealed within. 

The flesh of the heel and toes 

too white. 

The proof that I was poor was in the socks, 

they screamed victorious. 

I still remember 

the sneakers, I’d worked 

five weeks of a Saturday job, 

sweeping dust on a construction site to buy, 

casually tossed into a garbage pail 

full of black banana peels, 

coke cans, wasps, diapers, used condoms 

and all the other shit. Discarded. 

They all laughed that triumphant kind of laughter. 

They had won something and 

what it was they had won,

I still don’t know. 

I still remember

looking at all of the pointed fingers and 

sharp faces there in that park and 

the girl who lived in the block of apartments 

across the street with her grandmother. 

Her smile the whitest thing I’d ever seen. 

Lips the color of cherry bubble gum. 

She was pointing too. 

She called me pathetic, 

a word wrapped in razor-tipped giggles.

I still remember 

fishing the sneakers from the garbage.

I couldn’t understand why 

my holey socks were funny. 

We were all poor,

wearing the same clothes everyday.

Our mothers all working the night-shift and 

our fathers construction laborers.  

We were all living in the same 

poor neighborhood 

together. 

Megumi 

I suppose even fireflies they too turn to ash 

but tonight 

I’m sitting in this hot bath with you.

The bath bombs you brought 

smell like strawberries. 

We watch them dissolve slowly in the space between us. 

Listening to the radio and the sounds of water like piano keys 

as you scrub the filth from my body and my heart. 

Watching you lather foam from across your milky 

shoulders and breasts, the light running over your moist skin

sunshine through cream fabric hanging from a summer window,

in your eyes — moonlight on glass. 

I know this moment is something

I want to capture and 

hold glowing in a jar like a firefly. 

On That Early Morning Street 

Hot piss seeped dark into the grit 

making shapes, 

hard cases squealing like the children 

they were 

about who would open 

the bloodied, unconscious drunk’s 

damp billfold.

No one wanted piss on their hands, 

the blood was all right. 

The blood on our fists was something 

to be measured and compared 

as though it were the size of our pricks. 

View From The Hill by James Lilley

Punk Noir Magazine

View From The Hill

Vivid views from Pantycelyn steps

so good it should be on a postcard

combined with orange glow

suffocating smoke

from burning car wrecks.

Early nineties

population less that eight thousand

a tiny council estate became

the car crime capital of Europe.

High speed chases

through sleepy streets

dumping brand new motors

just for a laugh

only twocking in Abertawe

Police chief called it the Wild West

kids wouldn’t go to school

but could boost and drive

by the time they were twelve.

Old lady won a mini in the pools

they found it two days later

at the bottom of Cockett Park

twisted blackened metal

its only twocking in Abertawe.