Redacted Murals, Redacted Memories by Kristin Garth

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

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

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

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. 

Patricia Highsmith at 100 by K A Laity

One hundred years ago the Cottingley Fairies were brought to the public’s attention by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote in the accompanying essay, ‘The recognition of their existence will jolt the material twentieth century mind out of its heavy ruts in the mud, and will make it admit that there is a glamour and mystery to life.’ More a harmless whimsy than a grift, nonetheless people did feel a bit cheated as the scrutiny of the images led to growing skepticism. But they are remembered fondly, as an image of a sweeter time when anything was possible.

One hundred years ago today Patricia Highsmith was born to a mother at best ambivalent and a father who was already heading out the door of their Texas home. Her surname came from her step father, who had a hard row to hoe with the suspicious young girl. She was shipped off to her grandmother’s while her parents tried to set up life in New York City, eventually bringing Pat with them and giving her a sort of home base for much of her adult life, though she was always proud of being Texan.

Highsmith is difficult, not just in the way that women who forge their own paths are inevitably labeled difficult. She was always chafing against everything, unable to settle in, unable to feel comfortable—always pretending to be human. As her favourite alter ego says, ‘If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful, or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture.’

She was racist, pugnacious, anti-Semitic often despite having many Jewish women as her lovers (while the Shenkar and Wilson biographies are more authoritative, Marijane Meaker’s account of their love affair is a wild ride well worth taking). She loved snails, and yes smuggled them between Britain and France in her bra—the very thought of which gives me the vapours. But one of the few beautiful love scenes she ever wrote was in her serial killer novel Deep Water, where the killer watches his snails Hortense and Edgar make love, ‘How they did adore each other, and how perfect they were together!’ I can’t help thinking that Vic, who can’t dance, can’t love in the usual sort of human way is amazed and awed by the simple love of the snails and his creator is, too.

The Cottingley Fairies were adorable and sweet, something people longed to see. Highsmith is everything opposite to that, and yet just as arresting and memorable one hundred years later because she captured something no one wants to see, but knows lurks in the mind or heart of people who kill. She found her killers likable, but feared and hated people who made noise.

She drove most people away from her, finally withdrawing to a house like a bunker in the Swiss Alps. Up to the end she complained about paying taxes, but cheered herself by thinking, ‘it is good then to remember that artists have existed and persisted, like the snail and the coelacanth and other unchanging forms of organic life, since long before governments were dreamed of.’

If you haven’t yet read it, I recommend Edith’s Diary as particularly apropos in this moment. It’s a great demonstration of how one can be parted from reality step by step. A lot of that about.

Imprisonment by Liz Davinci

This is the last trailer of five to reveal a glimpse of the coming album “Pax Victoria” (releasing January 23, 2021), with a spoken abstract description of the concept “Imprisonment.” The abstract text was written by Paul D. Brazill. 


* “Imprisonment” by Paul D. Brazill 

The inky black night smothers the city. A shard of moonlight picks out a trail of blood. A dog barks. There are shouts. Then gunshots. A scream. Howls and cruel laughter. Animal grunts and whip cracks reverberate. It all goes black and the metal door slams shut. An abyss. A pit of darkness. In that void is a speck of light. Like a lonely star in a godless galaxy. A star to guide a lost voyager to safety. Home. Night melts into day. Day melts into night. Endlessly. 

*The accompanying Mini-Chapter by Liz Davinci follows: 

Chapter 5: Imprisonment 

Excerpted from: “Human Trafficking in the United States” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery, with illegal smuggling and trading of people (including minors), for forced labor or sexual exploitation. … California: A significant leak in 2020 gave authorities the opportunity to shut down a fairly large limb of the trafficking operation located between Tecate and Campo, when a sketched map was left anonymously by a woman at a gas station in Campo. The map led to the findings of a tunnel running between America and Mexico, stipulating the location of a tunnel exit on the American side of the border. In total 13 suspected trafficking agents and 24 persons suspected in connection with three warehouses containing illegal immigrants were arrested. The warehouses were shut down by authorities. All immigrants in the warehouses were women and the warehouse suspects are currently being tried for sexual abuse.” 

*7am: Monday – Victoria Life in Paris has been good. I don’t miss California most of the time. I’m different since my relationship with Alexander and my rendezvous with the underground world of trafficking. So different. 

My actions helped fight against trafficking – they had results. Unfortunately Alexander was one of those arrested last year. 

After I managed to expose part of the operation to the authorities, I mourned Alex. But an intelligent fear arose in me as well. The trafficking operation is huge and big money is involved. If the exposure would ever be traced back to me, I would be killed – no doubt. What would Alexander do if he knew I had caused his imprisonment? Would he kill me? 

These concerns became more and more difficult for me to live with and I made the decision to move to Paris.

My life in California was small and humble anyway and my savings to buy a house with Alexander superfluous. 

So I took my savings and moved to Paris. I now live in a small apartment in the 11th arrondissement on Rue Sedan. I work as a secretary and don’t read romance novels. I sing and dance in my free time and have made several friends. 

I still have fear that I will be found. I still have nightmares. 

Back in California, Alexander never tried to contact me from prison. I drove past his apartment a couple of times and someone had cleaned it out – presumably a family member. 

I believe that I will overcome my fear – these worries. I did what was right and I covered my tracks. I was extracted out of my mundane life by Alexander and maneuvered a rocky road. I handled it as best I could and will never again be mundane. It’s not possible. 

If I hadn’t met Alexander, I wouldn’t have been able to put a stop to at least some of the trafficking, as I did. And I would simply be growing older, reading romance novels and traipsing the same streets year in, year out, maybe singing at the same mediocre club. I have scars from my experiences with and around Alexander and I am trying to find peace with them. 

I must find true contentment and not a rut disguised as contentment. I now value deep, calm love as opposed to frenzied, romantic love. Deep love cannot disappear. There was a revolution in myself that will never burn out. I don’t just exist anymore, I live. 

Imprisonment is my final task. Alexander is literally imprisoned at the moment, but I have imprisoned myself in the fear of being discovered as having exposed the trafficking – the fear of being hunted down. And I am breaking out of this prison of my mind because I know that peace will always be the victor. 
PAX VICTORIA. 
(This is all a work of fiction, including the Wikipedia excerpt.)

Liz Davinci
Website:  http://www.lizdavinci.com
Instagram:  
https://www.instagram.com/elizabethdavinci/Twitter:  https://mobile.twitter.com/liz_davinci
YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCdL2tbjQ3jP-BCBDfaw5tLgSpotify: 
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3Ig4gDOSor8cwhOLxqjhvr?si=5qMNL0agRFuKLgqybGJQ2w
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.davinci940

SoundCloud:https://soundcloud.com/user-526988818
Bandcamp:https://lizdavinci.bandcamp.com

View From The Hill by James Lilley

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.

Then and now by B F Jones

Then and now

Shedding hair
Clogging drains
Showing patchy
Scalps
Skulls in the making
Brewing insomnia
Gestating insanity
That swells
With every passing day.

We forgot
What we look like
Our reflection
No longer visible
In the eyes
Of those we
No longer see.

We forgot
Who we are
Our loneliness
Stretching
Into a frail thread
Of disbelief
Anger
And sadness.

We held on.

We hold on.

A Fistful of Poems from Brian Rihlmann

Brian Rihlmann lives and writes in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared in many magazines, including The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, Heroin Love Songs, Chiron Review and The Main Street Rag. His latest poetry collection, “Night At My Throat,” (2020) was published by Pony One Dog Press

What The Fuck?

as I drift through the warehouse 
on a Monday 
putting a few things away
I hear the young men
talking about their weekends
and it’s what sports team
traded who 
and how they beat 
some new video game
and movies, TV shows…

they even talk 
about politics
for christsakes!

I want to ask
how are your lives really?
got a girlfriend?
get laid this weekend?

and then shake them
when they say no
and ask
what the fuck 
is wrong with you assholes?

there’s better ways
to murder time…

you should be out all night 
getting drunk
and chasing pussy

every fuck
or parking lot blowjob
should be “the one”
and your heart 
should wrestle with hers
and lose

you should show up on Monday
wearing your defeated souls
on your faces

but you guys
are smiling…

what the fuck?

Breaking On Through

my back has been fucked 

for about a week

and this morning it was

especially stiff

I tried leaning to the left 

and using my right hand as usual

but couldn’t quite reach…

I didn’t give up

because you’re never too old

to learn, right?

so I used my left hand instead

took about twice as many

sheets but I got it done 

after a lot of grunting and cursing 

of course then I looked

and there it was—

all over my middle finger

and beneath the nail

guess I’d really broken through

to the other side (so to speak) 

and as I washed my hands 

and the shitty water

swirled down the drain I thought—

what a lovely sneak peek 

at my so-called golden years

F.N.G.

the poor gal who’s been saddled 

with the new trainee 

plops down a pan

caked with burnt scrambled eggs

and I look at it, ask—

How do you usually get this off?

Just soak it, or…?

However ya want! she yells 

over her shoulder

as she waddles off

returns a moment later

and bangs a pot of oatmeal

like hardened cement down

on the stainless steel sink

and I swear she’s grinning 

beneath that mask

because now she gets to 

pawn all the shit jobs off

on the Fucking New Guy

and who wouldn’t love that?

Portrait Of The Artist As A Consumer: Max Thrax

BIO: Max Thrax lives in Boston. His stories and poetry have appeared in Bristol Noir, Shotgun Honey, and Versification. God is a Killer (Close to the Bone) will be published on May 27th, 2022. Find him online at www.maxthrax.com and on Twitter @ThraxMaximilian.

TV: Play for Today, Boys from the Blackstuff, Match of the 70s & 80s, Twin Peaks, Cracker, Oz, The Shield, Breaking Bad, Serie A


MOVIES: Andrei Rublev, Scarface, White Heat, Gomorrah, Menace II Society, Ratcatcher, Pusher trilogy, Under the Silver Globe, Fresh, Taxi Driver, Friends of Eddie Coyle, Out of the Past, Blue Velvet, Sweet Smell of Success, The Third Man, I’m Bout It, Akira, Lady from Shanghai, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Get Carter, Jackie Brown, Point Break, Night of the Hunter, Long Good Friday, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Red Road, The Public Enemy


BOOKS: Dashiell Hammett, Paul Cain, Jim Thompson, Ted Lewis, George V. Higgins, Shane Stevens, Donald Goines, Derek Raymond, Patricia Highsmith, Simenon, Dostoevsky, Stendhal, John Webster, Thomas Middleton, Christopher Marlowe, Tacitus, Sallust, Julius Caesar, Cato the Elder, Strindberg, Witkiewicz, Ghelderode, Jean Follain, Georg Trakl, Ted Hughes, Zbigniew Herbert


MUSIC: Bach, Berlioz, Wagner, Bartok, Pink Floyd, Japan, OMD, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Broadcast, Deftones, Guns N’ Roses, Rammstein, Shortparis, synthwave


ART: Hellenistic art, Novgorod School, Bruegel, Paolo Uccello, El Greco, Velazquez, Bernini, Caravaggio, Poussin, Goya, Hokusai, Caspar David Friedrich, Hiroshige, Gustave Moreau, Ilya Repin, Kuniyoshi, Mikhail Vrubel, Neue Sachlichkeit


BOXERS: Jack Dempsey, Charley Burley, Ezzard Charles, George Benton, Ken Buchanan, Bob Foster, Alexis Arguello, Thomas Hearns, Roger Mayweather, Pernell Whitaker, Mike Tyson, James Toney, Bernard Hopkins, Kostya Tszyu, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Dmitry Pirog, Guillermo Rigondeaux

FOOD: yogurt, grapes, blackberries, lamb, calamari, full Irish
DRINK: tea, coffee, Red Bull, pomegranate seltzer
PLACES: Boston, Los Angeles, London
QUOTE: ‘Happiness is not being afraid’ – Roy Keane