Roughly a hundred years ago, James Joyce brought the life of Dublin’s residents to the page with musical, muscular language that hinted at the influential style he would mature into and showed off his ability to describe human frailties. Like Joyce, Mitchell S. Jackson has a deep understanding of human emotion, a keen eye, and a well-tuned ear. His debut novel, The Residue Years, published by Bloomsbury Press, is full of carefully wrought lines that give painful insight into the lives of main character Champ and his mother, Grace, as they fight their self-destructive impulses. Jackson’s novel presents us with a strong, sure voice that draws attention to class division in America that fuels the drug trade and keeps entire families locked in a cycle of institutional life. Continue Reading »
There’s a certain relief to being in transit: it’s a pleasant nowhere space that gives you permission to kill time and be wasteful, slothful, and potentially gluttonous. Of course, I’m recalling past meals of shashlik-flavored chips on the Trans-Siberian Railroad and phenomenal Chicken McNuggets at the Roma Termini. Things are different from the pilot’s seat of a biplane, on the wrong side of train doors in China, or on the wrong side of the sea from a white city. I wrote once, in a poem, that the dead are always last seen in transit but, so, sometimes are the living. ~T.M. De Vos, Editor
What happens when you grow up in the wrong place? What happens when there’s nowhere to go? Sometimes it helps to find a partner in crime, someone to scheme and share dating advice with. Sometimes it helps to hide in the woods or learn life lessons from a board game. One thing’s for sure–it always helps to know how to properly swing an ax.
~Bram Shay, Editor
Words have a way of staying put even after they have escaped the mouth of someone, even after the speaker or writer has long-since passed away.
In this way, words are a sort of magic or sorcery (as a friend describes them: that they posses the power to evoke things from within people, similar to summoning entities). And it holds true, still, that words don’t need to wait for their creator (or conveyor) to die.
Some of us who have the privilege to speak or write for others that cannot, or that do write but their work is withheld from us. Or they themselves are withheld from us, like detainees. Or “not like” but actual detainees, prisoners, like the ones that are on hunger strike in Pelican Bay and Guantanamo Bay.
I agree with this.
Imagine what the world would’ve been like if we were taught to read poems instead of the alphabet or the pledge of (imperialist) allegiance in grammar school. I say it purposefully in the past-tense since it’s safe to say we are past the point of no return, buckle your safety-belts, hug your loved ones – or the closest ones to you, for any matter – the Earth is getting ready to wake up and shake off all its capitalistic parasites like the bothersome fleas upon the ass of a sleeping dog.
In this issue I am proud to say that although some of the poets and their characters featured here have altered their physical being, their crystallized thoughts live on – like a friendly haunting. In that, honor that, bare through this rambling intro and read the poems below.
Once last thing:
Better late than never, right? I apologize for the lack of consistency in publishing Gloom Cupboard poetry issues. I should be able to publish regularly now, once a month.
For the poets that want to get publish, and I know it’s somewhat misleading because of the name of the website, but please stay away from gloomy poetry – unless, like, you’re Silvia Plath or your entire family was misplaced due to an ongoing war in your motherland.
The Last Remaining Poetry Editor to Stand Up and Walk through the Apocalyptic Burning Streets of Los Angeles
Azerbaijani-born chaplain, counselor, and researcher Dr. Nazila Isgandarova is head of the Azerbaijani Women’s Support Centre in Ontario, Canada, and author of numerous publications on war violence against women, rape as a weapon of war, and new models of Islamic spiritual care and counseling. Her recent novel, The Nectar of Passion, a narrative of interfaith love, is set in modern-day Ontario and informed by Azerbaijani and Georgian history, as well as Judaic and Islamic custom. In this sixth edition of “The New Xорошо,” Isgandarova discusses female empowerment in the Qur’an, the common ground between Islam and Judaism, and why Muslim women don’t need to be “emancipated” from their headscarves .~T.M. De Vos
I know, I know. What happened to March’s issue? you ask. Well, funny story. I got caught up with school, work, internship and life. Actually, that wasn’t remotely funny one bit.
It’s hard to update the poetry issues regularly, and it’s even harder to do so when you are inundated with really good poetry submissions. It’s a blessing, it’s a curse.
For this month’s issue, we proudly present the sweet smell of Napalm, incredibly long “brief bios” and the crotchless panties made accessible through communism.
So, you know, same old shit here at Gloom Cupboard.
In keeping with the theme of springtime travel, our current crop of nonfiction comes to us from a distance. The distance is literal, with stories originating in Cuba and the remote Chuvash Republic, in Russia; temporal, in their remembering and refiguring of the past and its losses; and figurative, in absenting the characters from the present—and even from another person. ~T.M. De Vos, Nonfiction Editor
by Elizabeth Hanly
She wouldn’t open the door to me that morning. Not at first. “Delia,” I called.
Neighbors shouted down that I should go away. Delia lives less than a block from Havana’s bay on the second floor of what had long ago been a sumptuous building, in a neighborhood that before the revolution had been caliente with its gangsters and whores and remained so. Continue Reading »