In this chubby issue, Amber and myself bring you a greasy plate spilling over the sides with frightening and friendly ex-lovers, cold and calculating Canadians, documentarians of debauchery, nicotine fiends, odorous loners and overall disturbed and creative individuals, comforting themselves with the cuddly lie that just because I write about madness does not make me mad, as they scrape the skin off their faces and smear blood on the branches of Christmas trees.
Happy Holidays from everyone here at Gloom Cupboard!
By Luigi Monteferrante
In the train station
With crushed cans
And hurriedly crumpled napkins
A fight breaks out on Platform 3
Bristling with chemicals
And without sleep
Blow off steam
A fight sparked on nothing
Like two comets
Colliding in mid-air
And as the train approaches
The two boys
Dying cigarette embers on the track
Flash for an instant
Boys are mortal.
Bio: A Canadian author & composer, Luigi’s recent poetry has been published in:
Quills Canadian Poetry, Fractions, Neon, Forma Fluens, Poesia/Indiana Bay, Motel 58, Word Slaw, poetryfriends, kudos, Sonar 4, Poet’s Ink Review, The Battered Suitcase/Vagabondage Press, Twisted Tongue, Danse Macabre, Language & Culture, Kritya, Burst Now, Yellow Mama, greenbeard, Glass Poetry Journal, Wow, Orbis, Faraway Journal, riverbabble, Blueprint Review, Unheard Magazine, Toucan, Accenti, Sex & Murder, Sparkbright, Record, Valent Range, Skive Magazine.
Short stories in: Chicago Quarterly Review (2X); Happy; Taylor Trust.
From poetry to song, and experimental music, he’s enjoyed airplay on Radio Studio 8 (Washington), Canada’s CBC 3, Fleet FM (NZ). Since his residency at STEIM, Amsterdam’s prestigious experimental music center, August 2009, Luigi has been writing for the stage, with a musical and several plays.
Luigi has produced eight albums, six as Gang of Tolstoy, available for download at i-Tunes, Amazon, Napster and: www.cdbaby.com/Artist/GangofTolstoy
On the newly-elected Board of Directors of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers: www.aicw.ca, he acts as Communications Officer & Newsletter Editor, the same function he occupies at Teatro Rossetti, in Vasto, Italy: www.teatrorossetti.it, where he is based. Luigi is also Editorial Consultant at Forma Fluens, a multilingual literary magazine based in Bruxelles and Rome: www.formafluens.net
By Dana Jonhson
Carrying cars full
Of tourists who
Can look but
Where Adam stood
And Eve wandered,
Where Abel farmed
And Cain plotted,
Where they hid together
Where is Barnum now?
He could never imagine
Turning paradise into
A theme park,
A day’s entertainment.
The animals remain,
Hiding from strange eyes.
(Do they know they
Are safe from exploitation?)
All day, the tourists parade
Overhead in open cars
Until the sun
Turns the sky
Into a rainbow tipped
On its side,
And the dreamers
Firmly escort out
Clear of the space
From which all
A celestial day
Has ended, and all
Must return to lives
From whence they came.
All visitors must
LIFE is not a spectator sport.
In the distance of the dream
By Jean-Pierre Parra
In the distance of the dream
on Earth inhabited by dead men
without fear in the midst terror
now a rumble
forced into anxiety and hope
the return of night gaping once again
Dans le lointain du rêve
Dans le lointain du rêve
sur la Terre peuplée de morts
sans crainte dans la terreur
contraint à l’anxiété et à l’espérance
le retour de la nuit de nouveau béante
Banana Picking Dream
By Melis Ozturk
in bed you read
from a thin, doleful
then you see
a black-white photo
on the back-flap
with their background and birthday
and you can’t help
where they are now
they’re out buying
Skittles and soap on sale,
top-hatted clam shells,
sea salt and mangoes
if they’ve turned their grocery list
into a poem.
as pears rot,
wheat fields burn
like bread crust
and you wonder,
getting out of bed
if the poet is asleep
Bio: Melis Ozturk lives in San Francisco, close to the ocean where the fog tends to look like cool-whip. She’s been published in literary journals such as “Autumn Leaves” and “Opium Poetry 2.0.”
Belief without Evidence
By Len Kuntz
I find notes written with objects instead of ink.
A string of sparkly tinsel says,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
A whip cream snake encourages,
KEEP ON LOOKING YOU WILL FIND IT.
Lipstick on the mirror says,
KISS YOURSELF AND STAY FRESH.
Drizzled in olive oil is the message,
BE GOOD TO PETS AND OLD PEOPLE.
On the way to see a therapist
I look into the sky and the cloud question,
ISN’T IT TIME YOU BELIEVED?
By Rachelle Taylor
(or 3 in the afternoon where lives my idol),
I sit with tangled headphones,
listening to the first-last poet I ever loved,
idle, surrounded by unpacked boxes.
I am worried about the oil in the Gulf,
I am worried about a few months in New York,
I am worried about my sister’s deepening depression.
I am worried because last night I dreamed about several
large nuclear bombs that floated like whales
in the sea I’ve always longed to live by – a passionate dream,
in which for one moment I snuck
a glance at the one I love and he never knew it,
in which I said goodbye again to my dead grandfather.
In the dream I looked down at my hands and knew they were incapable of saving anyone.
It’s liberating sometimes, to feel helpless, and to withdraw from all events accordingly.
The poet drones on; his voice and words taste like burnt coffee at 6 AM.
He talks of art and lofty things the pills won’t let me understand –
love, honor, duty, terrorism.
A woman sings his verses as he speaks them and she sounds
nothing like my mother.
Across the sea, the one that burned in my dream, my lover busies
his broad hands with a new diagram, making steady progress toward the nuclear reactor.
Bio: Rachelle Taylor is a native of the Appalachian region of Virginia. After finishing her master’s in English, she briefly took up space in New York and is currently holed up in her boyfriend’s apartment in England, where she hopes to finally get some writing done. She has a funny accent. Her work has previously appeared in The Blotter, Neon, and Gertrude.
My Darkest Hour
By Duane Jackson
A pathogen, a rogue, a fiend-
the flesh of Satan’s potency
schemed with bone-yard beasts to seize
a treasure-trove of hope from me;
to calcine me in ‘end-time’ heat
and cede my soul to grime and weed.
Bio: Duane J Jackson is a 30 year old freelance writer and poet from Kolkata. While he is not writing he enjoys dabbling in the what’s what of current affairs, reading mythology, listening to rock, folk and world music and stocking his aquarium with cichlid fish. His publication credits include Danse Macabre, The Scrambler, Indigo Rising Magazine and Fair Trade Journal.
By Ananya S. Guha
There are people in dusk’s
roaming streets with tinted horizons.
They are obscure, interesting.
They walk streets loaded with guns
impound heart beats, trigger rain of tears.
There are people in dirty slums
whose beauty is destitute, steaming
pots of rice. They are haunted.
They profess fears.
They are wanted.
There are people who profess
unmitigated truths, summon speeches
write long letters, about people living in hovels
carry this burden of filth.
They are unwanted.
There are people who roam streets
with trumpets blowing.
They live in glass houses.
Coloured. Rainbow tinted.
I do not know them,
hear about them
and their preachy lies
There are people who sometimes
kill people, to
brainwash us into
a myrial indefatigible
stories of how
people are exploited.
Exploiters, oppressors, slum dwellers, revolutionaries.
Inhabitants of glass houses.
These are people.
I run away
from truths and people,
notice an emerald tear
in the eyes of a mother, whose
son is killed by people;
in a rain deserted house.
The son who betrayed truth.
I love people.
Bio: Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong, INDIA and is a senior academic officer in the Indira Gandhi National Open University. His poems have been published in both print & online magazines/ezines in India and abroad.
His online publications include: Glasgow Review, Osprey Journal, The Blue Fog Journal, Muse India, Danse Macabre, Asia Writes, Other Voices, Concelebratory Shoehorn Review, Art Arena, Argonaut’s Boat etc.
He holds a doctroral degree on the novels of William Golding.
CAN’T REMEMBER YOUR NAME
By Charles (C.W.) Bigelow
After all, we are eight years old, your shoulder length hair blonde and curly,
wicked-blue eyes flaming, leading me to your basement sink
where I drink thirstily, because that’s what I want
and after wiping my mouth I’m ready to go back outside.
But you’re the one that suggests its okay,
and I let you take my hand, and place it there,
where it is soft and warm, while you put your hand here
and midst my tight lipped blush, my dry throat, knotted gut,
your earnest eyes focus on me where I focus on you.
You promise me this is what people do because you watch your older brother
do it with his girlfriend while sliding your pants to your knees
while making sure I don’t move my hand, then lift your hand off me
and in a flash yank my pants to my knees,
then wrap tiny fingers around me.
And when I ask if they have done it more than once,
you think a moment, not moving your gaze
and say you’ll have to get back to me on that.
Then we pull our pants back up and chase each other
across the yard and jump into our own swings,
where we pump our legs back and forth,
climbing so high the fluffy, white clouds
seem, at that specific moment, within reach.
Bio: Charles Bigelow’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Big Two Hearted, Nocturnal Lyric, Karamu, The View From Here, The Shine Journal, Old Red Kimono and Aldebaran, among others.
(The only written record of my father’s 67 years)
By Keith Moul
Only 90 routine suns submerging
at horizons of a sailor’s war;
no direction that 90 days would undo;
90 bored days of a sailor’s need
for intimate touches by his wife;
90 nights told of repetitive acts
during duplicated, empty ocean days
of sunrise with no urgency to sunset
with minds mad with apprehension;
and, in the radar room, mapping
blips by longitude and latitude,
calculating points on the sea
that intelligence estimates
will explode with enemies.
Bio: Keith’s poems have been published widely for more than 40 years. His chapbook, The Grammar of Mind, has just been released by Blue & Yellow Dog Press. He also publishes photos.
bittersweet unwrapped and melting
By Courtney Lynn Coleman
life all in boxes,
bitterly the sweet poignancy
of these corners and waves
cuts and stings.
tea helps the sickening
dismembering of current existence
swallowed like a pill.
composure nothing but hollow illusion
fragile at best.
save cheer for salve
of tender embraces and fair wishes.
saving the best smiles
for promises to come.
looking at everything
around, so familiar,
so well known and well worn
knowing the loosing grip
never to be held the same
there is only forward,
and nothing remains as is.
this is it,
you don’t sleep
when this is it.
How Milo Ended on the Streets
By James Valvis
The round squat manager woman
reminded him of meat, chicken flesh
after it was plucked, so much he saw
her legs up in a soup bowl with carrots.
She didn’t like him either, he said,
kept saying it was a quiet trailer park
and they didn’t go in for no parties
and all that stuff college kids do.
She made no apologize when he told her
he wasn’t in college and never had been.
It wasn’t college kids she disliked anyway;
it was youth, younger than her of any kind.
And it wasn’t just that, but all of it,
life in general, she was bitter about the world,
her job, her husband, maybe even her kids,
everything she had, everything she didn’t.
She showed him the trailer, all three rooms,
like walking into a hollowed out bullet.
The kitchenette ran into the living room,
which had a door to the bedroom/bathroom.
He didn’t look into the cabinets for roaches.
He knew they were there. He didn’t close
the open window, he knew it wouldn’t budge.
And he said nothing about the carpet stains.
This was just part of the game, the way
the woman would keep his security deposit
at the end of his stay. An old trick, really.
Just point out flaws that were always there,
then pocket the cash. He’d take it, he said,
and the woman looked pleased with herself.
She handed him the key and said follow her
back to the office to finish the paperwork.
But it was then, for the first time, he glanced
at the woman’s face and noticed that
she owned a mole on the beneath her left eye
and that looked like she was crying a turd,
a little crap ball of sorrow running down
her bulbous cheek. It struck him as funny,
and he started laughing, laughing so hard
she snatched the key away from his hand.
We don’t want crazy people here, she said.
So that was how he ended up on the streets.
It was sad, Milo told me, but that’s just life.
He wasn’t going to cry crap tears about it.
Bio: James Valvis lives in Issaquah, Washington. His poems or stories have
appeared in Atlanta Review, Blip, Confrontation, Crab Creek Review, Hamilton
Stone Review, Pearl, Rattle, Southern Indiana Review, and are forthcoming in
5 AM, Arts & Letters, Catalonian Review, Eclipse, Gargoyle, Los Angeles
Review, Midwest Quarterly, New York Quarterly, Nimrod, Pank, Poemeleon,
South Carolina Review, and many others. A collection of his poems is due
from Aortic Books in 2011.
The National Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Vet’s
By Miceál Kearney
Gerry is having the most wonderful dream:
every animal in the world is dead,
until I ring ‘n’ tell him
I’ve two legs and no head.
The trailer is hitched
I drive into the night.
Gerry sleep-walks out
starts pullin’ ‘n’ dragin’,
routin’ through boxes
F-in’ ‘n’ blindin’ …
this is cruelty to vets.
He does his thing
the lambs are dead
goes back to bed.
The trailer door is closed.
Bio: Miceál Kearney, 30. Co. Galway. Published in magazines and anthologies in Ireland, England and America. Inheritance, Miceál’s debut collection was published by Doire Press in ’08. He also organises On the Farm: poetry reading on the family farm.
By JW Drake
There aren’t too many places you can get a good view of Hell
unless you’re in it, down there, and can see the black river
and mountains – I think there must be some mountains,
at least one where the guy is pushing a big rock up
and every time he gets it to the top
it rolls back down and he has to come down again
himself and start over. He might have built himself 2 camps by now,
seems to be an energetic sort, 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom,
places to stay and rest in between rolls.
Maybe he gets a long break in between rolls, though of course
he can’t just say fuck it and leave, but maybe
he can do something else for awhile, run a little guide service,
make some money (or whatever passes for money in Hell)
he could call it the Hell-Top Tours and take other burning souls up with him
to the top to see what’s there, and maybe get a few to help
push, I don’t know if that’s allowed, but there could be
souls there who would trade Hell jobs with him, if only for the change.
Like that guy who rows the death ferry, now he may want a switch
now and then, or permanently! Or the one who sits in the pool of water
under some fruit trees, maybe Sumerian pomegranate or
greek apple, but he can’t quench or sate and so stays
tantalized and unfulfilled, maybe watching the other guy push the rock
or spending a little time trying to dodge the firecoals
dropping on his head from the dark smoke clouds, many hissing into
his pool or knocking burning pomegranates down on him, too,
metaphorically, I’m sure.
Li (not like the song)
By Joseph M. Gant
the other pills
had made these
in memory and tissue.
receptions of the fabrication
writing here a diagnosis—
medical and firm
for doctors and their clicking
who introduce these treatments to
cold amber walls of matter.
prescriptions fill the space
foxholes of the recollection,
an abdomen of fruitless grain
capsules full of apathy like sandbags
against the flood
keep nothing out
let nothing in,
and holes too in their manifest,
now rest against the status quo.
Bio: Joseph M. Gant is a glassblower by trade but a writer by passion. His poetry and fiction have appeared widely in the underground and academic press. He currently edits poetry for Sex and Murder Magazine, and his first full-length collection of poetry, Zero Division, is forthcoming with Rebel Satori Press.