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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

In these erasure poems, Collier Nogues presents oblique, redolent lines that contain and complicate the ghostlike traces left behind from original historical documents. Nogues has created a beautiful, haunting piece of work with The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground, winner of the inaugural Drunken Boat Poetry Book Contest.

You can read Nogues’s poems as simply the appearance of inviting, enigmatic words on a page. But you can also read them while moving your finger or your cursor over the offered lines, in this way interacting with the text as you reveal as well as conceal the primary texts on which the poems are based. (more…)

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The cephalopod, specifically the octopus, is our mascot for this autumnal lament/salute to impermanence. (Thank Sy Montgomery’s marvelous The Soul of an Octopus for our current obsession.) I’m thinking not only of its amorphous shape and feats of disguise—It can escape from its tank and squeeze into cracks in the wall! It can camouflage itself to look like a cloud passing over sand!—but also of its vulnerability. It’s a nautilus without a shell, “a big packet of unprotected protein,” who received with the gift of shapeshifting the curse of perpetual defensiveness—and of hunting down the calories to maintain its constant flight and invention (Montgomery, 82).

Since it wouldn’t be Gloom Cupboard if we didn’t find some metaphor for human mortality and general fallibility, I would suggest that we’re in similar straits. We need just enough intelligence to communicate, and ingratiate ourselves, with one another; too much, and we’re melancholic, antisocial, and misanthropic (and read online literary journals with names like Gloom Cupboard). Too much, and we store our collective memory and cultural markers on external servers (like GloomCupboard.com) and keep little inside. Worst of all, it makes life too hard to give up. All of the shapeshifting and makeovers and striving and dragging our packets of protein through school or work or traffic or behind a lawn mower. We know how it will end, but we need to see the shadow pass over us. We need to escape our tanks.

~T.M. De Vos, Editor

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You can’t even be somewhere without spending money anymore: to earn the right to perform your cellular respirations in any given square foot, you’d better have a receipt or be standing in line to get one. A cup of coffee buys you an unharassed half hour on a high stool; a jaunty shopping bag shields you from suspicion while you linger for a moment on a bench. I once spent time in a city where the mall for the affluent was protected by security guards with machine guns. The people they let in were taller, robust, pressed. The ones whose path they stepped into were slighter, hungrier, looser in their clothes. In another city a hemisphere away, sidewalk guards stepped in front of men from the provinces and told them that the parks and stores were closed. 

To be treated humanely, you must seem to be doing well. 

We’re still more interested in the friendless, the bereft, the people who are left out of the sanitized exchange of the marketplace, the bleaching streetlamps of public life, the invisible fences around gated communities. There are those who are completely outside, and those on the edges, who eke out their positions every day.  The story of the have-not is the only interesting narrative; stories of success are all alike: find your market, trade up. 

~T.M. De Vos, Editor

Current Issue

Poetry

Cathedral by Samir Atassi

Like Brothers and People Who Have Nothing by Roy Bentley

Friendless by Colin Dodds

Two Poems by Simon Perchik

Creative Nonfiction

The More Things Change, or How Facebook Has Ruined Reincarnation by Zeke Jarvis

Potato Chips by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence

Art Untied by Katy Masuga

Fiction

Cassandra by Lindsay Merbaum

The Greyhound by Wendy Vaizey

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I just returned from a work trip to Vegas and was reminded again of the immense darkness that lies behind the relentless marquees, the canned attractions, overdone resorts, and extraverted casinos. What intrigues me are the people, the ones who live off the scraps: the immigrants in stained shirts flicking pornographic cards at tourists; the oversunned men undoing the failed Harmon Hotel, tier by black-shrouded tier; the old men levitating objects on the sidewalks for spare change; the trio of girls in extensions and eyelashes who stood in the Cosmopolitan, smiling nervously at the men who ordered them. Those who have nothing extraordinary to show, or no money to buy the time and wares of others, are seen only in flickers: shadowy figures crossing the six-lane intersections, dragging their bags or carts or unresponsive limbs. They do not rest until the others have finished consuming and, when they do, they are always waking.

This issue is dedicated to the darkness—not necessarily melancholy or evil, but the unseen, quiet vacuum that lies between the attractions that compete for our conscious attention. From what do we turn when we look for diversion? From what do we hide when we fill our time with noise, with conversations, with souvenirs, with spectacles—with what I call the dimestore world?

~T.M. De Vos, Editor

Current Issue

Poetry

Meat and three by Rachel Adams

Dim, but not darker than me and What he pawned was black by Ashlie Allen

Inviable and Who Was the Girl in the Window? by Maureen Alsop

Deciding When to Die by Paul R. Davis

Our Dimension by Peycho Kanev

Three Poems by Simon Perchik

Strand, The Golem Visits Coney Island, and The Golem Rides the Amtrak by Yosef Rosen

Creative Nonfiction

Exhibit I[ntrovert] by Kristin Fitzsimmons

Fiction

Sleep Paralysis by Valerie Borey

Public Viewings by Chase Eversole

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Poetry # 153

kafka11

Rumors of my death have been largely exaggerated.

Eleven months since the last time you saw me, Poetry Issue # 152, resulted in my first published book of poems, “Random Acts of Terror” published by Citizens for Decent Literature Press, a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a better understanding – politically – of just how fucked humanity and all its oppressed and exploited people are. A higher education resulted in already-formed philosophical convictions.

But I digress.

Now, with more time dedicated to putting together a crème de la crème of poetry submissions on a regular basis, you will see new and established and pseudo-established poets offering their literary blood, guts and other organs each month. Ten poems per issue, per month.

Enjoy the issue.

Luis Rivas,
Poetry Editor
Gloom Cupboard

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YTarnawsky 1 (1)

Poet, translator, and fiction writer Yuriy Tarnawsky is a founding member of the New York Group and, as the faithful reader will recall, star of the fourth “Xорошо.” His latest work, consisting of The Placebo Effect Trilogy (JEF Books) and Modus Tollens (Jaded Ibis Productions) manages to be at once fluid and oddly specific; familiar yet unsettling. Tarnawsky, as usual, unnerves the reader by leaving her half the work of assembling these subconsciously active worlds. This seventh reincarnation of “The New Xорошо,” is the product of free association, linguistic play, nightmare, and a very permissive gateway between living and dead. ~T.M. De Vos

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Poetry Issue # 152

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.

For the poets who think they’re famous, truncate that bio of yours dramatically. Unless you’re Lyn Lifshin or Jack Hirschman.

Yours truly,

The Last Remaining Poetry Editor to Stand Up and Walk through the Apocalyptic Burning Streets of Los Angeles

Luis Rivas

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