6/30/2018 0 Comments
Poetry By Alfonso Mango
Tiny Town Made of Legos
I kick down
your tiny town
made of legos, kid
yer town doesn’t
have enough back alleys
for the pissdrunks and the
vultures to hover over
it’s all funfetti and joy
and no tv static homicide report
it’s no town at all
and it’s time you learned that
yer utopia hangs a flag of lies
of fleeting plastic dreams
and my heart was once made
the fleeting plastic dreams
but not no more, billy boy
not no more
it’s been kicked in
ten too many times
chewed up by the baby teeth
of organized religion
and televangelists whose doors
for money and pussy
so goodbye tiny town made of legos
goodbye childhood and
i’m blocking up yer glassless plastic holes
fer windows and filling them in
with the pain that’s truth that’s at least
my truth my pain goodbye
High On Coffee On Dream
I’m high on the coffee of the dream of life of explosions yeah yeah
ten million flippin explosions loading shotguns to the heart to the
main vein wiring of me of we I disconnect from your hippie nightmare
I’d rather drown in coffeedust in poem in withered little sad autumn
forever and the dregs keep on dreggin the buildings get higher the
coffee gets cold but god damn it all it’s still caffeinated enough to
keep me high away from the dandelion delusions of corporeal
America and the dreamsicle drizzle of escalating miserable apathy
and I’m okay you all my friends my citizens my stranger bedfellows
because you see I’ve got my own god damn brand of misery and
it knows just exactly the right way to fuck me in the ass.
Cute Little Flower Poem
Oh yer a cute little flower poem aren’t ya
yer a dandy little daydream of sweat and sugar
ya got me all fuzzy wuzzy and forgettin
and lovey dovey and drowning and you’re slapped
so perfectly up there into your cute little digital
box and send out your flock of technicolor carrier
pigeons to tell everyone that “love is lovely” and
the flowers and the hearts and the stars and
horseshoes and clovers and blue moons the pots
of gold and rainbows and even the reddest of the
red balloons that float slowly away so perfectly
out of touch from me, from me.
Bio: Alfonso Mango is a degenerate droog pacing the stains of his own mess-riddled basement vegas apartment. His drunken scrawlings have been unfortunately tied to publications at Horror Sleaze Trash as well as Punch Drunk Press. Thank you for being gentle on him.
6/29/2018 0 Comments
I'm Still Here By Jack Forbes
I’m Still Here
The first thing Emily noticed was the dead branches lain across his front yard. Cut down, the leaves stripped, racked in a stack. She opened the gate and walked up the driveway, passing the debris. Most of the leaves were frayed in shades of wasted greens and browns.
The flyscreen door opened. Emily looked up. Horace, her one-time lover of more than 30 years ago, emerged in a worn gold dressing gown.
Emily, he called, raising a hand.
She smiled. She clutched her handbag, then her eyes fell to the driveway. Oil stains. Cracks. Pricks of weed spouting through the pavement.
Under the carport, Horace embraced Emily. She smelt stale nicotine. Dust. They retracted and he clasped her shoulders and beamed. My God, he said. It’s been forever.
Yes, she said, lightly. Yes, it has.
You haven’t aged a day, said Horace.
She glanced in his eyes, these two tiny blue things behind glasses, dug into broad hollow sockets.
He brought her into him again, he smelling more of old furniture than of a man.
Inside, the house was dim. It was hard to look at him. Tall and gaunt and fragile. As he showed her into the kitchen she saw splotches of varying sizes and colours dotted over the bottom of his gown. He dragged his slipper-feet over the floorboards. Wisps of his combover stood upright, catching what little light there was in the kitchen.
Please, he said, removing a newspaper from the kitchen table. Take a seat.
Thanks, said Emily. She drew out the chair and slung her handbag over the backrest and smoothed the front of her skirt and sat.
A kettle was boiling on the kitchen bench. Two mugs beside the kettle. A small jar of milk beside them. Horace was leaning against the bench, smiling at her. When the kettle clicked he turned and poured the water into the mugs and Emily watched the plume of steam funnel up over his face. It didn’t seem to bother him.
He tipped a little milk into his mug. Two spiderlike fingers pinching the jar’s handle. He then brought the mugs over and sat.
Thank you, said Emily, as Horace’s frail hand gently slid the mug over to her.
The tea was Earl Grey, strong, like a perfume.
I remembered it was your favourite, said Horace.
Emily smiled, lifted the mug and blew on it. She looked around the kitchen. Although the window blinds were open there was a darkness about the room. As if in all its long years the place had never gotten enough light.
It’s a lovely house, said Emily.
Yeah, said Horace, surveying the walls, the ceiling. He leaned forward in his chair. I’d always meant to have you and Jim over, but we never got around to that, did we?
Before Emily answered, Horace said:
How is Jim, by the way?
Still together, I hope?
Emily nodded. Then her phone buzzed from inside the handbag. She took out the phone and when she swiped the screen open her face was momentarily blue. Horace watched.
Sorry, she said, glancing up at Horace. She texted something, then laid the phone on the table.
They were silent. Horace smiling warmly at Emily. The drone of a clock tick. Muffled bird chirpings.
The phone buzzed again. Horace’s eyes darted to it. As Emily went to pick up the phone Horace said: I’m not keeping you, am I?
Emily left the phone alone. No, it’s just – I don’t mean to be blunt, Horace, but when you called yesterday, you said it was about something urgent?
Horace laid his palms flat on the table and closed his eyes. As if ready to recite prayer. When he opened his eyes, they seemed further inward his head.
Jeanie died last week.
Oh… Horace. I’m so sorry.
He’d retracted his hands. They disappeared into his lap.
Thanks, he said. It was expected, but…
I don’t know what to say. It must be hard. I’m so sorry.
Horace lifted his mug, tested the rim with his bottom lip. He left the rim on his lip for some time. When Emily tested the mug on her lip, the rim was scalding. It hurt, but she set the cup down in a seamless motion, hiding the pain.
Then Horace said: It just got me thinking, you know. About family and friends.
And how when we get to our age you think about the people who have left you.
Emily was aware of her body. Any movement she would make was somehow inappropriate. Wires of tension pricked within her shoulders.
I just thought it would be nice to see a familiar face.
Emily smiled, weakly, with him. She was going to say that familiar wasn’t the right word, but stopped herself. Then she said: How are, um, John and…?
Sorry, Diane. How are they?
They’re okay. They’re taking care of Jeanie’s stuff now. They said, Dad, you sit back and relax. We’ll take care of this.
They’re good kids. Well, adults now. With their own kids. But we still see them as kids, don’t we?
Emily nodded. You’ve got grandkids?
Yes, five altogether.
They’re going to miss their nan, though.
Emily nodded again, gravely. Eyes down in the black of her tea. Without realising, she’d taken a large breath, then exhaled quietly. Now, she was more relaxed.
In fact, said Horace, you should see this.
Horace stood and lead Emily into the living room. He switched on a light. The room was packed up and near empty. Clear squares and rectangles where photos and paintings had been in places over the mustardcoloured walls. Boxes, some taped up, others half-full on top of a rugless floorboard. An armchair askew in the corner. The wide, shadeless window that let in the stark overcast of outside. Towards the back of the living room, in front of an empty mantel, was a teddy bear atop a baby’s highchair. Over the bear’s mouth was an X of duct tape. Tied around its body was a bungee cord, strung tightly across a number of times so that the bear’s fur was tense, spouting over the cord.
This is hilarious, said Horace.
Emily didn’t say anything. She looked at the bear’s lolled head, its black-button eyes.
That’s Willy, said Horace. And he’s my hostage.
Horace laughed – dead echo in the living room.
Diane’s daughter left it here the other night when they slept over. Diane rings me when she gets home, says, Oh Maddie won’t stop crying, she’s lost her teddy! So, I said I’d have a look for him. Found him under the bed and thought, I’ll have some fun with this. Thought I’ll tie Willy up, send a photo to Diane saying, I’ve got him held hostage, Maddie! You’ll never see him again.
Horace kept laughing. Emily stared at the hostage bear, her mouth open ajar.
Horace’s laughter slowed, and then eventually he was silent. Emily said: I hope she wasn’t too frightened.
Oh, no. They loved it… I loved it. They’ll be here to pick him up tomorrow.
From the kitchen, Emily heard her phone ring.
Sorry, she said, and left the room to answer it.
Horace folded his arms, staring at the bear. His face slowly lost the warm smile, then moulded to a deep frown. He then looked at the greyness outside the window. Slowly, soft rain began to fall.
In the kitchen Emily was nodding quickly, the phone pressed to her ear. Horace glared at the tight scrunch of red earlobe under her thumb.
Yep, sure, said Emily. No, that file was supposed to be deleted… the case finished last week. Yep… Right. No, thank you, Karen.
And then Emily looked at Horace.
Look I have to go, Karen… Yeah, sorry. Enjoy your weekend. Bye.
Emily lifted her bag from the back of the chair and propped it on the table.
Sorry, just work stuff.
Can’t get away from it, huh?
I thought you’d have retired by now.
Planning to. Next year, hopefully.
I never worked too hard, said Horace. Not really.
They were silent again. While Emily pretended to adjust things in her bag she looked at the levelled circles of dried tea within Horace’s mug.
Horace had moved from the doorway, closer to Emily now. She heard his old, faded breaths. She took a step back from him, slung the handbag strap over her shoulder.
Would you like another cup? asked Horace.
No, thanks. I should really be heading off.
He nodded, glumly. Then he shivered. He touched things – the back of the chair, the table corner, a piece of his robe, massaged two fingers against his thumb.
Horace, said Emily. Is everything okay?
Horace pulled out the chair and sat. He said: Can you please stay a little longer?
Emily’s phone buzzed again. She set the handbag back on the table and got the phone out and turned it off and put the phone back in the bag and drew out a chair beside Horace and sat.
He reached out and touched her arm. His fingers gripped her shirt, the blunt nails scrunching up the material. His bottom lip quivered. Flared nostrils of a deep and languid breath. Slight whimper.
Emily leaned in closer. How did she die, Horace?
We were in the bedroom. She was drugged up, in and out of sleep. I was lying beside her, reading the paper. It was so quiet. Then she just blurted out: Horace, what’s it like outside? She’d lost her sight by this stage. I looked at her eyes. They were all grey and rolling about. I looked outside the window and it was just about to rain. All grey. Just like her eyes. Then I said: It’s golden. The sun’s falling warmly through the trees, and the garden’s full and healthy. I looked over at her, she had this smile. Weak, but… a smile nonetheless. And she said: Horace, can you take me outside, in the sun?
I helped her into the wheelchair and rolled her outside, just out in the front garden, where all those dead leaves are now. Everything was still. It was a little chilly. I could see misty rain in the distance, over the top of the houses. She said: I can hear the street and the cars going onto the freeway. And the wind. I can feel it. I said to her: We’re in the sun, now, and she said she could feel that, too. Then she was asleep again.
That night I slept beside her, which I rarely did towards the end. But something told me I should. When I woke up in the morning, she was gone. She was very cold, so it must have been somewhere in the night, long before I woke. God, she was cold. But her face was soft. Relaxed. I kissed her on the forehead and… That was it.
The clock ticked heavily. Drumlike. Emily shifted in the chair, scratched a leg on the floor. Horace sniffed, rubbed his nose with the edge of his finger. Then he took off his glasses.
At least you were there, said Emily.
Horace sighed. Then he said: I didn’t have any thoughts. Everything was a blur. I paced around a bit, and then, for some reason, you came to mind and I felt safe. I knew I had to see you, Em.
I’m touched you thought of me.
I still think of you. Of us, together.
Horace, that was such a long time ago.
But it’s time I can’t forget.
I understand you’re grieving, Horace, but you can’t dwell on us. It was a fling a lifetime ago. We’ve moved on.
But I’d think on it, day-to-day. Whether I was with Jeanie or not. Wondering if I’d been more of a man, I could have made a life with you.
I didn’t want that.
We had a fling for a month, but that was all. I was building a life back then.
You didn’t consider us being together?
Emily shook her head. We had fun, really good fun. You were a charming man. But you weren’t part of anything long term.
I can’t believe you felt that way.
Emily looked Horace in the eyes and said: That’s what you said, too. That’s what you said at the start. Nothing of this is for the long term.
Horace stared forward, a still, blank look. He rested his elbows on the table.
I don’t recall that, he said, in near whisper.
I do, said Emily. Very clearly.
But if it did happen, I wish I hadn’t said it. I wish I’d said the opposite. Because if I did, you’d still be here.
You’d still be here, and I wouldn’t be alone.
Emily went to stand, composing what to say next, but she was cut off by the shrieking sounds of tires on the road outside that halted with a thunderous crashing sound of metal.
Emily jumped a little, a hand over chest. Horace remained still, glaring forward at nothing.
What was that? said Emily.
I’m still here, said Horace.
A woman screamed, and something large collapsed.
Emily started for the door and opened it and peered down Horace’s driveway.
Opposite Horace’s front lawn was a car with its front totalled into a streetlight. The streetlight had collapsed onto the slab of pavement which was cracked inward. A woman was knelt by the front door of the car. She wiped a shower of glass and blood from her face.
Oh my God, said Emily. She went back into the kitchen, where Horace remained still.
There’s been a horrible accident. Pass me my phone, quick.
Horace didn’t move. I’m still here, he said.
Emily took her phone from the table and turned it on. She paced behind Horace, waiting for the phone to boot up. Horace, she said, we have to help.
Emily grabbed her handbag, sidled out of the kitchen, out the front door, down the driveway. Horace listened to her heels clack on the pavement in-between the wailing wauls of a woman, cars stopping, doors opening and closing, a siren hurling all around the open air.
Then he stood and lumbered to the doorway and leaned against it. He pulled the flyscreen door in and locked it. He looked at Emily’s figure through the mesh of flyscreen. A strange distortion of a person meeting the random wrath of carnage. He said: I’m still here.
He then swung the front door shut, and deadlocked it.
Bio: Jack Forbes is an Australian writer based in Melbourne. His short fiction has appeared in the Australian-based international journal, Tincture, and the University of Queensland's literary journal, LiNQ.
Lauren Lakis is FEROCIOUS in her new single ‘Lead Us On' By Lydia Reed
With a varied and interesting past, Lauren Lakis pours her experiences into her songwriting, creating a low-fi gem entitled ‘Lead Us On’. Featuring her signature staple of gritty guitars and straightforward lyricism, the single has been resonating with listeners across the globe. The Baltimore native has had a colorful past and this is clearly evident throughout her music, with elements of shoegaze and swirling synthesisers that shine through the edgy instrumentation.
‘Lead Us On’ is the first single to be released off of Lakis’ album FEROCIOUS. Take a listen below and enjoy!
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About Lauren Lakis: A child of Baltimore, Lauren Lakis grew to embrace the fatalistic spirit of the city with an ever-present and fearless approach to her work and art. The hand-crafted rawness of her sound bellows deep and true, unscathed by the prevailing winds of today's polite rock. Lakis's persistence and growth in the Los Angeles scene can be attributed to her previous bands Hobart W Fink (vocals), Slow Coda (vocals & keys), & LA Nova (vocals, keys, bass, programming).
Inspired by the challenges that life throws at you, Lakis purposely immersed herself into experiencing arduous and uncomfortable situations. Having looked up to fearless women as a child, the songstress was determined to live her life as raw, real and unapologetic as possible. “I always aspired to embody those qualities, to strike out on my own, boldly go where no one in my family has gone, to love harder and more passionately” reveals Lakis. Wanting to discover what it’s like to lead the lives of as many different types of people in the world, Lakis spent nights writing poetry with junkies in abandoned warehouses, taught English in Prague, worked as both a stripper and yoga teacher in Tokyo and helped as a mentor for kids with Autism. These challenges gave her a whole new understanding, opening her eyes and learning empathy and compassion for others which ultimately infiltrated her songwriting.
FEROCIOUS, her first full-length solo album, is a product of passion. The album is a culmination of these past experiences folded with a recent personal tragedy. In collaboration with producer Billy Burke, Lakis explores the full spectrum of the grieving process against a backdrop of shoegaze inspired guitars, haunting synth swells, deep-driving beats, and lyrics imparted with true candor. All instrumentals were written and performed by Lakis with the exception of AJ Brown on drums and additional guitars by Chris Garcia and Alex Stills. Additional engineering tasked to the talented Chris Kasych (Adele [Grammy], Phantogram, Cee Lo Green), with mixing and mastering also performed by Billy Burke.
Thematically, the album narrates the stages of grief in chronological order. With the desire to express something human and honest, Lakis takes it upon herself to say the things that most people feel uncomfortable to say, “whether it’s a lost love, or a new love that sets me ablaze, both are equally inspiring to me”. Leading single ‘Lead Us On’ shines with gritty guitars, resonating melodies and ethereal vocals. While on the track 'Ferocious', simple melodies, prominent drums and haunting vocals highlight the authenticity in Lakis's songwriting. The video for the poignant single features stunning choreography between two lovers, with their motions resembling the trials and tribulations that relationships go through.
With candid storytelling, unique vocal prowess and commanding stage presence, Lakis is an artist to watch. FEROCIOUS, the album, is set for release June 22nd via Cavity Search Records.
6/25/2018 0 Comments
Poetry By Arielle Tipa
We reek celestial and witch's noose. I've tried feeling better but not like this. I shake at
your undertouch. I want Mary Pickford hair. I want a knife. I misread sweet alyssum as
sweet asylum and now I dream of gardens and a bad eclipse until I'm dizzy. Until we spit.
We ache more spiderlike than we used to. There is still time to sleep. There is always
time to sleep.
Bio: Arielle Tipa is a writer who lives near a haunted lake in New York. She is the Founding Editor of Occulum. Her debut chapbook of poetry and prose, daughter - seed, is set to release in Winter 2018 from Empty Set Press.
6/23/2018 0 Comments
Poetry By Grant Guy
He Never Said He Was Jesse James
He never said he was Jesse James
Although he would have liked to be
He ain't no Butch Cassidy
Those days are gone like rotary phones
And honky-tonk juke boxes
Daydreaming died in Cassidy's days
That is why Cassidy moved to Bolivia
Like him Bolivia lived in the past
Out of window he looked out at the red setting sun
He sighed deeply and wilted
His wife coldly commented
Either evolve or die
Out of the window he saw his gravestone
He flipped hamburgers
She flipped his heart
She worked the counter
At the A&W in Transcona
That was enough of a common ground
To base their 35 year marriage on
Their three children
And their eight grandchildren
All worked at the A&W in Transcona
For three generations they were the Burger Family
They called their marriage a success
she was a garbageman's daughter
every day was Christmas
he was a taxi driver's son
everyday was bootcamp in the face
they had a go at it
he turned out to be no present
she he could drive only so far
because of you i stopped believing in Santa Claus
because of you i learnt life is not fare
luckily for the kids they never had
he married a stripper and died out back of a bar in Vancouver
she married a lawyer and is a broken woman without her Santa Claus
Bio: Grant Guy is a Canadian poet, writer, playwright, stage director and designer. He has over one hundred poems and short stories published in internationally. He has five books published: Open Fragments, On the Bright Side of Down, Blues for a Mustang, The Life and Lies of Calamity Jane and Bus Stop Bus Stop. His plays include an adaptation of Paradise Lost and the Grand Inquisitor. He was the 2004 recipient of the MAC’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the WAC Making A Difference Award.
6/22/2018 0 Comments
Poetry By Kenneth Nichols
and when the sky opened, she could see that the light was just and the truth was home
they say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
but vinegar doesn’t leave your enemy wincing and wretching
regretting that they bent their elbows where they didn’t belong.
it is a command and a commandment: nemo me impune lacessit
because i won’t be provoked with impunity. reality manifests
itself as a game show in which I know my doppelganger
and i can’t occupy the same space without universes imploding.
So the incontrovertible everything is the only way forward: a
solution so important to those who discount solipsism as a
method for determining truth. the vinegar pours, the pink
slip flutters, fleeting thought, perhaps, as to why: this
garage sale philosophy is too plebeian, too sanguine.
Bio: Kenneth Nichols earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Ohio State and maintains the writing craft website Great Writers Steal (www.greatwriterssteal.com). His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Main Street Rag, Crimespree Magazine, and Lunch Ticket.
6/22/2018 0 Comments
Poetry By Kristin Garth
A Map of Pinecones
I ran away from you into the wild.
You taught the appellations of each tree.
I made a map of pinecones as a child.
Beneath your apparition is banshee.
I sprinkle dirt to cover where I tread.
I learned from you the danger of a trail,
the compass of a body that has bled.
Survival’s skeleton is small details.
I make my flesh into a mystery --
my pallor painted, freshly showered earth.
Retreat is careful choreography.
You must not smell the memory of hurt.
Hold shut the wounded places you defiled.
I will not let you find me in the wild.
Bio: Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker. In addition to Anti-Heroin Chic, her sonnets have stalked the pages of Glass, Occulum, Luna Luna, Burning House Press, TERSE. Journal, Drunk Monkeys and many other publications. Her chapbook Pink Plastic House is currently available (Maverick Duck Press), and she has two forthcoming, Shakespeare for Sociopaths (The Hedgehog Poetry Press Jan 2019) and Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press Sept 2018). Follow her on Twitter: @lolaandjolie
6/21/2018 0 Comments
Poetry By Ian Lewis Copestick
I worked for 5 long years
Nights in a cardboard box factory
Long, long nights of pain and sweat
The machines never stopped
You had to work really hard
To keep up with them
If you ever hit the stop button
The supervisor would come
Down from his office
And want to know why
Outside the factory doors
Where we had to stand to smoke
A train track ran straight past
On my 4 'O'Clock break
I would stand there
Cigarette in hand staring
At the trains
Dreaming about the people
And where they were going
I didn't know if they were
Heading North or South
They could have been going
To London or Edinburgh
I didn't really care
All that much
They were always just
And that seemed good enough
Away from sweat and pain
And long, long nights
In a factory
Away from cardboard fucking boxes
Bio: Ian Lewis Copestick is a 45 year old poet from Stoke On Trent England. Although he has a long history of addiction issues, he hates the thought of being defined by it. He started writing poetry about 15 years ago after discovering Bukowski and being hit by the revelation that working class people CAN be poets.
6/20/2018 0 Comments
Poetry By John Grey
IN THE COFFEE HOUSE
You read email,
between sipping lattes.
Coffee and correspondence -
the beans, the bytes,
that dreams are made of.
People take the time to grow the beans.
Others break away from their schedules
to tap out a few words of affection.
Some guy slaves
all day in the searing heat,
plucks away at trees
for farthings a bushel.
A woman bites her tongue down
on all that you did to her
when you were together,
finds, still beating in her battered heart,
a few well-wishing words.
A lot of pain got you born,
and some heavy sacrifice,
none of it your own,
steered you through college.
The coffee house
is on the ground floor
of a twenty story building.
Three men died in its construction.
The young girl who served you
is sick, has a rotten headache,
is almost out on her feet.
She'd go home
but she needs the money.
You keep an eye on
the leased BMW
in the parking lot.
You're under the impression
it's what got you here.
JUANITA AND JAKE
They rode all over California avoiding the cops.
She laughed and screamed like a Spanish banshee.
Suddenly he drove into a retaining wall like a bomb.
He crawled out of the wreckage as slithery as any reptile.
A second-hand Ford melted then cooled.
For a moment, she had this vision of being the automobile,
coughed off some Detroit assembly line.
with tattooed doors and straggly busted windowpanes,
worn down by the raging buttocks of teen-age romance.
The specter of her fruit-picking ancestors wept over her.
Bio: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, Poetry East and Visions International.
6/19/2018 0 Comments
Review Of James Diaz's "This Someone I Call Stranger" By Tricia Marcella Cimera
This Someone I Call Stranger, James Diaz (Indolent Books 2018)
Can a book of poetry be like a music album that defines a time of your life, or lets you enter someone else’s life, that you return to again and again? Yes, and This Someone I Call Stranger by James Diaz is one of them. Diaz aptly uses the term “trauma songs” in one of his pieces. Each poem in the book has lines in it that are like talismans, where you nod yes in deep recognition and feel that what is being sung is being sung especially to you. The wistful beauty of “we were too poor for stairs/but I dreamed of them” in Wherever You Go, There You Aren’t haunts, as does “I can’t put it out/this cigarette of a feeling” at the end of Monty III.
You go to these gorgeous poems to fall into a well of sadness, then climb out with redemption as a rope, the very thing which sometimes so terribly eludes those who inhabit these poems. Diaz uses language and imagery masterfully yet understandably – poets and non-poets alike can navigate his words, absorbing what is being said as well as how it’s being said. He is never maudlin; definitely never gratuitous. “you learn to hide from all of the death eaters/the cheerleaders of nothing and nowhere” jumps out in Anyone Can Light A Match in the Dark, with a powerful bite.
With this first book, Diaz offers solace. Sometimes it’s to the people that he’s met along his twisted, painful and beautiful journey – scary childhood, addiction, psych wards, depression, introspection, empathy, creativity – but many times it seems it’s to his own self, the self that is filled with despair but, stubbornly, still wants to hang on, it knows not why. “This must be it, I’ll never recover, you thought/yes you will, but you didn’t know it then”, he writes compassionately in Life Beyond This Moment. Yet, there is no escaping the stark fact that “there is no other person in the world/who could destroy you/as well as you could” in Come Morning It Will Still Be As Bad As The Day Before.
Poems may come to mean a lot to the reader but what do they mean to the poet? At what cost were they written? Diaz lets us know these things firsthand, bloody-fisted; he doesn’t stand apart at a cool, impersonal distance. “how short the time of innocence is” he observes heart-breakingly in Color-Coordinated Pencil Box. James Diaz has made art out of his life, created a soundtrack to his own fragmented world that, really, is not so unfamiliar (certainly not to me). Set the record needle on This Someone I Call Stranger — and listen.
This Someone I Call Stranger is now available for purchase directly from Indolent Books, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Bio: Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Look for her work in these diverse places (some forthcoming): Anti-Heroin Chic, Buddhist Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Failed Haiku, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, The Bees are Dead, Wild Plum and elsewhere. She has two micro collections, THE SEA AND A RIVER and BOXBOROUGH POEMS, on the Origami Poems Project website. Tricia believes there’s no place like her own backyard and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois / in a town called St. Charles / by a river named Fox and keeps a Poetry Box in her front yard.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.