‘Asemic4’, ‘There Might Be More’

Two photographs with digital flourish by
Kyle Hemmings


Asemic4 (2017)

Asemic4 (2017)

There Might Be More (2017)

There Might Be More (2017)


Kyle Hemmings has had his artwork featured in The Stray Branch, Euphemism, Uppagus, South 85 Journal, Black Market Lit, Sonic Boom, Snapping Twigs, Convergence, and elsewhere. He loves pre-punk garage bands from the 60s, manga comics, urban photography, and French Impressionism. 

Advertisements

ontology

A poem by Paul Brookes


Lifted the black rubber bin lid
saw antlers first then nostrils
then eyes without light
as if looking upwards

horticultural handyman
emptying grass cuttings
into a bin beside greenhouses
owned by a venison farm

hands soft and puffy
pen push finger bone
grooved over years
nursery to college
glad with calluses

scraped, scratched bled
gloveless heave of concrete
flags, grasp shovel handle
to mix sand, water, gravel

collapsed tired muscle
in mam’s deep armchair
knackered and a smile


Paul Brookes is a former shop assistant, security guard, postman, administrative assistant, and lecturer, as well as a member of the poetry performance troupe Rats for Love. His work has been included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990), and more recently in the publications Clear PoetryNixes Mate, Live Nude Poems, The Bezine, and The Bees Are Dead.

His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, was published by Dearne Community Arts in 1993.

Check out his website!

Provocation

A poem by Fred Pollack


When, after years or decades, the detectives
corner the bull-necked abuser and recite
what he did, he snarls, “Shut up. Shut up!”
as if he could demoralize them like
his daughter. Though the poisoner-CEO

tells his assistant to call his lawyer,
we can see from his face he’s doomed;
if it’s near the end of the show,
he confesses. The assiduous hero
gets in some cold remark. But in the world,

detectives are elsewhere. Cops mince
along a line of kneeling demonstrators,
macing them; the latter, their youth fulfilled,
disperse. Abusers and their large adoring
families advance with chants and crosses

upon health clinics. All faith is abuse. At
rallies, people in fortunate sections
where protesters appear surge forth
to prove again the guilt of the victim.
If fools were passive we could work around them.


Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness (available from Story Line Press), and a collection, A Poverty of Words (available from Prolific Press). Another collection, Landscape with Mutant, will be published in 2018 by Smokestack Books (UK). He has many other poems featured in print and online journals.

Pollack is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.

Bitchin’ Freeze

A short story by Maxine Kollar


I got a dog.

I didn’t want a dog.

It was fluffy and white and never barked. It just made a soft humming sound followed by a high-pitched sound. It sounded like a fan gathering speed but I never told it that.

All dogs going to heaven is a movie; well, a straight-to-DVD waste of time, but still. Not true.

This damned dog entered my world through a hole. He had torn the throat out of a boy named Adolf and had been sent here. It didn’t belong here. The boy named Adolf had continued on in another time and the dog couldn’t save the people. It tried. It was a good dog. You should get points for trying but this damned dog got hell for trying to save humanity from itself. A hole opened because there was a tug of war of sorts for its soul. Yes, it has a soul.

He was supposed to fall into the lake but I saw the fluff ball coming down and stuck out my hand and well, here we are.

How do you care for a dog in Hell? I wasn’t even sure what kind it was. Bitchin’ freeze?

“You know that animals know things that people never do,” said Edmund after he saw me ‘stealthily’ looking at my… the dog in the bag next to me.

“Like what?” I asked. Edmund and I were working on the intestinal torture line.

“I dunno. That’s just what I heard. But I’m pretty sure they can tell when earthquakes are coming,” he said.

“That’s stupid. We get earthquakes all the time and…” There was a big one coming right now. The dog started whining in a pitiful way. You’d think we’d be used to that kind of stuff by now—oh, the cries for mercy!—but this was different. I started stroking him and Edmund leaned over and started making a shh noise. The dog quieted down even as we hung on for all we were worth. Big Guy was mad this time.

Two days later, Malicant comes walking up behind me and Edmund while we’re feeding her. She likes intestines and we have plenty of those. Malicant is actually a manager, but he’s been at this for so long that he can’t even bother anymore. He asks her name.

Edmund and I look at each other. We took to calling her ‘The Dog’ and kept it that way because anything else would be how you get attached to something. We didn’t want to get attached. I mean, we were keeping her from getting scared and we sure weren’t going to let her get thrown into the lake with people. But that was it.

We tell Malicant that we don’t have a name for her. He says that it’s important because she is a female dog and if she gets lost you can’t just run around Hell calling, “Bitch, Bitch, hey Bitch.” He had a point.

We named her Contessa without knowing why and without much of an argument. It must have just fit. Malicant comes back the next day and we tell him to take Contessa for a walk. He is delighted but tries to hide it by breathing fire that scorches our foreheads and horns.

Unfortunately, a new manager gets transferred into the Division. He is young and eager and a total pain in the neck. Literally. That’s his thing. Anyway, when he finds out about Contessa, he loses it, while still smiling and scraping my trachea with the sharp end of his tail. He is writing up the report when Malicant walks up behind him and bites his head off. We roll his body into the lake with the people.

No new managers transfer into our division anymore.


Maxine Kollar is a wife and a mother of three. Her works have appeared in Mamalode, Clever Magazine, Funny in Five Hundred, Rat’s Ass Review, and elsewhere.

Consider the Source

A poem by Fred Pollack


When I start feeling good about myself,
I return to a coffeehouse of yesteryear
where friends – real, imagined, composite –
set me straight. Only one, however,
is eager to talk about my work,

a smiling sensitive whose wheatgrass
and yoga segued smoothly into mergers.
“You seem to think it can change things.”
I disagree. “It’s unpleasant.” I agree.
“You aren’t a politician, after all.”

“They don’t help either,” I point out.
The others seem to read responsively,
their voices shriller than recalled,
from slightly discrepant copies of one book:
about concerts, cars, cults, kids,

cruises and, more recently,
prescriptions that rocked their worlds.
Not everyone is there, even in fantasy.
I miss especially
one friend who said I would conquer illusion itself.


Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness (available from Story Line Press), and a collection, A Poverty of Words (available from Prolific Press). Another collection, Landscape with Mutant, will be published in 2018 by Smokestack Books (UK). He has many other poems featured in print and online journals.

Pollack is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.

Gumpland

A poem by Fred Pollack


“What do you mean,” they asked, “you
‘drew conclusions from loneliness’?
Loneliness isn’t a premise.”
I goggled at them. They were already
goggling at me.

Mourning, for them, was likewise
rudimentary, a prolonged
inarticulate questioning
(I’m not saying I’d do better) of
the Incommensurate. The rights and wrongs

of leaving a trail of blood
behind one, as I had,
were left to the minds of judges,
who allowed just one plea:
insanity.

So at meals thereafter I sat with
intellectuals, who built castles
in the air with food.
“You won’t be lonely now,”
said the guards, without subtext.


Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness (available from Story Line Press), and a collection, A Poverty of Words (available from Prolific Press). Another collection, Landscape with Mutant, will be published in 2018 by Smokestack Books (UK). He has many other poems featured in print and online journals.

Pollack is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.