Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Mazisi: Alive At The Cusp of Your 90th Realm, Will Alexander

Was I wrong,
A poem by Mazisi Kunene

Was I wrong when I thought
All shall be avenged?
Was I wrong when I thought
The rope of iron holding the neck of young bulls
Shall be avenged?
Was I wrong
When I thought the orphans of sulphur
Shall rise from the ocean?
Was I depraved when I thought there need not be love,
There need not be forgiveness, there need not be progress,
There need not be goodness on the earth,
There need not be towns of skeletons,
Sending messages of elephants to the moon?
Was I wrong to laugh asphyxiated ecstasy
When the sea rose like quicklime
When the ashes on ashes were blown by the wind
When the infant sword was left alone on the hill top?
Was I wrong to erect monuments of blood?
Was I wrong to avenge the pillage of Caesar?
Was I wrong? Was I wrong?
Was I wrong to ignite the earth
And dance above the stars
Watching Europe burn with its civilisation of fire,
Watching America disintegrate with its gods of steel,
Watching the persecutors of mankind turn into dust
Was I wrong? Was I wrong?

Mazisi: Alive At The Cusp of Your 90th Realm
A poem by Will Alexander

you the great spirit
the intransigent oracle
who now appears & disappears
as progenitor of liberty
not as scribe super-imposed by professional sterility as syntax
but by magical etching via surreptitious penguin's quills
never a domain of hoarseness
but personal power via in-docile bravery
being colorful wind that continues to erupt from transfixed volcanoes & it is you
who magically inscribed Shaka
who sculpted his salt from indiginous fragments
from lingual incensment
alive as living structural historicity
not as quotidian perspicacity
but through language as sum
via the biographic as intrigue

you remain the great torch
blazing & retreating as touch & go astonishment
possessing in your psyche a plethora of lion's blood
condoned by dark behavioural spell
always signalling from the beyond your power as prophetic Zulu doctor who continues to forge alchemical numerics
rife with organic Zulu cosmology

you are never as dazed ghost or ornamental replication
but as mirror who embraces forces & because you remain spawned by ceaseless bravery
you spontaneously erupt
not unlike a teeming realm explosive with swans
always breaching the invisible
via the spellbinding power
of your commanding hallucination

Friday, November 13, 2020

MYTHAXIS, Rus Khomutoff

I was hand, body, liquid ruled by the dark seas/rapture honeycombed in flesh/crosscurrents of understanding/horrorotica mythaxis grind/describes what the new normal is like/streaming eye of syndication/this is one of those moments when everything coalesces/conversations with the light/wishpenny inflections/give a heart across a hundred evenings in the sire of the battle cry/blood testament life/marathon premium stay true machine sympathy stigma to status story ritual burying the cruel truth/sorry,not sorry celebrity news/what we are doing is harboring the savage point/master of metaphor decium riff/one does not dream, one is dreamed/wisdom in the foam sword words equidistant/calm over everything just like the unspeakable word/and these questions they give us no rest/one indivisible and forever/arm of exuberance, shore of elan/tale of the loop/orbit dance doctor tomorrow/howl of the deranged protocol infinite terrain spawning infinite game/noise of the crimes between us/ the remembering gain/street fever decennial hybrid mind embrace/jettison the feel phantom drift assuming the mask. Overthrow the self/an airborne disease, a beautiful thing that never happened/glistening in the rays of a distant supernova,mercurial staff take your breath away/pirate blood/nautical dawn/wild blossom/intercept canvas redux,church of trees scream in silence.There was superimposition & worry at a certain hour of the day/hyena season genesis grasp secret psalm in search of duende/this eventuality’s carnival row exit in memory reclaiming time with unexpected grace notes/vagabond of the margins/burning up the green guardian/assignations crestfallen between music & silence/carnivalesque Xerox & infinity/ dimension horizon stasis leak everlasting/cherub chance the undying matter anticipating nowhere/theramin cost victim of illusion priceless channel /follow me into the reprieve best private fantasy times two/taste of holiday gross hesitation/to dance in the dark without fear/imperial violets distant shore/venerable plight/checkered koan/the other side of no tomorrow/the lost symbol/ naked reflections complex crossed/prism walls infolio segmented balsam flex/new letters renaissance hum/a guessing game of infinity/ fastpass body everything/a painted sea of semiprecious stones interrupted by the illusion of time/sentimental rove the beginning/depthcruiser hour of pearl wayward son dispatches/ skin of wind, skin of streams, skin of shadows, the secret of numbers unscrambling the distortions/infinite perimeter/melancholy body sacrilege/tattoo highway insomnia punk/passion post of the absent everyday/venus endeavor ministering blithe spirits/wonderment cyclorama/lost in the omnipresent origin echo unlimited/mirror for mankind/thorn exhortation

Thursday, November 12, 2020


             I hadn’t seen her in more than 20 years. I had to ask for a hug. She paused, as to think: Did I pack one? We took a breakfast of family drama centered around her aunts' only son and his pack of dogs. He was last to the table, New Girlfriend in his wake. He hugged me, long-time ______ to his aunt and adoptive mother. The 8-year old I once knew is now a hairy, rugged dude who laughs easily since his mother now holds all the reasons to frown. Over breakfast, she fell mute after he sat at the table. She paid the check, financial problems whatever, and in turn was offered not even a crumb-sized Thank You.

But anyway, my friend said. Back to me now, she said.

She passed her phone for a séance of photos -- a white tiger cub in proxy for having no children, her smiling brilliant and alone before a Niagara Falls robed in fog. She waved off photos of her mother and brother taken at the same restaurant where she’d once, foolishly, married.

But anyway, she said. Never mind that, she said.

We ate. When the waiter reached for her untouched plate, she growled un-ironically and kept going. The boy and his lady laughed. The boys’ mother did not. I begged the waiter to stop pouring coffee, even as my friend could not stop talking. So we waited.

After breakfast, the boy showed off his pit-bull terriers. One sociable girl, one suspicious boy, one blue-eyed puppy. The only one who survived, he said, lifting the shivering pup out of my arms.

My friend and I then waved to the boy, the girl, the frowning aunt, and the smiling dogs and drove across a town she hadn’t seen since high school. It was the same and not the same. As we were. Forgot something back at the hotel, she said. As she drove, I rushed my decade summary before she snatched the conversation and ran.

The loneliness of the long distance conversationalist. I, her valet of words.

I sat on the twin bed across from her. Audience to her vaudeville of years.

Mid-monologue, I raise my hand, ask: How do you keep from drowning in your own life?

And right then, she marches over to the dresser to exalt her one, true and faithful God. The One who never falters. In her palm, a small white bottle glowed.

She'd asked her doctor for either the answer to everything or how to make everything stop, and her doctor said: Take These. She talked through me as opposed to with me. Compressed the word suicide into a syllable so small I nearly missed it. But it was there, like a pill rolled beneath an oven. She was dazzling – cursive landscape of hair, triumphant hips. I’ve loved her for a fourth of my life. So what. The friend who dated her back when we were teens, once asked why I never, Why I Never. Whatever I was to her over the years, was nowhere near as devoted as the benediction rattling like keys in her tight little fist.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Flounderer, S.F. Wright

Ken Caprese lived on the assumption that a dream career and life lurked a heartbeat away and that his present existence as a Barnes and Noble head cashier was just an inconvenient stopgap.
            When Drew met Ken, the latter was enrolled at Bergen Community College. But shortly thereafter Ken stopped attending because he said that he wanted to become a lawyer and that it was better to go to a four-year college for that. Drew thought this logic questionable, but shrugged and nodded, as though to suggest this wasn’t a bad idea. He’d learned that was the best way to deal with Ken.
Ken was a strict head cashier who enjoyed “letting customers have it” when he thought they were in the wrong, a tendency Drew attributed to Ken’s venting some of his own bitterness and frustration. All a customer had to do, though, was ask for a manager, who’d always let the customer get his way. Still, it was fun to watch Ken try.
            Occasionally, though, Ken could be unnecessarily rude—even over something petty. One time, he rather nastily told a teacher at Drew’s register that she had to go out in the rain to get her school I.D. from her car in order to receive her teacher’s discount, even though she was buying ten copies of Lord of the Flies. The woman got her I.D. but left irate, and the whole transaction made Drew uneasy.
Ken then told people he no longer wanted to be a lawyer; he wanted to be a computer programmer. But he couldn’t go to school now for a number of reasons: time, money, family—which Drew understood. Yet he felt that you shouldn’t talk about doing something until you were actually doing it.
Drew was made a lead, which meant he’d work on the salesfloor more and less as a cashier. He found that as long as he didn’t have to listen to Ken daily, he was a tolerable guy.
After seven years, Drew inquired into becoming a manager. He was told that the first step would be to make him a head cashier.
            This promotion obliged him to work with Ken, who was, Drew found, the same: still trying to finish college, still speaking about the career he’d soon have in computers. Also, Ken’s hair had gone gray, and he had a paunch.
As Drew worked more regularly with Ken, he became privy to another of his grievances: his wife. Mrs. Caprese had a decent job and had been supporting Ken; she’d even paid for his stints in college.
            It also became apparent why after the store closed Ken lingered outside smoking cigarettes and talking to other employees instead of going straight home.
When Drew finally got his degree at twenty-eight, Ken shook his hand.
Good for you. I hope to get mine soon, too.
            You will. And thanks.
            But the unspoken truth embarrassed him. Drew should’ve gotten his degree long ago instead of floundering around, going to school part time, living at home, and working at Barnes and Noble. As for Ken, Drew didn’t think he’d ever get a degree—or leave the store.
Drew went to the wedding of Christina, another head cashier. He saw Ken’s wife, who was obese. The woman was nice enough, Ken acted genial. But if one observed him closely, one discerned misery.
Ken announced he was quitting. At a job fair, he’d found a new position, selling software. Drew wasn’t sure he believed him. But Ken gave his notice, and during those last two weeks, he was happier than Drew had ever seen him.
            On Ken’s last night, they went to Applebee’s. Sitting in a booth and drinking a Captain and Coke, Drew reflected on all the times he’d come to this Applebee’s. Watching Ken—whose wife wasn’t there—Drew felt glad, but jealous. He never imagined Ken would leave the store before he did.
            At home, Drew sat in his room drinking Evan Williams and Coca-Cola, making pledges that he, too, would leave Barnes and Noble.
For a few weeks, he didn’t hear anything about Ken. But one afternoon, Drew spotted him hurrying out of the store. He didn’t stop to say hello. Drew mentioned it to Christina.
            He was asking for his old job.
            She nodded. He couldn’t hack it at that place. She put a stack of twenties on the money counter. I think he just finagled his way into it, and when they found out he couldn’t do the work. . .
            Is he coming back here?
            She shrugged. Maybe. But I don’t know. Catherine said since they’d already made George a head cashier, all they could offer Ken was something part-time, which he didn’t want.
            Drew considered this. So what’s he going to do?
            Christina counted a new till. Try to get some other job, I guess.
He never saw Ken again. But a year after Drew left the Barnes and Noble, he heard that he’d returned to the store to work in the receiving area.
            Ken also left his wife. Drew was glad for him, even though the divorce was messy. The last he heard, Ken was renting a room in a friend’s house and again talking about becoming a lawyer.

S.F. Wright lives and teaches in New Jersey. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Quarter After Eight, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Elm Leaves Journal, among other places. His website is

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Fly in The Eyes of Mankind, Raluca Comanelea

Dudu lost his balls because of his roommate’s cat. Molly, his ex, prefers to imagine a yellow canary of a cat, taking feline-like steps, with grace and delicate balance. But no, the cat is somewhat fat, quite black, with small white paws. He is the ultimate tuxedo cat, a proud American.

Dudu was in the business of trafficking Mercedes car windows. One can only imagine the outbursts of anger and insanity which reigned over such dangerous daily operations.

“I’m involved in no risky operatives and can knock down doors and bathroom mirrors in a few seconds time,” Molly used to tell herself whenever Dudu would walk out the door of their modest apartment overlooking a major highway.

With furtive looks outside the window, Molly’s imagination would quickly exchange those noisy cars on steroids for the ocean’s stillness. Determined to turn this vision into reality, Molly left the shadow of a man she once adored and moved into a new place, pleasantly surrounded by all the green. No busy highway, true, but no blue waters either.

When Dudu’s roommate took the dog for a 10-minute walk, the somewhat fat, quite black cat, with small, white paws decided that Dudu must die. The universe usually grants cats their perverted wishes. It’s not for nothing that these witchy nocturnal creatures are known for possessing multiple lives, all enacted in a present, manifested one. And daytime proves perfect timing for them to release all conflicts and possibilities. The somewhat fat, quite black cat began the experiment.

Dudu chased the four-legged creature around the apartment with a box cutter, settled to cut open the cat’s guts, and thus, release his own inner turmoil. Remembering all his moments of social instability and fugitive action, his forced confessions at the police station—to which he resisted at the expense of his own knees, Dudu took the matter further and grabbed his gun. A loud noise pierced through. The tuxedo cat sprung from his lap, screeching. Dudu leaned slowly forward, twisting his mouth down, imitating the cry of the cat, hideous and long. He shot himself in the balls.

At last, his roommate arrived with the leashed dog who, by now, was wagging his tail in pure bliss. He twisted the knob and allowed the servile dog to take his first steps inside the apartment. The air reeked of fresh blood and tension. It closed in on the servile dog and his master. Dumbstruck, the roommate grabbed a hold of his phone.

“What was he thinking”? Molly told herself while placing the phone back on the hook.

Nobody seemed to notice the somewhat fat, quite black cat, with white paws. The feline retreated in its safe place, under the bed, to further ponder on the incident that just took place. Ten minutes later, the cat reaffirmed its mechanistic self-cleaning rituals.

Displeased with the whole suicide affair, Molly showed up later that day to get the black cat with white paws and a tuxedo. With Dudu out of the picture, the creature now becomes her responsibility. The two will be sharing lazy evenings, indefinitely. Molly would have preferred a cat in the color of canary, with Bengal spots, in possession of a graceful, delicate balance. The universe doesn’t usually grant Molly her whims and caprices. But, although she slept in a bed for 34 years, a king mattress thrown on the floor reclaims her dreams now, product of her own deep-seated wish to take rest closer to the ground.

The yellow canary of a cat stares at the world through a set of white horizontal aluminum roller blinds, longing for the touch of a blade of grass. From the comfort of her king mattress, Molly absorbs the beauty of Alma, which doesn’t quite resemble her own, and reinvents endings for Las Chicas del Cable, a Netflix series which captivated her mind during a plane ride to the beach. Molly’s God is the beach—the answer to all her exaggerate cries of despair. She is now in the possession of an undesirable, somewhat fat cat, product of her unwanted dreams, vestiges of a past life shared with Dudu.

“You, yellow canary of a cat, you killed Dudu,” Molly whispered, sneering at the cat, watching him struggle to make an unencumbered path cutting through the roller blinds. Suddenly, Molly bursts into Ursula’s demonic laughter. And who can blame her? After all, Dudu shot himself in the balls.

The cat remains stuck in between the roller blinds, meowing pitifully. His presence annoys Molly. The tablet hits the hardwood floor. In a hysterical twitch, the woman springs out of the yellow sheets. Molly’s nerves are burnt. She hated Dudu, but she meant contrary. She wanted to silence him, when silence should have been hers. She yelled at him for taking too much time with toiletries, when time should have been hers. She was longing for something that couldn’t be defined—trips, dinners, sex, toys—all trivial matters of concern. The cat longs to touch a blade of grass and Molly knows.

“Couldn’t this be the whole point”? Molly thought to herself. “A blade of grass—all else is trivial pursuit.”

The yellow canary of a cat is not a secondary stage runner, but a harbinger of social instability. He lights up the torch for the world to marvel at. Molly is simply around. Like a fly in the eyes of mankind.

Raluca Comanelea is a writer, born in Romania and residing in Las Vegas. She is currently teaching English at UNLV. Raluca experiments with various forms of fiction: sudden, flash, and micro. Her writing centers on the tiny revelations sparked by the immensity of character contained in the seemingly ordinary people of our modern day society. Her academic work in the field of American drama and theatre has been published in the Journal of the Far West, Popular and American Culture Association. Her creative work has been published on Alpha Female Society's website. You can connect with Raluca at

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Four Poems, D.C. Wojciech

“Frankly, all I can say is
I’ve been to a funny place
inside myself, where simple
answers fall like ashes
through an iron gate.”

- Yusef Komunyakaa


Basquiat asks why yr reality is watered down
Van Gogh listens for another sun rise
while he unwrites the location of secret marigolds
someone always has something to say for the trees
& they balk at the sight of greedy umbrellas—
i remember the first time Chopin heard angels
the whole town buried their gold hoping to escape eternity
Magritte brings flowers
but landfills of history resemble nothing of a seed
& the abyss won't stop shrieking
through hidden corridors of tongues


through wilderness of patience poems come forth
in their rain buckets of sorrow in multitudes of what guides us
from ancient topographies from nascent operettas undulating
brick by brick the drums warm
from the luminous voice between beginnings
this old crow on my shoulder
whose eyes ablaze overthrow the insatiable
lends actualization its crux
the crucible within forecasts of derangement
the time & the time to come
nibbling the fruit of clairvoyance
realization //// sprouts of presence
“Darwin’s foolish ghost in a strait jacket!”
“Kant came to save you all from walking backwards down the plank!”

after Lorca

oranges nearly resuscitated
by piercings in warm waves of wind
coming and going like these mountains
immaculate invisible stillness

because the voices of burning books
cannot look past the guilt in yr eyes

is a marigold seed
on the skull's window sill
in the mind's eye

because we are no different from one another
because we are not the same as one another

waiting our turn to dine with the meticulous reaper
like unknowing children...

there is no second floor to this thought—

only the billions of dollars between hand shakes
the rage of bees
the scent of voices in yr blind ears
the on-going slaughter of Mother Earth's light—

in matters of circumstance
, do not (ever) tell yr dreams
to the roaches in the bathroom sink—
territorial & suicidal worms
dance floors of dust
the skull is home to


Two owls perched on two trees near the lake.
One is facing North, one is facing South.

A harsh wind sharpens the mountains' teeth.
The ancients remind us this is a sign of rainfall soon.

These deserts care not whether you live or die.
Swallow you whole & chuck out the bones
'til the spit in yr throat is dust, and coyote
can finally dream in her own images again.

If you keep an eye looking towards the city, and an eye
towards the mountain, it becomes increasingly difficult
to tell the difference between city lights & a flash
of yr life before yr eyes.

If the sky doesn’t take you, Earth certainly will.
What is water?
A silver night washing yr hands.

One is rotating their head the other way.
One has fixed their vision upon me.

I know what they are prepared to do.

How long have human beings been on this Earth? A millisecond.
How long have these two owls been guarding their nest?
Who knows how many mysteries will outlive them—

Building empires is a sordid way of telling the world.