What’s Coming | Updates that Suck

Hey ya’ll,

Just want to give you a heads up on what’s coming down the pike.

Summer is coming to an end which means that school begins shortly. For those who are new here; I am a Master’s Candidate at Union Theological Seminary in NYC (my degree is, officially, an M.Div). It’s my final year – which, for the first time in my academic career, I am excited about. To say that I am tired is the understatement of the century.

For those who have been with me for a while, or since the jump, you know that this tends to be a slow time for me posting and writing since all of my time is wrapped up in school work. (Six mother-fucking classes, ya’ll… SIX). What you all haven’t experienced yet, since we’ve been in pandemic, is the fact that I travel 16 hours (one way) each week in order to attend these classes…. did I say I was tired? Despite wanting to have classes in person and to see my friends and beloved faculty – I do have hope that classes will go back online given the upsurge in COVID caes. I HATE travelling by bus every week (I did it my first year, and it was FUCKING AWFUL) and would like to be spared that again this year. I doubt that will happen, though.

So.. six classes, travelling 16 hours a week, homework, writing some poems when I can…. what else can I add on to that flaming shit pile? OHHHHH a PhD application. Yeah… which means writing a thesis.

So yeah.. what does this all mean for you?

I’m suspending reviews until January – simply because I do NOT have the bandwidth to do all this shit, and review books. I will then continue to review in January, and then suspend them again in February so I can focus on finishing out my last semester. My last review until January will be Stephen Gold’s “Love Like Bleeding Out” which will come next Friday.

I will continue to post life updates, and – of course – poetry/prose. I just won’t have a schedule for this. They’ll come when I have space, time, etc.

I just want to thank you all for an amazing summer… a chap release, a handful of publications, a strong Twitter following. Ya’ll are so amazing and supportive – THANK YOU!

xxx

L

Eyeliner | Poems that Suck

I watched him - 
as beautiful as
any woman - from
the doorway of 
the bathroom

as he smudged 
eyeliner along
his ice blue
eyes, an artform
more men should learn.

When he glanced 
at me in the 
mirror, I wisecracked
"You want some lipstick
with that?" 

Causing him to
arch his thin
brows in defiance,
"If you weren't
being such a 
smartass about it
maybe I would."

Tantric Tanankh | Reviews that Suck

CaptureI came across Rose’s chapbook when she posted it to my call for new books to read. This was absolutely a blind buy as I had never encountered Rose before, and had never read any of her work.

The title of the work interested me – as most of you know, I’m a seminarian whose focus of study is Biblical Studies/Theology and Social Ethics – and was curious what I would find when I opened the book.

Book Details

  • 8.5 x 11
  • 75 pages long
  • Self-published
  • $12 paperback
  • Matte cover, glue binding and cream colored paper.

Contents

I’m pasting this directly from the Amazon description:  Artistically a self-instructeur, her philosophical studies incessantly contrasting within Metamodernist Formalist poetic dialogues creating fragmented automatic texts evoking Neo-Dadaist, Surrealist, and Futurist aesthetics in imagistic contortionist vortices.

Review

I read through this collection of poetry a few times. I really tried to understand it, to derive meaning from it – but I just couldn’t. The words ran together, jumbling in my head and made no sense to me no matter how slowly I took each poem and thought about each word.

For someone who loves genres like Dirty Realism, Transgressive Fiction, Grit Lit, Meat Poetry and (now!) Pulp this was exceptionally difficult for me.

There were so many times I stopped reading either in exasperation or exhaustion. There were many times I was close to saying “fuck it” and not do the review – just review other books and hope that Rose wouldn’t catch that I didn’t review hers. But that’s a shitty thing to do to an author and a writer – and, let’s be real, it’s both inauthentic and would lack integrity on my part.

What kept me coming back to is is the fact that I know Rose is trying to say something. And I want to know what that something is.

On my final read-through I tried a different approach. Instead of viewing this as a collection of poetry in which words are meant to carry meaning – I approached it as something like an art collection (an audio and visual one).

On the final read-through I spoke the words Rose wrote out loud.  About halfway through the book I began recording myself speaking these poems and played them back so that I could listen. The physical sensation of reading them out loud curled my tongue in the most curious of ways which was not unpleasant. Hearing them replayed back to me… I lost the grip of the words. By this I mean that the words weren’t discernable as words anymore, but as sound. Sound which was rich, and complex.

After I finished that final read through, I had to think about what just happened. What’s Rose trying to tell me through this art exhibit? Is it that words, ultimately, mean nothing – that they are just symbols which are transitory and malleable which indicate that they are socially constructed and only mean what we want them to mean at any particular point? Is it that, when words mean nothing, the only meaning we can garner is through sound or movement?

If you read this book as you would a traditional poetry collection – you’re probably going to hate it like I did.

BUT – if you approach this book like an art exhibit and not only ask yourself what the artist is trying to say but also what she’s trying to get you to experience I think that you’ll enjoy it.

Check it out here 

Desert Fantasies | Poems that Suck

I'm dreaming of
rocky deserts;
dehydrated packed
earth and a
blistering sun.

I'm dreaming of
vultures - those
winged friends -
swooping overhead
in slow circles,

as my body
lies still and
prostrate, feeling
the death and
desolace all
around me -

rising up, and
through me,
cleansing
this body
like a
burnt
offering.

American Cryptic | Reviews that Suck

CaptureI’m gonna be honest – I can’t remember how Jim and I got to talking on Twitter. Knowing me, it was probably something perverted. That being said, he was one of the people who responded when I sent out a call for chapbooks to review.

I was mostly responded to with poetry, but Jim’s book is a collection of ghost stories and I was up for something different and thought “what the hell, let’s give it a whirl.”

Book Details

  • 6×9 in dimension
  • Approximately 126 pages
  • Printed by Anubis Press
  • $10 for the paperback and $4 for the Kindle edition
  • Glossy cover, glue binding and cream colored paper.

Content

American Cryptic is – as I said – a collection of ghost stories. What makes it different is that it’s split into three sections; ghost stories that happened to him or to people he knew, creepy places located in his native wester Pennsylvania, and legends originating from the same area.

Review

I have to say that I’m one of those cynical folks who just doesn’t believe in ghosts — which is funny because I’ve had several strange things happen to me throughout my life. Still, though, here we are.

Even though I’m a non-believer, this was still a fun read. I was particularly interested in the urban legends section which gave me the same thrill as when I used to read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when I was a kid. It was interesting to see how some of the stories from his native PA (which isn’t far from where I am in NY) bled over the state lines – like the Green Man – and how some I’ve just never heard of (like the Six Toed Man)

I was particularly fascinated by the story of his apartment in Philadelphia which he and his roommate got the fuck out of because it was so creepy. Or at least he said it was creepy – Jim’s a bit light on the details here. I need to know what the roommate’s girlfriend said was in the house, I need more creepy shit that happened there. That story in particular could be pretty interesting as a film, too!

Overall it was a good read – my only critique is that I’d have liked more details in some of the stories to shore up why things felt weird, or were creepy.

I’m shipping this book to my mom because I know that she will absolutely adore it!

A Little Late | Updates that Suck

Sorry guys, I’m a little late on getting up the Wednesday update.

I’m gonna be honest; I’m struggling with some low level depression right now. Mostly a lack of motivation an interest in things which is difficult for someone who likes to be busy all the time. The good news, I guess, is that school starts in a month – so I’ll be busy as hell.

I’m looking forward to leaving the house and socializing, but not looking forward to the 8+ hour bus ride into the city each week. It’s mentally and physically exhausting for me. Also, I’m still a little worried about large group gatherings and COVID – my friend, who was vaccinated, is a breakthrough case and got the DELTA Variant. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about in-person classes. I did hear from my friends in Israel that they’re getting boosters – so maybe that will help? I dunno.

Overall just feeling kind of overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time, if that makes sense. Feeling the pressure of some big life decisions, and then feeling burnout as well. It’s a weird mix. I’m missing my friends in Israel, and wish I could be there – just to feel the sense of peace and stillness that I always get when I visit.

Strangely, being in school helps. It gives me focus, a schedule and a set of expectations. It helps with anxiety and depression – and, for the most part, I really like being in school. I just hate traveling there.

Anyway, hopefully this last bit of summer is treating you all well.

L

Nola | Poems that Suck

I was thinking about New Orleans today. 
My New Orleans, whose streets and alleys
are as personal and intimate to me as
a pussy stroke. 

Far away from the blaze of Bourbon
where the neon children live their
lives that burn bright, flicker, then die. 

Away from the tourist traps where
Black men are forced to shuck and jive
for those who are simultaneously lily 

White and scaly with sunburn, and who
are all too pleased to press a dollar
in a palm that’s butter mellow or 

burnt sienna to ease their consciences
of what their granddaddies did and what
their grandbabies will continue to do. 

Far, far outside the districts where the 
night air is weighted differently; the sound
of the Zydeco creeping on the wind like a

ghost in the alleyways. Where the slow
drawl of, ‘how you doin’ ‘chere?’ is as
satisfying as the crunch of new gravel

under the heel of my boot; good for the
ear and the Soul. Where the familiar
smell of smoke, stale beer and sawdust 
floors feel like home, and I can dance, 
                                   and dance, 
                                        and dance. 

Landscapes of You & Me | Reviews that Suck

1David and I met on Twitter – not, actually, through poetry posts but – through an argument I was having with some shit-head bible banger that was trying to convince people that they were right in their interpretation of Scripture. (Author’s Note: they weren’t.) I noticed he liked Bukowski, and had some Catholic Worker references on his profile so, of course, we buddied up. 

Even though I called for people to pimp their chaps, David never did. It was like pulling fucking teeth for him to link me some shit to read. Finally, after much harassing he shot me the link to his chap Landscapes of You and Me

Book Details

  • 5 x 8 in dimension.
  • 47 pages.
  • $10.44 price point.
  • Printed with Alien Buddha Press.
  • Cover art by Red Focks
  • Standard cardstock cover and glue binding — which did not crack.
  • Standard 20 lb weight paper, and 10 Garamond font (assuming).

This is another chap printed on Amazon publishing – through a press, not self-pressed – and I’ve described the cover, paper, print, and binding quality enough times that ya’ll know the fucking drill. 

Description

The back of the book states that this is collection of love poems with some Taco Bell references and that I will want to drunk text my ex after reading it. (Incidentally, I’d really look into that … I’m guessing NO ONE wants to see my ass after eating Taco Bell, just sayin’.)

Review

Having read some of David’s work in Outcast Press’ inaugural issue I was expecting something much different than what I got – something a little darker, a little crunchier. Needless to say, this collection came out of left field for me. 

Reading it is like being in the mind of a caffeinated toddler; a hyper-active rambling that stretches on into the unforeseeable future which gets slightly more absurd as you go on. And that is exactly its charm.  

Reading this filled me with a sense of nostalgia; a sort of hazy, teenage-summer-love sweetness that’s awash with the pinks and oranges of sunsets, but tinged blue at its edges with a sort of bittersweet loss. It brings me back to memories of days spent by the pool or the lake, the electric feeling of simply being close to the person you had a mega-crush on and that sense of subconscious urgency to memorize everything about the person before they move back home for the summer. 

Overall, I liked the collection. I didn’t LOVE it – it wasn’t earthshattering, ground breaking, stomp-your-feet-and-clap-your-hands-for-this-pussy kind of excellent. But it’s good. 

Given that I’ve seen David’s pieces in Outcast, as well as talked about his other pieces in private I want to say this: David, trust yourself and your writing — and take a risk with the wild shit.  I’m still waiting for that pissing poem, brother. 

Now, don’t be a genital wart, and go buy the shit.

Fuck It | Updates that Suck

My debut chapbook, Fuck It: An Explict Chapbook of Poetry is now out with Newington Blue Press! 

With an introduction by my dear friend, Travis Cravey, the book is 42 poems deep – 13 of them exclusive to the book itself! You won’t see them on this site, or published anywhere else. 

Has been described by Dean Paesch as “Refreshing, well-crafted, authentic poetry. With its edge, it challenges, grates, is funny and above & beyond and including the effing and blinding it has a lot to say.”

If you like my work, please consider ordering it here: https://newington.blue/product/fuck-it/

With shipping, the conversion rate amounts to roughly $11 USD. Please keep in mind that it ships from Germany, so it will take about 2 weeks to get to you!

Thanks so much for all your support – both here and on Twitter. You guys keep me fucking sane. 

L

 

Biology | Poems that Suck

I want you to cum
inside of me
and say 'fuck it'
to the consequences
because the idea of your
biology and my own - 

of cell and tissue,
swirling strands of
DNA co-mingling inside
my body has become
the height
of romance.