Onset by Gary Beck

I survived another winter,
fortunately not too chilling
and with a sudden rush
spring invaded the city
with platoons of magnolias,
companies of cherry trees,
battalions of forsythia,
regiments of dogwood,
endless armies of daffodils,
in an undeclared war
on urban sensibilities.

Gary Beck

Gary Beck has 11 chapbooks. Poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing), with 5 more accepted. His novels include: Extreme Change, Acts of Defiance and Flawed Connections. He currently lives in NYC.

A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… Jonathan Butcher

Why do you write?

My main principle reasons for writing are that I enjoy it, and it helps to keep me focused. Writing poetry is one of the few things that keeps my head on track, and keeps me motivated, and I find that it helps keep any momentum going in other elements of my life as well. I’ve also had an urge to express myself creatively since being really young, but could never find a medium that suited me, or that I was any good at, and poetry has always been something I don’t necessarily struggle with. I’ve always used reading as a form of escape as well, so it seemed natural to start writing. It’s also helps relive boredom, which is always good.

What books do you read?

I used to read novels exclusively for years, but once I discovered poetry and started writing then they got more or less replaced by poetry collections. I will always have a collection by someone on the go, but I can find it hard to relax with a book of poetry, because as soon as I get through five or six pages the ideas start rolling around my head and I end up reaching for my notebook, so I rarely finish one in one sitting. It is nice to go back to novels as well, but I tend to slow down a little when I do. I’m currently reading ‘Almost an Equinox’; a collection by London based poet Sarah Maguire, that I’m really enjoying.

What inspires you?

I find myself usually inspired by my surroundings, and I think as a poet it’s impossible not to be. I was born and have lived in Sheffield all my life, and take a lot of inspiration from that. I have always been drawn to writers who turn their surroundings into these far-fetched and abstracted landscapes, and that has always appealed to me especially as I grew up in a rather mundane part of the city. Due to the amount of time I have lived there, I have also developed a sort of love-hate relationship with it, which I think helps as well. I also, like most people, had somewhat of a lively youth and I draw a lot of inspiration from that as well.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

I had been writing little things on and off since I was a teenager, but never had the courage to show them to anyone, other than a few close friends, but it was in my mid twenties that I decided I wanted to take writing more seriously. It was around this time that I started reading poetry almost obsessively, and I found I related much more to the structure of a poem than I did a novel. I had always lived in my own head somewhat when I was younger, and found I was able to express myself more confidently as I got a bit older. It was also one of those ‘If I don’t do it now. I never will’ sort of times.

How do you deal with rejection?

When you first start writing and submitting to magazines and journals, it’s more or less all rejections for the first year or so, and even after you find your feet, you get just as many rejections as acceptances. It’s just part of being a writer as far as I’m concerned, and it genuinely doesn’t bother me. It’s an important learning curve that you have to embrace, and you’ll never progress unless you do. You should never let it discourage you. I can remember years ago, one of the first magazines I ever submitted to was some quarterly print publication, and the editor sent me a rejection including a scathing page long rant about how they hated my writing and added an attachment entitled ‘How to be a Poet’ (which,incidentally, I never bothered to read). Needless to say, it didn’t put me off.

Who are some writers you admire?

William Burroughs, Garcia Lorca, Ezra Pound, Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski, Frank O’Hara, Kathy Acker, Gregory Corso, Anna Kavan, Philip Larkin, Simon Armatige, and Stephen Spender are some of the writers and poets I would say I admire, and have drawn some kind of influence from. There are also a host of poets on the current underground scene both in the UK and US who I greatly admire and have had the privilege of having some my writing published alongside.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

Yes.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

I would find it excruciatingly difficult to spend more than five minutes with my younger self without wanting to reach for the nearest blunt instrument to knock some sense into him, so it would leave little time to impart any worldly wisdom.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. That would be the most useful piece of advise I could give, especially if your just starting out. You should be reading poetry on a more or less daily basis You have to have a passion for it in the first place, and a poet who doesn’t read (and they do exist!) is going to struggle somewhat. Find a style that works for you and start submitting work as soon as your happy with what you’re doing, and be realistic about the magazines you are submitting to. One of the biggest causes of you writing being rejected is if it just doesn’t fit in the publication you’ve submitted to. Always respect the editor you’re sending to and above all be patient. Stick to your own work ethic and try not to be too influenced by other writers you may know. Carve your own path.

What is your writing process?

I try to write on a daily basis more or less, and during a good period I usually write around three or four rough drafts a day. Once I’ve got around twenty or thirty, I then sift through them and I might find five or six I’m actually happy with, and that I feel confident sending out to editors. I try to keep editing down to a minimum, as I want to try and retain any energy a poem might have, rather than kill it off trying to make it ‘perfect’. I rarely sit down and think ‘right, I’ll write a poem about this, and then send it to this magazine’  I would much rather just keep continually writing around one or two ideas and then see what come out, and that seems to work for me.

Jonathan Butcher

Jonathan Butcher is a poet based in Sheffield, England. He has had poetry appear in various print and online publications including: Popshot, The Belleville Park Pages, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Elbow Room, Dead Beats, Gutter Eloquence and others. His second chapbook ‘Broken Slates’ has been published by Flutter Press.

Available For Cat-Feeding by John Grey

Is there such a man
who feeds a woman’s cats
while she’s away in Florida for a week?
Yes, there is.
It’s me.
I’m someone entrusted with the key
to another apartment
by a woman who worries not
that I’ll steal something,
ransack her drawers, her closets,
or peek here and there
in search of secrets.
Tell me where the cat meat is kept
and I’m your guy.
Provide me with an inventory
of whose dish is whose
and I will fill them every day.
She warns me not to try
to get friendly with the beasts.
They’ve claws sharp enough
to crack walnuts.
In other words,
those animals will feast
on what I put out for them
but they won’t show
the least sign of gratitude.
No purr to go along
with my fur-threading fingers.
No slalom rub
in and out of ankles.
Is there such a man
who will go all out for a woman
while knowing here will be no
commensurate reward?
I have filled that role forever it seems.
Relationships begin with
“You just don’t know how much
I really need you.”
They end with “Meow.”

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

High School Reunion Hook Up by Jenny Santellano

Google that girl
Yeah, try to
find her
She’s the one
with her
hair in a bun
and her head
stuck ten feet
up her ass

When you
get to her
she’ll be
approaching
fifty, and her
teeth will be
just loose
enough
to pull

lucky you

Remember,
her eyes
are brown
hair too
skin olive
three kids
a dog
house in
the burbs
money in
the bank
and her
name is
useless

Nothing like
a little
nostalgia

Jenny Santellano

Jenny Santellano is a poet who detests bios. If you want to know more about her, read her poetry, some of which can be found in Scarlet Leaf Review, Section 8 Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, and In Between Hangovers.

Untitled by Rus Khomutoff

for Jacques Villegle

Spectres and spectacles of wild wants
ironclad links and
oral history of oral histories
counterintuitive improprieties
in the halo of time
art machines of a clandestine flow
very intact
heart full of napalm
at the dawn of a sizzling moan

Rus Khomutoff

Hi my name is Rus Khomutoff and I write neo surrealist poetry. I’ve been writing intensely the last 5 years on my twitter page. I love getting exposure for my work. Some of my favorite poets are Philip Lamantia, David Gascoyne, Andre Breton and Merl Fluin

Tell Me Why by Jason Baldinger

On the waves of the night
the air so clear, it strangles
what’s left of your thoughts.

Here among tall trees
bugs passing time
buzzing rims of ears
it seems possible that the world just ended.
Who could want more than getting high?

There was a girl I knew once
who lived over Garfield Hill.
She would call late night,
when the alcohol reminded her
she was lonely.

She was lonely.
The end spiral of a divorce,
those hard places
trying to make arrangements with yourself.
The foggy waters deep in mind
where there’s a need to flesh out
where he ended,
where she began.

There are a thousand ways to kill a night.
We find ways to make darkness tolerable.
We sift out what’s needed from what’s wanted.

In the end we’re only broken harbors.
Dreams and loneliness
to keep us afloat.

Dreams
burn out
in the way you smile.

Loneliness
is the only thing
in life that compounds.

Jason Baldinger

Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs, if only poetry was the strangest of them he’d have far less to talk about. He’s traveled the country and written a few books, the latest of which are The Lower 48 (Six Gallery Press) and The Studs Terkel Blues (Night Ballet Press). A short litany of publishing credits include Blast Furnace, The Glassblock, Lilliput Review, Green Panda Press, Pittsburgh Poetry Review and Fuck Art, Let’s Dance. You can hear audio versions of some poems on Bandcamp, just type in his name.

Those Thoughts Of People In An Average Day In The City by Jonathan Beale

There is an invisible symmetry thought – but not seen
It can be sensed, felt, smelt, only the few can know
Teaching of this; a failing of words and their meaning
In this real tower, of tongue and ear a Babelistic jungle

The gospel of the breed of the want of an ‘I’
The strange fear that lurks on; and again, in and on.
Over the gutter from the early stewing private fury
It is upon this on which we walk live and breathe

The day-to-day the whys and wherefores – are lost
The strange fumbling.  A blindness – where an ear is king
In the private worlds the peoples forced judgements make
And forget their own fractures in their own heroic worlds.

The mists portray what isn’t yet, and yet appears as if tangible
The gutter drawing time in its own gravitational pull.
The mean and the woman click on the same field –
Somehow playing different games for a single result

The cold winter takes and leaves ready for ‘the tomorrow’
Unwritten- there is originality in the everyday – time ticks
The setting sun, leaving the fairies and fantasy
For the night’s dream and tomorrow that must day must not come.

Jonathan Beale

Jonathan Beale has 500 plus poems published in Penwood Review, Poetic Diversity, Ink Sweat & Tears, Down in the Dirt, Mad Swirl, Pyrokinection, Ygdrasil, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Jawline Review, Bluepepper, Jellyfish Whispers, The Outsider, and Yellow Mama. His first collection of poetry ‘The Destinations of Raxiera’ is published by Hammer & Anvil. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Destinations-Raxiera-Jonathan-Beale-ebook/dp/B018F6GWQ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452199641&sr=1-1&keywords=jonathan+beale He studied philosophy at Birkbeck College London and lives in Surrey England.

Here Nor There by Sanjeev Sethi

Some are born
to be neither
here nor there.

I wanted to be here.
This was safe.
It cushioned me
from vagaries of human voyage.
But diktat
of some force,
said: I belonged there.
That was painful.

In my wisdom I chose
to be neither
here nor there.

Sanjeev Sethi

Sanjeev Sethi has published three books of poetry. This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015) is his latest work. His poems have found a home in The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Amaryllis Poetry, The Galway Review, The Open Mouse, Otoliths, and elsewhere.