Poetry

By: William R. Soldan

 

This tattered perch tames

what was once a restless spring,

while plumbed are the depths

of memory.

 

A child’s shaggy hair,

tangled back in the freeway breeze

as he tangles toward the unfamiliar:

tilted houses on dead end streets

and blurring rest-stop vacancies.

 

And now,

in this autumn,

as days gone still

still echo on the wall,

such remnants of the here and gone

reach out,

search for purchase in the space between

 

a latchkey kid

and part-time reverie.

By: William R. Soldan

 

The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and majesty of the soul.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

 

Laboring to leave a mark

among masses,

alighting on the fact that

the genius of the dead is

not the genius of today.

 

The codes by which,

and the casts in which we live,

an assemblage

of stagnant associations

and murmured assents.

 

The external—

all that fortifies the mold—

holds no answer to

Who am I?

but instead diverts,

unhinges thoughts

better realized in the coolness

of solitude.

 

This conspiracy works

to pin down and disallow

all but the most palatable projections

 

I no longer refrain

from lending myself

to this immediacy,

to not simply adopt

from the worn furrows

of the past;

to trust the first

unapologetic perception

rather than the lazy embrace

of habit,

of things written

but so seldom considered.

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Poetry

By William R. Soldan

 

…Somewhere on my journey I saw everything

Where the songs do grow

And the flowers can sing.”

—Swervedriver, “Ejector Seat Reservation”

 

Heading down Cedar

toward the city and

setting sun,

the sky’s a dichotomy of

gilded jet-streams and

creeping

violet

night

 

*

Flowing

below the marquee

of an abandoned theater

we collide

with an electric

neon glow

that I imagine would seem

otherworldly

reflected in a rain puddle

 

if only

it had rained

 

*

Inside,

perched in the corner

near a graffitied

cigarette machine,

we wonder if he’ll

be here:

 

an old friend from

some years back

 

There, she says,

at the bar

 

*

He sees us,

at first perhaps just shadows,

but we resolve in his vision,

and recognition

shapes his face

 

We engage in the ritual

of those who

had once shared a

similar descent,

and I’m fascinated by the

degree to which

some things change

and some things

stay the same

 

*

The show starts

and the crowd thickens

 

I catch a glimpse

of a leather-clad cat

looking like he stepped

straight outta

Superfly

 

And suddenly I wish

I could grow

an afro

 

I hurry to the head

and there decide

I dig this place,

all its

in-your-faceness:

 

layers of spray paint

on the walls—check

stall w/ no door—check

toilet clogged with . . .

—check

 

my kind of joint

 

*

Outside,

Congregated in the cold night,

our old friend says the show

was like melted tires on the moon

 

and I say,

Yeah,

that’s about right

 

*

so after seven years

we’ve reconvened

and after several hours

again take leave

 

the same

but different

 

*

Past our normal hour

we decide to take

the long way home

 

as the moon waxes

beyond the glass

and we muse on life’s

cyclical nature

 

cherishing

who we were

 

and who

we are.

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Rage

By Mike Binder

break?

break.

calm, calm.

rage!

 

fifty percent of me

doesnt know what the other half is thinking.

i know its not the time to rhyme,

but the reason in me has started drinking.

its impossible to tell the difference

between reality and what i make myself hear.

is this what im really feeling, babe?

or is this what my other me makes it be?

 

break?

break.

calm, calm.

rage!

 

chopped up into syllables

a sentence becomes only what we can read.

reading between the lines is fine,

cuz sometimes that space is all that we need.

a circle is a circle cuz it never stops rounding,

but the end is what we are all searching for.

these symbols in a row will bind you.

but what they mean can define you, confine you.

 

break?

(break it into little pieces).

break.

(bomb down until it ceases).

calm, calm.

(pent up in this cage…

until all you can feel is my)

rage!

 

break me into shards,

and then piece me together.

break me and im apart.

i done binged and now i shall purge.

calm i feel as i write this.

calm im locked up in this cage.

rage.

 

break?

(break it into little pieces).

break.

(bomb down until it ceases).

calm, calm.

(pent up in this cage…

until you can feel all my)

rage!

Unfaire

By Mike Binder

Most times, I beckon for metal…black death, it just seems to settle the emptiness in me. I know I’m not that deep, but sometimes it soothes the subterrianial discomfort in me.  Like I said: I ain’t.  I am my own worst enemy.  Seriously, I’ve become a mental amputee. Miserably, the limbic system I’ve tried so hard to cultivate has created its own destruction. You pressed that button, and I expect that you’ll accept its reprecussions.

There’s no need for a chorus, that submission would only bore us.  Your soul is too pourous, please let me fill the cracks, it’s all for us.

The anarchy.

Is in the hyprocrisy.

The gears stopped turning, but I believe we can rise again. The Phoenix has its own regrets…even as she burns, we’ve let us…(get us) past the implantation of this hypothetical fetus.  It’s a shame that what now grows between us has been suffocated by the tourniquet that we let choke us dead. Now spread your ears and let me fuck your mind, just open wide. You’ve paid the price to let me confide.

There’s no need for a chorus, that submission would only bore us.  Your soul is too pourous, please let me fill your cracks, it’s all for us.

The anarchy.

Is in the hypocrisy.

Ghost limbs and phantom prostethics, bearing the spirits of what used to be.  I know what was there, I know what’s there; but I can’t… I refuse to bare; I beg to pull your hair. It’s not fair.  I paid the fare to enter your secret lair, and it makes me sick that you’re so laisse faire, it’s just not fair.  It makes me sick that you’d think that I’d pick this. A random roulette assassinating a million white picket fences, I’m just your menace…ill pay my pennence, just get on your knees first.

By Lauren Grossman

At 21, I think women are cognizant of the underlying themes of oppression and misogyny in their lives, and begin to subvert against the sexism they experience.  In this poem, I fetishize those themes in one of my first attempts at social commentary.  I was 21 and recognizing inequality in my relationships and at work; I was beginning to form the feminist ideals that have directed my life since then.

I think I’ve found a way
To be the woman you always 
Wanted me to be,
Even though my face
Betrays my age;

It’s in my smile
It’s in my smile

So I withhold it from the world
And lend it to you for a while.

I think I’ve found a way 
To be the woman you always
Dreamed I would be,
Even though my heart
Betrays my face;

It’s in the way I move
It’s in the way I move

So I lock myself away from the world
And dance for only you.

I think I’ve found a way
To be the woman you always 
Thought I was anyways,
Even if my mind
Detests this pace;

It’s between these sheets
Between these sheets

So I keep them washed and pressed
Until, once again, we meet.

By Lauren Grossman

There was a lot going on with the planet Venus in the year 2004.  I felt very connected to these events as a Taurus.  In this poem, I mix themes of astronomy and astrology with the concept of revealing one’s true self to a romantic partner.  I was 22.

Whittling away
At the proliferation
I’ve created;
It’s time to strip me down,
Reveal myself
For what I truly am:
I am a black dot
Against the sun
That would blind your
Naked Eye
Should you stare too long.

I am nothing
To you;
You were minutes late.
Eight years will pass
Before I reappear,
Black as a gaping hole,
Against my tangerine canvas;
You’ll be nothing to me
I’ll be what I was destined to be.