TWO POEMS by Manuel Arturo Abreu

 

 

bin laden had a great brand

 

mom picks me and my sister up from school

only one channel plays anything besides the same clip

it’s a list of casualties scrolling yellow on blue

my dad was working construction on that block

at the top of the repeating list is ’manuel abreu’

the 2 hours we thought he was dead felt ’gnomic’

my dad came home and our home unclenched

as we all hugged for once i kept thinking, like,

‘i wonder what the dead manuel abreu was like’

 

 

i wonder what i’ll be like when i’m dead

 

it doesn’t matter

air will have wifi

lettuce will be shrewd

there will be wind gardens

people will still make windchimes

out of spoons and seashells

i am like a crow made of post-­its

 

 

______________________________________________________________

 

Manuel Arturo Abreu is a writer based in Portland and NYC. They are proud of you. Read more poetry here.

 

MY RESPONSE TO PLAYBOY’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE STARRING KATE MOSS by Ana Carrete

kate moss

employee: how old are you?

me: 27

employee: wow, really? you look younger.

me: yes, do you need my ID?

employee: no, that’s fine. do you want a bag?

me: no, that’s fine. thank you.

employee: so you’re just gonna flash it around? people are going to be like “wow, her boyfriend is probably the luckiest man in the world”.

me: um, okay, please give me a bag then.

employee: okay. have a good one.

me: thanks. you too.

And then I grabbed the bag and hit my chin with the magazine because I’m a very clumsy girl.

While turning pages, I found a “Travel” page and was really surprised when I read: “Mex Appeal”. The number one destination: Tijuana.

I really hate it when I tell people where I’m from and then they immediately make a comment about donkey shows, or how it’s extremely unsafe and they’re afraid of my hometown.

Playboy didn’t do that.

I’ve been to two strip clubs in my life, none of them had donkey shows and no one that I know has ever said they exist. I want to believe they’re an urban legend. I went with six guys to these two strip clubs. The first was darker than what I’d imagined. When we got there, the first girl was already topless and then she took off her panties. The second girl was very attractive and didn’t take off her panties but one of my friends’ friends called her a whore while she rubbed her breasts on his face. She thanked him. He only gave her one dollar. He came back to our table and laughed. He felt proud.

We finished our Coronas and went to another club. This second location was brighter. There were mirrors and pink neon lights around the room. There were couches with old men wearing suits with women sitting on their laps. There was a woman on stage bending over wearing cool platforms. I was the only woman who wasn’t working there. I was being stared at.

One of my friends asked, “You want to leave, right?”

When he asked, it sounded like he was uncomfortable, and I’m not sure if it was because he was being a good friend and was trying to “protect me”, or because he felt awkward with me being there and felt like he couldn’t enjoy the strip club with his buddies. So we left.

About five years later, one of my friends told me about his experience. He said that you pay $5 dollars to get into this bigger place. You need to buy alcohol and you watch her. You share a table with strangers. You share her with strangers. Some strangers give her more money than you. She has candles and plays with them. She puts the candles near her breasts. She puts a lit candle in and out of her pussy.  She puts a lit candle in and out of her asshole. She moves her ass like she’s in a music video and the candle is in there. Moving with her. She puts a dildo in her pussy and asshole. A person pays to put the dildo in and out of her. Everyone watches. You watch. You leave. You move on with your life. You remember her playing with candles.

 playboy interior

 

The first time someone insulted my hometown to my face was in Orlando. I was eighteen years old and my sister was turning fifteen, so my parents took us to see Mickey Mouse.

A bald man that worked at the hotel we were staying at asked us where we were from.

My mom said, “Tijuana, Mexico. Do you know where that is?”

The old man laughed and said, “Everybody knows where Tijuana is,” and he made the universal alcohol hand gesture. Because I care about clothes and that was the easiest thing I could do to demean him, I criticized his outfit, and even though he had no idea what I was thinking and probably wouldn’t have cared anyway, doing that gave me pleasure.  (I was wearing olive pedal-pushers and a “French Connection” t-shirt that day.)

Later, some friends told us what youʼre supposed to say when someone asks you that question. They said, “You just say ʻMexico’. You donʼt need to specify.”

We got on the bus and drove away. We found a cartoonish version of Mexico in Disney World. All the food places sold burritos and nachos, and the employees wore sombreros. It was a tropical day. It rained. We got wet. We bought and wore yellow ponchos.

Nine years later, Kate Moss took off her poncho. She took it all off.

This was the second time I looked at a Playboy magazine. The first one was from the 80s and Madonna was on the cover. I’m pretty sure Madonna had a bush. There was a lot of pubic hair in that issue. Since the general public (or so they want us to believe) mostly makes fun of (or hates on) women with pubic hair, I foolishly assumed that there wouldn’t be any in this issue, in this magazine. Surprisingly, a lot of them do have some (the landing strip or more).

Unlike when I look at fashion magazines, I didn’t feel depressed or bad about my body while turning the pages.

Which makes me believe that maybe I don’t hate my body but I’m addicted to shopping and feel sad when I can’t buy certain things.

Which reminds me of that one time when I was in middle school and a bitch said she hated the way I dressed.

So yes, I learned to hurt a certain type of people, you can make that stupid comment, and it works. So I suppose that when people started to compliment me on my fashion choices, I didn’t want that to go away, so now a childish part of me feels like if I don’t dress well, people won’t like me.

Anyway, it was good to see those bodies. My roommate said something about Kate Moss’ nipples and I had never noticed them. Maybe I hadn’t paid attention to nipples in general until she pointed Kate’s nipples out. I imagined mine and compared them to Kate Moss’.

And later when I took my bra off to put on pajamas I looked at my nipples and thought “yes.”

I recommend buying this issue. It’s fun. There’s some really beautiful pictures.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Ana Carette is the author of Baby Babe and the editor of New Wave Vomit. She recently released a new chapbook called Sadmess.

R.H by Zooee Ghostly

He wasn’t old enough to have greyed
nor wrinkled
and his living room
smelled of high-gloss paper
and fixer chemicals
and yellow smoke,

and he unbuckled my jeans,
same belt i still wear,
and i stood in the high-gloss living room
smelling fixer
and his yellow breath,

and i stayed soft in his spit
with my knees locked
and i cringed in my parents home
and ignored him at the cafe
and never told a woman
and forgot this had ever happened,

and forgot how foreign
my body at 15,

and I looked him up
a named photographer,
that face in my skin

half-eaten
cold and stale.

and she holds the scars on the back of my head
and I whisper teeth against her breastplate
and she traces my veins a blooded map
and she’ll never stretch her waterlogged lungs
enough to ask
why i hold my belt
when I gag to myself
in the redmoon lamp spread
of the darkroom.

 

 

 

___________________________________
Zooee Ghostly is currently being evicted from a yellow-breathed apartment in Denver, CO. zooeetheghost.tumblr.com

LESSON UNMITIGATED by Camonghne Felix

I can’t believe it, I am
still obsessed with it
– my body and its
betrayal. Flesh, the
birth given border
is prototype of all
the world’s dams.

Sometimes I am convinced
of my luck/might share it/sell it for soft french bread and
a pool of Sauvignon. Instead I hear the call of grand bravery,
my whole life some God’s staff /yo/ the universe has got this
sick ability to fuck all the gold away, literally towing it right out
of the mouth. Elasticity a bone first / all bend a lesson toward
later. I’m crying out from the wounding and surviving the lash.

People you love are going to get ill and die.
And then, your whole life a new hue.

 

___________________________

Camonghne Felix is is an MFA Candidate at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, was a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, and is the 2013 recipient of the Cora Craig Award for Young Women and was featured on the HBO Documentary Brave New Voices. You can find her work in various publications, including Pank Magazine, Specter Magazine, Kenning Journal, Sinister Wisdom, with work forthcoming in Bayou Magzine and other places. www.toskateonsun.tumblr.com

2 POEMS by John Gawarecki-Maxwell

Applejacks

applejacks are a tasty breakfast treat

a delicious conundrum
of crunchy cinnamonesque donuts,
the sugar-beaded texture that
drives kids wild; adults go crazy
in the commercials with bugged-out eyes and
stuck-up noses, fuming with confusion over
how those bonkers tykes could love the
part of a balanced breakfast
that lies to them at every angle

and we’re like “suck it, you old fucks,”
cuz we’re rebels who don’t
always ask for parents’ permission before going online
to meet at the place where only kids win,
that lawless nook between homework assignments where
we ride razor scooters, blast kidz bop cds, and
revel in the pleasures someone made
just for us, no adults allowed; we fire
the first shots of revolution, one cereal bowl at a time

“I may have just killed my childhood,”
I think to myself, applejacks
melting in the milk.

 

 

After-school Special

This one time, I was in the lunchroom,
which has all those white folding benches
and that pipe with all the pillows on it
I like to climb on them (I’m a
good climber) but this one time I chipped
my tooth on the table? Anyway,
it was after-school and there were all kinds of
kids there and one of them had a book,
a how-to-draw book, which I liked
(I like drawing) and never followed because
drawing all those lines is just dumb, but
it was a Sonic the Hedgehog drawing book
and it looked cool because it meant I could draw
Sonic, and Tails, and Knuckles, and
all those guys I could already kind of draw but now I
could draw them better! Then the kid and a bunch more
kids went upstairs to play in the auditorium and I stayed
and then I heard a gasp and I thought that maybe the
pipe with all the pillows on it was talking but it
was me!

For then I realized that
the prospect that I could steal the book
had dawned on me, and not just as an off-hand
silly thing to think before I drank my juice but
as a serious possibility. I told myself it was wrong to
silence the bad thoughts but I thought:
you are a kid who loves Sonic, and loves
everything about him and may never see this again,
so why not take it?
Bad guys rob the banks and threaten to destroy the world
for ransoms of millions of dollars, but what of you?
A book, no more that six dollars worth,
and it could be yours as easily of opening the backpack,
taking it out and walking away. I had to debate the
possibility of this: the moral dilemmas of stealing being wrong and bad
and the kid being sad but me getting a cool book for my collection
and I could look at it and like it and never use it
whatsoever, when out of nowhere

the kid comes back, and grabs his coat, and then his bag
and then he leaves.
I had debated this for so long that I lost my chance to grab it.
And I was really disappointed; my seven-year-old world shattered
by the realization that time ran out before
I could choose the best plan of action for myself.
Of course, nothing had changed and I was
no worse than when I started but
it’s hard

to feel as a cartoon caricature
sitting on the edge of the curb under a
streetlight, the only light to dissipate
the deep blue dark; the angel and demon
vilify each other and berate me,
a melancholy saxophone plays somewhere off-screen.

______________________________________
John Gawarecki-Maxwell is a writer from New York City who’d probably be a lot more productive if he stopped watching so much pro wrestling. You can follow him @iamjohngm .

CHAPBOOK DROP!

EVERYDAY MR. KENT
by Andrew Worthington
&
Niki Schur-Narula

Everyday Mr. Kent

On Sunday, March 30th, Keep This Bag Away drops a new chapbook by Andrew Duncan Worthington and Niki Schur-Narula. Everyday Mr. Kent has drawn critical acclaim from prominent figures in the New York arts and literary scene. Some have called it “great,” and others have said, “Everyday Mr. Kent accurately depicts what it means to be the other in our day and age.”

Preorder your copy now or pick one up at the reading on Sunday! Limited edition of 50 for the first print run!

KEEP THIS BAG AWAY FROM CHILDREN CHAPBOOK FIESTA AT THE MELLOW PAGES LIBRARY

 

Mellow Pages Library
56 Bogart St. 1S, Brooklyn

Sunday, March 30th
6pm-9pm

Celebrating the 2nd edition of Sophia Le Fraga’s I DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE INTERNET (out now!), as well as the debut of zine EVERYDAY MR. KENT by Andrew Duncan Worthington and Niki-Schur-Narula

There will be readings by the following:

Sophia Le Fraga
Tom Comitta
Ben Fama
Maggie Lee
Sean Edgley

GEORGE SANDERS

List 1 KTBAC

List 1, 2012
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 9 inches

Wavey Scan 2 KTBAC

Wavey Study 1, 2014
Colored pencil and vinyl acrylic copolymer on paper

Wavey Study 1 KTBAC

Wavey Study 2, 2014
Gouache and colored pencil on paper
12 x 8.5 inches

____________________________________________
George Sanders (b. 1987, Santa Barbara CA) is a Brooklyn based painter and sculptor. He received his B.A. from Bard College in 2010. You can see and learn more about his work at his website, georgeleosanders.com

SURVIVAL INSIGHT by Grégoire Blunt & Emmy Skensved

imaginethatyralonechillmixplayingcoldgloonyourfacerelaxreleaserepeat


 

_______________________________

Grégoire Blunt & Emmy Skensved are Canadian artists based in Berlin. Their most recent collaboration was a black-lit ice bar performance at Other Projects (Berlin), reviewed here. They’ll also be exhibiting soon at ESP (Toronto) and Duve (Berlin).

TSCHABALALA SELF

new_LilMama

Lil Mama, 2013
Collage, oil and gouache on canvas

1_natsygal

Bad Gal, 2011
Oil on paper

new_Baby-Blue-

Baby Blue, 2013
Oil and acrylic on wooden panel

____________________________
Born in 1990, Tschabalala Self is a New York City based painter and printmaker. She received her B.A. from Bard College in 2012 and is currently a M.F.A. candidate at the Yale School of Art. You can find more of her work and information at http://tschabalalaself.com/

2 POEMS by Sheila Byers

 

 

Untitled

What would I have made
of us given time to wander

to sleep soundly in our nutshell.
The stuff of her life like waves

lapping against the rocky shore
so recently eroded. Wood weathered

has not passed safely through storms
whose eyes give a glint of coming dreams.

I would shell mollusks keeping
their flesh in the hope

of a pearl I would treasure
and shelter from harm.

 

 

Semaphore

Elysian nightmares play on the radio,
and I hear a flutter of wings,
as carrier pigeons depart.
I have been hiding from myself.

I sleep under bridges and hear the underworld
rumbling through its reactionary half-life.
I approach myself with a singsong reserve
and slowly extend a hand.

The half-life of love is an opera,
a staircase that leads below ground.
I reach my hand back, groping blindly,
I’m concerned with static.

The dust that collects on the staircase
will muffle the sounds below.
The static becomes a chorus
in the light of a passing train.

Below, someone is weeping,
or it’s an aria on the radio.
A light shines in my eyes,
and I’m departing from myself.

 

________________________________
Sheila Byers is a poet living and working in New York City.