Symmetry pebbles issue 4


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Symmetry pebbles issue 4

  1. 1. Dear Reader, First off, apologies for the huge delay in the publication of this issue - for those waiting to see their workpublished, and those who have waited patiently to read this issue. Technology cannot be trusted, not even in2012. Computers are capable of dying at any moment it seems. I now have new technology, and thus Issue 4finally makes it to your screens. Now then, good news and bad news has filled the past few months here at the SP Headquarters. First, let metell you the good news. Rodney Nelson and Symmetry Pebbles have received a Poetry Kit Award 2012 for myselection of Rodneys poem One Winter which you can read, if you havent already, in Issue 1 which is availablefor download in the Archive at This was a pleasant surprise, having submittedmy selection back in late 2011, I had completey forgotten about the competition, and with Symmetry Pebblesbeing a left-of-centre publication, though I personally believe in the strength of the poems I submitted, I kindof dismissed the idea of winning – that showed me! Rodneys poem will be in an anthology e-book to be pub-lished by Poetry Kit. This news also came just as I was reviewing Rodneys new collection Metacowboywhich you can read in this issue, how conveinient! Now, the bad news I received recently. Symmetry Pebbles featured poet of issue 3, Victor Church, passedaway on Monday 19th March 2012. Victor was in hospital at the time I was putting together issue 3. I was ini-tially intending to do an interview with him, but due to his ill health he was unable to partake in this so I wroteup a feature instead. When I last spoke to Victor he wasnt going to be in hospital too much longer and I wassure, that though is health might not have been what it was, he would be able to get back to his writing. It wasa complete shock then to find an email from his agent waiting for me in my inbox telling me of Victors passing.In remembrance of Victor and his work I have dug up a few poems of his from the SP archive and republishedthem here along with a few other notes and links to further work.With that I intend to keep this letter brief, and I dedicate this issue to Victor Church.Sincerely,Richard Thomas - Editor 3
  2. 2. By Richard Thomas Back in November last year (2011), I collaborated with artist Fiona Graham in a poetry and photography ex-hibition called Inspired. The exhibition took place at Birdwood House in Totnes, UK and we kicked it off withan opening night poetry reading by myself and fellow Totnes poet Jade Moon.The exhibition was based around the ongoing cycle of inspiration that can be made from one person to another.Fiona selected ten of my poems and responded to them through the medium of photography how she saw fit –the result was a wide array of portraiture of people she knew and didnt know, expressing their reactions. On another wall we displayed ten abstract photographs and next to them put up a blackboard for people towrite their personal responses to those photos on first seeing them. Over the course of the week, using a camera,we kept a record of all these responses from the public. My part in this exercise was to -without taking further looks at the abstract photos that started the process –take what was recorded on the blackboard over the week and use these responses as inspiration to write a brandnew poem. I began by jotting down each single response in my notebook. Amongst these individual responsesthere seemed to be a handful of reoccurring themes: isolation, solitude, distance, time and space. I did somefreewriting using the responses directly to begin with, constructing new phrases from the words I was givenand also making new word combinations. This helped form new ideas for the direction of the poem. I startedto draft some first verses in an automatic manner just to see what came up, but after a handful of differentdrafts going in different directions I felt that I was relying too much on the blackboard word for word andwanted to find a way to distance myself a bit, so that rather than using the responses directly I was just literallyusing them as inspiration to form something fresh. I started to let the responses on the blackboard, their words and images, just flow through my mind, a bitlike music playing in the background. This is when I came up with what would be the first line in the finaldraft of the poem: In an all white sun I sleep. I think this came because three words from the blackboard keptcoming to the forefront of my mind, as if they felt they were the most important. Egotistical words I call them.Those words were Sunray, Sleepy world and All white, and they seemed to just melt into the phrase above.From here I let my imagination go wild and used that opening line to trigger an automatic narrative. What Iended up with was a whimsical tale of a Star Man who longs to die and come back and grace the world withthe soothing quality of his snow. A love poem of sorts. It was very interesting, when I reached my final draft,to look back through my notebook and see how my ideas developed, and to see how the final product had comefrom that first set of photos. Creativity can take journeys of all shapes and sizes it seems. If you asked me onthe first night of the exhibition what I thought I would be writing about in response to the cycle of inspirationwe had started, probably my last thought would have been the poem I am about to present to you. I am encouraging readers to continue this cycle of inspiration by responding to my poem, whether it be viaa submission of a poem, essay, article, photograph or piece of art. The best pieces will be published in a futureissue of Symmetry Pebbles. Remember, only go from the poem I have written, the idea is to ignore anythingthat has gone before that, in order to keep the cycle constantly going to fresh places. The theme of the nextissue is ‘Descent’, I think that bodes well with the cycle of inspiration. 4
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  4. 4. The poem:GOOD REASONTO DIEIn an all white sun I sleepfigureless, moving closer to myselfto which the Star Sisters hit me up with:Wake from that in which you lie!and so I wake and groggily reply:But the sun is going to die,so I shall sleep on and go out with it,a loyal ember, a promise Ill keep,and then I can come back as snowand be divine in my all white flow.To which the Star Sisters replyas quick as a comet: Fair enough.The sun fades like a mouldering orange,I sweat my juice, I melt my mindand become the purest snow, divine,and the Star Sisters whiten their shineand the seas and soil are that of sheepskin -in such aesthetic the world is peaceful,a candescent calm hushes through the universeand all people everywhere make love to this verse.‘Good Reason to Die’ is now published in my debut colelction of poetry ‘The StrangestThankyou’, available from Cultured Llama Press - 6
  5. 5. CONNIE A. LOPEZ–HOODSIGNSOnce upon a time a street sign turned into an elephant. He sold it at the local farmer’s market and camehome with two baby kittens that had no tails. She was allergic and smashed their skulls against the wall tostop her sneezing. She was allergic to their leukemia. No one cared that she cried and everyone wasshocked when she didn’t.Upon this other time a street sign turned into a giraffe. She fed it gumdrops and stroked its neck. It hatchedtwo quails, which revolted against her—pecking, then gobbling at her toes. Her ballet slippers were now toolarge. Finger-snapping did not make up for toe-tapping. Before long, she forgot how to dance. No onewants to dance if your shoes don’t fit.Once upon a sign, a swan flew out of her tub while she was bathing. Its neck was contorted and patches offeathers were missing. She recognized it as a power animal and lifted her mouth to kiss it. Its feathers weresharpened quills and they stabbed her eyes, macheted her skull. When she died, the bathwater turned tomustard gas, her skin to shit. The swan did not.Connie A. Lopez-Hood has served as a Poetry Editor for two years for the Ghost Town literaryjournal. She spearheaded and edited the 2011 chapbook anthology "Blankets & OtherPoems: Poetry for the People of Japan", in which proceeds were donated to Red CrossJapan Relief. Her work has appeared in Gaga Stigmata, Our Stories Literary Journal and Po-lari Journal. She is currently working on a collaborative chapbook entitled "Operation: LiftedFlowers". 7
  6. 6. L.E. SULLIVANTHE HARPISTCIRCA 1978I was tortured on a subwayby a man who carried a harpthe strings could slice bodieslike egg yolks, watery bodiesHe poked eyes into me—eyesthat were naked tree branchesand my skin gave way with easeI bled water alive with leavesof lightning and sandin narrow space, cracked dimness,I saw those leaves become glass.L.E Sullivan is a musician who lives in Nacogdoches, TX. Her work has appeared or is forth-coming in The Southern Poetry Anthology: Louisiana, Sphere Literary Magazine, and North-wind Magazine. 8
  7. 7. MICHAEL RATCLIFFEWALKING ALONGTHE RIVER FUJI,THE POET BASHOFINDS A CHILDABANDONED BYITS PARENTSA child by the road,crying in the autumn wind—great Basho leaves foodand takes away an imagefrom which he forms a poem.If he had takenthe child with him, would he havemastered poetry?Or, would he be known onlyas a man who saved a child?PATUXENTRIVER STORYThey flow, county to county,pushed by tides of indignation,slowed by pools of indifference,unseen, unnoticed, unknown by most(and they would be appalled if they knew),but they are there,at the bars near the track,on the corners near the cheap motels,in the parking lot behind the diner.They flow, county to county,in a jurisdictional eddy,Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince George’s,pushed by the police from one to the other,one to the other, one to the other, 9
  8. 8. in a slow, continual cycle.Do we care to know who they are?Or what they want in life?They flow in a different channel,dead ended,caught like so much debris behind a strainer,eddied, swirling, stopped,watching as the Patuxent flows freely to the Bay.Michael Ratcliffe is a geographer, working and writing in the suburbs of Baltimore and Wash-ington. His poems have appeared in The Copperfield Review, Three Line Poetry, Do NotLook At The Sun, The Little Patuxent Review, and You Are Here: the Journal of Creative Ge-ography. He can be found on-line at and on Facebookat Michael Ratcliffes Poetry. TATJANA DEBELJACKITOO LATE FORTHE SOUTHIt seems that were late.There was no need to hurry.The branch was thin and it shook all down to the trunk.The cars rushed down under. The snow covered everything.All of a sudden, a turtle-dove moved as if about to fly,and then it fell down under the wheels of a limo.The frozen male swayed on the branch.Tatjana Debeljacki, was born on 23.04.1967 in Užice. Writes poetry, short stories, stories andhaiku. Member of Association of Writers of Serbia -UKS since 2004 and Haiku Society of Serbia- HDS Serbia, HUSCG – Montenegro and HDPR, Croatia. 10
  9. 9. STUART BARNESTHE WORLDMAPI face it daily, a blue eyed heliotrope,never sleeping, terrified of complacency,this mid-twentieth-century world map,fifty something crimson lines catapultingimaginary aircraft over oceans.I face it daily, a blue eyed heliotrope,lines a reminder of busy motherlyhands: string art: signs of the zodiac.This mid-twentieth-century world map– the cartographers anonymous yet loving –has nothing to do, I’ve realised, with geometry –I face it daily, a blue eyed heliotrope,I should know – but everything to do with fractals:there’s divine imperfection – e.g. coastlines – inthis mid-twentieth-century world map.A whore for nothing less than a miracle(‘O Magdalene, restore me to nineties Russia!’),I face it daily, a blue eyed heliotrope,this mid-twentieth-century world map.Stuart Barnes is slowly arranging the manuscript for his first book of poetry, and writing his firstnovel. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. 11
  10. 10. ASHLEY CAPESSOOTHINGTHINGSshe lifts a lady-of-the-lake armto rub at smudges on the skyuntil it is clean againand the business of rain is finishedand all the ponds are fulland frogs can be happyand I become jealous of themfor just a short time,until she tells me soothing thingsand I sleep on the couch before sunsetand wake to the starstapping silver fingers on my windowand then she is gone of a suddenand the house seems to sagwith her absence.Ashley teaches Media and English in Victoria. He moderates online renku site Issas Snailand his haiku chapbook, Orion Tips the Saucepan was released by Picaro Press in 2010. Heoccasionally dabbles in film and is slowly learning piano. He also loves Studio Ghibli films. 12
  11. 11. M I C H A E L E S T A B RO O KBLONDES INBLACK DRESSESBlondes in black dresses in frontof the theater, smoking, giggling, sashayingin their swollen bodices, proud,flicking their heads backinto the night - modern blondes.Blondes in black dresses resplendentin the purity and surety and vivacityof their eternal, irrepressible womanhood,the folds of thin, velvety cloth,clinging like bat wings to their forms,subtle, darkly alluring - placid cool-headed blondes.Blondes in black dresses their perfumed essenceswafting on cool breezes, floatingout over the sea, their voices, murmurousand whispery, rising and falling occasionallyin outbursts of confused chatter - melodious blondes.Blondes in black dresses blondes in black dressescalling out to me like the Sirenscalled to Ulysses.Michael Estabrook is a baby boomer who began getting his poetry published in the late1980s. Over the years he has published 15 poetry chapbooks, his most recent entitled “Whenthe Muse Speaks.” Other interests include art, music, theatre, opera, and his wife who justhappens to be the most beautiful woman he has ever known. 13
  12. 12. LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABALABSURDRAMBLINGSHe heard the songs of crowsall day. He heard absurdramblings in his dreams.He could not live like thisand sought to get all soundsout of his ears. He went tothe ear doctor. He told himhe wanted the sounds in hisears to stop. He could notget the doctor’s help. A greatsorrow filled his heart. He toldthe doctor to go to hell.He beat his ears until they bled.His doctor hospitalized him.At night shadows spoke to him.In full delirium he could seean eagle eating a crow.He found this liberating andimagined a world without crows.To his horror this was just a dream.Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal was born in Mexico, lives in California, and works in the mentalhealth field in Los Angeles, CA. His poetry books and chapbooks were published by PygmyForest Press (Raw Materials), Deadbeat Press (Before & Well After Midnight), New Polish Beat(The Book of Absurd Dreams), and Poets Democracy (Peering into the Sun). Kendra SteinerEditions published his latest chapbook Digging a Grave. Alternating Current Press will publishhis poetry book Songs for Oblivion in 2012. 14
  13. 13. JOSÉ LUIS GUTIÉRREZSWEETINQUISITIONSWhen with velvet tongue and honeyed eyes,with skilled Ursuline hands she unsheathesyou and invites you to burn shame on her milk seaof skin and after in the equatorial climes of release shecoaxes you into confessing your heart’s filthiest secrethold it tight under your tongue like a salt pelletperforating the slug into contorted dancelike a caged bird who once let loosewill sing down plagues upon the denizens.Instead make some gnomic pronouncementabout the virtues of residual heat in cookingor the latest status of a public option—if this goes unheeded the improbable vectorswill find you and with pinpoint precision strikedown your latest conquest or worse turnyour modest life inside out like a sockthe wind soughs its brutal narrative through:for once your hollowed anatomytuned and calibrated to the dissonantmenace of locusts as they swarm the fieldstretching out like seas or eternity, their urgentmeasures punctuating the firmament’s great fires.José Luis Gutiérrez is a San Francisco poet. He is also the host of the BookShop West PortalPoetry Series. His work has appeared in Spillway, Eratio, 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, SanFrancisco Poets 11, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, Margie, Letterbox, DMQ, Apropos LiteraryJournal and is forthcoming in Scythe Literary Journal, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Thrush Po-etry Journal and the Mutanabbi Street Anthology due out 2012 through PM Press. 15
  14. 14. CARL KAVALDOTHEBANANAi’d noticed the bananafor the first time,though i’d been inthat room nowfor an hour and twenty minutes.then the bananacame thereinto my vision,sitting with some apples and oranges ina round, porcelain fruit bowl,tan colored withindian’s good.i had been absorbedin kitchen-tableearly morning self-preoccupation,daydreaming, musingthat muchnot to noticethe banana withthe color of the goldof the sun.Carl Kavadlo is a poet and short story writer. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife. 16
  15. 15. C H A R L I EG U Z M A N What do you mean by a poet? A person who writes, without being a writer. - Orpheus by Charlie Guzman Interview by Richard ThomasHow long have you been writing poetry? list specific names like Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Thomas James, Octavio Paz, Dylan Thomas, ComteI’ve been writing poetry since I was around thirteen de Lautreamont, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rim-– nothing to be proud of. I was mostly writing out baud, Federico Garcia Lorca, Dean Kostos (my men-my frustrations, with no focus on either word or tor), William Blake, and the list goes on. I think theform…just images. My first poem was written by thing that has inspired me the most in any literaryforce, after I attempted to plagiarize a school assign- piece is how an image is created: “A hornet tests myment – I was caught and told to write right then and sculptured skin” (Room 101, Thomas James.)there. It has been the past few years where I’ve re-ally focused on my work, inspired by the English Is your poetry influenced by other artforms?classes I took at CUNY. Most definitely. Paintings have also took my interest,Who are your literary influences and inspira- even more so in the past few years. Artists like Vantions? Gogh, Bacon, Klimt, Blake’s engravings, Warhol, Lachaise’s sculptures, and a few random pieces hereAlways a damn hard question to answer. I could and there from different movements (Romanticism, 17
  16. 16. Surrealism). Music has also been a definite influ- I’ve been inspired by each and every one of the sur-ence, specifically No-Wave, Futurism, Blues, realists, from their writing to their art work to evenJazz…wild stuff. their movies. I think one of the main exercises that I do, which I believe many of us writers do at oneHow did The Epistles poems that are published point or another, is automatism – that is to put your-here come into being and what do they mean to self in an almost trance state and write away untilyou? you are writing automatically. The usual result is a mess of words, but meanings and/or images tend toThe Epistles is my first real project in poetry. I hope slowly ooze out of the chaos. There is also anotherto make a long-length book of them in the future, form of automatism that I use with friends, which hassimilar to The Dream Songs by John Berryman. I one person writing and the other person saying ran-had been reading up on epistolary works and saw it dom words throughout the automatic process. It isas an effective tool to get out a message, but also an hard to explain the results, but I’ll try to anyway. Ineffective way to understand the person writing the the process of automatism, I place myself in a state inletter (and those they are writing to). Then I asked which my subconscious has fuller control. By usingmyself the question, a simple question: Who am I? random words, I attempt to put my subconscious in aDuring the same time I had also been researching trance – to essentially delve deeper than it (if it ex-my heritage…my identity as a Puerto ists). Some other techniques I use are The Exquisiteconnection to the Island. From there the idea Corpse and the cut-up technique (as described byflowed. I would write about a character (a fictional Tristan Tzara, though I have tried the technique pop-I), who becomes stuck on the island and is writing ularized by William Burroughs). I use the techniquesback to his family and friends. I use the word to develop the ideas that I’m writing, be it an image“stuck” because I think it perfectly describes the po- or an emotion. My interest in Surrealism is also polit-sition I feel, being stuck between cultures. I am ical, in much of the same passion as the original sur-Puerto Rican, but for a long time I denied that part realists. I believe the movement has much to do withof myself; yet nothing really replaced it – I was just understanding who we are as people and trying toa weird kid living in Brooklyn. For me The Epistles break those boundaries (the status quo) to develop ahave become something of an exploration into the new state of consciousness.many facets of my identity, as an artist and a person.I’m also trying to write to those who are also in my Can you see the surrealist movement coming intoposition – from friends to strangers. fashion again and perhaps finding a bigger and more influential place in contemporary poetry? “...I WAS JUST Or do you think it will always be a bit specialist and slightly under the radar since the original movement has passed? A WEIRD KID I’ll be a little critical here. I can’t see a surrealist movement coming into fashion again, not in the seri- LIVING IN ous way the original surrealists took it. If people at- tempt to bring it back, it will likely be a watered down version that simply focuses on the artistic side BROOKLYN.” of Surrealism – similar to what Dali did to surrealism when he brought it to the US. Though I strongly be- lieve that literature (in the last fifty years) has been profoundly influenced by Surrealism in subtle ways.I can see that surrealism is a big part of your William Burroughs and his cut-ups, Plath/James inwork. I understand that you are very interested their images, and the widespread use of the games –in using the surrealist games and Oulipo exercise to list some examples. I do wish that the movementto help create your poetry. Could you tell us would start up again though. These tense politicalmore about those techniques and your interest in times really call for it…the Occupy movement…re-Surrealism in general? ally call for artists getting together, experimenting on their works, collaborating, criticizing the status quoYes, surrealism is definitely a big part of my work. (and all systems supporting it), creating a bigger 18
  17. 17. (even terrifying) voice, and to fully push the idea structure to develop true creativity. As a group, wethat “Poetry should be made by all.” (Lautreamont). wanted to experiment with combining the two, fold- ing the scale onto itself. One of the first experimentsWhats the poetry scene like where you are? that we did, which will be in the first issue (if/when it is published), was combining the freedom of cutIn my experience and opinion, it’s been really ups by using prose pieces we wrote on a specificmixed. I’d claim that poetry just isn’t important to subject – gentrification. I believe the results are bril-the public anymore and has become a hobby for liant. As for the current state, I am unfortunately themany in “the scene”. For the people my age and only one working on it. I wanted a team, a group,younger (I’m twenty-three), it has become hard to but it has been very hard to form a steady one. Tounderstand poetry and relate to it. I think it’s mostly top things off, this is my first experience trying tobecause poetry has been relegated to academia. My create a publication…it has been a hard ride. Still, asfirst interaction with poetry was in an academic set- I said, I’m very passionate about it – so I’ll work onting. I think most people would say the same thing, it until I feel it’s just right for publishing.and it wasn’t taught properly. Then over the years “...POETRYthe same work and authors are taught again andagain, until there is simply no passion in it. And thescene shows it. Most people my age and younger JUST ISN’T IM-tend to go for slam poetry, because it provides some-thing new, something more in tune with our cul-ture/heritage or just our lives in general. Yet PORTANT TOsomething is definitely lost with slam, and that is therich history of literature. Some may not agree withthis assessment, but I look at it from the audience’s THE PUBLIC...”standpoint. People simply don’t get excited by asonnet, a sestina, a pantoum – unless it has somedrab humour or cultural references. I’ve seen peoplebarely clap to brilliant pieces, with rich words andimages, and then I see people hoot and holler over a What are your plans for the future as a poet?slam where the person describes how everyonewants to fuck them! I do have one positive note to I’m currently out of college, though I do plan to gostate about the scene: there are brilliant ideas, im- back at some point. Right now I’m just focusing onages, words, and rhythms flowing through it. There my work and trying to write out the first book. I planis a passion there that I wish would be more sup- on trying to put myself out there more publically,ported, widespread, and publicized. and hell, try my by best to make a career out of it. I truly believe in the strength of poetry, of literature,You run the publication Burro Char, could you and how it can influence society as a whole. It maytell me a bit more about that? not be practical, some would even say “sane”, to base a living on it, but it’s my life. I’m just hopingUnfortunately, it has barely been running. I am very for the best.passionate about the project, which is why it hasn’tfolded yet. The main idea of Burro Char was to de- Is there anywhere online that people can find outvelop a group/publication that would have artists more about you?and writers (and anyone really) to collaborate andhopefully develop something new. The idea stems My blog, which I will soon be updating regularlyfrom several influences: The Surrealists, the Oulipo, again, is called Shattering the Mirror that Birthedand the artistic scene of the 70s/80s (particularly Juan Mirador ( artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, It is a blog where I talk about my currentl literaryand Andy Warhol). We wanted to develop something goals/frustration and where I have an ongoing proj-free, yet structured. In my opinion, the Surrealists ect where I am creating personas (similar to whatand Oulipo stand on two sides of a scale of expres- Fernando Pessoa did in his work). I also give somesion. While Surrealism offers a freedom, especially updates on Burro Char and any other projects I wantwith automatism, the Oulipo demanded absolute to put out there. 19
  18. 18. CHARLIE GUZMAN –THE EPISTLESDEAR FATHER, I’m here. I’m among the smudging palm trees of my airplane window, among my translucent reflection. I’m among the people speaking in tongues: “Que bien, que bien.” I walk in tile cracks; through security and Bacardi bottles. I get lost in labyrinthine corridors, meeting my luggage at the middle of baggage claim. A man offers me a taxi, speaks English. I smile, say si. The sky is cloudless. Airplanes become mosquitoes, their engines leaking blood. I ride the taxi “home.” Thirty bucks, with tip. Cubist house: Our home. Paint peels in tears, exposing the bony concrete. I see the blocks and their arthritic joints. I see a staircase guarded by crested anoles. They attach themselves to the slanted corners of the walls. They even sunbathe on the slats of the jalousies that leaks me into your empty room. I see the ants huddle in the corner. A mirror reflects the cinereous web poised above their heads. 20
  19. 19. I take to exploring the cracked panapen leaking white blood into the drain of vertigo road. I explore with feral dogs, who claw and chew at my sides. We hunt the pieces of past – broken watch gears guarded by iguanas. I explore in silence. I speak my own tongue. I speak the null.Sincerely,Tu Hiyo.13 JulyDEAR HERMANO, I pick watch gears from iguana nests. I stumble upon mangos comprised of hypodermic needles. You stalk me from a piece of broken mirror clutched in the skeletal hand of a ruby conquistador. I follow the shadows of hanged men, nooses still around their necks. They slither across the walls painting stripes with duck blood. I run the very boundaries of our barrio chasing the sun! I swallow the horizon!Sincerely,Isa Isa.13 July 21
  20. 20. DEAR MOTHER, I’m here, at the old house. The old walls have kept their cubist shape, except for some holes. They were gored by the ivory bulls of Spain. Ants hide in the corner of your room. A lone spider – a hand above them. They live together in a framed picture of constant war. I walk through the vein roads. Asphalt bleeds down the hills. Dogs maraud. Kittens hide in tropical shrubs eating mangos. I watch you from the eyes of a child. She sang, like a finch, and flew away.Love,Tu Hiyo, Isabalino.13 July 22
  21. 21. M E G AN K E L L E R M A NTHECITYThin grass grows over the tops of the city.Rooftop gardens are plantedon every building’s flat headto fill any possible bare patchthat might suggest some weakness.Birds screech around their crownsand dip down to dust the windows.The buildings lean into the little onesand their flight paths,flatten them with complete transparency.Jealousy drives them; grief stops them.The buildings bow too lateto catch the guts and clumps of feathers.They sigh reverently, ventsexhaling dust, and tellthe murdered spots of lifethat at least they had livedwith their bodies, straight through—they didn’t need life plantedinto their heads, made to dreamas a thing they never could be.Life was a clumsy implantin an unnatural thing.Megan is a recent graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson’s undergraduate Creative Writing pro-gram. Her poems have been published in Scribblers and Catfish Creek, and she receivedthe Andonis Decavalles Poetry Scholarship twice, as well as an MFA Award for Excellencein her major at FDU. 23
  22. 22. ALLIE MARINI BATTSTHE MYTHOLOGYOF THE NIGHTSKIESyou were once a mansquare but brightincense in the darkyour story, told by Greeksnaïve, the way welit sticks of incense and prayedwantonly to false hopes and square godsand stars, naïve offeringsand devotions meant to keep us safeprotections and punishmentsremembered in therotations of the planetnaïve, how we thoughtyou loved usand would keep us safeIMPRESSIONISTPAINTINGSPre-Raphaelite, she is painted in perfect strokesif not in your memory, in the jealous aesthetics of my Decadent heart.Allie Marini Batts is a New College of Florida alumna, meaning she can explain deconstruc-tionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has appeared in over forty literary mag-azines her family hasnt heard of. Allie calls Tallahassee home because it has great trees toclimb. She’s a research writer by day and is pursuing her MFA degree in Creative Writingthrough Antioch University Los Angeles and oh no! its getting away! To read more, visit 24
  23. 23. WILLIAM DORESKIYOUR CASUALPRIVATEPANTHEONYou’ve crowded your house with cotsfor the many guests you expect.You’ve only one bathroom yetclaim you can house fifty people.Night falls in shades of brownthe Old Masters would appreciate.I’d rather sleep in the streetthan number myself among othersin your casual private pantheon.Don’t tell me to console myselfwith five minutes of your precious time.You expect your other guests beforemidnight, panting with luggageand groaning after flights from Spain,Italy, Argentina, China,and Guam. Shuffling among the cots,I find the bathroom and wash up,wasting as much hot wateras I can. Thanks for the drinkyou press into my hand. MaybeI can smile and greet your friendsif I’m slightly drunk. The cots fumewith years of night-sweat. Borrowedfrom the Salvation Army, they gloomlike open graves. The blankets,bought for almost nothing at Goodwill,fume with unrequited disease.Are you sure those guests are coming?Midnight has passed in a drizzleof freezing rain. The streets gleamand the silence comes between us.I choose a cot and lie as flatand small as possible. The nightleans over me propped on its elbowsand sighs the way old mothers dowhen their sons plod off to war. 25
  24. 24. FROM AFORENSICTEXTBOOKFrom a forensic textbook I learnthat to determine if one’s girlfriendis a hermaphrodite one setsa house on fire with her insideand with a spectrometer checksthe tonal value of her screams.You doubt whether Marcy is human—her sex life pantomimed in shadows,her body constructed of layersof silt and mud, like a Golem.Fire can’t harm but might scare herinto revealing her dual selves.Bring her to the abandoned housein Seltzer Lane. I’ll pour kerosenedown the chimney and ignite it.With a spectrometer borrowedfrom Harvard’s optic science labwe’ll measure the wave length and hueof all available screams.You say you don’t want to violateher sexual-mythic privacy?You believe her technical datashouldn’t frighten or interest you?Her blonde gaze makes me shudder.When I see you arm in arm with herI fear that your nether regionswill flash-freeze and detach. But whyshould I worry that your organswon’t be suitable for transplantwhen you don’t seem anxious? Doubtcould scar like acne if you don’t act.What if she’s from Neptune insteadof Venus? Her pastel auramay conceal sexual gadgetrythat you’d better discover beforeone night it discovers you. 26
  25. 25. QUEEN OFTHE ISLANDThe lake sports three hundred islands.Searching requires weeks or monthsof coast guard boats dropping clustersof uniformed people toting food,stretchers, radios, and blankets.You could be anywhere. Elopingwith the ghost of your first husband,leaving a note proclaiming yourselfQueen of the Island, sparked this search.I expect to find you neitherdead nor alive. The winter islandsoffer cottages ripe with canned goodsand easily burgled. You and the ghostshould find shelter and food enoughto keep your mutual body going,but the star-spangled sex crimeof your dreams will never occur.The cold lake laps gravel beaches.When it freezes over, the searchwill continue with snowmobilesand even dogsleds. Roaring, barking,the mob will scour every islandto find and punish you for tracingyourself backward into vacuumswhere the spirit disgorges itselfin fits of primary colors.The lake shivers in its skin.Under weak winter sun the waterlooks black enough to swallowthe flaccid bulk of the cosmos.Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that—your crazy expression gloweringin a dark cottage, your ghost lovertrying to calm you as the creakof the planet’s axis amplifiesthe very flaws you detectedtwo or three lifetimes ago.Williams work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, mostrecently Waiting for the Angel (Pygmy Forest Press, 2009). 27
  26. 26. NICOLE TAYLORTHEBODYFour officers and five hoursin apartment 8.Less than six monthsshe resided there.Weeks later she was drinking again and invitingstrange men in who she had to kick out of the apt.Then her pancreas andother organs started failing andshe went to the local hospital.She invited me to eat Easterdinner there but no call and missingcalls for her until a week later an officerasked neighbors "When did you last see her?"The pancreas and the liver were proven the killers.She has many hopeful projects, no MFAs and is an artist, a hiker, a volunteer, and a dancer,formerly in DanceAbility. She blogs at,, and 28
  27. 27. EMILY HAIGHTLAURASPOEMJai besoin de sortir de cette maison!There are ants everywhere--On the floor, climbing on the wallslike tiny Russian soldiers (picking up corpses as they go; it‘s horrid),In the tea kettle, in the coffee press, in the sugar!And apathetic, dusky wormsIn the tub. Inching along the perimeter,Multiplying by hundreds daily.Jai besoin de sortir de cette maison!If the ants and worms cannot manageTo eat my bleeding soul alive,The walls, with their ever-changing temperament, will surelySwallow me whole.Jai besoin de sortir de cette maison!A friend of mine had a ladyLiving inside of her yellow wallpaper. I couldn’t imagineThat being less aggravating than this,Although that lady really did drive my friend mad.Emily Haight was born in Whitefish Bay, WI. She received a degree in Creative Writing fromthe University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is currently living in the Republic of Georgia whereshe serves as a Peace Corps volunteer. 29
  28. 28. BRYNN MCNABH|IHere my knee is:Apart from him, out of bedIn the same blue light that has portrayed Parisian morningsI am a rectangle among rectangles, perched atop a golden ratio, in the simplicity Piet sought.Why did he neverDraw the dirty city,Why alwaysThe pier, the tree.You wake in these places, you cannot sleep.It is scraped, my own doing, but so is this woodAnd not by me.There is a dried envelope pasted to the air conditioner.“Reference Guide” it rattles, empty, and yellowing to dust.Behind our ears, Clark Gable makes his moustache known, over attempts, competitions,The sounds of violins and telephones.He speaks,“The road?”“Our road.”“To you.”“You never knew a crooked road could look so straight.”“No rick, no…”“You ought to be out dancing in the streets, kicking the hats off citizens.”“Guilty or innocent – didn’t make a difference.”“You outsmarted yourself baby, now I can do my job.”“I couldn’t … I couldn’t… so I killed everything for us instead.”“You couldn’t feel so bad if you had to.”And here he sleeps, snoring irregularly – like I used to do to you – smooth, speckled, shut-eyed.The skin stretches tight on his hips, curling into laugh lines when kneeling.Is here. Is now.Wicker painted black and a blanket with roots of Gothic and Aztec architectureBut it encloses his body like a stained sea:Blue and green with blotched red,As if some shark had killed.“Anyone you can count on?”“No one.”“That guy is in no position to comfort you.”As the pus wells up where my shoes used to be.And a mucous film sticks to his throat 30
  29. 29. Making the sound ofBubble gum film stretched out between teethAnd inhaled,What a trick:On the CRT screenOur shootout peters out within crowds and fireworks.I have self-published poetry, short stories, and essays in an art gallery setting, and haveworked with numerous emerging artists contributing written elements to larger projects. STELLA VINITCHI RADULESCUPARIS INSEPIAIts like a beat in my headcold weather and soupe gratinéeonce in a while a poet throwshimself into eternallifethe Seine takes his bodyStella Vinitchi Radulescu, Ph.D. in French Language & Literature, is the author of several col-lections of poetry published in the United States, Romania and France, including Last Call(2005), Diving With the Whales (2008), Insomnia in Flowers (2008), All Seeds & Blues (2011), IWas Afraid of Vowels (bilingual, Luke Hankins translator, 2011). 31
  30. 30. LUCAS WEBSTERMAY THE WINETAKE A CHAIRHe thinks the answer is in a bottle,but we wait for the message to come,floating over telegraph polesand descending wires with soluble grieflike the tears on our cheeksWe had a chance to re-enact world war one,running through lanes of coiled teeth,dressed up like angry dogs,sharp like the despondent painof losing a reverenceHe will fall off the cart like a bubonic victim,sodden in guilt at his corked wormsthat will seep through his fleshconsuming layers of anaesthetic osseous,like the weight of our situationPerplexed we both stand in reminiscence of regretthe affairs we never confronted,the desperate sound of mother’s voicereminding me of my desperate crywhen that lost girl left meWe find ourselves tearfully pouringsepia onto the photographsassimilating memories without need for colourdraining morality through lack of moderationlike the wills of our abating mindsRomancing the French Revolution, keeping a level head, rolling landscapes from thetongue, but is yet unable to whistle. 32
  31. 31. MOHSEN JABBARIFOGIt rolled down the hillside—an avalanche in slow motionminus the weight of tons of snowswallowing mossy tree trunksin one slow, erotic gulp.We parked the car by the roadskirting the valley, now filled withfog flowing into further foglike a flock of flying white serpentsfurling, unfurling out of a myth.Born and raised in Zanjan, Iran, Mohsen Jabbari is arguably the only Iranian poet composingsolely in English in his country. Besides doing a master’s degree in English literature at theUniversity of Tehran, he is currently putting together his first chapbook. His poems have ap-peared in The London Magazine, Pomegranate, Symmetry Pebbles, Rangoli, Esque, The PifMagazine, etc. 33
  32. 32. VICTOR CHURCHA EULOGY Symmetry Pebbles championed poet and featured poet of Issue 3 sadly passed away on Monday 19th March2012. His talent was that of pure poetry, bold and charismatic. I feel it is important to keep this level of talentalive, which is why I am re-publishing three of Victors poems from Symmetry Pebbles archive. You can alsoread more of Victors work in Issue 1 and Issue 3 which are available to download from and further information can be found at Now, over to Victor...BETRACHTUNGSo there! SomeSay wunderkind,SomeSay perfect fool,But most don’t give a damn, of course.I laugh, for I’mBothGenius andLunatic.I cannotTell what’s true orFalse,Whether anyOf my work’s worth anything atAll, or if it’sJustWasting time, andLaughable.But I knowNot if my mindHasGone, or if theLongest distance is from MotherTo Goodbye. AllEndsWith me pissingGainst the Wall 34
  33. 33. IM TALKINGTO THE CEDARTREESI’m talking to the cedar trees:They always seem to understandWhatever grief I spill on them,Whatever blood I shed.And as I speak,So eagles snap the topmost shoots,Fly off unto a distant rock, drop seedTo grow in gravel, morphing toStone forests on the mountainside,Flint clusters to bear witness to my pain.I’m talking to the cedar stones:They do not seem to understand;They spit back words in secret fontsFrom long-dysfunctioned worlds;Gaunt souls from long-forgotten dreamsStill haunt me with their ruptured chords;Fast-forward through once verdant limbs,Now fractured gangrene claws.I’m talking to the cedar trees:They tell me that the words I writeAnd all the whisperings I hear,The eagles understand.WEIHNACHTSBAUMI’mAs I usedTo be: erect and vibrant, hardcoreBranches reaching out forYou to take, unfold, unwrap, toShareYour soil, andDecorate the needles of my limbs.Be silent whilst His hymnsHelp shed the guilt that smothers me,ThatHammers nailsInto his innocence. His bloodstainedFlesh whose shattering painInfests the tree from which he hangs. 35
  34. 34. Metacowboy: poems by Rodney Nelson Review by Richard ThomasMETACOWBOY: poems. By Rodney Nelson. (2011. The Moon Publishing and Printing The Moon) 34 pp. $14 In Metacowboy, the latest collection of poetry from Rodney Nelson, the reader is placed carefully in thelonely and longing mind of a pseudo-cowboy who finds escape in his Northern Great Plains. Amongst themountains, the bushes, the range and the buffalo our narrator debates his identity arguing that though I am notseen in rodeo/ shitkicker/ or/ stetson (“OUT”) hes ...a rhinestone saddlebum like you (“NOTE TO MIAMIBEACH”). These poems are as delicate as they are bold and strong, beautifully surging and dancing across the page,words often offset giving emotional emphasis and a sense of desperation and eagerness to the poems. Thisplays well with the range of personal subjects Rodney touches upon throughout the collection – there is a def-inite feeling of yearning here, a yearning to reach a point of fulfilment and ease with the life he has lived andis living. This ease starts to be collected as Rodney recalls his childhood with romantic effect rememberinghimself as ...the boy of them to end/ July with an arm out the window and observing what hes learnt of himselfand his surroundings since: ...but I had a nose of the world now/ and knew witch hazel when I smelled it(“EAST OF WALLA WALLA”), and can admit to being frayed and too late for/ money- or woman-makingambition, and though later on in the collection he remembers and feels the aching of the mistakes and misun-derstandings of youth in lust as shown in the later poem “METACOWBOY LETS ON TO CATTLE KATE”,he knows he can find resolution in letting ...the prairie be acedia... and find a state of not caring for his personalposition anymore, much like the worry-free, young bull snake who ...rather/ wait in morning sun-warm trailthan hide... (“JULY IN WYOMING”). Metacowboy is very much about finding that sun-warm trail that canonly be obtained in accepting yourself. 36
  35. 35. In Metacowboy, Rodney displays great technical ability in mainly freeverse that literally lassos you fromone page to the next. Though unpunctuated and often wild freeverse appears to be the main technical contenderin this collection, Rodney does give a slight nod to formal verse occasionally, most notably in “CHANTSFROM NO ONE OTHER” (an excerpt from his long poem “NO ONE OTHER”, which can be found else-where), and though he doesnt conform completely to formal poetic tradition here he does show an acknowl-edgement and understanding of it:they needed not call you Ishmaelunblest unburdened with fame or moneyno one on way with no one otheryou slipped the country drunk at nightand you can see it ever nowthis very momentthey needed not call you Henry Davidwho had not built a chicken coop inSan Francisco Flagstaff Fargoif I went eighty-five would dieyou thought but did so anywayy no volveráááás The poem continues with further stanzas of the same length and repetitions. Id recommend this collection particularly to readers who enjoy the works of Diane di Prima, Gary Snyderand other poets who give an edge to being amongst nature. This collection of poems comes from The WildWest and is quite the dangerous pastoral, and quite the insight into Rodneys life as a North American – onceyoure in youre in.You can purchase this book here - 37