July 2, 2014

<i>July 2, 2014</i><br><br><br>


from Blast, 1914

Long live the great art vortex sprung up in the centre of this town!

We stand for the Reality of the Present—not for the sentimental Future, or the sacripant Past.

We want to leave Nature and Men alone.

We do not want to make people wear Futurist Patches, or fuss men to take to pink and sky-blue trousers.

We are not their wives or tailors.

The only way Humanity can help artists is to remain independent and work unconsciously.

WE NEED THE UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF HUMANITY—their stupidity, animalism and dreams.

We believe in no perfectibility except our own.

Intrinsic beauty is in the Interpreter and Seer, not in the object or content.

We do not want to change the appearance of the world, because we are not Naturalists, Impressionists or Futurists (the latest form of Impressionism), and do not depend on the appearance of the world for our art.

WE ONLY WANT THE WORLD TO LIVE, and to feel it’s crude energy flowing through us.

It may be said that great artists in England are always revolutionary, just as in France any really fine artist had a strong traditional vein.

Blast sets out to be an avenue for all those vivid and violent ideas that could reach the Public in no other way.

Blast will be popular, essentially. It will not appeal to any particular class, but to the fundamental and popular instincts in every class and description of people, TO THE INDIVIDUAL. The moment a man feels or realizes himself as an artist, he ceases to belong to any milieu or time. Blast is created for this timeless, fundamental Artist that exists in everybody.

The Man in the Street and the Gentleman are equally ignored.

Popular art does not mean the art of the poor people, as it is usually supposed to. It means the art of the individuals.

Education (art education and general education) tends to destroy the creative instinct. Therefore it is in times when education has been non-existant that art chiefly flourished.

But it is nothing to do with “the People.”

It is a mere accident that that is the most favourable time for the individual to appear.

To make the rich of the community shed their education skin, to destroy politeness, standardization and academic, that is civilized, vision, is the task we have set ourselves.

We want to make in England not a popular art, not a revival of lost folk art, or a romantic fostering of such unactual conditions, but to make individuals, wherever found.

We will convert the King if possible.




We are against the glorification of “the People,” as we are against snobbery. It is not necessary to be an outcast bohemian, to be unkempt or poor, any more than it is necessary to be rich or handsome, to be an artist. Art is nothing to do with the coat you wear. A top-hat can well hold the Sixtine. A cheap cap could hide the image of Kephren.

AUTOMOBILISM (Marinetteism) bores us. We don’t want to go about making a hullo-bulloo about motor cars, anymore than about knives and forks, elephants or gas-pipes.

Elephants are VERY BIG. Motor cars go quickly.

Wilde gushed twenty years ago about the beauty of machinery. Gissing, in his romantic delight with modern lodging houses was futurist in this sense.

The futurist is a sensational and sentimental mixture of the aesthete of 1890 and the realist of 1870.

The “Poor” are detestable animals! They are only picturesque and amusing for the sentimentalist or the romantic! The “Rich” are bores without a single exception, en tant que riches!

We want those simple and great people found everywhere.

Blast presents an art of Individuals.


by Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani

Dull light of a dank day
swept in tunnel shape
over the desk of hunched,
haggled hands marching
across a white sheet;
writs platooned in warfare
egged on by a commodore
positioned stiffly
upon shoulders of a minion
mind, cracking its whip
like a professor’s goad
on its blackboard of mastery.

The hands would beg -
without having to bend –
one would wonder
if the fingers prostrated
from age or profession,
bones jutting mid centre,
skin gathered in frills
at the phalanges of its craft
blistered blue, in evocation.

The whip worked
its employed purpose
to add fuel to chugging,
wheezing engines
of inspiration;

yet, words did spasm
over the blank treaty
deviant of legibility,
fingers moving dutifully
to the commodore’s lash.


by John Pursch 

He like warm water port o’ call girl,
leans back on squeaky time machine
suspended animation bridge,
contemplate expensive rig of dashboard
wall-clock dirigible construction goods,
measured in ego facemask chips
off soldered moldy gelatin fix.

She giggle sideways, shuffle target plugs,
reveal ace of candy stripling lung mechanic,
wizened haircut all flexible from dirty sky
jump chimpanzee aesthetic, meant for
corn town bezore reduction kids on
placid holiday conundrum quiz
for sipping uncapped femurs.

Leading lollipop simpers at floral lesion breakout vest,
conceiving hourly human excrement patrol:
“Whad’ya drink we gather nightly optional
estrangement on estuary beach flotilla fur?”

Wexely he just spit out muttered toothpick,
spilling triggered bait erasure in quantized
hump of camel leap, blotchy shot zinging
over cackling prostitutes to line of lingo
slingshot credit scar seduction, shorting
into paid area bridge of moat collection myth.

Blue flotation pimp erects sad monument to
diagrammed emphatic leaves: “Hominy comedy
saw-monkey grease fish wanderer you sink ewe
gutter emote for antsy misgiven sunny daze,
sputtering Wexely?”

(A truly challenging explosive yeast,
heifer tare severed twas done.)

“Howsome you shriek in spare encyclical
wavefront jabber, surlier-than-spouting primper?”
Wexely swipes, preaching unto hissing buckets
for gloating gut-shot.

Dispensing turbaned rubble, pimp relax:
“Hay-hay! Are oh hell hey aye-aye
the essence of lorry hell! Chest calm
yer shelved hounds hund tape antsy of
mine fieriest girls; Glady Gratis fur exemplar,”
waving diamond hand at promissory flesh
of finest remake quality.

Gladiola (erstwhile Glad-he-ater, part
cordoned snake tamer, part elven mastiff)
spurts the Reading Room she-males, delivering
the Choosy Juans to loaves ever-lusting, via
adequately aquiline aqueducts of following
tear guns, chattering mental droplets from
both barrels.

“Q-wide empress hive, ideally most admit,”
Wexely croaks, dumping his sodden drawers
in excellent heap, flopping howdy doodle
yanker drop-stick soggy pajama act on
shunned expectorant fond lookers,
who now descend on him with
altitudinous farce-field stochastics,
plopping stump-function blahs strayed own
his supinely clogged esophageal pasture.

“Gack gurgle cudgle crackle wheeze…”

Pimp he wig at unsightly longing
for noodling cougar tendencies,
flashing stoolie grimy chatter teeth
from penitential airbrushed theater
to nooner sty deduction wisp:
“Sigh O’Hara, gut Hobie Cat o’ noun towels,”
singing in reigned bubble cum flatulence

to sinkage in flurried western latitudes.


Helen Saunders


by Joseph Farley

The robots of dawn
have raised the sun
and nailed it
to the sky.

The wheels and the gears
and chains of life
are moved by engines
of muscle and steam,

iron and skin,
calcium and bone,
start the moving sidewalks
of this factory world.

Lunch pail and spare battery
clutched tight in hands,
they go to their jobs
in the blast furnaces
of the gods.

The gods smile down
on the factory floor
from a high glass window
several stories above;

check on the screens
that stream images
from cameras
of every sweating pore
and moving hinge.

Someday the work
may slow or cease,
and the base gods
depart for another
waiting world
with lower labor costs
and lower overhead.

The bones and steel
left rotting and rusting behind
may rejoice in dead silence
while seeking to conjure
green years back to life,
or will their ghosts sorrow
at the loss of years
and a way of existence.
that was no more
than cogs and gears.


by Tim Gardiner

Cunning capitalists in charge
a fox feasts among the hens,
war graves used for political gain
elected hypocrites have no shame.
An earthquake of negative thoughts
tremors in parliament corridors,
laud the greenest government ever
concrete fields run to an empty river.
The storm surge of poverty hits
a tidal wave of our making,
for the profit margin is king
in the new age of greed,
young and old dying
to fuel a corporate creed.
The derelict winter garden
is our glasshouse of isolation,
in the changing climate of fear
a recession of hope starts here.
It seems we've learned nothing
after a century of destruction,
a past we're destined to repeat,
the future dies choking
on rhetorical deceit.


by Bhargab Chatterjee

a damp dark corridor
to the source of my name
the way my mother used to utter
or in my friend's version
art for humanity's sake  
as cricket culture in india
yet there is bonhomie
impervious to economic limitations
though shanties are better
than age old edifices
they don't say
anything about history  
only paste colours
on the canvas of time

two children are playing
tic tac toe
on a dirty road
beside a public toilet


by Joanna M. Weston
        we danced
the music of fish drying
in steam over oily water

                we danced
the smell of fetid coughing
drifting through tin walls
over health clinic     wafted
round mountains of city garbage

    we danced
while starved sweepers
started a new dump across town
the only bread laced with chemicals
we ate at midnight in heavy rain

      we danced                              
the scavenger’s stick
beat our bare feet
while children died
under garbage trucks



by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

The cobra
Raised its hood
Between us;
Did I unfurl my plumes
Before you
Merely for pleasure?
The cobra haunts me
In my sleep,
Gives me the tremors,
Jerks me out of rest.
I thought
The little that binds
Our embraces
Was enough to
Develop a
Mutual regard;
How could I be so
Since ever since
It emerged
From your pocket
And lurched
Before the rest
Of you, I have understood
That you have
Taken me for a tart.

editor's note:  Cobra is a brand of Indian condom


by Ian Mullins

They’ve trained us too well,
old toad; genetically primed Ian Mullins
so that no-one can stand
in the park on a wet spring day
where umbrellas are policemen
chasing burglars down the street

and not feel shame
at all the hours ‘wasted’
when hours are only banknotes
burning on autumn bonfires
before another long winter
buys in to the oldest, most cherished
of lies; that we are at best
small cogs in long machines
living only ‘useful’ lives,

so need not worry
when the sun passes overhead
like a ‘plane to a destination
as guilty as our dreams;
collaborators betraying
all we eden be                   - think Wordsworth in the Prelude
                                        watching the earth turn like a football
                                        a little boy kicks along the street -

feeling nothing but dread, or shame.


 by Doug Draime

Bulldoze the green and lush ivy walls.
Tear down the sanctimonious Ivory Towers.
Plow up the campuses and classrooms.

Plant tulips and roses and lilacs and carnations there,

where blind conformity is sold,

where education is a complacent whore spreading
it's legs to worship war,

where imperialism and corporate murderers are

where the souls of your children are gutted like
     beasts of prey,

where the lies about the American Dream

where tenure is a cover-up for increasing ethical

where corruption is over looked for the sake of
     cronyism and the Empire.

Bulldoze the green and lush ivy walls.
Tear down the sanctimonious Ivory Towers.
Plow up the campuses and classrooms.

And plant redwoods and sycamores and spruce
                    and oaks.
Plant some tomatoes and onions and carrots
                    and a peach tree.
Plant some sweet peas there, too.


A. Patocka


by Miriam C. Jacobs

You, my veiled rivals, show up on camel back
just before the time of candle lighting,
before the time of fire.
Your gift of speckled sheep and your flocks of children
straggle behind with their slave maid.
She is not thinking about you.
I offer well water and bread, the scent of leaven rising
from the oven to the sky,
and honey, bury my face in your throats, weep
for blood and for bone,
for flesh I remember, for the mandrake
you carry.  Its gaping mouth is my womb’s opening
after too many hollow years, a time deeper than dreaming.
Now I lie down with you – my seconds and thirds, together in sorrow –
break my heart thrice upon the hard edge of love.
He shades his eyes with his prayer shawl,
rocking upon his heels and chanting
to his ruthless god.
They are in this together
Our shared pillow is stone.
I take your babes upon my knee and name them.


by Marc Carver

The woman with the Italian name
she kept after marriage
told us that
in this special farm
they milked the cows to classical music
A picture came up in my head.
Two cows with their udders hooked up
Not this bloody Rimsky Korsakoff again.

At the free wine tasting
all the people sat at the tables
sipping their wine
I threw it down my throat as soon as I could
and then waited for the next bottle to come out.

At the cocktail masterclass,
we all tried some of the cocktails afterwards.
I saw the server with the last jug so I ran over to somebody else's table
and told him to fill me up.
"You have some of the white one in there do you want a fresh glass?"
"No, i don't care throw her in."
The table burst out laughing
but I was deadly serious


by Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

Let’s do the John Keats rap

No marmalade in your sandwich
No jism in your act
With m’velvet booties
Succumbing to your tact

The last Wednesday morning
In the snow you blow
With m’antsy Ugg boots
It’s Christmas time y’know

Hey Santa hey
Play your dodgy flute
Hey Santa hey
Give Rudolph the boot

I bottle my sweat
We spray on his sweat
The animal magnetism of idea
Is w/out peer
Is w/out peer

In a Turkish bathroom
Shit happens
In a Washington ballroom
Celebrities smoke ‘n’ poke

And if John Keats were
To join us
Would he be woman
Would he be man

In celebrating the moment
As daintily as we can . . .

Grandmaster Flash
Barack “Nipples” Obama
Warwick Capper
The Putinator
Martina Hingis.


by Byron Beynon

The day has been worn to dust.
I feel the sun,
each precise explosion,
I sense each grain of light
across the technology of space.
The sway of heat
has silenced the midday.
I see the lizard
at home by the glazed sea,
I taste the warm spray
on the tongue of a steamy ocean.
The beads trickle
fierce and melting
as the sand is extinguished
by the salt.


Edward Wadsworth


by Tammy T. Stone

They said the world might well reach its last moments on December 12, 2012, or 12/12/12. But here I am, early in the morning on this day, and I'm alive, and the world is still here. I'm in Thailand, which is now well into its dry, so-called winter season. It rained all night, which is very unusual for this time of year. It was still drizzling this morning, when we got up to meditate. It was hard not to think in metaphors, in lurid symbolism. Could this be an actual watering down, in a way, of the cataclysm we were all bracing for? A reminder that dark times were nearly averted and could return, vengeance-like, anytime, provided we don't learn how to live properly? 

Was it just rain? Is anything ever “just” that thing? I’ve come to learn that it’s rarely the case that something is nothing. After all, each of us makes the world, our world, and why would we make nothing? Why would we make at all? The trick, I feel, is to remember, and to remember all the time, that we have made and we do make our world - and ourselves – every moment. We need to be acutely aware of this process of self-creation and world-creation if we want to live in a world that is also a world-of-conscience. 

Today, here, now: a dull, light rain in an otherwise sunny and perfect season. Perhaps our fears, then, while dulling us, are also lightening or easing, though they have not completely disappeared. There are some who believe it to be this way: that the end of the world predicted by many has been avoided because of all the work people have been doing with the forces of Light. This is a beautiful idea, that amid news of calamity and destruction and hopelessness, there is indeed a movement of luminosity underway, that underpinning the rain and our fear is beauty and hope for re-genesis – so that it's actually possible to partake in the world's recovery. 

There are others still who say it's ridiculous to assume that Mother Nature will cave under the weight of human misbehavior, that nature is much, much stronger than anything we can do to annihilate her. We might meet our end sooner rather than later, but Nature will survive, and prosper, and new life will grow – this is the nature of nature being herself. 

What is true is also what is undeniable: we are still here now, and Earth is still here now, and there is as much potential for laughter as for sadness, and as much ability for light as for dark. This, I believe: we make our world, and then we remake it. Every time. Is this fanciful thinking? Because it’s as practical as any thought I feel I’ve had. I can’t imagine anything more powerful than turning a day around by willfully neglecting a negative thought, and I’ve already watched this work and succeed. If it can be done, it’s because we’ve done it. If we haven’t done it, we have absolutely no way of proving it cannot be done. This is logic. 

So let's meet the world we have made, see where it can use some work (some of our light), and know that this work is nothing more or less than spinning on the axis of love (we love love, we fear love, we too often narrow the scope of love) and the creative power that belongs – intrinsically so – to all of us. 

Let’s also remember: the point isn’t to live forever any more than it is to actively avert death, to get away with not dying. The point is to embrace death as well as all the moments of not-yet-in-death that remain to us. 


by Perry L. Powell

They will wear the work
Away, water on stone
Till they have you
Where they want you
With just money alone.

They will keep the nerves
Awry, acid in the blood
Till they have you
Where they want to
Drowning in the flood.

They will tie the ribbons
Airtight, gauze on all your eyes
Till they have you
Where you go through
Living in approved disguise.

They will wear and work
Away, water on stone
Till they have you
Where they want you
At three a.m., alone.

An Inspired Manifesto

by Benjamin Grossman

Ruling is a clock-less job. It is not for those who require a day of rest. Ruling from afar is absurd.  It is like standing on the Moon from Earth. Not every rule is fastened to the future. Many rules are only a hiccup to history. Some rules require raised hands.

A cloudless ruler reigns both skyward and downward. The cloudy ruler reigns both somewhere and nowhere. The enlightened ruler never awaits a second chance. Only the shady ruler thinks coming is always better than going. A broken crown can be reforged, but it cannot be resurrected.

When did faith become so holey? Why does God’s throne sit in the shade? Is God’s kingdom merely a shadow of a shadow?

This world needs the evolution of correction. This world needs a flood of love. This world needs to sacrifice poverty. This world needs plagues set upon the plagues. This world needs to nail starvation, hatred, and death to a cross. This world needs to revive itself.

I am for restoration. I am for a fall from foolishness. I am for more than a good Friday. I am for a belief in unity. I am for commandments from candidates. I am for the creation of a divine election. I am for the replacement of God with another God.

I believe the believers have the right to choose. I believe we never had the choice yesterday. I believe we deserve this choice today. If this old God continues to make the time ahead like the time before, then I believe we should vote a new God into Heaven. 


    Gardiner's Corner

    London Road Station (Now Piccadilly Station)

    Suffragettes March


by Jeremiah Walton

I'm currently a part of a 60 person cult
All you have to do is: bolololol
What do we get together to do?
We Sacrifice humans to the goats
And dance under the pained gaze of dying Gods.
This cult is mostly composed of teenagers,
and some strippers (no that's
not a joke)
but mostly a group of teenagers
who smoked pot in the woods
under domes of manufactured isolation
to avoid bothering the law
and wasting cops' time (unless
it's the end of the month,
and they have a quota to fill.
Then it's Justice, atomic
and always presented by the same mouth,
but with a different coat of lips.)
Our hands are dirty with the stench of bridges and spray cans
streaks of river bed filth and rope swing burns
Summer blunt cruises and angled faces maddened to our giggles
My parents still get shit for not forcing me to go to college from formal education's pedestrians
The fires of our cult is fading
I've been glueing stars to the ceiling and pretending they're brighter than the sun
Advantages of childhood crumbled like discarded cake wilting in between rats teeth
cavities of love filled with coping mechanisms
Roars of lions become a script of prescribed joy and love
Conditions operated like third wheels causing a pile up of dates
Or a person who feels so cornered they have to lash back
even when there is no solution he has to offer other than blood.
We need those willing to cut themselves open for what they love.
We didn't know what we wanted
We're being offered what we don't
The cult is a drunk's concept piece of an origami swan
The cult is ramshackle on the last chains of childhood
Ones off smoking PCP and snorting heroin
Another going to RPI and studying a plaque plaque that develop on proteins
Others are laying down like stagnant ponds dead of flies and frogs
(or the harsh irises of third party criticism)
Our boats are sailing
(or at least trying to)
This is the time the world is in front of us
says the world
and I can't help but feel sad
even with so many stars in reach
but fuck their late
The Big Bang of bolololol
The origins of a group who walked 25 shit faced miles just for McDonalds
and upon arrival it was closed.
We hopped trains with no destination for the hell of it
We built igloo villages
We asked for a virgin discount when a hooker tried soliciting our empty pockets
We we're goddamn McGyvers when it came to finding something to smoke out of
We laughed.
We laughed.
We're trying to laugh.


by Kyrsten Bean

I’m tired
working hard for money
I don’t ever seem to get

Working and living in boxes
selling commodities
we are the commodities

We are robots and
ciphers our
empty-hole heads used to
fill the space in our mouths
Tilling the cash and the register
grovel, grovel, groveling forward
on scraped knees

The gravel is our
hallowed sustenance
drama our lucidity, we are
tossed amongst the debris
privy to the secrets of youth
wasted on the insouciant
wise in their eyes
but not their years

We are
another bistro selling hamburgers
for a dollar
late at night when

You have nowhere else to eat


by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

It seems the old Vorticist was on to something
all those years ago
when Bergson was still drunk on process philosophy
and the avant-garde had failed us so.

Even when Auden called him
“that lonely old Volcano of the Right”
the old Vorticist continued to explode
off the pages of BLAST.

Spit out on a yacht
and blind by 51
the old Vorticist
was an Enemy of the Stars.

With those adversarial opium-den
and that straw-strewn middle part
how could you be anything

but a fascist.

THE CROWD (1914-1915)

Wyndham Lewis


by Michael Cooper

pursuant to labor
code 4600 our patient-worker
self procured medical assistance for her burns
due to significant neglect on the part of her primary
treating physician (she hugged unto her screams
for 3 hours
while the gunshot  victims moved
forward in the queue at county luckily we
proved that her employer
was uninsured so we
may get paid
by the state of California
it hurt—the grease fire
treated with water
hissing thru the fry basket there is an inverse relationship
between the size of the company((and the representation it can afford
and the minimum wage
earner that exposes them to threat
and the projected outcome of our patient is substantially shifted to the adverse when they
are language impaired it hurt when the welts rose like a black sun
over the burning earth
of her gentle neck her
second and third finger fusing and fuck you
bandages over mouths
disclaimers and pursuant to indulged
classes and the shifting
of the Horatio Alger it hurt
climbing even here in Yet-
tem, population 211
where the Jack in the
Crack is the only. Shit
What do you know about minimum wage your honor what do you know

about rage

about 10 dollar blow jobs and how to get by sure I’ll take mine
with extra pickles and sauce please pull forward to the second
window it hurt to look in her eyes and know
that at 19 and pregnant with mine                            no rest will come
through the blisters of her spreading cherrytree
because she sleeps on her back with her eyes open anyways pursuant to labor
codes of we are tired of being fucked over by people we can’t reach for further comment and bottom
line men who have worked under golden arches for 40 years (objection!  not once behind the counter!)
for 40 years(objection never cleaning makeshift brownpaper tampons left in the rest
for 40 (objection ((overuled
(( objection never once did he drive out a sunstroked hungry man, palsy stricken into the night
only to have him steal a diner’s purse (((overuled(ob(overuled!!!!only to be treated by
a knife held by overruled a pursuant or a physician objection it hurt and no one came.
Pursuant to LC be a human being   !Overruled


By Doug Draime

In the aftermath
there was not
one coherent line

No addition
no subtraction

The habitual
contest of numbers

without hope
of reprise

Algebra and
geometry only

Hardly leaving
enough functional

To count
the stars



by Douglas Polk

They run in a pack,
fighting for inside position,
protected on every side,
the process of thought,
and mourned not in the least,
polling data,
and sample sizes,
a mob controlled,
the prey devoured,
wave after wave,
gnashing teeth,
the fight never fair,
emotions surge,
the pace quickens,
until the pack culled,
one by one,
the Nirvana attained.


by Michael Cooper

what can I lay claim to?  The Who
Steppenwolf, the mighty Led Zeppelin who lifted
from the black delta the appearance of a soul
shrieking, Valhalla, Carcinogens,
my aviation
maintenance wings—what sings
of 100% casualty rate per 26 missions over the European theatre when
we used pressurized hoses to swab the 8th air force out
of their planes—when congressmen who look like me spit
Seussian rhymes
to deliver anti-American dreams—two towers
does not justify the murder of 21,221 insurgents
or 151,000 civilians depending on the census
you choose to follow—and how many distant
brothers and sisters of Abraham lay
face down overnight, ziptied into prayer position?  How
to be
this white man
so angry at angry white men.
Its all of us, we are not wind
up toys
we the co
buyers we
the co
borrowers of
the 725 Tactical load
missiles shot into Iraq—purchased
at a cost of 1.45 million dollars
a peace—that’s one
billion, eighty seven point
million mis-
appropriated dollars used to steal
lives—that could have been
with kindness and education

I am understand
ably disappointed with my un
representation in a government that supports
unpopular wars  in defenseless
regions of the world.  My government who,
was only happy when it installed two new
(temporary, unnecessary)
suns over a voiceless Japan.
am I un
patriot now.

IN THE HOLD (1913-1914)

David Bomberg


by KJ Hannah Greenberg

I wanna be a model! Not really, but that rant does sound good. Actually, though, such an outburst comes across as boring, even commonplace, when compared to the impassioned rhetoric to which I’ve recently been subjected. In our entitlement-based, consumer-driven society, regularly, when someone covets something, they act as if they have obtained the rights to the object of their desires. 

To wit, lately, when I’ve been asked to acquiesce on matters of writing, of editing, or of teaching writing or editing, and I’ve stood by my limits, I’ve been nudged, less than gently, by the bottom portion of peoples’ shoes. As a result, I’ve become ever so slightly hostile when confronted, again and again, by such balderdash outlooks.

A long time ago, I played oboe. When participating in a marching band, I played glockenspiel. 

Namely, most weeks, I’m electronically summoned by many would-be writers. Sometimes, I get pinged by folks who think that their poems, essays, stories, or other bits, which they poofed out of nothing, should be immediately incorporated into well paying slots. Sometimes, I get emails from folks who think a response from me, to their emotive assemblages, i.e. to their hacked arrangements of words, takes priority over all of my other responsibilities. Sometimes, I get phone calls from passersby who presume I’ll permit them to hang with my established students. After I receive the offspring of those aforementioned persons’ unicorns, pegasai, and chimeras, I’ll entertain such notions.

Even though I’ve given up profitable career paths and turned my back on social climbing in order to pursue my trade, ladies and gents lush with multiple cars, tony zip codes, and garments needing no patches, have no qualms asking me to jump as they instruct. In their esteem, their endowed passage through life empowers them to command the likes of me. 

I have one sibling. Since we live thousands of miles apart from each other, we rely on convergent media to stay connected.

Those petitioners expect me to be so suitably excited about their dreams that daily I will open up their emails to laud their updates. In truth, such requests rock my socks so much that I can barely wait for the right variables to line up with the moon’s seventh house; I’m not wagering, any time soon, that those other smarties will move from conceptualizing to actually putting words on paper. That those unassuming aesthetes plan to fashion a blog, sometime in the next bunch of years, from which to espouse their wisdom, arouses me to the extent that I repeatedly slap myself silly. 

Surely, my uneven skills, built over decades, and my questionable professional sagacity, which has been gleaned from life's disconcerting experiences are incomparable, relative to those belonging to such creative visionaries, for whose promised work I’m expected to be salivating. Bring on those tweets and instant messages; I have unlimited temporal resources with which to deal with their potential communications. Not only am I willing to give up my heart’s joy, writing, for them, but I can put aside my minimum wage employment, too, in order to applaud their bombarding me with their fancies.

I used to be a human companion to dogs and then cats. I’ve also championed lizards, fish and turtles.

Concurrently, I am directed to stay posted on those seekers’ future stories. Whether those noble others plan to send me, unwanted, lightening flashes,  novellas, or something of middling length, especially in the form of palpably rough drafts that are written when sleep deprived, inebriated, or elsewise one off, reading such items continues to be the most important expenditure of my energy. It is far less vital for me to check galley proofs for my books in progress, to review offered contracts for my new books, or to buckle down and retool my incomplete books than it is for me to open myself to such petitions.

Fortunately, I’m good with the word “no.” Years ago, I used that response when I reviewed peers’ works for academic journals. I use that phrase these days, too, when I edit for periodicals devoted to literature. I still dare say, “no, a narrative must have a plot, characters, and others of the usual repertoire of literary elements to be considered for publication” and I still go so far as to not kowtow to individuals who randomly send their fabrications to me.

I love reading. Readily, I’ll devour everything from Greek plays to modern, steampunk fiction.

To boot, when choosing and arranging material for the establishment, I defy cultural norms. I make statements, which include, “deadlines apply to all comers, no exceptions” and “your idea is not original, your descriptive language is flat, and your use of dialogue is two-dimensional.”  What’s more, when receiving uncalled-for texts, via my personal inbox, amazingly, I have the courage to send them back unread. 

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, it occurs to me that my life partner, and my sons and daughters, deserve my attention whereas strangers who come unbidden into my realm do not. I’m audacious that way.

I find enough guts to answer self-professed authors, who try to feel me up for free consults that “I DO charge and charge lots to correct, condense, or otherwise modify work, on the rare occasions when I make time for such projects.” I’m willing to risk my popularity by claiming “my time, too, has value and is not given away unless I elect to do so.” “Doing so,” for me, is usually limited to my supporting the internationally emerging writers I’ve chosen to mentor, and to shipping extra batches of encouragement to paying students who are slip sliding, a bit, en route to future success. Thus, it can be boldly pronounced that I have sufficient nerve to hold in contempt strangers who ask for hours of my time, gratis. 

Even though I’ve hit midlife, I like to eat cooked meals and to exercise regularly. Both endeavors require my energy.

As such, I’m glad that people, with whom I’ve had no prior contact, trust my credibility enough to believe I will and can get their names on tables of contents. Naturally, they expect me to help position them in top tier magazines or to connect them to the big boys and girls, whom I’ve finally reached, through equal measures of good fortune and unrelenting effort, at mid-sized publishers. As per my contacts at the grandest of North American book houses, those unfamiliar men and women, who solicit my resources, shout at me that it’s their unequivocally due to use me to further their networks.

Sometimes, I take a few hours off of work to paint or to build clay vessels. I’ve been known to volunteer my time for community charities, too.

I understand that spontaneous claimants’ ill-considered jottings are not crackpot, but impulsive. When those upstarts insist on sharing their files with me, they’re not narcissistic, but generous. I’m to be faulted, not them, since I’m the one who fails to grovel five minutes before and after their missives get to me. Moreover, it’s key for me to crow about dull, unoriginal stream of consciousness blather, and morally questionable for me to set aside that work when it lacks a half-baked attempt to abide by mechanical conventions.

I’m a bit squeamish about rescuing dumpster cats. However, I’m okay pulling earthworms out of puddles.

Then there is the public that just “wants to sit in and observe” the workshops, which I lead, and which are populated by students who have studied with me for handfuls of years. If reading is so simple, relative to getting through traffic bottlenecks, or relative to correctly making buttermilk pancakes, it follows, in those individuals’ least mindful equations, that writing, too, is the stuff of simpletons. Accordingly, it ought to be of no inconvenience if enthusiasts want to shadow my group. 

Interestingly, interrupting other folks’ skill building doesn’t seem to bother privileged sorts. Likewise, that writing might actually be a craft, mastered, perhaps, if at all, after long periods of intense exertion, never occurs to those thinkers.  They’re more than flabbergast that I’d deign deny them entrance into my humble pedagogical kingdom. After all, they yearn to addend the appellation of “writer” to their sense of self. It’s abhorrent that Yours Truly, a former academic, and established word player, would shoo away anyone desirous of inflating their status.

I’ve lead weed walks. I’ve taught basket weaving. For years, I was a participant in a community-based agriculture undertaking.

I think my problem, nevertheless, is that I wanna be a model. Sure, I’m fat, middle-aged, habituated to frumpy dress, and allergic to being photographed. So what? It’s immaterial that I refuse to be caught on film in a swimsuit or in some other version of sparse summer clothing in a cold climate. It ought not really to matter that I disdain makeup and won’t consider a pedicure. It’s no one’s business that I: won’t perform on demand, can be possessed of a caustic mind-set, hate attending castings, and insist on wearing flats.

Surely, the industry has been waiting for the likes of me, talent, and work ethic, notwithstanding. Like those souls that wish or pretend to be writers, I’m at liberty, too, to make wild stipulations.