Evaluating Mysticism: A Review of Vincent Spada's book “One Under the Sun” by Julie Kovacs
As children in the western world we are frequently taught that mysticism is the key to dealing with life, while anything contrary to this is considered an indulgence to human nature. “One Under the Sun” by Vincent Spada takes a look at how human nature and its nuances can be exacerbated by ideologies that simply are not a good fit (in this case, the sacrificial altruism of Judeo-Christianity) while the searching for the right fit that is compatible with human nature is much simpler than realized. “One Under the Sun” is easier to read than Rand's “Atlas Shrugged”, with poems frequently written in quatrain style although there are some free verse poems tossed in for good measure. Poems such as “On the 12th Day of Never”, “Fading”, and “The Ape Sat Alone” echoes Hollingshead's social evaluation on class structure and social mobility and why it can be difficult for those on the lowest rungs to climb upward. Being part of the crowd, as a conformist, does not lead to one making great changes to better human society. After all, not everyone can be a chief as in his poem “We Can't All Be Lion Tamers.” But one can become an independent thinker by not buying into the destructive theology deeply entrenched into us as children, which can make it difficult to survive well as individual adults. Constant self-sacrificing and living for others does not make a productive adult, and can even create serious internal conflicts and a contrary person on the social exterior. Sure, everyone is selfish about their interests but one should never have to sacrifice these interests, even if one is demanded to simply because someone else thinks it is a threat to them. Using rational instead of emotional appeal is what makes for a healthy individual development, even though for many poets (Plath, Dickinson, et al) the very seeking of how one's life really should be is a straddling position rather than front facing and progressing, instead of being static. This is where “Our Only Life” comes in, echoing the most important and meaningful song in each person's life by the late Ricky Nelson – one is not on earth to live for and please others, but rather to live for and please yourself.
“What We Found in the Ground” puts the positive into that much tabooed-word proposed by Objectivists whether the name is Rand, Seabury, or even Martello. Being selfish about your interests is normal for humans, yet it should never be abusive, as in his poems “The Great Black Rabbit Mass” and “The Dodo Never Could Fly, and Now It Never Will” which are environmentalist in nature. Perhaps it is the very nature of Judeo-Christian theme of sacrificial altruism and its destructive outcome, especially with how it views selfishness and the human condition, stressing the negative instead of the positive aspects of it that are a recurring these in this collection of poetry. Discovering too late the true method of self-preservation is well observed in “One Under the Sun”, which is a must read for anyone who is a student of objectivism and wants to understand the necessity of it as being the only salvation for the human race.
Pleaching, by Emmanuel Jakpa
Pleached words, interlaced branches,
weaved into forms,
decorate the vine's hedge,
Prune long whippy stems,
it easy to bend the new,
tie into position.
The arborist says twenty years ago
he planted a row of limes
along the drive
at the Mills, thinking only
to pleach them,
so they could filter the wind.
Motion, by Emmanuel Jakpa
Chew sweet gum,
swallow bitter pill,
word's target as dart's
as game of golf's,
wonder how it will be
to fly and never perch,
shoot and never miss,
sink as deep as the root
of shepard's Tree,
as the challenger Deep
in the Mariana Trench.
Oritsegbemi Emmanuel Jakpa was born in Warri, Nigeria, and currently lives in Ireland. His poetry has been published widely, including The Diagram, Landing Places, Echoing Years, Barnwood, and Edison Literary Review. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes three times, and he received the 2008 Yeat’s Pierce Loughran Award.
… Eternal Dreams, by Sabahudin Hadzialic
I call out her name
while she is asleep.
The reflexion of probability
is out of grasp
of my mortal soul
spun a yarn
from a molten core.
I call out her name
while she is asleep.
She is strong in her
while she lolls
on the tombstone
in the graveyard
Sabahudin Hadzialic is a poet and freelance writer living in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has been published in several books of poetry including Neotkani Sizif, Zemlja Bez Svijesti, and Nedovrsene. His website is located at: http://sabihadzi.weebly.com/
Lost Landscape, by Joan McNerney
I am driving down a hill
without name on an
This road transforms into
a snake winding around
coiled on hair pin turns.
See how it hisses though this
long night. Why am I alone?
At bottom of the incline
lies a dark village strangely
hushed with secrets.
How black it is. How difficult
to find what I must discover.
My fingers are tingling cool, smoke
combs the air, static fills night.
I continue to cross gas lit streets
encountering dim intersections.
Another maze. One line
leads to another. Dead ends
Listening to lisp of the road.
My slur of thoughts sink as
snake rasps grow louder.
See how the road slithers.
What can be explored? Where
can it be? All is in question.
An Accountant, by Joan McNerney
& tight rows
Who else would
eloquence of one?
This fat place maker
known as zero? Why
at the holy seven?
While he slept his
Suddenly long division
subtracted an unknown
quantity yet sums still
Where had his equations wandered?
Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, 63 channels, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and other fine literary presses. She has read at the National Arts Club, New York City, State University of New York at Oneonta, McNay Art Institute, San Antonio and other distinguished venues.
Silent Lions, by John Cogsdill
It was once spoken by a boy and a man.
The last sacrificial destiny of the lost lion,
A sharp tooth that makes its way deep.
The difference in what god can and can't create.
The Spider Flaunted the Dance, by Julie Kovacs
tiny stones clicked together in the shallow of the pond
nobody heard themselves but they danced
a rhythm nobody else heard before
except court dancers at the royal ball
where Pip and Estella kept in time to the music
a dream where nobody ever entered
suspended in time
Bentley Drummle was the only one standing nearby
still admiring his love
the girl toy was dapper and ready to be at his ladyship's hand.
Julie Kovacs has been published in The Blotter, Children Churches and Daddies, Because We Write, Aquapolis, Perigee, The Pepper Tree, BlazeVOX, Poems Niederngasse, Silver Blade, Veil, Cherry Bleeds, Elegant Thorn Review, and Illogical Muse. She is the author of Silver Moonbeams: Dream Lover and The Emerald Grail, and is the editor of Exercise Bowler.
Me, Or My Dad, Whichever Version, by Zachariah McNaughton
Because I've become my father and now the withering look comes from the bathroom mirror
over drooled toothpaste and viney nose hairs peeking out the corners of the nostrils
and the same judgement remains, the knee-jerk of the spine reacting to a stranger
sneaking in through the window or a politician carpet-bagging my moral outrage
Because I still favor certain texts, grant authority to old assumptions picked
up from commercial jingos and hellfire sermons,
feel the slickness of the wheel in my hands at a red light,
or at times wishing my father could see me,
wondering what that distance between us was,
that cat-out-the-window feeling of panic when I said something wrong,
or how he never believed me when I lied,
and the way the screen door always bounced twice behind me
when I left the house for good or just to get away by myself for a little time to think
Since I've become my father for whatever reason, whatever it was he said, his voice,
like my mother's father's petulant tone, like all the boys throughout history
acting strong for the sake of other boys, for the sake of an army of young men,
but really for themselves, for the watery image of themselves in the eyes of
their spouses before breakfast, or after work in some factory,
how throwing rocks at other people, or nailing them to trees,
or hanging them in the town square just made sense and I never repented
for being what I was, which was me, or the idea of myself strung along
a crop of highway memories too long to remember in one go, or
Maybe I'm just waiting to die, or waiting for my father to die,
or the idea of death- no matter how long winded I become it's still
an abbreviation of my own sense of self-importance, but there's loyalty also,
and something undefinable- a single nerve ending dangling over the abyss,
a tiny spark shooting up into the night sky, a me desperately waking up
some thirty thousand times and exchanging verbal signals with loved ones,
passing friends, finger gestures to unseen assholes who cant drive and then...
I wonder who my father was, who I was, whatever happened to the memories I kept
brushed and polished like a shrine to the saints hiding in my closet and the sins
I kept count of with vengeful intent, scrupulously tracking accounts of wrongs received,
waiting for the perfect moment to forget
Because my father said so and I disagreed, or because of what he didn't say
when I thought he was right and only changed my mind when the crowd grew loud
but even then secretly remained loyal and believed until it fossilized into a kind of religion,
or pattern of thought that became a prison, the escape from which would come
to define me and because it's the only way out
I'm waiting to die, or for my father to die so I can look back at him and
take my time staring without any shame, to fix him in my mind as a single part of me,
something definite and unmoving as a bronze statue wielding a sword,
or a picture of his face just before he told me what I done wrong,
or even just his fingers tightly gripping a leather-bound stack of papers
with the words he dedicated his life to, whichever version.
Zachariah McNaughton is a case manager at Goodwill.
Hollow Man, by William Leer
A broken heart cannot mend and a shattered soul can never be the same,
An emotionless man left on the brink of pain.
He knows what it’s like and he knows why it hurts,
He can’t show it, the pride is too strong.
Maybe not just that, maybe he can’t feel,
There was a time when he could feel.
I remember that well,
A time when he could let it all out.
Then something happened, but he couldn't remember what that was,
He lost his soul that day.
Now he can’t even shed a single tear,
Not for happiness or sadness.
Just a hollow man all alone with no escape,
He dwells on the past and hopes on the future.
Never living in the moment,
Just a hollow man all alone with no escape.
Poetry Found In a Wal-Mart Parking Lot, by Don Narkevic
Someone dumped their cigarette butts,
half with lipstick stains.
They huddle like bones thrown
by an ancient seer
holding something back.
Mock flaccid: a used condom.
A run over penny, heads up,
the date tired out,
misses the loafers,
the gumball machine,
the company of other small change.
Like a Roman courtyard,
shards of glass, amber, green, brown,
create a mosaic of the broken.
A dead sparrow, stripped
down to bare bones,
longs for feathers
to hide its nakedness.
The skull tilts
like that of a sleeping baby,
Don Narkevic Weston, WV. MFA National University. Recent poetry has appeared in Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Sangam, and Main Channel Voices. Recent short story publications include Colere and the anthology, Seeking the Swan. In 2005, Main Street Rag published Laundry, a poetry chapbook. Also in 2005, The Interview, a play, won 2nd place in the Playwright's Circle competition. The full-length poetry book, Service Entrance, is under contract to RockWay Press.
The Tongue, by Deborah Gordon
Your semiautomatic tongue
fires spit bullets ricochet
off office walls, stools
& filing cabinets.
They seem to have been designed to sting.
I can live without your hatreds gums
if terror, is your thing.
I duck, we all duck,
just in the nick of time.
Thoughts Of A Thirty-Something, by Deborah Gordon
I no longer dream of making money
(I’m not sure I ever did).
I’ve given up luxury to a large degree -
“this is enough” I find myself saying
when I look around. I am not in need
of new clothes. I am not in need
of fancy bracelets, rich perfumes, showy
kitchen units. No more flowers bought
or delivered, please! - but all that’s simply
wild still, natural. Un-profited from.
I’m taking my chances with the sea,
a fistful of earth, this nature, this passion
instead. The wind has stiffened me, yet I
remain positively vibrant in the cool
summer air, sounding out every last silent
hum. Thinking good universe; bad universe
(the papers have fed me nothing but misery
today, in silent ladlefuls). The box,
with its dazzling array of colourful characters,
has become almost extinct –
I attempted to reason with it once:
Its untruths hurt my ears. Its reality shows
were never my reality. It never fully took
on board my contempt for Jeremy Kyle.
I am firmly under the influence of nobody -
a spirit such as this demands far more than
to dumbly agree, outright, with the opinions
It is impossible to place such restrictions
on my mind - harder still to chain down.
And so it leaps within me, a hundred suns
all at once. A hundred waves, free of restraint.
I do not wish to alter it.
I do not wish to alter me.
I do not wish to wow mankind.
The trees remain poetry colored.
I sip tea.
Birds become invisible again.
The Dreamer, by Deborah Gordon
He hasn’t a job, as such. Not one you’d recognize.
Fails to comply to societies’ expectations of him,
follow rule, engage in politics, fix on expensive things,
wealth is lost on him. Rejects extravagance, dismisses ordinary,
losing his inhibition – rolls & unrolls again, naked, magnificent –
man o earth. Man of mystery,
drunk on poetic thought. Celebrates shadows, delights in the
smallest of things – low grey cloud,
high grey cloud, light, dust, ash. Sat on a rock, face perplexed,
dreaming of space.
Fancied he’d count stars & collect moons for a living.
Life Is Not A Waiting Room, by Sean Kolodziej
Lay around and dream of a day that has never come,
dream this day a million times,
and you will see,
that life is not a waiting room,
conquer your fears and push forward,
through the waves and chains that hold you down,
as the sun sets on your journey through the jungle of life,
know that you are not alone and many herds of people are in your shoes,
bound together your fearsome arms and break through what you are not,
life is not a waiting room and so too is your life,
don't wait for the dream to come,
but wait for the sun to shine over your bloody, blistered eyes.
Sean Kolodziej is a 27 year old student that is trying to become a professional writer from Wheeling, IL.
Playboys Alert Sweetheart, by Nathaniel S. Rounds
(for Schornstein, the Meat Cutter)
No chimney stacks here at Sunrise Point, Port Orange, Florida
But we are framed by palms and rudely cut shrubs and lizards and frogs
And Orozco chops hedges and grass and disappears
Through parting palm frond doors into another apartment
Ablaze with votive candles and family communion
And at night each rear first floor door is numbered one-O’-four
The year that Martial the poet died
And while I push my son in a pram through cool winter breeze
I read “one-O’-four” door after door
And see old tube televisions offer lipstick and cola desertions
Followed by lizards frozen on shutters venerating
Other, older lizards doubtless from centuries before
Through pedantry and gravity of expression
And there are sketches of my apartment, the number one-O’-four
Viewed through naked windows where the same two bar stools
Wink and leer over sink and counter
And where bathrooms are lit by vanity lights
And the common and the vain are framed on the same stage
Twenty-four frames per second, each frame a window
The total numerating “one-O’-four”, “one-O’-four”, “one-O’-four”,
With Martial’s death year on my door,
Like a child counting into nursery rhyme
While selling his innocence for a dime bag
And the night time slashes sliver of life through work,
Self-destruction and sleep, the repetitive motions and numbers ground down
Into simplicity seeking, burning of chametz,
Acceptance of the common with a wry smile
Nathaniel S. Rounds is a graduate of art and photography studies. His work has appeared in Scrivener,
Scottish Poetry Review, and Trillium Literary Journal, to name but a few.
Moonbeam, by Michael Keshigian
a different message.
Tell me tonight
about the translucent bones
of icicles on the gutter.
Their tale is a disclosure
of your stalking.
You enter as a burglar
on the heels of darkness
and leave no fingerprints,
yet cleverly steal away secrets
between the elusive shadows
some darker than others,
rummaging in the most remote corners
of the room.
The sleepless await an explanation
but your peering eyes
when the clouds make you blink.
If you do take something,
no one is the wiser.
The sand in your light
eventually blinds into submission
the most suspicious
who, in the morning, awake inspired
yet unaware of your intrusion,
until the icicles drip
in the rising sunlight.
In the Stars, by Michael Keshigian
like handfuls of confetti
thrown from the windows
that surround Times Square
on New Year’s Eve,
clusters that never seem to move,
just shocking the sky
when they suddenly appear.
Like dazed fireflies,
they twist in darkness
when their momentum abates
so we might glance
a fading streak
before their lights go out,
which is why
we lean against buildings
and always look up,
why we sneak a peek
through the moon roof
when traffic stalls our progress,
why the affluent
and the homeless stare at the sky,
because solace and hope
line the dark ceiling
and the lamps
that bring the night to life,
hide answers to the dreams
that evaporate on our pillows.
Michael Keshigian’s sixth collection of poems, Jazz Face, was recently released by Big Table Publishing Co. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications including California Quarterly, Barbaric Yawp, Tipton Poetry Journal, Jerry Jazz Musician, Sierra Nevada College Review, and Ibbetson Street Press. He has been a feature writer for The Aurorean, Poetree Magazine, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Bellowing Ark, Pegasus Review, The Illogical Muse, interviewed by Boston Literary Magazine Fall 2007 interview and Reader’s Choice in the Fairfield Review. He is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best Of The Net nominee. His website is at: www.michaelkeshigian.com
Like Missouri’s Fireflies, by Blake Ellington Larson
My warm hands are
wrought with black tar
and sweet sweat
there is an infinite stair case
in the basement
where the fortune tellers
have been seeping
through the walls
all the envelopes
in the house
are empty and waiting
even my nightmares
have begun to glow
My Frequency Has Changed, by Blake Ellington Larson
I’m telling you this because
it’s important to honor
our passing ghosts
it’s important to follow their
across the pavement
whatever cure you had in store
it’s not been perfected
to the brig the lot of us
I am sure
we’ll know how to swim
Blake Ellington Larson invented the color pink. He does not collect Care Bears and most certainly doesn't have a subscription to The Believer. On a scale of one to awesome. He would definitely be awesome. He lives in the quiet suburbs of Alameda, California and would very much like to meet you.
He's been published by Amphibi.us, Back Room Live, Beatnik Cowboy, Black Heart Magazine, Bolts of Silk, Cherry Picked Hands and Picaresque.
His blog is at: http://porchlife.wordpress.com
Reading On the Road Indoors, by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
he’d never leave me, mending
feet, steps, perfect fifth
faux fairytale things
disallowed entry, signposts
compass pointing, elves
return ruled paper
jotter journals, whiteout brush
drip over error
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has edited more than 10 books and co-produced 3 audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in book publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters in world religions from Harvard and fine arts masters in creative writing from Notre Dame, Desmond is a recipient of the Singapore Internationale Grant and Dr Hiew Siew Nam Academic Award. He has recent or forthcoming work in Burning Word, Dark Sky, Fence, FuseLit, Gone Lawn, Gulper Eel, JOTAC, Nano Fiction, Pure Francis, REM Magazine, Sketchbook Journal, Sixers Review, Spork Press, and Wag’s Revue. Desmond also works in clay, his commemorative pieces housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
Sometimes Silence, by Iris Orpi
the most disquieting
thing in the world.
it has rude hands
that just reach
into your soul
and violently robs you
of your peace
with utter disregard
to the umbilical cord
connected to it
or what fragile
artworks or timepieces
are poised on top of it
leaving you bleeding
leaving you with nothing
but broken parts
and that silence
the kind that
can get unbearably loud
and cause riots in the heart
does not always mean
have you ever thought
that maybe it’s not true
that I don’t care?
I care too much
to say anything?
I’m stuck in Purgatory
and I don’t do it
because it’s easy
its make-believe security
is all I could afford
is too much to ask for?
I keep my distance
because there are no words
in any language
to describe the pain
of loving you?
my jealousy of her
is so profound
it exists without
making a sound?
the silence between strangers
can be the most incomplete
state of being
the kind of
that spends its days
for the silence
to be broken
Curiosity for Destruction, by Iris Orpi
It was his harmless curiosity
that destroyed me
he disassembled my heart
with pliers and a screwdriver
examining all its moving parts
with minute attention
trying to get to
the bottom of its mystery
and figure out
what makes it tick
putting his ear next to it
every so often
and it flattered me
I gave him keys
and passwords to everything
he studied me
with the bugsy eyes
of a small child
who just tore off the colored paper
wrapped around a bright red toy truck
nuts and bolts
rolling on the floor
in all directions
radiating away from
the central control
of my factory-line sanity
he ravished my little
and my buttons
sat on the conveyor belt
of my thoughts
and stopped at nothing
until I was an
neither of us
could put back together
and then he realized
that heart wasn’t really
so with a shrug of indifference
he walked away and left me there
the cadence of my ticking
stuck in his ears
I hope he hears it forever
even in his sleep
Iris Orpi lves in the Philippines and taught math at the University of the Philippines for five years. Her first non-fiction book
is titled 181 Dreams: Heart, Hope and Healing and her first novel, is titled The Espresso Effect.
The Territories, by Valentina Cano
This is flat
like our lonely kitchen table,
like a grabbed note.
It refuses to undulate
and play with the air I exhale.
It is dead,
anxious road kill splattered
on hot pavement.
Feathers spread out
in a wasted circle of protection.
I try to lift this up.
To grasp its slippery edges
and raise it over my head.
Let it get some sun.
It's looking too pale and worried.
But I can't.
It's so heavy
like a marble tile
cold and sarcastic.
I wish I could at least smash it
and pick out the nicest piece,
a mirror shard
where I could see my smile
or at least check for food between my teeth.
Ceramic clinks to the ground
and a bird cries in anger,
startled from his complicated structures,
his epic flights and plumed sagas.
I pin my gaze to the flatness
while he checks the wind, then flies.
Trojan Horse, by Valentina Cano
The hooves of my thoughts have stopped
The stampeding horses paused
forelegs in midair
Their eyes are miniature flashlights
that beam in all directions
as I examine each one for signs of struggle.
I step between them
inhale the sweaty, smoky smell
I tap each one
like so many loaves of bread.
Each one puffing air
impatient to be gone.
As I scrape the flanks of
I come upon a bleak-eyed stare
more like candle glow
My winging hands tap, tap
a pumpkin seed or an empty bean pod
something edible and fertile
that can root.
The horse shifts its gaze as I raise my arms,
my fists like snuffers,
and slam them down
suffocating the stare
as the stampede grows
and crushes me like a dull grape.