Saturday, June 24, 2017

Exquisite Corpses

I posted something a few days ago about why I am so attached to doing exquisite corpses. Please check that post out if you haven't already!

At Coin-Op open mic

I was frightened by the truth
As it hit me in the face
Like a mackerel fresh from the marketplace.
The detective knew the case would go bad soon.
Bad, bad. Like sour milk. Like milk gone solid.
Bad, bad. Like the night with no lights
that glimmer and sputter, no good to see,
because things are never as they seem.
They refract as in a mirror or a prism,
not wanting to see the shadows following each of us to the final light
and on that street was what we were looking for.

At theWine and Art event at the Figge Museum

In retrospect, at the museum
I found a purple fish in a glass.
It's a bass in that glass. A bass, bass, bass, bass.
Spring is here with flowers, bugs, and sunshine
with many raindrops to make the flowers grow.
The sunshine burst through the rain-drenched leaves,
casting a dappled pattern of shadow on the fresh-mowed grass,
She twirled defiantly
in her glitter high-heels.
She is unstoppable.
But then she stops.
She wonders why she has never thought to quit before.
A voice in her head made her drive on.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Exquisite corpses and the politics of Surrealism

Helena Lewis wrote an excellent book called Dada Turns Red: The Politics of Surrealism, in which she goes into a thorough analysis of the history of Surrealism's politics. Towards the end of the book, on page 173, she makes an excellent case for Surrealism, writing that:

"The Surrealists, in their collective and anonymous art forms, succeeded in creating an anti-elitist art that acquired a new social meaning. Their belief that talent is irrelevant and that everyone has creative potential in his [sic] unconscious, could be a perfect vehicle for a truly revolutionary art. That the official art of a Party dedicated to revolution should be merely an adaptation of a nineteenth century bourgeois aesthetic is an irony that has become increasingly apparent."

I love this quote an in fact, I am thinking of making it into postcards or t-shirts or something that I can give out at readings and at classes. This is the impetus behind the exquisite corpse, which is a group-created poem, and the reason that I use them so much whenever I can.

I am publishing some in Karawane and I am going to publish some on the blog as well, both that are in the journal and some that are not. This is one that is not, that we created on June 19th. Someone was reading poems by Gerard de Nerval, Baudelaire, Poe, etc., and so I included some words and lines in my part when it came my turn, just using parts of the line I was hearing at the time. (That is also Surrealist and avant-garde inspired!)

Escape west to find yourself
and young men to lose themselves
never to be forgotten always to be remembered
the cries of the children lost in the night.
O' sacred moonlight scatter not fearful of the noise
that arose out of the stars, monsters roaring on their hind legs
soaring above their hideous selves reaching eyes outward
reaching, touching the sun, burning his fingers
he nearly died from the heat
desperate salvation and horizon mirages.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

New Issue Cover, Featured Authors, and Samplers


We are finalizing ads for the magazine and sending out writer's contracts soon and will have a new issue out hopefully within a month. Featured in this issue will be poetry, fiction, and nonfiction/academic work by:

X. H. Collins
Cody Sanderson
Sal Marici
Aubrey Barnes
Melanie Hanson
Farah Marklevits
Margie Mejia Caraballo 
Thomas McKay
Laura Winton
Misty Urban
Kenneth Darland
Michael Thomas Kelly
Megan Lee

We will also feature photos from our participation in 100,000 Poets for Change from 2014 and 2016, from our Coin-Op semi-monthly open mic, and some Exquisite Corpses written around town.

We want to thank our advertisers so far, The Artery, Theo's Java Club, Spellbound, and the Midwest Writing Center for their contributions. We want to thank Quad City Arts for their ArtsDollars grant, Neighborhood Laundromat for letting us use their space for the Coin-Op Readings, and Western Illinois University for their participation in 100,000 Poets for Change as well as copying and posting our color flyers for Coin-Op.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Anti-Gravity by Danielle Billington

Anti Gravity

To live and be loved by shooting stars and by gravity.
Pleading, violent and full repressed, please, feel noctuary
manipulations, silvery wet wantings and dreamings, ambiguity.

Ideas, images of sound become your hush lullaby actuality.
Silent silvery white…such beautiful and temporary…
To live and be loved by shooting stars and by gravity.

Thrashing in the dark underneath covers, reaching for affinity
out and falling, reaching out and ending, binary
manipulations, silvery wet wantings and dreamings, ambiguity.

You are my dying dream falling and floating-anti gravity
the hundredth story, hitting the hard concrete of your leaving.
To live and be loved by shooting stars and by gravity.

Deep and abiding dying dream falling and floating-anti gravity.
Heart spiraling echoes decrease my hearts murmur,
to live and be loved by shooting stars and by gravity.

Growing thinner, tiny loops of repeating energy, atomicity
blowing words, hush …
To live and be loved by shooting stars and by gravity.
Manipulations, silvery wet wantings and dreamings, ambiguity.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Want to be on the Karawane blog, and conseqently on our FB page too? Then you need to submit some work to us! Quad City Writers, the deadline is December 31st and we need to see some more work from you all! Send us the most experimental writing you have. The work itself needn't have been performed in pubic yet, just so long as you have stood up the mic and read somewhere (or everywhere) before. If you haven't -- it is supposed to be warm this weekend. Grab some relatives after holiday dinner and go out to the park and DECLAIM your poetry to the world!

Keep looking to the Facebook page as well. Karawane, Garage 3, the Figge Art Museum, and the Midwest Writing Center all will have more opportunities for you to read your work publicly! Contact Rozz Toxx or Theo's and set up a reading and then let us know. We will be there! With bells on to accompany you! =8-)

For those of you outside the Quad Cities, we will be accepting submissions soon as well from you!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Up, Down, Sideways, Across by Ann Chandler

This is a piece I particularly liked. We published it in a previous issue (#6 or #7?) Check out the back issues on the website at to see the whole piece.

Up, Down, Sideways, and Across

Ann Chandler, Wayne, NJ


Needless to say, I think we all need less to say, since mind takes over voice, takes over Length, that stretches and circles, what goes around comes around to the last sound set for beginning, for ending, into nothing, rushing in and out of mouth to lower regions, to lower meanings of self, of body, and I’m not listening to his philosophy, his curiosity on a meaningless subject merging into lessons and sayings, so I’m near the end, nearing water, bordering the edge to test my acts, so let me uncover my underneath, my underside, where we’ll all being kept here to die, but I’m alive, prime, so I’m going to stop repeating . . .

You know where to find me if you need me. Up close, close, personal, hiding behind the first line.

II. Breast

I could never brush up against the wind and transcend many things of the above and the beyond, and wave this magic wand to hope for the best, and pretend I never knew this mess, this breast that hangs over my shoulder, and some men call if my four leaf clover, the luck, the life it brings to this world, and feeds the soul in order to grow to full potential, a special body a human, not a zombie, that heart beats 190 times a minute and stop in a second and signal the gods to touch the stripping of something inside of me, when she said it’s probably something you ate, or faked, I don’t believe so. This bra holds them together to make them look better, but no one appreciates their true form, their scorn, the precious milk they deliver to the child, the lover, the pillar. The production of a machine that switched on and off when carrying a son or a daughter, how true, a miracle, although some may use it against her, a weakness, a taunt, but the breast never talks.


They e-mailed me and said my opinion wasn’t worth anything, and I should tone it down. So they kept me from getting inside the question. Where is my freedom? Where am I living so honestly conformed to their thinking, and I’m not beginning to settle my reasons for their happiness, their seriousness, and I’m weightless of all that is calm. Like mother earth, I don’t watch what I say so I’m put away, in the back of rooms. What makes us so important? The fact we mock our homeland, our home, the land we were born on, and I’m stepping outside the question, I’m stepping outside the question beside my thin short body that was once somebody, that was once one body and they tell me I should hide my mind . . .

They told me my opinion wasn’t worth anything, wasn’t worth any thing . . .

I am not a thing.

IV. The Night Before

Falling to the sound of a rhythm
Like a movement is a liquid
I am one two motions crumbling to the beat of a woman
To the drums pounding to the sound of a call
To a scream
The light a simple beam
Word, have you heard
The jokes, the smell of smoke
Treating my like a toy
The boy a symbol of survival
The woman a test to his ability to walk to talk
To wash out the connection to the belly of the dog who does tricks for his master
I am not his or his weapon to use against the outside world
Do I have a name?
People walking around me
My contractions closer and closer together
Can I hold his hand without people saying I am his?
Like my body was a thing
I am, she, real, trying to scream can he wonder why I love him?
Can he wonder where I’ve been the night before?


When there’s no source of knowledge or this garbage which I produce from top to bottom over emotion down into cellars where dwellers dwell, on things, stupid things, over some things that I can only hope to trace to embrace many of what stand and pick colors and perfect lovers that hold up to expectation, and we can reason like we can tell our favorite season, like spring, like winter, something colder, something better than sitting, than staying in a town where nobody loves you or those who cover your eyes from these bruises from these choices that have been made by ducks and geese, that kill and ask where is peace, and I ride and spray these sayings to the next working man where there is no lawyer to guide you through this unwanted land.


They wonder why we hate certain things when rings are forced onto fingers, where dinners serve to congratulate our ties, our lives together, joined by a letter which expresses our love and honor for one person, and we place them in white dresses and black tuxes over the alter, waiting, expecting them to say I do to the rest of their life just to fill a place in society where normal is viewed as the American Dream, and our mothers and fathers water color our fate with that one special mate, and then we fly out in spite of our wings . . .

They wonder why we hate certain things.

Friday, December 9, 2016

How I Came to Live in a Hut - Neil Levy, Issue 6


IT'S FUCKING COLD IN HERE. I better go chop some wood and carry water. Sometimes living way out in the boondocks is a hassle. I got to walk a quarter mile through foot high snow and down the slippery hill to the spring. Then I have to chop a hole in the thick slab of ice and scoop up two gallons of water filling these here buckets. Takes over and hour. Then back up the slippery slope, I'll probably fall to my knees at least once. I'm, pretty good though since I recently bought super deluxe snowshoes. Then the quarter mile back, passing some incredibly ancient trees. When its warmer out I sometimes sit down and meditate beneath these friends of mine. They are so strong and peaceful. Today though I will hurry this water in the house and then go split some logs. Heat the hut the old fashioned way. I'm an expert on lighting lingering and warm fires. It's a skill I've developed over the last three years I've shacked up in this here hut. Yep, three long years. And here I am still here chopping wood and carrying water. Like the old wind mill in the valley brought over piece by piece from Ireland in the 1880's. It just keeps on turning. Sometimes with a slow almost imperceptible rotation. At other times when the season of the high winds arrive the arms spin so rapidly that it looks as if its solid. Getting used to the pitch dark out in the wilderness was extremely trying for me. Oh, for about the first three months I hardly slept a wink all night. I was jumpy. I had the sense that I wasn't alone. That there were crazy people wondering through the hills and valleys. A murderer limping, dragging an axe along the dirt road to my house. Homicidal maniacs dancing around my hut. I'd hear a noise and pull the covers over my head and remain motionless till the next episode., Let me tell you there are many such noises that come out during the dark phase. You know people, mostly men, who are aggressive and violet are another bread altogether. I met some of these specimens while in prison. Oh man, that's a whole other story.

Anyway these guys are freaky. Often they've got screwed up teeth and a smile that sends shivers down my spine.They have this look, maniacal is the only way to describe it but you get this sense that they are not held back and that they can, like a wolf, just attack you if it so strikes them and just for the fun of it. The ones that went so far beyond their boundaries and snuffed another life out gives me the sense that I'm on a cliff just at the point of falling for these seretonin deficient individuals have no sense of boundaries.

Boundaries. I'm losing my sense of boundaries. It's been happening slowly over the years and is one of the main reasons I moved way out here, away from the rabble. The rabble, oh what a waste! There is some bitterness in my voice, its true. But, alas, it has become part of my experience. I am what I is. Got some cool, clear, fresh water. Cold water on a frigid day homeopathically warms me. I still hear those pipes, gliding their sweet melodies through the air. I used to play the Uilleann pipes. I miss those days. Out here in the thick of it I carved a few crude instruments. They play pretty good but there was nothing like those pipes and all those beautiful lasses that thar danced for me. I was in bliss, in heaven, I danced, composed music,and choreographed my pieces for all the world to see. I was the man. The Lord of the Dance. And then like the great Nijinsky my mind collapsed.....< like a house of cards.

When I was a wee lad I used to spend hours constructing all kinds of architectural wonders with decks of playing cards. I even won a number of art contests and it got me scholarships to architectural school. I learned the secret of balance and form in those days; guided by a kind of intuition and focus. I knew that these structures, so beautiful and grand, were extremely unstable. Often during the new and full moons I hear the fullness of the pipes filling my soul. I don the leopard costume I wore at my last performance and dance throughout the night, giddy with joy .

Oh Salome.....Dionysus, pan, the satyrs, old Bacchus arrive.....No longer do I think of marketing it,of yakking about, concerned what the rabble think or feel toward it. It is liberating out here in the world of HUT! Oh, when I had the narcissus sickness life was so constricting; I felt as if a cobra were choking me. Now don't get me wrong I had my share of fun. And it is vital that I had those wild experiences. So I also feel deep gratitude for the rabble. I am part of the rabble for you.. Hidden away here for three years is the culmination of "all of it." Sometimes tears fall down my at the intense feelings I have for your world. You are out there interacting with the populace. What a wide variety of human beings and their life conditions. Tomorrow I am going to bake the weeks bread. Lots of kneading. When I was back in LA,having immigrated from Ireland, to pursue my dreams, or should I say my illusions, I was amazed to see a TV show on Life's meaning or some such thing and all throughout the show were these corny references to baking bread and now I baked bread and find it spiritualizing. I often let my conscious mind hang in a rocking chair most of the time. I've trained it and given it its freedom to lounge around. A permanent vacation. When I compose it comes forth to some degree but I keep the door wide open. I'm not perfect, not by any means a serene hermit sage. Not in a long shot. But, hey, who wants to be a sage? I'm not interested in money anymore. Just enough to last till the breathing stops. Spare change is all I need. Got any? IT'S FUCKING COLD OUT HERE IN THIS HUT OF


—Neil Levy, Minneapolis