Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Making of The Koa Tree By Stephen Schreiner

There are many exhilerating aspects of publishing. The initial rush of finding a project you believe in enough to go through the rigors of the publishing process, assembling a team you love working with, and finally opening that box of new books when they land on your porch to find they are exactly as expected.

What happens after that generally isn't as much fun. Sure, there's a book release party, and maybe you get your name in the paper and make a few dollars, but then you've still got most of that box of books and the real work begins.

Selling books is hard. Sometimes even harder than making them (but not in this case).

We just made a wonderful book. The Koa Tree. Stephen, Anna, Ava, Jenny, Jeremy, Steve, Carmen , and Thomas. But now the book is done, and I'm the one who has to sell it. And that's a heady responsibility, because I feel like I'm letting the team down if I don't get them all the credit they deserve.

Let me tell you why I think this book is so special and worthy of your attention.

We started with a wonderful story about a tribe of Pacific Islanders enamored with the quest of building a ship worthy enough of reaching Tahiti out of their sacred Koa Tree, and the lesson they learned about prizing your own environment. The illustrations by Renee Noelle Jacobs are lavish and vibrant, and a perfect compliment to the story. 

All of that I realize is not entirely out of the ordinary. Thousands of children's books are released every year. Here's where the Koa Tree became a special project. 

Stephen wanted a tempered glass cover etched with a Koa Tree, and a mahogany back cover with a gold Koa tree sticker. All bound in leather. 

Of course we said we could do that, because we have Mainfraim in our corner, and they can make anything. So the process of making The Koa Tree began.

Mahogany back cover with gold leaf Koa tree. Steve.

Glass cover. Stephen, Jeremy, Jenny, Carmen.

More beautiful illustrations by Renee Noelle Jacobs

Then we got a surprise, but there's always a surprise right in the middle of a project. Our printer, Edwards Brothers Malloy was going out of business immediately after being in business since the 1800's due to the cost of paper. So, we had to scramble to find another American printer to get the job done within 10 days. 

We did.

Jeremy, Carmen, and Jenny started assembling the book

Jenny's got the glue holding it all together

The paperback copies of the book arrived last week, and the glass cover versions were done right on time. There was only one thing left to do...

Take them to Rockford City Market and watch kids play hopscotch and create mini masterpieces in sidewalk chalk, because that's how we roll at Zombie Logic Press. 

I was overwhelmed by how splendidly everyone's efforts turned out. 

And now it's my turn. 

You can buy the paperback version of The Koa Tree for $15.00 here 

Or, if you're a true bibliophile, you can buy one of the two glass cover versions I have for sale on Ebay  If you're in Rockford, you can see the book on display at Luna Datura's Curious Gifts at 117 S 3rd Street. 

The Koa Tree by Stephen Schreiner Et al.

Thank you so much for letting me brag up my team a little bit. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Poem By Arlene Antionette

She’s claustrophobic and needs
the horizon to release her from her
self-imposed prison. Today, the walls
bear down heavier than usual. Her fears
wrap themselves around her like another
layer of skin. Shaky hands cover her eyes
as she cries. Chills and hot flashes alternate
in senseless patterns throughout her body.
Panic ties knots in her gut. Sounds of moaning escape
her trembling lips, reverberating off her ribs. Now
at her breaking point, she silently prays for help
as she yearns for freedom from her fleshly cell. Her
breathing slows as she is close to passing out. With
unsteady hands she reaches out, to nothing,
and aches for just a glimpse of the horizon.

 By Arlene Antoinette
Bio: Arlene writes about life in all its glory (the good, the bad and the ugliness of it). Additional pieces may be found at GIRLSENSE AND NONSENSE, Sick Lit Magazine, Boston Accent Lit, The Open Mouse and Neologism Poetry Journal.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Trashy Art Show To Not Be Prevented By the Police In Rockford

Sometimes it's just fun to do some old-fashioned pop art. After a super serious museum show last summer, and about half a dozen shows since then, a lot of us in Rockford just wanted to organize a show that is just for kicks. And someone came up with the idea of doing a show at one of the local motels, have the artists display in various rooms, and have each room represent some activity someone inhabiting that room might be engaged in. Use your imagination. From what I've seen so far the artists have gone in many different directions, all just entertaining as all get out. Because she is my partner I have been authorized by Kooky Houston to post these teasers from the room she is sharing with me, FoodStamp Davis, and Josh Benkert, who will be doing tintypes and Polaroid photos with whatever prop and person you choose to be photographed with. It's trashy, but harmless fun, and all of us who have been working so hard need it. I hope it's sweltering hot like a movie noir and everyone wears tank tops and cheap sunglasses and leisure suits. Rockford's hottest new band, Glitter, will be playing. Prarie Street Brewhouse will be bringing their magnificent beers. I'm not just hyping this up by saying I think it's worth a drive from out of town, and certainly if you're in Rockford nothing will be cooler this summer. 

Paintings from the upcoming Come and Go Motel Show by Kooky Houston

For my money my partner Kooky Houston is the best artist in the Midwest

Kooky Houston

My ugly mug will be there, also, finally showing in public for the first time my Poopsicle series of paintings, all including titles I can't post here in polite company. Ok, I'll do one, because you have been sufficiently warned this is a lowbrau art show.

The Turd That Killed Elvis by Zombie Logic

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What Poets Can Do To Help Me Be a More Effective Small Press Publisher

Here are a few very simple things that poets who want to support what I do here at Zombie Logic Review, Zombie Logic Press, and Outsider Poetry can do that don't require money, or much effort, and would make it much easier for me to get your work in front of the eyes of more readers. 

Number one

Like Zombie Logic Press on Facebook

Like the Facebook page. Otherwise Facebook makes me pay to show other people your poetry. And I have. I wish I didn't have to. If 10% of the people who sent me poetry read what I was posting life would be so much easier for me. Also, I don't deluge the followers with anything but the poetry being published here and at...

Like Outsider Poetry on Facebook

Like that Facebook page. I use it far less than the Zombie Logic Press page, but I post the poems being published at Outsider Poetry there.

My personal account on Twitter

That's my personal account on Twitter, and I'm not overly concerned if you want to like that or not as I talk about a lot of things other than poetry. For instance, I posted about the NFL today, and I doubt very many of you care about that. However, I do have a Twitter account that I use exclusively to post about poems, and that is here at Outsider Poetry On Twitter

That's it. If you could share those links so I could reach a larger audience that would be helpful, too. 

Thank you.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Three Poems By Levi Mericle

Levi J. Mericle is a poet/spoken-word artist, lyricist and fiction writer from Tucumcari, New Mexico. His work has appeared in multiple anthologies and can be seen in many lit magazines and journals from over half a dozen countries such as Black Heart Magazine, Mused, Flash Fiction Magazine, eFiction India, Awakenings Review, University of Madrid's literary magazine, Painters and Poets, Apricity Magazine and more. He is an advocate for the anti bullying movement as well as an advocate for the LGBTQ community.

The Desert Teddy

I grew up in the country
by the highway,
on route 66.
And I stared day to day into the deserted pastures
of prickly teddy bears.
No grizzly, polar, or little brown
The kind that eat herring off a brook.
Yet I see charisma characterized
in these paws of shapened nature
These grizzly’s of the desert,
these polar’s of the sand,
these little brown’s colored green

roar to the sound of existence.

Saying Goodbye

(Previously published in JACLR, Journal of Artistic Creation and Literary Research, The University of Madrid, Spain)

Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.
-Herbert Hoover
Cast Iron tears are easy.

When you’re young
when you’re broken
when your heart is heavy.

When death licks your ambitions like a lollipop—
And you throw away your desire
like the wrapper of life.

What is the taste of grief?
Iron, confliction?
Cheap attention or compassion?

When you died—
I cradled the thought of your mini corpse.
I disregarded the stiff, firm look of your eyelids.
And tried to remember your smile.

Forever hates you.
The ending embraces your bones.

I’ll wonder why
roses cry the way they do

like pails of petals poured

over concrete.

Porcelain Rose

Have you ever seen a desert rose die?
Have you held the remnants in your hands
as the warm breeze carries the dust like ashes in the wind?

Can you just for a second easily pretend that I am that rose?  
A deserted desert lifeline that is cut off from the rest of the world.
Left to shrivel without a solitary drop of care.

Some days I replicate the feeling of being a desert rose.
I understand her pain.
Her interpretation of her dehydrated corpse.
Lying lifeless, rigid and dried up in the desert sun.

Then I pretend to be a cactus.
Sharp edged, arid humility,
integrity so hardened for the sake of survival.

An unsightly living organism.
Untouchable by the human hand.
Yet so fully alive.

Striving in a world where beauty is not allowed.
Rendered deceased at birth.

How could something so ugly,
so course in appearance, so unmistakably dead to the human eye
live for so long?

Is it some symbolical punch line to a bad joke
that I’m simply not getting?

Or is the ugly satirical point of the cactus,
merely a door that opens in death for death
to a place where life is pushed away.  

So I live in the desert but I choose to be the rose.
Beauty, so predictably destined to die
yet is a death worthy of the life perceived.

Because I choose to be the rose,
Because I accept what ails me,
Because I am beauty,

I will prevail not just in this life but in the next.

Remembered in time as a porcelain teardrop

in a sea of fire.  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Poems By Duncan Tierney

Poems by Duncan Tierney

Trip Home
Running a ship has never interested me,
but with the duty of privilege, and a penance to onlookers
I practiced a straight spine and proud chest, reminding myself
that complaints of excess do little but kick the teeth of the poor.

Once I brought this up to my superior, a man like me,
with a deep voice that he used for words that danced like mercury.
“Why am I captain? I don’t know where I’m going.”
knowing full well the question dripped greasily with ingratitude.

To my shock, he took it well,
baritone shouting a guffaw.
“It doesn’t matter if or where your ship goes” he said
“You are captain because you are captain”

And so I stood behind the wheel running the ship over rocks,
waiting, as it filled with water, for a beautiful mutiny,
and from the lifeboats I heard a crewman call my name,
asking with plastic, theist sincerity,
“What next, sir?”
Maintaining Curb Appeal
Working for Mr. Wailer, preserving the carefully curated sprawl
of the hoarder’s properties is like working as an assistant to an eccentric billionaire,
but without the refined manners or manicures of affluence.
With Mr. Wailer, his eccentricity is scrawled in dead languages and antiquated metaphors,
across tobacco stained teeth and a nicotine beard.
It sits, restless and unbounded, in cockeyed piles of warped plywood, and
misshapen sheds, filled with the red of Budweiser boxes and Folgers cans,
behind carefully placed walls of trees and hedges,
so the county supervisor doesn’t get to prosecute Mr. Wailer,
for the collection of treasures that he has chosen to fill his tomb with.

Today was a break from the broken reality of carefully restacking plywood in intricate patterns—
plywood that would be from the Reagan Era if Reagan or Nixon or politics or laws existed in this
green labyrinth of beautifully hidden nothings.

Today, I cleaned the yard of my employer’s brother. His brother
spent his time drinking, hidden away either behind his thick browed frown
or the broken door of his four-room ranch.
I had only seen him once, in passing, in the three years I had worked there,
he was an old man—
older somehow than his twin, Mr. Wailer,
and had shuffled away at the sight of my approaching Taurus.

Today was the last day the yard of Wailer’s brother could be cleaned,
according to the final written warning
taped in yellow across the peephole of the house.
And so we did, as his twin lay
visible through the window,
beer in hand, head cranked straight back like a Pez dispenser,
snoring in front of a TV that still blared the History Channel.

As we pulled heavy wet bags, that nobody had bothered to hide,
Mr. Wailer cursed his brother,
said he was a cancer he wouldn’t wish on a sick mutt,
a disease that had latched onto him two minutes into his life and hadn’t let go since.
But still he helps me, loading black into a plywood trailer, shaking with anger and age and cold,
but filling the trailer nonetheless.

It is easy to hate a cancer.
Still too, it is easy to let others in to hate it with you,
Mr. Wailer had had no trouble telling me, or his neighbors,
or the cashiers at our lunch break at McDonald’s,
about the plague of inadequacy that his brother provided.
But something that grinds your teeth and tugs at your spine for that long
becomes a part of you, like vines sometimes turn from parasites to tree branches.
Buzz Saw
Mechanoreceptors—the specialized nerve endings that feel pressure—don’t exist inside skulls.

Now, when I feel thoughts shooting hot and barbed like arrows
across from the right hemisphere,
over to tap dance fervently and arrhythmically as an atheist’s final prayer
on the inner left side of my pate,
I have the comforting knowledge that the noise is just noise.

So too, when I feel a noose tighten around my brainstem—
the part of me that lets me know things without ever thinking them,
like how to laugh or fear or yell.
As the twine brands despair into my reptile brain,
the rope burn is bandaged in misapprehension.

The heat and noise start to sound like a buzz-saw after a while,
whining and spitting and sparking hot splinters across grey matter,
and I cash in my restraint trying desperately to buy silence.

The other night I could, for the first time.
and I sat there, bored,
amid grey thoughts as properly spaced and punctuated as dialogue in porn,
devoid of the technicolor calligraphy that usually deafened silence.

An Unfortunate Typo
I didn’t mean to say “Fuck off”
and dismiss you to friends or tears or whatever you walked out into.
I didn’t mean to say “I hate you” either, because hate is what I use for onions and papercuts and people who grunt at the gym, so I don’t hate you.
What I meant to say is that I’ve had dreams of you fucking my friends in front of me every night since I deleted your number, what I meant to say is that if you would have asked or gestured I would have hung myself in front of my parents, what I meant to say was that you were so fucking charming in your confident stupidity, in your faith, that since you could read and run faster than me, I thought there was something that I didn’t understand, that I had a plotline to follow that you knew about and I couldn’t grasp onto.
What I meant to say was that I lost 15 pounds the week you left me and collapsed doing calf raises on a treadmill because I thought maybe if I repeated the same motion enough it would strangle the thoughts that had been bouncing off the inside of my head since you head left, as if I had forgotten.
What I meant to say is that I came to you in tears that I hadn’t had since I was a kid, trying to tell you my brain doesn’t work right, that my thoughts crack like sledgehammers or glide like pythons through, me hissing about how even an overdose would be meaningless, but you were so asphyxiated with jealousy that the only thing you would respond with was that you didn’t know why I don’t dance.
What I meant to say is that ever since you left, I have been praying to a God that I don’t believe, hoping that your father’s alcoholism and your mother’s depression were contagious or hereditary, praying so hard that even when I started hearing that they were, heard that you had unlocked your bedroom’s revolving door, that you were stealing and drinking; swimming in a pool of prerequisites for the life I had wished for you, it still wasn’t enough.

But when you came up and greeted me for the second first time in my life, my mouth didn’t work like it normally does.
So I told you to fuck off.

Sorry about that.