Monday, November 29, 2021

GAS Featured Poet: Lorie Greenspan

 Lorie Greenspan is publishing director at a Deerfield Beach, Florida, book publishing company. Prior to moving to Florida in 2015, she was a newspaper editor in New Jersey for more than thirty years. Her poems have been inspired by the death in April 2020 of her husband of twenty years following a long illness. She also has written a middle-grade fantasy novel that she hopes to publish next year (2022).  

Written on a warm day

How does summer feel to you? 

My summer feels like the scratchy floral fabric of a couch 

rich with the smells of all the sweat and crumbs 

of the days and weeks of childhood, 

and the musty lingering of humid walls and woolly rugs. 


Summer feels like an overgrown lawn of weeds, 

Queen's Lace, and dandelions, 

or the plastic strips of an outdoor lounge chair

that hug but never mold to your body 

because that would mean 

it was your chair and no one else's. 

And that couldn't be because everyone sat here. 


Summer feels like the open window of the bedroom after a thunderstorm 

when the droplets cling to the screen 

and the western angled sun, low on the horizon, 

shines its beams through them and the metal of the screen 

and the dewy scent of the grass become the things you measure across time . . . 


It is now this summer, and now this summer, 

and these things become the rusty skeletons of seasons long gone. 


It's funny, as you go about adult stuff in a new place, 

where there are no more plastic strips on lawn chairs 

and the couch has long been sent to the dump that you can still feel all of it, 

as if time stands still in the mind, 

as if the mind stands immobile against time 

as if time and the mind are in a race to see which gets priority – 

the lawn chair, the screen, 

the pebbles of stone in the driveway which we didn't mention, 

but are still there –   

all of them do, of course. 


That is the thing about growing old. 

Your mind is time 

and it won’t suffer abandonment. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Tim Gaze Interview #2 by Michael Jacobson


MJ: You have a new collection out Glyphs of Uncertain Meaning, can you talk about your book and explain what it is all about?

TG: I reckon I've explained it well in the introduction to the book. From among my many hundreds of pages of glyphs, I've selected a broad range which reproduces well in black & white. They're mostly  minimal compositions, many of them less than a poem. Singly, they might not seem to have much weight, but collected together, traversing many styles and techniques, they add up to something heavier. Overall, I'm using visual rhetoric to argue about human made signs.

MJ: You started the first website dedicated to asemic writing. What is your view about how asemic writing has grown, especially on the Internet?

TG: From roughly 2000 to 2007, I was obsessed with spreading the culture of asemic writing, which included the www. A few years back, I realised that I had let go. It's marvelous to see that the seeds that I and a few other people planted have grown in several different directions.

MJ: Do you still make asemic writing or have you moved on to something else?

TG: I've stopped making full page, deliberate pieces where I stand next to a blank piece of paper before starting. Occasionally, while talking on the phone, I doodle, but these are small, rough & often don't feel finished.

Meanwhile, I was recording sound poetry for several years, culminating in the album Sounds. Since then, I've been putting together a weekly radio show called Sound Poetry etc for sound poetry and similar sounds, acting as collector and curator more than primary creator.

It's a strange time for creativity. I'm exploring and compiling things I did in the past, such as sound poetry or asemic writing, but don't currently feel much of an urge to create fresh works. In October 2020, I did over an hour of improvised sound poetry live-to-air on Copperpipe Radio, which felt really good. If I performed more sound poetry at the moment, it would sound like a less intense, less inventive version of the live-to-air performance. Gardening is a recent interest which I'm giving my attention, especially learning about edible weeds.

MJ: What was your process as far as the creation of your soundpo album Shapes?

TG: Mostly improvising in my home studio, then later choosing the best bits. As with asemic writing, I've learned that being in exactly the right mood before beginning to record my creations is the most productive way to work. If I capture 10 minutes of sounds that I've never made before, then relax and turn off the recorder, I'm satisfied. Later, with fresh ears, I decide which ones move me most strongly, and which ones contrast with each other, or are too similar to each other.

MJ: Are you interested in publishing anymore issues of Asemic magazine?

TG: Probably not. It served its purpose in helping to expand the culture around asemic writing.

MJ: You started Asemic Editions which is the brother/sister press to Post-Asemic Press. What do you think about the current diversity of publishing as far as asemic writing is concerned?

TG: I'm probably not all that much in touch with the current playing field. I'm aware that quite a few literary publications accept submissions of asemic writing. A few publishers that I am slightly familiar with are the Danish publisher Non Plus Ultra and the UK publishers who put out Steven J Fowler's books, such as zimZalla and Hesterglock. My plan with Asemic Editions was to focus on sequences of abstract or asemic work, more like abstract graphic novels than collections of single pages of asemic writing.

MJ: Does Buddhism still factor into your life? Do you meditate?

TG: "Buddhist" was the handiest word that I could find in your first interview, to give some idea of my outlook. Walking, which helps me let go of the internal verbalisations of daily life, is the nearest thing I do to a meditative practice. I'm intellectually curious about traditions such as Zen Buddhism, Chan Buddhism, Sufism, philosophical Taoism and so on. However, I'm aware that this isn't the same thing as seriously practicing any single one of these.

MJ: What would you like to do in the future?

TG: Tidy up my unpublished pages of asemic writing. I have several in styles which haven't been published yet. Tidy up my sound recording. I might get cracking on an older book project that I'd put down. Usually, my intentions for the future don't pan out as I might expect them to in an interview such as this!

Since the late '90s, Tim Gaze has been active as a poet, writer, publisher and performer. In particular, he has been very involved in the field of asemic writing, publishing Asemic Magazine and setting up the first website, His works include the graphic novel 100 Scenes, glitch poetry collection noology and sound poetry album Shapes. Recently, he completed a degree in linguistics, and hosts the radio show Sound Poetry etc. Dance music such as batida by the Principe Discos artists gets him going. The Adelaide Hills of Australia, in the traditional lands of the Peramangk people, is his home.

Michael Jacobson is a writer, artist, publisher, and independent curator from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA/Turtle Island. He is the author of Works & Interviews, the senryu poetry collection Hei Kuu, and the noise poetry album Schizo Variations. Two forthcoming books by Jacobson are Somnolent Game (2022) and id est (2023). His book publishing project for longer works of asemic writing and experimental poetry is Post-Asemic Press. Since 2008 he has curated The New Post-Literate: A Gallery of Asemic Writing.

The first interview Michael did with Tim is at Litro and can be read here.

Above are some sample pages and cover art from Glyphs of Uncertain Meaning by Tim Gaze.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

GAS Featured Poet: JB Mulligan


JB Mulligan has published more than 1100 poems and stories in various magazines over the past 45 years, and has had two chapbooks: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, as well as 2 e-books: The City of Now and Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation). He has appeared in more than a dozen anthologies, and was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize anthology.


Tire tracks left on the highway weeks ago,
that swerve toward the shoulder, onto it,
holding, holding, then sharply back onto asphalt
just before the pillar of the overpass, out
to the outside lane then back all the way onto
the asphalt of the exit before the tracks
fade like a long exhalation after breath
was held in the clench of the lungs too long,
and drivers note it, almost as a duty
that one who clings to the rope of breath
owes to another clutching at rigging
in the wind and dark spray of the sea,
knowing that the water can hide its reefs
and there are only so many ports till you drown.


The boat is leaking, but it keeps chesting down the river toward an unseen ocean.
The wood is rotted in places, and repair crews curse and sweat, saw and hammer,
pause to tear at a sandwich, drink a beer, then continue,
while others repaint the gilded globes and railings and the blind wooden figurehead,
a once-lovely woman with a sword pointed toward the future.

People walk the decks and halls of this floating city like urban streets or dusty roads,
going from this life to this life to this life, links in a chain of days and events,
and some of those walkers are chained by the ghosts of chains tight on their necks
or loose in their thin, alert fists, and by the real chains forged in the past
that shackle the future as it sails into now, chains as real as the echoes
of a voice crying out for air, for water, for life, for the end of the oppressor's
fists and clubs and knees and dogs and guns, the brute constellations of pain
spinning in the dying sky of a child's vision as it vanishes.

Bodies slide in sheets off the boat, or are tossed overboard, or leap into the current
to float away, free and dead, chained and dead, alive and dead and dead and dead.
Hands like withering roots cling to the rails, to ropes that extend like vines
from the dead, flowering wood of the ship.  Hands throw deck chairs to the swimmers
to help them or to hurt them.  Hands lift cocktail glasses and salute the sunset,
the wisdom of the Captain, the sturdiness of the creaking, leaking ship, and themselves.
Deckhands scurry here and there on tasks, sweating and cursing, hungry, thirsty,
too busy to hate the bloated ship's officers, the pale, larded first class passengers
like plucked chickens in pastel suits and glittery gowns, among whom servers wander
bearing trays loaded with choice pieces of anonymous lives on wedges of buttered toast,
smiling as they look at the swollen throats like over-ripened fruit awaiting the knife.

The boat surges on, cutting through water that bleeds sludge and poison and plastic bottles.
Its engine vomits smoke, clatters and screeches and labors to lift pistons and pull and push
bars of oil-crusted metal, tended by oil-sticky men and women who feed it coal and gasoline
and lives that will end with oil-crusted lungs vomiting smoke, gasping and laboring to breathe.

Flags and pennants festoon the boat, rattle in the sky at dawn and sunset.
Trumpets announce its passing to turtles in the reeds and deer nibbling the bushes.
Covered wagons and trains and Greyhound buses move along the riverbanks
in lives long gone and here and to come.  The boat moves on, relentless,
as if it thought it believed it would never end, but felt the Sword of Time
itching the back of its neck, and the end of all possibilities.

The blissful and ignorant river carries the boat like a small child on its back
in the slow restless rush to the inevitable sea, unbounded to the eye,
as open as the sky to the soul.  This hunger for largeness, for a time
endless as sea and sky, of chances without horizons or chains, is in the hold
of the boat, and flitters in the rooms and down the corridors, and dances with the music
in the ballroom at night, where people spin like constellations or the wheel
in the casino, where lights flicker like flames.  This hunger is what the people consume,
and what the ship consumes, and what emits from the smokestack as clouds of black gas
that break into bird-shapes and shatter, while the gulls and hawks wheel
forever above the boat, crying like the lost, silent like the hunter.

A man and a woman stand at the railing, looking through all of the sky for hope.
Among the clouds, the waving leaves of trees on shores , the birds, the smoke,
the visions that spring up inside like roots and tendrils, they'll find what's there.
The voice of the far-away sea reaches the boat, and fills it like breath for the living. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

GAS Featured Poet: John Grey


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.


For a long time,

my usual connection with reality 

had become unbearable.

Then we met

and I welcomed the detachment.

from the everyday.

But I’m a lover

not a schizophrenic.

My tragedy is not destiny.

I am wounded

but not torn apart.

I am victim of one particular woman

not harsh and unescapable fate.

I do not make my home in delirium.

I don’t need medication to resume 

my place in the world.

Yes, there are some days

I'd rather watch a woman

with a beard of barbed wire 

and wonder why she doesn't shave. 

And I’d rather think about what catches 

in that hair: some greasy motes of egg, 

a drop of indelible coffee. 

And I wonder who kisses her?

Do his lips make a tunnel

in that mountain of fur?

But that’s normal.

The invisible scratches all over my face

are normal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Justice Volume 1: The Enemy Within by Gavin C. Brown reviewed by Su Zi

Available from

   Not every novel intends a literary audience only, and works with a specific intended audience are often enjoyable reading experiences. In the first of an intended serial story, the author is endeavoring to create a world beyond a single volume, and there have been populist successes in this area. While Gavin C Brown’s Justice series (volume two is intended for release for February 2022) exists as a single volume currently, the work is still a provocative and entertaining reading experience—especially if the reader has beyond-tourist familiarity with the work’s setting of New Orleans. 


   Perhaps most fascinating for both literary and pure pleasure readers is Brown’s hybrid structure in this work, which combines prose and poetry to create the protagonist’s lived world experience as a contemporary black woman. Brown, himself, is no poseur in this arena, having grown up on the Westbank in Algiers. In a telephone interview, Brown describes New Orleans as “ a lively city and there are complexities associated with that”(20 October 2021). The novel attends to some of those complexities with a dark roux of humor, such as one character’s response to Say Their Names by inclusion of black victims of violence in menu items: “the George Floyd Somebody Call My Mamma Hot and Spicy Jambalaya, the Emmett Till Battered Fish and Fries, the Black Lives Matter Seafood Platter, the I Can’t Breathe Hot Wings” which the character justifies as “ Every time someone takes a bite and spends a dollar, it not only goes back into the community through investment{sic}They are reminded of those victims and their sacrifices. Every time someone takes a bite, it’s a bite out of injustice”(31). The novel’s text, at this point, is a conversation, but Brown adeptly shifts into his protagonist’s inner thoughts through a poem in her point of view: “ Is that I don’t know how he/could possible not see/The negative effects of these actions,/Passed his own satisfaction,/This is not how you build/The Black Community/This is not Black Love/Or Black Unity/This is just exploitation/Of victims Black,/Like you and me “(32).  The fluidity of these genre shifts was, for Brown, the “biggest challenge” in writing; the character “is a poet” and Brown used the genre switch to “flow back and forth and climb into her head”(interview). Since this is volume one of an intended series, and Brown’s use of the hybrid form is so fluid, readers can hope to see this genre -bending format continue in the planned future work.

   What becomes striking about this short novel is that both the character and the theme of the work are concerned with justice. Brown himself remarked on his choice of a female protagonist as being “of far more interest…there are not a lot of black women protagonists…they are unappreciated and persevering. There are enough male heroes out there. I want to do something different. Not the same old thing”(interview). Indeed, most of the characters and groups of characters in this street-smart, maybe-not-fantasy-dystopia are women, hero and anti-hero alike. One anti-hero intends a murder in an unnamed hospital “She’s holding flowers, and she enters the room. […]’The Arian Nation sends their regards,’ the blonde says and pulls a gun, but she can’t shoot it with her face full of my feet […] ‘so, what do they call you’ I say. ‘ The Milk Lady’”(58). Lest readers think that the novel posits all white people as enemy, Brown creates a supporting character in the form of a tall blond called Iron Maiden who sees herself as “an exterminator looking for rats…most of my kills have been KKK and Arian Nation”(88-89). Thus the stuff of heroes and their tropes become the core characters of this work, with New Orleans supplanting a fictive Gotham with genuine, real world ills.

   While readers familiar with the choreography of fighting moves will find plenty of meat in the frequent action sequences, there’s no dismissing the ambitiousness undertaken here.  Brown has multiple font changes-- to record the journal entries of Iron Maiden, conversations in italics, --and a use of street-level language that is currently taboo in general culture. This may be volume one, but it’s also the initial development of a hero world, one where corrupt charities and street thugs eventually get caught, where a girl from the St Bernard project becomes a defender of women. Readers of Brown’s “insider audience…because it’s such an African American centric piece” might laugh out loud a bit more, but the work is well worth the read—as shocking as it might be to consider complex issues of social justice through an action hero trope, Brown’s smooth handling allows also for a sense of delight and fun.             

Su Zi is a writer, poet and essayist who produces a handmade chapbook series called Red Mare. She has been a contributor to GAS from back when it was called Gypsy Art Show, more than a decade ago.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

GAS Featured Poet: Michele Mekel


Michele Mekel wears many hats: bioethicist, educator, poetess, cat herder, and woman. Her work appears in academic and creative publications, and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, nominated for Best of the Net, and translated into Cherokee. She is co-principal investigator of Viral Imaginations: COVID-19 (

The Fates


From the State of Nature,

Dopamine Receptor DR2D
came uninvited to my naming.

Never one to run alone,
she brought close companions
from the Province of Nurture.

On one arm, 

hung Maternal Depression.
Marital Stress trailed closely
on their heels.

The unwelcome trio smirked,
cast their spells upon a colicky child—
already touched in vitro
by the baneful fingers of Rubella.

One gifted Melancholy

as nursemaid and
constant companion.

Another bequeathed Anxiety

as third wheel
in future romantic relations.

The last,

upon reading my tiny palm,
offered up Ambiguous Loss
as North Star.

231 W. Linn Street


Like a bellows,

doors, windows

open, close

breathing ghostly life

into this tired house.



these specters abide

long dead, side-long spied

in halls, along floors

I now pace.