Friday, February 25, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: John Drudge


John is a social worker working in the field of disability management and holds degrees in social work, rehabilitation services, and psychology.  He is the author of four books of poetry: March (2019), The Seasons of Us (2019), New Days (2020), and Fragments (2021). His work has appeared widely in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies internationally. John is also a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and lives in Caledon Ontario, Canada with his wife and two children.

Your Eyes

Making sense

Of where we are

In the low tides

And the high

Where truth

Churns in the jags

Against the rocks

On the shore

Along the coast

Where we parked

That night

In the fading moonlight

To watch the pain

Of insignificance


Across your eyes



Too Much the Night

Wound up

In the poetic crises

Of long nights

And short days

Estranged from touch

And taste

Where breathing rescues

And finds its cadence

In the brokenness

Of our ways



A New Summer

In a new summer

Of brief passing

He saw her that day

By the pool

Young and awakened

In the sweetness

Of profound anticipation

When their love

Was instant

And fresh

With an openness

To everything


Blind to far reaching


And lost

In a singular landscape

Of dreams

Mining the morning sun

For a smile




Monday, February 21, 2022

Ron Cooper's All My Sins Remembered, reviewed by Su Zi


   In traditional folklore, humor and regionalism are intrinsic aspects that carry the narrative, sometimes superseding it, and sometimes allowing for parable to emerge. And although regionalism as a genre can be considered a spatial concern, or a standard shelf in bookshops, it does draw a binary line between those familiar with a particular place and those who are not. The tourist reader might be carried along by the narrative’s current; the native reader will recognize landmarks. While regionalist writing may find currency among tourist readers, as if it were a literary cuisine, some true measure of the work will be gauged by native readers keenly aware of authenticity. Thus, the tale is told of time and place and those who live there.

    In Ron Cooper’s novel All My Sins Remembered (Goliad), the reader experiences life as a law enforcement officer in Ocala, Florida, a community currently described as undergoing rapid population growth.  Indeed, the novel opens with specific, native sites,” Through the gap between the lines of trees along the far side of the Silver River[…]a slender bird, probably an egret, passed”(1), and the action throughout stays mostly within that local proximity. Cooper’s land of legend is the Ocala Forest, an annual visit spot for Rainbow People, whom Cooper , in no disguise, calls  “Starlight”, and who play an influential part of the narrative.  While Cooper’s depictions of these annual visitors is both accurate-- the groups preference for “funny hats”-- as well as exaggerated for humor “His lower lip was pierced with what appeared to be a dog whistle”(4), his depiction of the fictionalized but actual residents of the forest follows the same structure of accuracy and hyperbole, with the exception of a far more harsh humor. A scene of a local gathering includes “an old hog trough […] now used as a footrest[…]and as a spittoon by Edna Yancey”(100). While the tourist reader might notice a woman who chews tobacco, the native reader recognizes the name of a local family. That the implication of lowest social caste is attached to this family name might not be humorous to some native readers; Cooper is consistent here, all the residents of the Ocala Forest are painted as being of the lowest social caste—a local myth from town people that is resented by forest residents.

   Cooper might revere Florida’s Beat writer, Harry Crews, but his strength is the didacticism that threads through both this and his other works. In the scene at the weekly bluegrass and potluck barbeque, Cooper educates the tourists with “Blevins announced that he would do a song everyone knew. He sang ’Hold Back the Waters’ by Florida’s folk song hero Will McLean, and everyone around Moreno joined in on the chorus about the threat of a flood” (103), while also creating an intimate nod, perhaps, to his bluegrass duet and Florida blues scholar partner. Not all of Cooper’s references are obscure. A scene involving a family argument about religion contains this comparative analysis: “The Bible prophets knew all about suffering. Vanity is the bastard child of the ego. The bigger the ego, the more dukkha, the more suffering”(68) which is countered with “so then he wandered around the rest of his life eating other people’s, poor people’s food. Never turned a lick in his rich boy life” (69). The novel never bogs in such gems, and is cleverly structured to visit various persons, including a point of view change, that don’t overwhelm the reader with the work’s basic premise of the murder mystery plot, or the unlikely hero’s journey to redemption.

  Cooper is a clever writer: because of the adept complexities here, the novel’s marketability is Florida-based, mystery based, comedy based. Perhaps it is this last aspect that might leave a bit of aftertaste, as Cooper’s Ocala Forest is a town tourist’s view, but few would remark the lack of empathy; in fact, Cooper’s suicidal, family failure deputy is hardly likeable. The novel’s setting of a relatively unknown region rapidly loosing its local history does position the work as succeeding in a core value of folklore—illumination of a threatened culture, even if the story paints that culture with a severe eye.

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.


Check out her author page on Amazon.

Monday, February 14, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Gabor G. Gyukics

Gabor G. Gyukics (b. 1958) poet, jazz poet, literary translator born in Budapest, Hungary. He is the author of 11 books of original poetry, 6 in Hungarian, 2 in English, 1 in Arabic, 1 in Bulgarian, 1 in Czech, 1 book of original prose, and 19 books of translations including A Transparent Lion, selected poetry of Attila József (2006) and They’ll Be Good for Seed, a Contemporary Hungarian Poetry (2021) (in English, both with co-translator Michael Castro) and an anthology of North American Indigenous poets in Hungarian titled Medvefelhő a város felett (2015). He writes his poems in English (which is his second language) and Hungarian. He had lived in Holland for two years before moving to the US where he'd lived between 1988-2002, at present he resides in Szeged, Hungary.
    His poetic works and translations have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies in English, Hungarian and other languages worldwide. He was a recipient of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC) residency in Canada in 2011.
    His latest book in English titled a hermit has no plural was published by Singing Bone Press in the fall of 2015. His latest book in Hungarian titled végigtapint was published by Lector Press in May 2018.    
    In September 2020, he received the Hungary Beat Poet Laureate Lifetime award by the National Beat Poetry Foundation Inc. USA.

not on her own

with lowered wings

the wind appeared

she didn’t blow anyone’s hair

didn’t flutter the leaves on the trees

she swayed beyond the fence

in the early sunset

camouflaged herself as a reflection

as if she couldn’t decide

whether she wanted to be sensed or seen

she jumped over the fence a few times

looked around

and before an outside force

flew her away

she ran a fast round

leaving her scent behind

patch on the foghorn

under the wings of a dead angel

the moon is making love

to the sun

the negative of their bodies

lie in every river bed

mountain range

dirt road

next to your footprint

in every ditch

by the walnut tree

you’ll find a piece

of the moon

and not far from it

under the plum tree

shines a broken part

of the sun

Monday, February 7, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Richard Modiano

 Richard Modiano is a native of Los Angeles.  From 2010 to 2019, he served as Executive Director of Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center. In that time he produced and curated hundreds of literary events. Richard is a rank and file member of the Industrial Workers of the World. In 2019 he was elected Vice President of the California State Poetry Society. The Huffington Post named him as one of 200 people doing the most to promote poetry in the United States.

The Perfect Ones

The perfect ones

The beautiful ones

The right ones, the just ones, the nobles ones

The ones who never break

down crying in restaurants,

who never do anything in secret that they would be ashamed of

The normal ones

The healthy ones

The ones who always plan ahead

The content ones

The happy ones

The ones who work hard

and reap the benefits,

who brush and floss after every meal

The well-adjusted ones

The popular ones

The ones who never disappoint,

who grow up to be president

The lucky ones

The ones with perfect skin and perfect teeth and perfect figures

The ones who want what they have and have what they want –--


They don’t exist

The ones posing as them

 are even more fucked up than you.


 Poem for Rob Plath

Walk outside if you can –

or go to a window and open it.

Close your eyes

and sniff the air.

Listen –

What do you hear

calling on the wind?

Are the birds singing?

Are the crows cawing?

Do you hear

the rhythmic throb

of city traffic?

The cycling trill

of car alarms?

the cry of children

At play?

Open your eyes –

see the patterns

of light and shadows

the play of the wind.

begin your education

in the language

of nature.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Aaron Woodson

"I currently have 81 5-star Amazon reviews for THE FACE OF EXPRESSION and 18 5-star Amazon reviews for THE FACE OF EXPRESSION 2:IN YOUR FACE. I have been featured on CBS AL COLE's People of Distinction podcast, RIC BRATTON's Good Morning America show, & Dreamspire TV show. I attended the Miami Book Fair, the largest Book Fair in the country in 2019 and also The Book Expo in NYC (2019) as a vendor. I released an audiobook version of THE FACE OF EXPRESSION in 2021 through ACX. I was recently featured on News 4 Jax 10 o'clock news and I read a poem from my book to veterans returning from Afghanistan. I am a military veteran whose served combat tours to Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom." 

Available on Amazon.

See this beautiful video below:

Still On My Feet
Original poem by Aaron Woodson
Music and extra lyrics/vocals by brotherwell
(re:covery 10)
Copyright 2022


I was hit by the unexpected. I was surrounded by enemies that were like sharks that smelled blood. They attacked me relentlessly. I held my own and stayed on my feet. I didn’t know how to accept defeat and I sure wasn’t about to retreat! In the face of an ambush, I fought back. I kicked, scratched, and clawed my way back to the top! I will wear scars from the battles I’ve endured. I got my head held high and I’ve shaken everything off. I’m still a king on the rise. From sunrise to sunset each day, I’ll still be on my feet!


Some people don’t see me for who I am. They assume I’m this or that. Always running off at the mouth like they know so much. But the truth is, they really don’t know nothing. Most people like to assume the worst but won’t take the time to get to know a person first. Don’t get me wrong there are a few people that can actually see beyond the surface and not judge me.


They admire, respect and love for me who I am. Those other folks like to throw red flags on every good character trait I exhibit. They are inhibited by their own insecurities and fears. In my world, hate and discrimination are not tolerated. Therefore, all of the above I’ve mentioned is prohibited! I don’t give any ounce of space for anyone’s disrespect. If you’re with that crap, you can just bounce and take all that elsewhere. None of that belongs here.


Yeah, I took it there and there’s nothing you’re going to do about it either. You know you’re wrong. Dead wrong! I stand on the strength of my faith and the image of God that I bear. I wear these blessings like they will never go out with styles. Why should I care how you feel about me? You don’t want me to be free so guess what? I’m gonna continue to exercise my freedom and fight for it!


You don’t want me to be me, but guess what? I’m gonna continue to be me and become the best version of myself whether you like it or not! I have nothing to prove to you. I’m not perfect but everyday I strive to become better. Some of y’all seem to enjoy being bitter! Put your anger away and learn to embrace happiness. If you even know what that looks and feels like. We all have our moments, but remember that’s all what they are. Don’t stay there. Do better. Be better.


Look at yourself before you come steppin’ to me. I know the man in the mirror, get to know my reflection for your protection. Stop trying to put a crack in my image. I’m a whole person that is made to shine and be beautiful! Get to know me!