Thursday, May 26, 2022

GAS Featured Artist: Phil Demise Smith

 I’m an MFA, published poet, and edited a magazine and chapbooks by (Gegenschein Press) and produced of 50 shows of poetry, art, and music at The Gegenschein Vaudeville Placenter.  I’ve been published in magazines and have had a chapbook published What I Don’t Know For Sure (Burning Deck) and Periods, selected writings 1972-1987 (Gegenschein). I have given numerous poetry readings in the U.S. and Europe.


I began playing music in 1975. I was a part of the New Wave/Punk Scene in NYC, fronting two bands (The N.DoDo Band and Didus and the Fabulous Mascarenes). My latest band is anDna.


In 1987 I began to paint. I’ve had numerous one person and group shows of my artwork in the U.S. and Europe. In April 2012 I had a one person show at the Museé Création Franche in Beglés, France.


I taught art/poetry to K-5 students in NYC public schools for 19 years.


The Piece "National Headache" is a series of overpaintings on pages of The National Enquirer and prose poem captions for each page.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Bruce McCrae

 Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with poems published in hundreds of magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press); An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy; (Cawing Crow Press) and Like As If (Pski’s Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).


He who fears he will suffer already suffers what he fears.  ~Montaigne



                                There isn't enough time.

Feast, fast and famine,

there aren't enough bullets or ballots,

minutes in an hour,

bread and circuses, wine, jellybeans,

shoelaces, pencils, kerosene . . .

Grab whatever you can hold, a storm

is coming, night is coming,

the Mongol hordes, a flood, a hurricane,

an edict of outlandish resolutions.

Count your fingers. Mind your head.

Are you prepared? We're not

prepared for the worst at best of times.

Because here comes the fire

mother warned us would burn

through us and all, across bourn

and county. A cleansing fire,

an insatiable yearning, a furious curiosity,

a blessed inferno, its millions mouths

a locust swarm, demon spawn, a plague of weevils.

Save the children and the gold. The cat.

The family bible, handed down

from son to son, from sun to sun,

the Earth shaking its molten pudding.

This is your captain speaking.

We're in for a rocky ride, downdrafts

and turbulence, wild-eyed kinetics,

a sub-molecular chain reaction.

Buttercup, it's best you buckle up,

we're in the arms of Jesus now, fate

is destiny, destiny fate, our blighted future

not so fortuitous as planned and Venn diagrammed.

Gather up your cargo, war is coming.

Sound the warning bells of wide renown.

Run, rabbit, run, the vulcanologists' decree

states quite openly and obviously

the end is nigh, the bulls are running, tides are high.

Swallow hard your raggedy-assed medicines,

we stridently disagree to disagree 

it's an asteroid the mass and gravity of Amsterdam.

The sun's gone out. The moon

has fallen down. We're doomed, I tell you, doomed.

As sure as shooting, darlings, as sure as sugar.

The psychic foretold all this to me, but would I listen?

I would not listen.



To hell with charms and spells

and the trappings of enchantment.

I'm in love with love

and beg for hearts and hollers.

Sweetmeat, you're a neon sign

and I'm the son of darkness.

We make music and strained musculatures.

I'll take you to the roller derby.

I'll bring you string tiaras and flowers,

the ones you purred over,

I forget their name, but remember

their smells and colours.

On our first date

we'll make a snowman named December.

I love you like mud and mush and muck.

I love you like an old car

up to its axles in farmyard slurry,

wolves howling your name,

every breath a symphonic crescendo.

Darling (may I call you 'darling'?),

your heartbeats are little bombs

in the hands of innocents.

Together we shall learn the art

of five pin bowling.

We'll cut out paper dolls

while the sky comes crashing down.

We'll walk in the rain

while practicing our algebra,

reciting limericks and riddles as we go

into the earth, like smoke,

like a golden spike

on the coldest day in memory.

We'll burn like sugar

and you will love me in our burning.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Vernon Frazer

Vernon Frazer has written more than thirty books of poetry, three novels and a short story collection. His poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Aught, Big Bridge, First Intensity, GAS, Jack Magazine, Lost and Found Times, Moria, Miami SunPost, Muse Apprentice Guild, Sidereality, Xstream and many other literary magazines. He introduced IMPROVISATIONS at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in Manhattan.

 Working in multi-media, Frazer has performed his poetry with the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin, the Vernon Frazer Poetry Band and as a solo poet-bassist. His jazz poetry recordings and multimedia work are available on Youtube.

    Frazer resides in central Connecticut. He is widowed.

Fixing a Borrowed Habit

simulacrum addict
fixing with a borrowed paradigm

     amphitheater closing
     the latest string of artifacts 

          a plaster closing
      attuned to past 
fortune no future

     in opposing 
     the brief that ripped the current
          from the pit          
                             of wet nostalgia 

repellent vector a slide
where fossils of the evening
gather postures
                          for similar dismay

    in veritas             a show of
      chaos                exposers

                    for a lather gathering 

              to join the programmed rhetoric

                                                  in its recovery

Insurrection Attacks

murder dart rebellion 
dungeon the reflective grandad 
           watchdog muzzle works 

letterhead calligraphy without rejoinder 

     the verity dollars arising 
     would slash vegetation substructures 

          each stroke sliding cold black
          contrapuntal reprint offenses
          strict emptiness attained skill 
          phrasing horseshoes playing 
                                sewer fossil leveraging


excursion culprit 
exalted enough bongo praxis

     from lotus tone 
     the intrinsic vegetations speak               lilacs 
gracefully             muster

    muzzle dating stationer
                           fondles needle wrecker
                           chortle booms concerto
               demonstrative morass
               attained lithe capability tactic 
               where appearing graffiti 

            upended novelty 

   spoken as the baton rises

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Su Zi's Review of "Sometimes the Light" by Rick Campbell


                                 Available from Main Street Rag Bookstore

The authentic voice: too often overlooked these days, too often put into the shadows by the glitz of more acrobatic literary endeavors, the authentic voice has been subjected to an unjust partisan divide that results in robbing the passionate reader of resonant experiences. Yet such work exists, and ought to gain readership among those who do value that which truly, if quietly, seeks to speak to us in a deeper way. Perhaps the griot nature of experiential work is lost on certain urban-minded people, but even the most cosmopolitan among us will realize how joyous is a blooming tree after months of a concrete gray winter. Thus, Rick Campbell’s work, Sometimes the Light , a prose work of essays that is also memoir, is a pleasant reminder that yes, the authentic world is still here, an authentic voice still exists in published work.

The work opens with a train ride, an essay of seven sections that observes the other passengers with a full sense of being participatory, rather than as subjects of classicist derision. Campbell’s discussion of train passengers includes a section about luggage:

Train people have really bad luggage—mismatched suitcases, garish colors—

            and many have suitcases much larger than what one could take on a plane […]

            A lot of train people don’t, if we are precise here, have luggage. They carry their

            belongings in paper sacks, pillowcases, and large plastic bags from department     

            stores. (4)

The reader is introduced to a setting that is neither or place, or time—as Campbell discusses the lack of synchroneity of train time, of time in motion, with that of fixed positions, such as arrival at train stations. In case the reader is a classist trying to slum along with Campbell, two sections in this opening essay later, Campbell aligns himself with the other passengers:

             I am a train person. My duffel’s cheap and patched on the bottom with duct tape.

             My backpack used to be my daughter’s, and it’s got weird stains here and there.

             I have been wearing the same jeans for four days (9).

The reader will not find any separation between the writer and that which is witnessed on these pages, Campbell stands shoulder to shoulder with the lives that people his work.

Campbell himself is a Pushcart winner, author of multiple titles in multiple genres, and a long-term editorial team member of a respected press. His choice to be of the people does not escape the meditative memoir of this text. In a discussion about a celebrity baseball athlete, Campbell compares the ranks of celebrity, of legacy, between baseball and the literary world via a consideration of nicknames:

                […] was ‘the Georgia Peach” That just doesn’t work.

                It’s rural, regional, Southern. It’s like local color Southern writers

                battling the New York crowd for attention and only coming away with the

                title Regionalists […] it gets them in the Norton, but […] (72).

While the essay itself considers the retrospective moral life of the creator (as an athlete) versus the brilliance of their work, Campbell’s conclusion both includes and passes by the academic with “I tell my creative nonfiction students” (73), to a pure and intimate moment that, in one paragraph, makes prosaic mention of “gifts”, of “synchronicity”, of “forgiveness” and of “redemption”. The reader then too, as silent witness, must acknowledge a kind of posited hierarchy of priorities; that how one is seen as a writer is lesser than the “significance of experience” (73) that a writer might encounter, and that this too must come from us each in our most actualized humanity.

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.