Thursday, June 30, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Benito Vila


Benito Vila lives in a remote fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific coast. He first had his poetry published in 2020 in Love Love, an underground magazine based in Paris. His other published work includes the editing Of Myth & Men, a narrative cut-up of poet Charles Plymell’s email correspondence (for Bottle of Smoke Press), and creating profiles of "counterculture” instigators for and


I am meant to breathe and smile, be human.

I am meant to grow, the way an acorn is meant to be an oak tree.

Enough of fetishes and materialism

Enough of verse in rhymes and measures

Enough of private clubs and endless vacation

Enough of clarity, control and self-improvement

Enough of who’s who, what’s what and where it’s at

Enough of chattering, poking and blaming

Enough of alerts, dings and constant noise

Enough of emotion, logistics and expectations

Enough of oil spills, dead fish and dead birds

Enough of greed, the apocalypse, jingoism and Election Day

Enough of mystics, misogynists and misinformation

Enough of pointing out differences and glorifying privilege

Enough of the 289 ways of Christ

Enough of repeating old news over and over and over

Enough of selling doubt and fear all day long and doing it again the next day

Enough of sentence structure and social hierarchies

Enough of spotlights becoming crosshairs

Enough of likes and efficiencies

Enough of self-pity, self-esteem and skin creams

Enough of ascribing sex, shaming intelligence and repeating big lies

Enough of rectangles and refusing to acknowledge the obvious

Enough of kindness coming in second

I want to stand tall, hear birds describe God.

I want to have the ground feel good when I go to lay down.

The New Now

The new now is taking notes

to begin a new narrative.

The new now is more than

the same old shit, imperceptibly different.

It’s an everywhere of everything 

where everyone is sacred, where each living thing is a saint.

The gift is to die dreaming.

Shouldn’t we all get to die dreaming?

I come awake to the history of the world 

as being only about what’s going on right now.

The past, the future, so much of that depends on

the snake, the swan, the maiden, the moon.

I’m in no hurry to find out

where Holden’s ducks or where Bob’s roads go.

Welcome the new blood.

It has new life in it.

I have a feeling about you and me:

we’re building cathedrals we can marvel at.

We need each other.

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Leah Mueller

 Leah Mueller is the author of ten prose and poetry books. Her work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. It has also been featured in trees, shop windows in Scotland, poetry subscription boxes, and literary dispensers throughout the world. Her flash piece, Land of Eternal Thirst will appear in the 2022 edition of Sonder Press's Best Small Fictions anthology. Visit her website at

Once I walked
without counting
steps or calories.
Sidewalks were
fields of play.
I hurtled forward,
weight like
paper wings.
But now, I check
the numbers
on my phone face,
as I trudge ahead--
first towards 200,
then 1,000.
When I achieve
6,000 steps,
my phone
congratulates me.
You have
reached your goal,
it crows.
When did movement
become a duty,
stripped forever
of adventure?
Such a cruel
trick of age
and metabolism,
but at least
my decrepit feet
still know
the way home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

GAS Featured Writer: Rodrigo Toscano

Rodrigo Toscano is a poet and essayist based in New Orleans. He is the author of ten books of poetry. His newest book is The Charm & The Dread (Fence Books, 2022). His Collapsible Poetics Theater was a National Poetry Series selection. He has appeared in over 20 anthologies, including Best American Poetry and Best American Experimental Poetry (BAX).  Toscano has received a New York State Fellowship in Poetry. He won the Edwin Markham 2019 prize for poetry.  @Toscano200

La Proletaria


The smell of pulp, turpentine, and bleach, usually permeates this side of town. But when winds from the southeast swoop into the valley, the toxic brew is fast cleared away, and what remains is the smell of wet grasses, mud, and wildflowers. This natural phenomenon mitigating human-made conditions has only a limited effect on the minds of the hard-working townsfolk whose every other thought dotes on the health and growth of the town’s young.    

She not only had the gall to admit it to herself, but also had the presence of mind to look for an opening (any) to construct a whole new reality for herself, and for something else. The eerie attraction she felt for this outcropping of Pre-Cambrian rock spoke clearly and directly to her the first time she saw it in the middle of the field. 

In the deep of winter, the paper mill’s indoor facility is cold and noisy. In that environment, she didn’t pay much attention to the roll press feeder guy dressed in the mustard-colored industrial pants and brown checkered long sleeve felt shirt. Also, the safety glasses and helmet occluded much. 

One day, her workmate buddy approached her about the possibility of maybe coaching her “little cousin” on basic lacrosse techniques. She readily agreed, having been a great player in school herself, the same school her buddy’s “little cousin” was now attending, but also the Pre-Cambrian rock in the middle of the field, enabling her resolve. 

Actually, she recognized him before he did her. She had caught his eye at the mill. She thought he was “cuddly,” but sufficiently “rough,” her exact taste in “little cousins,” which was just beginning to pick up speed. Decked out in a bright red, terry cloth, short sleeve disco shirt, and loose-fitting green parachute pants, the only part of him she could correlate to the Pre-Cambrian rock in the middle of the field and/or the guy at the press feeder on the third shift – the general mass and approximate density, was something else.  She could barely cloak the dilation of her cheeks’ surface arteries as she laughed easily at herself flaying the lacrosse stick every which way, tumbling to the ground, legs all over the place. 

At the end of practice, she offered to give him a ride home. As fate would have it, hard rains had made the winding road where “little cousin” lived impassable. They had to turn onto “the estuary,” the oldest road in this part of central Missouri, a tree-lined road made of stone and railway planks. 

The sound of the automobile’s front axle rod snapping in two reached her ears pretty much at the same time as something else crawled its way up into her nostrils. The last moment of sanity she remembers is the look of her own short brown hair flared out onto her face in the mirror, sticky and messy, the Pre-Cambrian rock in the middle of the field there also. As a whole new reality set in, a gust of wind made the maples around them rustle.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Ben Nardolilli

 Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, The Northampton Review, Slab, and The Minetta Review. He blogs at and is trying to publish his novels.

The Nardolilli Review

Reading through last night’s dispatches, gifts sent from me
in the past to me in the present,
the results are mixed, but always interesting,
I guess I lost the ability to spell sometime around midnight

The voice is unrecognizable, the themes fluctuate,
these insights and opinions refuse to stay focused and wander,
they start with politics, surge on to art,
then crash land into a slurry of existential ruminations

Memories begin to bleed through the last of the text messages,
a darkness gains its light, and teases me
with hints of a world between the pavement and bed,
where I was paranoid, garrulous, and preoccupied with death

Just to Let You Know What Is Up

Before or after, or prior to whatever
aftermath there remains now,
the good fat of the universe is on display,
it’s about community, the cosmos,
taking a moment to not
stuff more words inside of your brain

Usually, we search for voices
which agree with us, instead of genuflecting
before the extraordinary mundane,
no need to seek conversation
with the rest of the three-dimensional world,
the background is available to us all

Look up in silence, it’s an atmosphere
of acceptance and mutual respect,
remember to first rub it on your hands,
then on your face,
before trying to read it, here, you are safe
never waking while dreams continue

Thursday, June 16, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Ojo Victoria Ilemobayo

 Ojo Victoria Ilemobayo  is a Sickle Cell Warrior, Poet, Student, Video Editor, Stickers Creator, Literary Contest Linker, Smile Therapist and a Guitarist-to-be.

Some of her works are in WSA, WHI anthology, Firebrand magazine, sledgehammer, Nnoko, GEMP, Prawns paper, Mixed Mag, Agape review, Mad Swirl, The Beautiful Mind, Enceladus Magazine, The New Man Gospel Movement Fringe Poetry Magazine and more.
She lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Bed of Beauty 

Yesterday, I took a walk to the blue sea 
& pretended to be a fish.
I dived into the bed of beauty, wagging my tinny-weeny tails.
I was with a form & not void.

I shook my little tail to the lyrics of the roaring waves.
My skin glowed & glowed.
I read no sun & watched no moon 
& I never hungered and thirsted, for I had a mouth-
full, in bubbles & babblings. 

I went to the school of fish: I learnt to pray 
& not to be preyed on.
I greeted the old water turtle taking a walk.
I played hide & seek with the seashells.
I enjoyed the scene of the happy dolphin high jumps. 

In here was a home of unity, a world of uniqueness 
with the colour of freedom.

Friday, June 10, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Doug Jacquier


 Doug Jacquier has lived in many places across Australia, including regional and remote communities, and has travelled extensively overseas. His poems and stories have been published in Australia, the US, the UK and Canada. He blogs at Six Crooked Highways. For readers prepared to come along for the ride, he likes to make them laugh or cry or groan and, occasionally, shake their electronic fists at him. 

Carried on the wind


Sounds carry on the wind,

carry in the wind,

sometimes are the wind,

deafening the soul.


Sand carries on the wind,

in the wind

and sometimes is the wind,

stripping the paint.


Tears carry on the wind,

in the wind

and sometimes are the wind,

spreading desert rain.


Hope carries on the wind,

in the wind,

and sometimes is the wind

of whispered prayers.


Tomorrow carries on the wind,

in the wind

and sometimes is the wind

of soaring birds.


Writing carries on the wind,

in the wind

and sometimes is the wind

of Heaven.



For you and for me,

all things seem possible when we look across blue water

from the solid shore.

Peering towards the horizon,

we conspire towards a thousand buoyant courses.


Imagining a receding shore and a rising tide,

we do not weigh our stamina against the undertow

nor the wind strength against our craft;

we have enough gods

to warrant speculation.


But there are those who stand upon the solid shore

who are already at the end of this world

(and the next)

and our imagined journeys

are their fated drownings.


For them,

as they squint anxiously across the water

imagining a receding shore and a rising tide,

sailing into the blue

seems a truly godless journey.


So they sit watching us,

like hermit crabs,

waiting for us to set out,

assuming we are unlikely to return,

and picturing life inside our empty shells.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Meg Tuite’s "White Van" reviewed by Su Zi


Content Warning: Meg Tuite’s White Van

Monsters are an ancient memory, a symbol, a staple of genre. Works thus of horror tend to time the reveal of their monsters, be it a frightening fog or a franchise of mutated outer space lizards. Not so in White Van, where the monster are monsters, unnamed, unseen. While a typical horror offering might involve the eternally invisible, it is precisely the prosaic settings Tuite depicts that make the work so horrifying.

Reviews and blurbs of the work, however, emphasize Tuite’s craftsmanship, with quotations that tend to view the lines through a poetic lens. Certainly, Tuite overtly has skills; however, the hybrid nature of the writing as collected has blurbs which describe the work as poems, as prose, as mash-up. The text contains just shy of 50 titles in the contents. A visual inspection of the text reveals occasional use of shortened lines, the use of alternating bold and italics font, and an interesting consistency in stanza breaks: used for paragraphing, even prose-appearing sections will be broken at 20 or fewer lines with a double space break. While a typical hybrid work can sometimes be tipped in balance visually, the structure here is almost demure—it's the sequential nature of the narratives that build the arc of this work.

A sensibility is strongly present here, and a lazy interpretation might escalate the genre of the work from horror to obscenity. Here, the hybrid nature of the writing might be seen as a gesture to influence; contemporary readers might remember Acker, or ought to. White Van exists in ordinary settings, as ordinary as the vehicle named. Each episode has a victim, and violence survivors are warned that gruesome becomes ordinary here. The daily nature of each episode, “Dad roams for hitchhikers” (69), is belied by the overt and repetitive taboos “ A magazine article kidnaps me while on the toilet”(39) or “Oxycontin shaves on to tinfoil like a shot and a prayer”(47), so that each episode builds upon the flash narratives for the work’s overarching point of the infinite of intimate violence.

The volume itself is a recent release from Unlikely Books, the title nears the dozen mark for the author, and the list of where these episodes were previously published is a half a page; therefore, we can conclude that the title was released both as an individual offering and as a thread of consideration in the publisher’s catalog. Certainly, the book itself appears as ordinary trade as that of some of the monsters’ forms of employment in Tuite’s episodes. Perhaps that is the resonant horror here: how unspoken the violence is in consideration of the work, how ordinary the settings, how police blotters are full of these episodes. Our repulsion might be immediate from the text, but the serial nature, the sheer numbers represented here, are the too often unspoken horror of our times now, the keystone of all other violence being our deaf eyes to each victim. For readers untouched by the daily horror of personal violence, this text gives you enough gore and anguish to catch, at least, the scent of blood. 

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.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Gregory Luce

 Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small GraceDrinking Weather, Memory and DesireTile, and Riffs & Improvisations, has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In addition to poetry, he writes a monthly column on the arts for Scene4 magazine. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.

Warm Canto

for Emily


She reminded me of you,

sitting there in front of

the coffeeshop—a bit taller,

maybe a bit older—still,

composed, a small spark

in the deep blue eyes,

gazing straight ahead

at a point somewhere between

my left shoulder and one hundred

miles away.


I hadn’t thought of you

for months but your face appeared

now, looking down, half-smiling

and slightly sideways, your eyes shy

with just a glint of élan. Suddenly

the street noise diminished.

Dolphy’s clarinet notes floated

gently above Waldron’s light-

stepped fingerings in the air

behind my head.


You slipped away abruptly,

emailing goodbye. I had

no hold on you, neither

father nor lover, but you left

a little fissure in my chest

which throbs occasionally

when I see or hear something

that reminds me of you like

now as I tried not to stare,

still hearing Waldron now

in step with Ron Carter’s

fingers plucking their way

down the cello’s neck.


Always a War

(after Ilya Kaminsky)

There’s always a war

but it’s always somewhere else

where I don’t know anyone

anyway plus look how much

bread costs now and chicken

and milk, not to mention

the price of silence.