Thursday, September 29, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Bruce Whitacre


Bruce Whitacre's debut poetry collection, The Elk in the Glade: The World of Pioneer and Painter Jennie Hicks, is forthcoming from Crown Rock Media. His chapbook, Good Housekeeping, will be out in 2023 from Poets Wear Prada. His poems have appeared in American Journal of PoetryBig City Lit, RFDNorth of Oxford, Poets Wear Prada’s The Rainbow Project (nominated for Best of the Net), and World Literature Today.  His work is included in The Strategic Poet by Diane Lockward, Brownstone Poets 2021, and in the anthology, I Wanna be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe More at

At the End of the Day


The wounded beast retracts

his claws and hangs his tongue

to lap the waters of the den

to lie in softness then.


Where do I bring my broken bones, cut lip, my need?

Beaten on the street — Wall Street, Main Street, Back Street—

after, a cold drink and a classic flick, the cracked spine of the latest

savored in the right chair—it was all for this.


For this the commute, the clothes, the long hours,

the wins and losses to the prides of the savannah.

Life begins and ends in this cave, this tree,

this realm where loved ones circle and unwind.


This is the pod from which the seed emerges,

this soil, this shade, this sunny spot

is the best shot I’ve got to thrive and not

be breakfast for blue jays.


Here is the ringing phone, the screen, news from outside,

intruding fist I cannot dodge.  So I choose

what I can: wallpaper, pillows, taps, mates, and say

I rule this howling world at the door I try to keep shut.

Remember to Live



Morning glories, hibiscus, rose of Sharon

summer blooms that last only seconds when cut

stand for the chain

wrapping the world around the stars and back:


My joy

fleeting but continuous

like a bird’s song

or the ship engine thrum

cruising the straits of Polynesia

ever present when I listen.


Even foaming volcanoes promise wider beaches.


To wake in this place

is to be a trout in a stream,

a bird on a branch,

steel tempered in forge

for the mystical epic.


Something is always coming.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Lennart Lundh

 Lennart Lundh is a poet, photographer, short-fictionist, and historian. His work has appeared internationally since 1965. An online search will reveal most of his books, other writings, and readings. It will also probably give you information on the late Swedish actor after whom he was reportedly named.

Short Essay Exam

If you water the shadow of a tree,
dark against the sun-white sidewalk,
what will grow there by your act?
And if you’re three years old,
and you water the shadow of a tree,
what will grow in you with the years?
And if you’ve grown, old but not concrete,
will you watch out the open window,
cheering other water, other shadows?

(after watching the 1996 short film Prelude, by Guy Sherwin)

Wake Field

I’m walking with a cat
in a fog-chilled graveyard
haunted through centuries.
This isn’t my cat,
they’re not my ghosts,
and they’re no more
interested in bothering me
than I am in being frightened.
Their elusive, flowing shapes
are wrapped in the mist,
unreflected in the damp
surfaces of stones and statues,
as their voices are lost among
the sounds of wind-tossed
leaves and my footsteps.
My ghosts don’t wait here,
occupied as they are by
inhabiting every heartbeat,
every thought that contains you.

(after the 1964 photograph “Wakefield, West Yorkshire”, by John Bulmer)

The Bride

She sits alone in her wedding gown.
She sits alone, a princess
whose prince changed his mind.
She sits alone as the sun sets
on her husband’s home, now hers,
coached but unsure of the future.
She sits alone on her wedding night,
her new husband called by his king,
leaving her to mourn without knowing
if he’ll return to her or be returned.
She sits alone with all the possibilities.
(after the 1903 painting by Wassily Kandinsky)

Working Backward

Far into a future we won’t see,
the star that binds all this will die.
With time, the sun that feeds us
will eat this planet like a snack.
Eventually, all traces we leave
will crumble back to their source.
Sooner or later, our kind will either
disappear or abandon the Earth.
After you and I are gone, this house
in which we are making love tonight
will be swallowed by fire or forest.
Or maybe not. But, for now, please
ignore the things beyond the curtains:
Hold me as if every word were true.
(after an unattributed photograph of an abandoned house in the Republic of Karelia, Russia)


Thursday, September 15, 2022

On Literary Lineage: Considering JT Leroy by Su Zi



   A trilogy is a considerable artistic achievement. We ought to rightly salute such efforts to contribute to the culture, whether the culture of their time does so or not. In the canon of the literary arts, its critical history, there are lines of development for craft, for philosophy, for even the intermedia conversations of groups of artists that may or may not exist in face-to-face time.

    We who read, who read with knowledge of the literary arts, do more than taste a plot; a text exists both inside its time and in conversation with other texts, and a far more rich reading experience is to be had with awareness of these intertextual conversations. In consideration of a trilogy, the text continues this conversation with considerable commitment.

   And if the trilogy in question is taboo, this conversation between texts exists outside of the dominant culture of its creation. Many art forms have had entire genres that existed as taboo in their times and often beyond into history. Our current century has had a philosophical flux of both reconsideration of previously marginalized and taboo voices, and renewed efforts to silence them. At the release of the first volume (Sarah) in what is now a trilogy, the work of JT Leroy entered the arena of controversy, not for the text, but for the performance art that accompanied the publication: a controversy that still excites some emotion, but again not for the text itself.

    The folly of this lack of a formalistic view has historical antecedents dating back to mythic histories, and current culture is now just embracing the work of the last century that has previously been taboo. Since the trilogy’s first volume, first edition (Bloomsbury 2000) bridges the timeline of centuries and continues into those first years with the culminating edition (Harold’s End, Last Gasp, 2004), we who read ought to avail ourselves renewed consideration.

    While Albert Mobilio’s New York Times (2005) review does reference Genet and Selby, and Lindsey Novak’s Bomb Magazine interview does mention Wilde, the trilogy’s more overt antecedents seem to be somehow shadowed. The trilogy’s protagonist, Jeremiah in one work, Oliver in another, is a Dickensian child: a first-person point of view of disenfranchised denizens still not spoken of in polite company. However, there’s no sense of the dire and dirty here, but rather a comedic aspect: in Sarah, the protagonist is being fed steamed wild onions and compares that meal to his previously experienced “fine French shallots he sautés in a delicate saffron-infused lobster-chocolate-reduction sauce” (50), and it is the reader that realizes both meals are from truck stops. The elegant elaboration of Dickens is visible throughout the trilogy, with a certain timeless resonance:” there’s only the hum of moths batting against the caged-in light bulb in the middle of the row, crickets, and the low rumble of an isolated truck driving down Orange Blossom Trail” ( the heart is deceitful above all things 112). The streetwise cast aways of Dickens’ London have emigrated in the intervening time to American truck stops and strip clubs, and again to the street itself: “Everyone thought he was a vice cop when he started coming around, just cruising the block slowly in that big old silver Pontiac” (Harold’s End 9). Thus, a view of this trilogy only for the revisionist recontextualization of Dickens, it would position the work as post-modernism.

    Towards the last third of the twentieth century, deconstructed and taboo works found (and still find) a variety of genres available to them, but few were as potent as Punk. The rightful heir to the now-recently-re-esteemed Beat movement, Punk still has performing musicians. In the literary realm, there was the work of and now the namesake award for New York’s Kathy Acker. Jonathan Thornton described Acker’s work as’ “intentionally transgressive, engaging in shock tactics […]to engage with such issues as childhood trauma and sexual abuse” (; and although Acker died in late 1997, her namesake award is still given, the value of that literary approach recognized. In this trilogy of Dickensian-Ackerian gist, released within a handful of years in a continuing conversation of topic, of text, we who read are faced with three different publishers for one trilogy. That the Bloomsbury and Last Gasp editions can be located in hard bound format, with the Last Gasp edition being particularly lovely, these are still disparate volumes. While reconsideration of the work more appropriately recognizes it as postmodern, at least, and Punk for whenever that becomes as recognized as the Beats now are, the presentation of the trilogy overall is an overdue concern. For a press neither afraid of the taboo, the marginalized, or of work that poses critical considerations, this trio ought to be in a rightly deserved boxed set. For we who read, our dissimilar editions will be cherished, nonetheless.

Literary Saga of J.T. Leroy

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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

GAS Featured Artist and Poet: Jeremy Szuder

Jeremy Szuder (he/him) lives in a tiny apartment with his wife, two children and two cats. He works in the evenings in a very busy restaurant, standing behind a stove, a grill, fryers and heating lamps, happily listening to hours of hand selected music and conjuring ideas for new art and poetry in his head. When his working day ends and he enters his home in the wee hours, he likes to sit down with a glass of wine and record all the various words and images that bear fruit within his mind. Jeremy Szuder only sets the cage doors free when the work begins to pile up too high. In this life, Szuder makes no illusions of being a professional artist in any way, shape, or form.

Son Of A Chance

Born from the body of a teenage girl,          

backbone still hardening.

Born swimming quickly

against the riptide of addictive tensions,

through oceans of alcohol,

and punctured veils smoked grey,

through sugar hurricanes spinning inside her

and not much water to speak of.

Instructions for mothering upon birth, yes, 

that would have been great.

Left instead with a whole lot of questions.

But the answer seemed to be that of;

“let him live”,

even if it came with the care tag 

of being passed along to a more

able bodied family, 


which was ruled out 

once teenage momma saw

determination and majesty in baby eyes.

Born sleeping wherever rain could not lick us,

sometimes sleeping under the steering wheel

of a Volkswagen, 

sometimes crashing at Grandpas home,

or the house of whoever had 

the good drugs that day.

Born biding time and PUSHING teeth 

through gum to bite the nipple of depression, 


no, scratch that, I mean, desperation.

Born wondering why the prophets of our times

would have wanted to do a gig like this 

more than once.

Born spinning clocks and tearing calendars,

waiting for the orchestra pit of my mother's 

body as instrument,

to finish tuning up or down

so as to allow this son of a chance to conduct

the symphony of archaic existence.

Says mother-“Listen to the sounds of my song 

play in the background of everything

you do, everyday of your life……………”

Like you,

dear reader,

I too will be

hammering out 

my visions,

my escaped artistry,

my life plans etched into

my mothers bones,

from out of that

battlefield I called 

the womb.

Monday, September 5, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Alan Britt


Alan Britt’s poems have appeared in Agni ReviewAmerican Poetry Review, Bitter Oleander, Christian Science Monitor, Cottonwood, English Journal, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Osiris, Raw Art Review, Stand (UK), plus countless others. He has been nominated for the 2021 International Janus Pannonius Prize awarded by the Hungarian Centre of PEN International for excellence in poetry from any part of the world. Previous nominated recipients include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bernstein and Yves Bonnefoy. Alan was interviewed at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem. He has published 21 books of poetry and served as Art Agent for Andy Warhol Superstar, the late great Ultra Violet, while often reading poetry at her Chelsea, New York studio. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University he currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.


(After Stevie Nicks) 

Trombone sapphire.

Emotions like the stream Jesus

dipped his fingers into as a boy

when the holy spirit shot through him.

Trombone sheds celestial scales.

You know what it’s like to be me

as much as I know what it’s like

to be you.

Burning man sapphire.

Upside bats fallen from grace

& all the king’s horses & all the king’s men

scrambling to put us back together

—like so many times before—

like so many times gambling

our present for the future.

Naked souls bathing in the stream

that Jesus dipped his fingers into

as a boy when the holy spirit

shot through him.


The remote tumbles to the floor.

Thought of flying monopolizes my mind

this silly moment.

But how does one access silly?

Can we see it as beats fractured 

and tossed like hepa-breaths

onto a rickety framework

of adjectives and nouns

wandering at dusk with Platero and Juan Ramon

through our poet’s diminutive village?

The perfect time for Neruda 

to enter this poem,

this delusionary excuse

for wiling away my time

awaiting Lorca, Aleixandre, Cernuda,

and Jorge Carrera Andrade

to explode from my holiday bag of fireworks.

I’m telling you, the streets are desperate

these days:

no zebra-striped West Nile mosquitos 

wrinkling our white cotton socks,

and no surprises, a la Brando soothing 

his toothache with a kerchief loaded 

with ice chips scooped from the rustic coffin 

of the horse rancher’s decaying ramrod.

I’m telling you,

the end is near,

not only for you but also for me.

The end of silliness as I’ve known it

for millennia,

or fossils left behind at preschool,

and beneath the musty pew

of my first taste of Christian magic.

I was hooked, or so I thought,

if one can be hooked

by a hundred-pound monofilament line 

haunting the Intracoastal 

between West Palm and Lake Worth.

Lake Worth with its mackerel infested pier

and rum-colored sands gulping infatuation

as quickly as lovers could manufacture it.

Actually, Palm Beach was super silly watching 

David Beasley mugging Groucho for hours 

inside the Breakers Hotel then circling 

with both Tommys the Lake Worth Pier’s 

midnight parking lot as our thoughts inhaled  

pale blue lamplight before trolling our Friday 

night haunt, The Hut, along Flagler Drive.


Ah, most of life’s silliness escapes me now, so far 

as I can breathe (which, hopefully, will be later than 

expected), but I’ll never forget attempting to convince 

Everett, Stuart, and Keith how committed I was to

discovering a way to make backyard dog turds taste 

foul to my beloved Bouvier des Flandres,

Chanelle Vida Britt.


I could continue, but this is becoming too damn silly.