Sunday, October 30, 2022

GAS Featured Artist and Poet: Irina Tall (Novikova)


    Irina Tall (Novikova) is an artist, graphic artist, illustrator. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art, and also has a bachelor's degree in design.
    The first personal exhibition My soul is like a wild hawk (2002) was held in the museum of Maxim Bagdanovich. In her works, she raises themes of ecology, in 2005 she devoted a series of works to the Chernobyl disaster, draws on anti-war topics. The first big series she drew was The Red Book, dedicated to rare and endangered species of animals and birds. She writes fairy tales and poems, illustrates short stories. She draws various fantastic creatures: unicorns, animals with human faces. She especially likes the image of a man - a bird - Siren. In 2020, she took part in Poznań Art Week.

Links to her social networks:

Withdrawn from circulation, like a banknote,
Covered with a touch of flame and burned in the crucible of words,
I'm here, I want, I can...
Those who could not do anything and I were doomed to something ..
At the end of the dark space
  Maybe there is a tunnel with access to space?
  I will come for you?
Someone told me, but he was deceived
With the words of sweet molasses and I got stuck in it like a moth ...
Don't think about me, I died in the dark...

Shadows leave blue marks on the transparent curtain and window sill
I drink bitter tea
And the taste of orange, sweet and fragrant, remains on the gums and tongue,
  Someone is drilling in the house with a drill outside,
  Change cover
But who will change my failed destiny?
  Sometimes I see the future I want
  But I lost it forever...

blue mug,
  sea ​​for me
shells on a black and dead branch,
  A living being that will also soon die...
Dogs skin their souls while they're alive
They are people in my eyes
I will cry at night to close the impregnable door
  that no one will reveal to me
I'll fly away from sleep like a bird
The warm and many-sided sun will shine behind the chain of many-tiered mountains...

Friday, October 28, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Terrence Sykes


Terrence Sykes is a GASP  …Gay Alcoholic Southern Poet & was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia. This isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations, whether real or imagined ....other interests include cooking, gardening, heirloom vegetable research & foraging wild edibles. His poetry, photography and flash fiction have been published in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Scotland, Spain Turkey and the USA.


We say goodbye
only  to the body

Heart mind
Soul & sprit

Slipped away
over  the past
few years

You took
your life
I hope
It gives
you peace

We living
go on living


just a bit too
of your

(deKooning @ MOMA)

judgement day descends
interrupted  by
a littering of
fallen angels
the time of fire
the fire of time

as I pray
in the attic of
the itinerant chapel
embers burn
the tea is cold
to the tempted tongue
to the smoldering fire
to the raging in my soul

landscape abstracts
merely a figure traveling
over black mountains
ashes of the city
tangled amongst
barren moraine
ice desert
grey palisades
upon black friday

lost in a labyrinth
the truth
the door
to the
Irresolute river

I kneel
to drink
from the bitter-sweet
wine of remembrance
yet I awaken
easter monday
only to miss
the resurrection

Thursday, October 20, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Jimmy Broccoli

Jimmy Broccoli is a Library Branch Manager by day and a published poet by night with a mission to inspire his readers through imaginative poetic storytelling. His work has been featured in several publications and his first collection of poems, “Damaged,” was released on Christmas Day 2021. He is the editor/collector for the poetry anthology, “Spotlight” and will be releasing his next collection of poems, “Rabbits,” on Halloween Day 2022. 2023 will welcome a second anthology, “Encore,” a children’s book, and his third collection of poems, Boy.  Jimmy enjoys walks on the beach and playing with puppies.

No Hay Banda (There is No Band)


Inspired by David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” – Club Silencio scene


“Watch out!”, I shout – as the deer leaps in front of the car –

we’re on a road that is near the Interstate (but local) –

We plunge head-on into the deer – I hear the thud – it’s loud –

and unforgettable –

“Stop”, I say! “Why?”, he asks –

“We hit a deer!”  - I tell him –

…and he doesn’t seem to be understanding what I am saying


No hay banda – there is no band


I hear the sweet soothing sound of the trumpet –

and soon realize it’s pre-recorded and synthesized –

That’s okay –

It plays on the car radio – and I listen to it play…

it’s beautiful –

and it’s okay that it isn’t real – there is no trumpet


No hay banda – there is no band


“Didn’t you see the deer?”, I ask exasperated –

“There was no deer” –

“How do you explain the blood on the front of the vehicle?”, I ask

“There is no blood – I’ll clean it all up tomorrow” –

the trumpet plays and I can hear it’s sound (real or imagined) –

it plays gently to my ears (whether trumpet or synthesized)


A sudden clap of thunder – “It’s not real”, he tells me –

“What does that even mean?”, I ask –

“it’s not thunder – it is a keyboard stroke imitating thunder” –

I pause

“But, I heard it” – “You heard what you wanted to hear – what you thought you heard”, he says –

“what you’re comfortable in hearing” -

I’m confused -

and I think about us hitting the deer –


No hay banda – there is no band


“I don’t speak Spanish”, I tell him

“The deer was in your imagination”, he tells me –

and I know he is mistaken or wrong –

“there is no blood on my vehicle” he tells me –

(and I think he has cleaned it off)

And my memory conjures thoughts of the deer leaping out in front of the car -

directly in front of us – we hit the deer


No hay banda – there is no band


In his vehicle – he is driving – we come across a stop sign –

In the middle of nowhere -

and he stops – a clarinet plays for us gently and smoothly

through the car speakers and I cannot tell if it is a real clarinet -

A triangle joins the symphony – and I hear it – but he doesn’t

– we continue through the deserted intersection –

as I listen to this symphony that may or may not be real


When there is no band – there is no conductor –

when there is no band – there is no meaning or understanding –


it’s an illusion


“Watch out!”, I shout, as the deer jumps in front of the car –


and there is no deer


…or perhaps there is

I Don’t Want to Go to Heaven


I don’t want to go to Heaven

I want to go where they went


(the time has not yet come, but it will)


“Doctor, I’ve lived an interesting life

And don’t regret a moment of living -

And I’m okay with moving on

I am loved – and, for that, I am thankful!

It is time for me to breathe one last time

and then never take another breath”


Then… (the time has not yet come, but it will)


The lines on the heart monitor flat line and the beeping becomes a solid tone

The nurses come running and my father’s face fills with tears

My sister gasps, turns away and, emotional, leaves the room for anyplace else

My best friend, sitting beside me, as I lay in the hospital bed –

smiles gently, her hand in mine and I, without sound, say goodbye…


Let me go, let me go, let me go


And in a blink – and just like that…


The bridge – it stands before me, magnificent!

It’s multi-colored –

exquisite and almost blinding in its opulence and beauty

Ahead is a land of endless chew toys and treats

With no interruptions to play time and snuggles


I hear barking and laughter beyond, yet near – and I smile,

as I take my first steps across the wooden planks beneath my feet

I then begin running – the reunion cannot happen fast enough!!!!!

In the distance I see them – I see them all!!!!!

Tails wagging, tongues hanging out –




Uninterrupted happiness. Always and forever and ever.



(the time has not yet come, but it will)


So, when I die, I ask the gods to kindly look away

and to pay me no mind

Let me go my own way

And allow me to continue to where I am meant to be


I don’t want to go to Heaven

I want to go where they went


Thursday, October 13, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Joseph Somoza


"27 years ago I used to teach English at NMSU and write poetry when I had time.  Since retiring, I get to write every day in my back yard and, afterwards, go get coffee with Jill, who’s been painting in her studio.  That’s the sweet life we somehow lucked on to."



My sinus is raspy so I try scratching it

with the back of my tongue.

There’s a slight breeze in the leaves

that might be the culprit,

though who can blame a breeze

for blowing?

It’s like expecting a dog

not to bark.

Everything has to express itself

or how would you know

what or who they are?


There’s this poem, for instance,

trying to express whatever

may come to mind—nothing much

that I know of so far this Saturday morning

sitting out here under a tree,

but maybe the tree will help draw me out

with his generous “ululation,” a word

that popped up just now,

though I’ll have to look it up.


Here in the back yard, under the sun, a breeze

blowing through the leaves, sounds

of the town all around, you feel

you’re at the center

of life, your own life included.

The mysterious Life-Source, the identity

of which, or whom, people debate,

must, ages ago, have expressed itself

by creating what slowly turned

into the world.


To The Source Of Energy


Daily am I permitted to come out

to the back yard

where the familiar locust trees wave

welcoming leafy fingers at me

and make restful shade pools to enter,

dwell in, and allow the mind to extend

through the senses and word-thoughts,

pass through the permeable air and

out to the blue infinity

some mornings marred only by rag-bits

floating seemingly close enough

to grab hold of—


and let the life-moments pass

before me slowly enough that I may

consider, appreciate, and shape them

one by one to the contours

of the body and mind gifted me

by ancestors eighty-one years ago

in a hillside farmhouse across the Atlantic,

a body and mind since developed

to a full person, here expressing

his gratitude.


                        —inspired by Robert Duncan’s

                                    “Often I Am Permitted

To Return To A Meadow”


Thursday, October 6, 2022

GAS Featured Poet: Toti O’Brien


Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise, 2020), In Her Terms (Cholla Needles, 2021), Pages of a Broken Diary (Pski’s Porch, 2022). 



And the closet where she would be shut to be

in total darkness and—like Galileo in the tower

—meditate on her sins.

And the sin that caused the punishment

was the same, each time—daring rebellion

against some perceived abuse.


The result was the closet—a radical form of

reclusion meant to weaken her hubris by sensorial

starving. So to speak. Soon, the darkness

that first, paradoxically, had blinded her, filled

itself with glare like will o’ wisps in a swamp,

like the halos of wandering ghosts.


In the closet, she didn’t repent. She calmed

down, her rage like a motor that—unplugged

from her counterpart, her opponent—slowly,

slowly, lost speed. The engine that had put her

on fire hushed itself, melting  with the very

beat of her heart.


And her brain, which had wound itself into

tiny loops of obsession, chewing onto the meager

bone of some right and wrong, some vague claim

of justice, finally went numb, lulled by its own

bitter song. Time vanished in the closet,

as space did.


Only her aching body, only her bruised soul

remained. Of release, she recalled nothing.

When was the door unlocked. If she heard

the key turn. If she dared trying the knob. If

the light outside made her blink, if she first

had to pee or looked for a kerchief, for water.


If she smelled dinner, and the smell suddenly

comforted her. If food made her forget.

If she could eat at all.



Venus rose from the sea, they said. Of course, naked.

Long, curled hair, echoing the rippling of waves.

Perhaps, she had a mermaid tail (mythologies melt).

Like the Lady of Guadalupe, she stood on a crescent

(hers was abalone). Like that Mary, she niched in a

sort of vulva lined with mother of pearl, and was

haloed by cool layers of blue.


Athena rose dressed from the head (the brain) of her

father, Jupiter, king of gods. Dressed means with spear,

shield, armor—and clothes, underneath. Shoes were

on her feet. She looks marble in sculptures, but she

was splattered in blood, at least from the ax blow

that split open her father’s skull. She did not wash.

No need. She was bound to war.


When she stepped out of the mess of gray matter,

she marched on. She didn’t turn back, oblivious

already of the place she had come from. Soon

she was on horseback, and they called her Joan

the Maid. She donned a red tunic under the chain

mail, waved a red flag, her mount was harnessed

red—all preluding to her firing farewell.


She was seen afterwards, still in scarlet tunic,

playing Malinche. She spoke many tongues, and

too well. She went on, always marching westward

like a sun vainly looking for its resting place,

fated to constantly resurrect. They say she never

met her half-sister, the azure goddess,

or the pious mother of Christ.


She was not invited to family parties. Fairies missed

her baptism. No aunt demonstrated how to make

apple pie. She knew not the flavor of milk. At night,

she drank straight from the bottle as she leaned against

the iron rail of some bridge, listening to the roar of

water smashing on stone, catching (out of the corner

of her wide open eye) a meteor falling.