Sunday, January 25, 2009

Review: COKEFISH ing

A Beat-Post Beat Independent Poetry Broadsheet
January 2009

"Cokefish" or "Cokefishing" is a pretty unique publication in that it really is a broadsheet, printed on two sides of a giant piece of paper which arrived at my door (at least) folded in quarters, and set in a variety of types, largely because the type that each poem or letter (it features author letters too) was submitted in seems to have been copied directly onto the broadsheet. And this is a choice the editors Dave and Ana Christy are making: "This broadside is dedicated to the small press and the way it used to be," reads the legend over the top of the first poems, next, in this issue, to a photocopied picture of the late, much lamented Dave Church, whose passing several poems and letters commemorate.

I like their style here. This is the sort of homemade, no-frills publication which sold me on the romance of the small press in the first place, when Bryn Fortey was doing something similar in Wales, though he folded his sheets in half and stapled them. Bryn introduced me, through his "Outlaw" magazine, to some of the best living poets, including (as he was) Church and t.kilgore splake; and Dave and Ana's roster includes both of those old greybeard heroes, along with Steve Dalachinsky, whose work I found impossible to format for BEATNIK (sorry Steve) and Gundy, whose name I came across a few years ago and haven't heard from for a while, during my own weird peregrinations around the literary world and in real unreality. It's good to know that there are still some places where the way a magazine/ publication looks doesn't matter and the way it reads does. Lately even Beat-influenced sites have gone for fancy production which has nothing to do with the original spirit of the writing.

You can track "Cokefish (ing)" down via Alpha Beat Press and Dave and Ana Christy at 806 E. Ridge Ave. Sellersville PA 18960 USA. And like I said, it's a buck an issue, so remunerate the Christys accordingly.

Monday, January 19, 2009


by Ronald Baatz

Kamini Press
Ringvagen 8
4th Floor
SE-117 26

A beautiful little volume, this; and little it is--a three stanza poem by Ronald on high quality paper tastefully presented inside a harder cover which itself features a picture by Kamini's Henry Denander. The picture illustrates the main subjects of the poem: two sparrows feeding. But of course, Ronald's not just a nature poet describing the pleasurable things he sees in front of him when he looks out of his window. He's a little bit of a Zennist and a little bit of a Surrealist, writing with the elegance and mystery of the former tradition and the sly intelligence of the latter. There's a lot going when Ronald writes about two sparrows. But to try to tell you what it is would be absurd, a complete waste of time. The birds would only fly away.

You will read him if you want to.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

ed: i think there's something subtly original in Luis' poetry, which is why i'm always thrilled to publish anything he sends.i don't quite know what that quality of originality is--how exactly to define it--but it's there. have a look for yourself and tell us what you think.


I harvest fears
like a worried farmer.
My tools of the trade
are my thoughts.

My nights are sleepless
and my days are long.
I can't stop looking
over my shoulder.

Every step I take
I fear will be my last.
I succumb to
my fears sometimes

and I hide under
my bedcovers.
I worry about
spiders and bedbugs.


I was online at an early hour.
I was living online.
I was one of the stones
in this great online city.

I was the stone Sisyphus
could not budge. I was not soft
and I stood out. Man after
man tried to push me offline.

A minister thought I was evil.
At three a.m. the minister
could not bear my presence.
His sermon e-mails went straight
into my spam folder. I was
an unholy stone in the online city.


I heard another voice
in my head that
put me in a bad mood
and made my heart
beat without rest.

The voice made me shake
from my head to my ankles.

It was not pretty.
Another voice made me come
apart and took my pride.
I was not much of anything.

I asked the voice
politely to get out of my head.
The voice paid me no mind.