Original Poetry: The Soapbox

The clusters silenced and turned
toward the makeshift podium
as the youthful male in layered
white robes coughed dryly.

“It has been decreed that we,
as individuals, have the liberty
to choose to be any type of pickle
that we wish, dill or sweet.”

After a brief moment of contemplative
silence, a favored audible
reaction spread in waves pulling
bystanders into its depths.

The old, heavy woman parted
a temporary path to the platform,
then proceeded to nudge the site’s
predecessor from the creaking, old boards.

She scanned the crowd with her non-twitching
eye. “Do you not realize that if
we were truly free, we would have
the opportunity to stay a cucumber?”
 
 
 
 
 
[Check out other original poems here.]

Novel Review: Xan & Ink by Zak Zyz

Xan and InkXan and Ink by Zak Zyz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This highly imaginative fantasy novel develops in unexpected ways taking what seems to be a fairly typical quest by a ragtag quartet and wending the plot into depths from which there’s possibly no return. Both a strength and weakness to the novel is the original quest, saving the kingdom from invading monstrous arthropods, being so sidelined that resolution sits off the horizon. One can only assume that there are planned sequels. Or the entire quest was a red herring, which might yet be the case even with subsequent chapters in this saga.

The original quartet [mage and warrior brothers, a female slave, and warrior-priest religious zealot] are turned out of a kingdom’s prison to regain honor by clearing the land of a growing menace. Their back stories are left under-explored with the exception of the slave. Their quest sends them in the direction of the deadly valley of insects whence the scourge emerged. They also find themselves in areas influenced by two separate mysterious but powerful people: Xan the ranger and Ink the dark wizard. Between these two influences, the quartet ricochet pulling them further from their original quest.

These two titular characters, Xan and Ink, become the focus of the novel, if not the main characters. Again, this calls into question whether the quartet was also a red herring. Yet, these two characters remain enigmatic despite becoming focal. Their motives and histories never become clear to the page.

The great pleasure of the book is in rich, organic descriptions that verge on poetic.

Meanwhile, the depth of detail in erotic scenes worthy of smut zines is not for the prudish. Nor are they critical to the plot.

I received my copy of this novel directly from the author through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com.
 
 
 
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Original Poetry: Dinner In

Through my double-paned reflection
who looks less hurt than me
      is one piercing
      alley light, the faint
geometries of a brownstone,
           trees like an inkspill
           blotting everything else.

Our table bares your unsullied plate
and mine – barely touched.
      The stove has cooled
      onion and cabbage chips
in congealing butter. Raspberries
           and shiraz – exquisitely
           reduced. I wrap the steak.
 
 
 
 
 
[Check out other original poems here.]

Original Poetry: Amazonian Dance

A man dances in the tropical night, gyrating possessed
        running through jungle brambles, searching for lost
        Kayapo blood masked by skyscrapers and networking
        highways teeming with lights and smog.
Clouds of pollen dust and smoke rise from leveled land, ride the hot
        breeze bellowing out over embers, ravines, creeks stirring
        the sediment, grabbing at banks, lapping, surging forth
        away from the gridded land, beach-lined, where the lovers
        roll submerged, embracing.
Sperm and fish schools dart, angle synchronously in filtered
        light revealing silver lamé scales in vector changes like rush
        hour traffic merging with the expressway to be momentumously
        thrown arcward, spiraling out with hundreds of satellites.
The refuse, astronaut laden, plunges, slams in an ocean bellyflop
       collapsing the lungs, leaving the man screaming helplessly mute,
       fearing hysterical madness, convulsing, dancing the seizure
       in spasms and rhythm.
The shaman’s head explodes with ebene and snot revealing
        and stomping the Hekura in a fiery frenzy burning, devouring,
        leaping the canopy tops with scarlet papagayos
        shrieking uproosted.
Abandoned feathers cascade with the rains upon pink dolphins
        spilling streams, washing banks, flooding bushes
        at the feet of Yanomamo dancers with feathers flying and manioc
        sprouts piercing dampened ashes.
 
 

[Published in tres diversity (1999) as part of the Austin International Poetry Festival.]
 
 
 
 
 
[Check out other original poems here.]