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Month: May 2021

Plastic People and Their Members Only Signs

Plastic People and Their Members Only Signs

Obstacles3, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2021.


The Commons

What we can and can’t see
Depends too often on what we can
And can’t afford
Which brings in the poor imagination

To carry much of the load
Far too much of that load

Says that central organ
Of our nature
Its definition

The primordial green and yellow valley
Over there with its endless
Flowered meadows
And spritely creatures

We imagine are there
Waiting to dance with us
Sing with us
Show us their tiny multiverse

Is not ours to see
So we can’t
Outside the mind’s sixth sense
And that      my friends      is not true life

Nor is it true life when a wild run
Down to the sunny shore
An openly free and thunderous run
Down to a pristine beach

Without umpteen hideous glassed in
Towers blocking horizons over the sea
Blocking our unabashed joy in the run
Through the dunes to that sea

Our first home     is impossible!… Click to Continue “Plastic People and Their Members Only Signs”

Richard Wright: Prometheus in Hell

Richard Wright: Prometheus in Hell

A “lost novel” rises from the ashes, after an inexplicable delay of nearly 80 years. Irony rises too from the American underbelly, given the subject matter and historical context. Blues, Jazz, and Surrealism combine in ways we haven’t seen before. Throw in Crime Noir and we get the Quad.

Brutal cops meet Invisible Man by way of “LA Confidential.” Born already guilty, and on permanent trial in the eyes of the dominant class, an innocent man meets Kafka’s nightmare, sees nowhere else to go but under. Is he Lao-Tzu, Jesus, or Prometheus rising from modernity’s sewers, perhaps to show us the Way? Or is he, Fred Daniels, just a flickering image on the Cave’s wall, to be ignored, mocked, and quickly forgotten?

America in the 1940s and America today.… Click to Continue “Richard Wright: Prometheus in Hell”

In Praise of Idleness

In Praise of Idleness

Harmonies77, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2021.


Grasswoodflower rise and fall
Like fine duets
Sung by Yin and Yang at their limits
Their most egregiously in tune

Shapecolorshadow blend and fight
In the most civil way
Provoking the heart of the matter
Again and again

Each to each while there’s still
A chance for aesthetic tumult

The horses graze in the valley
Sniff the breezesongcontras
Seven times
Before the ghost-stables call

And the birds Make Ten
Above all in bliss
In freedom like star-eyed notes
Choosing their own resonance

I feel blessed to know this
To see the heartshadows
On that side of the cave
Before I roll away the stone


— by Douglas Pinson

Maxwell’s Demon and More New Poetry

Maxwell’s Demon and More New Poetry

We’ve added three new poems by Robert Mueller this month. Please feel free to leave comments on the Contact Us page.

I’m almost finished reading a good novel by Steven Hall, Maxwell’s Demon (2021). Postmodern, and very Meta. Some fun facts about Entropy, angels, oxen, bees, Jewish gods and mysticism, and the Apocrypha along the way, which Hall integrates well throughout the narrative. I can hear echoes from Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, and Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds too, but this is really Hall’s show and his alone. 

Boiled down, it’s a book about a writer’s search for a book, or two, or three. His search for a strange and reclusive writer of a debut masterpiece, who never published another novel again, though he may have written them.… Click to Continue “Maxwell’s Demon and More New Poetry”

The Shaman and Time’s Arrow

The Shaman and Time’s Arrow

Night Moves, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2021.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I played Daniel-san to the Shaman’s Mr. Miyagi. He had me wash his car, weed and seed his lawn, and take his clothes to the dry-cleaner’s, among other chores. All of this struck me as a waste of time, of course, which was likely the point. Either that, or a lesson in Entropy, a word the Shaman had left out of his lessons so far.

But things changed dramatically soon enough. Archery lessons! This was something I knew I could use, especially given my youthful admiration of Robin Hood, and my hatred toward Paris, the coward of The Iliad. Now, if only we could combine the Zen of Archery with the Zen of Motorcycles — shoot arrows while riding Yamahas — all would be forgiven.… Click to Continue “The Shaman and Time’s Arrow”

The Shaman and the Coffee Shop

The Shaman and the Coffee Shop

The Falls8, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2021.

The Second Lesson Percolates

Cat Stevens sang “Morning has Broken” above us, as we sat in the corner café, with its old stone walls, its monstrous fireplace, and its unbreakable wood tables and chairs. I suddenly felt relaxed in a way that had escaped me for weeks.

The Shaman looked at me quickly, saw my newfound comfort, and pushed me violently to the floor. Luckily, there was no coffee to spill yet, no cakes to fly upward into the vaulted ceiling, though the Shaman likely would have preferred the added derangements.

“Why did you do that?” I asked, as I got back up, dusted myself off, and sat down again.
“Because chaos and surprise are beautiful when you’re wallowing in comfort, just as comfort is beautiful in the midst of disaster and mayhem.”… Click to Continue “The Shaman and the Coffee Shop”

The Shaman’s Secret

The Shaman’s Secret

Canopy77, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2021.

First Lessons Abide

Moderation in all things is terrible advice,” said the Shaman as we walked, then ran, then stood still. “All is contrast within context. If you wish to live sweet lives, take the highs and lows, embrace the deepest darkness and the most luminous visions, as if your life depended on it, because it does.”
So I asked him, as we ran, then walked, then stopped: “But moderation and mindfulness lead to balance and wisdom, so say all the prophets, didn’t they?”

“No, young sir, they didn’t. Their editors said so through the ages, more or less, once the words of the prophets were stripped of complexity, censored, abridged, and frozen for easier consumption.”

“But why would they do this?”… Click to Continue “The Shaman’s Secret”

Robert Mueller’s Fearful Mangers

Robert Mueller’s Fearful Mangers

Tempering the Beds

Presence of emergent aquatics,
that is the becoming present,
that is the becoming being,
endows ecosystem,
heaves happy cattails,
with architecture.

That is the becoming being
endows aperture for water,
happy for birds, luscious
for the swatted from embedded bushes:
In water lusty laughter floats above.

Then aperture for temperature
is cut above and growing for this partner
beyond realms of mowing barter,
to fish and birds and pike
and bogbean and all to tiny whaling lovers
the better other in becoming.

Then let emergent aquatics
dam and dim the pressures
rounded into thirstless breasting
of emulcifent, twanged architecture,
other layer of other loving’s pasture:
Let all round moving
on the limning endowed blow faster.



Fearful Mangers

These different low coverings
moss pinks and so on
or goldenrods glowing and glimmering
redpolls allaying the fields
not how to attract the northernmost
who build nests in sponge
with protective linings before the roll.… Click to Continue “Robert Mueller’s Fearful Mangers”

New Poetry and the Penumbra Effect

New Poetry and the Penumbra Effect

We’ve added new poetry from Joshua Bocher, Sean Howard, and Avery Tuck. Please leave comments on our Contact Us page, if you’re so inclined.

Recent readings/rereadings include the aforementioned Maggie Doherty’s The Equivalents, which was excellent. It makes a fine pairing too with Square Haunting, by Francesca Wade, which I read last year. Group bios about unfairly neglected women in the arts help set the record straight and expand our horizons in the bargain.

Just finished The Lamplighters, by Emma Stonex, a very fine and subtle story about lighthouses, the men who once kept them running, and their families. Beautiful prose about loss, loneliness, and a sea of mysteries keep the reader engaged until the end. I also reread Italo Calvino’s metafictional masterclass, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, which I enjoyed, but not quite as much as on a first reading some centuries ago.… Click to Continue “New Poetry and the Penumbra Effect”

Avery Tuck’s Liminal Unconscious

Avery Tuck’s Liminal Unconscious

Liminal Unconscious

ambient pulse—
familiarity in
intrepid songbird
fading with
choirs of


cloud thoughts?
copper rains—
witness to
vessels in




—by Avery Tuck

Copyright ©2021, by Avery Tuck. All Rights Reserved.

Avery Tuck is an amateur poet from Nova Scotia, Canada.

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