Tuesday, May 31, 2011

History Of Becoming An Editor at TSCR & Bernard Alain

I first met Bernard Alain September 2008, when he wrote me asking to publish one of his poems in TSCR. I was so punch pleased – this really doesn’t happen too often. Many people may tell me my work affects them and that definitely fuels my drive to write, but very few publishers write me telling me they want to publish me.

It is very difficult for nutsy and different me to get published. You know how they always say you should look at a mag before you submit. So I always look and I see crazy shit on some sites so I figure maybe they’ll like my crazy shit too so I send it off and usually what happens 7 out of 10 times I get a polite reject. “We love the intensity but no, not for us.” Or “Powerful writing and word choice but no.” It’s very hard out here for a poet.

Bernard provided refreshing respite from all this – (Please take me away from all this, Bernie!)

After Bernards initial online request to publish me he asked me for more work. After several months I offered a review. After about a year, I asked Bernard if I could help on the magazine and had several ideas how to do this; start a facebook group, look for art and feature artists alongside poets and writers, and I wanted him to put the issue up at Issuu where readers could click through the pages. He accepted and we implemented these changes. July 2009 was the last issue Bernard and I published together although he insisted that I make all choices for that issue. He did the layout. January 2010, Bernard said he could no longer be editor and I became principal editor of TSCR.

Please editors, feel free to follow Bernard’s example, if you like anyone’s work or mine – go straight to the source and ask them (or me – pretty please) for it.

Bernard Alain has been published and/or featured in a few online journals recently such as the Orange Room Review, Madswirl, Pirene's Fountain, Mississippi Crow Magazine/RiverMuse Press, International Poet, The World Poets Society Electronic Catalog, Bywords, Bywords Quarterly Journal, Smoking Book and others with an upcoming publication in Wood Coin. He is former editor and founder of the poetry journal, The Cartier Street Review, now edited by Joy Leftow and staff.

Bernard believes expression should not be inhibited by form and reflect honestly, though enjoying a wide scope of appreciation for the many shapes the art provides, it is a personal mandate of his to increase readership for contemporary poetry by encouraging more organically formed and conversational text that reacts to and captures everyday events. He is the founder of two online sites, 'The Ink Blot' and The Cartier Street Review. Poets and artist may submit contemporary art and poetry to the inkblot for feedback. TCSR has a rolling open submissions for publication.

About the book
The book is collection of poems sharing the moods of a budding poet dealing with an overly pregnant online community, from the initial inspiration to burial and fossilization, a humorous edge that journalizes the sad reality for most poets.

Buy the book Mammoth Bones & Contemporary Beef by Bernard Alain here and the review I wrote in archives is here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stormy Weather

Crying like the weather, a state of mind
Dewdrops run through my heart
Laying claim to devastated waste I make haste and relent to God I repent
Distaste for the same old songs playing in my head
Discarding old wrongs I fight to make wrongs right
Rewriting history I can’t undo the past

Stormy weather holds us together
Destroys my universe fighting to survive bad weather
Putting a distance between me and the storm
The hurricane inside about to explode
Another year another storm
Drinking wine to kill the pain of sitting and waiting for some new snazzy tune
To break through the gloom in an icy room where I sit here
Waiting for the storm to end
Wait to see a bright new sunny day not too far away

Sky aglow an orange gold sunset strives to stop my pain
Dream of tranquility in the midst of war
Extinguished like vapor dreams of restoring a universe of possibilities
I reach out to touch the receding dream becomes a lost memory of happiness
Defeat is feeling like there’s nothing left to lose

A little conversation some music some wine you agree not to hurt
My kind heart enables you to unwind like
Stuck in an underground surreal film waiting on a round of drinks that will never come –
I visualize escape from lost causes, each new struggle another angle
Of seeing the wind writing – I long to stay strong

I want a little tenderness in a dimly lit room by the light of the silvery moon
our bodies a solitary silhouette,
I want a restful haven where I can live in a world of my making

Delight in a morning lit sky with pink and turquoise gazing at a bright white opalescent moon can’t rearrange my mind and I try to remember what I’m doing here
as I sit on the edge of my bed hypnotized by the silver white moon
Contemplate a day when the whole world waits
together by the edge of a clear running brook stream forever

I want a quiet place where rainbows appear after brutal rainfall
A place where dreams can sustain me as I relish the moment
a simple warm and friendly place where I’m unafraid to go

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Defenders of Wildlife: Save Polar Bear Homes

Call the president today and speak your mind. I've done so before but I never gotten to talk to two people before.

Let me explain.
Being that I have very little money to give to charitable organizations and causes, I spend some time each week signing petitions to make my voice heard about issues I am concerned about. I spend at least 2 hours a week doing this but sometimes 2 or 3 times this much and as many as 6 to 8 hours a week.

My time is Government given - nah that's joke.
My time is God Given so every tasty morsel that I give of my time - is the most valuable commodity I have to give.

I urge those of you who can to make an effort to donate whatever you're able to of your time to help the voices of others who need to be heard. Give of your time to sign off on petitions and write letters on their behalf to government officials here and overseas. There are many beings around the world suffering right now either due to stupidity, war, acts of revenge or acts of nature.

There are many situations where sentient beings are continuing to be hurt sometimes due to combinations of ignorance and prejudice. People are made outcastes as a result of whoever they are or their beliefs - I want cruelty and revenge to end. Cruelty is not acceptable and has to stop with me.

I aim to be self observant above all and call myself to task.

grrr off with the tangents - back to the telephone call to President Obama-

I explained to the "first lady" that I was "Joy Leftow from New York City and I'm calling to urge the President to..." was as far as I got. First Lady said, "Hold on a minute, there's a special line to leave your message." and I expected to be taped on a answering machine which has happened before or the phone rings and rings or I get a message advising me to call another day instead.

Instead lady number two answered and said, "hello," and identified herself as "presidents desk for ...".

I dunno.

I was so flabbergasted to hear a human voice, I didn't catch a few words or perhaps combined with my silly hearing problem I couldn't understand what she said but somehow I knew it was my turn to speak my piece. Lady two didn't ask me to identify myself but I did anyway.

Hi," I said, "I'm Joy Leftow from New York City and I 'm calling to urge the President to protect the Artic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development infringing on an animal refuge.

She said,"Ok, anything else."

I continued, "The president should spend more money on development of alternative energy sources to help our planet remain a place for our species to survive because as things are now humanity will die out in a couple of hundred years the way we keep abusing our planet.

I want the president to know that I think it is important for us to explore more viable sources such as wind and solar combined so we no longer need to use oil.

She said, "Just a minute please. ... OK, is there anything else you'd like to tell Mr. President?"

I couldn't believe it - She actually let me say what I wanted to say and was willing to let me talk more if I wanted to. She seemed to have difficulty keeping up - maybe she was taking notes or doing steno or only trying to write as best and fast as she could.


Urge President Obama to Permanently Protect the Arctic Refuge

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- a national treasure that polar bears, arctic foxes, millions of migratory birds and other wildlife depend on for survival.

To celebrate this special occasion, thousands of people from across the country are calling on President Obama to permanently protect this unique national treasure and the wildlife that depend on it to survive.

Please call President Obama today at (202) 456-1414 and deliver this simple message:

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m calling from [YOUR STATE] to urge you to permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development. The Arctic Refuge is a unique national treasure that is one of the most important onshore denning habitats for our struggling polar bears. It is also home to America’s largest caribou herd, arctic foxes and millions of migratory birds. Please do all you can to protect this fragile and special place.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

For my friend, Fred Arcoleo

Fred Arcoleo had his CD party yesterday at the Bowery Poetry Club. I went to it and afterwards forced myself to do the pub crawl with Zev Torres.

Fred's party was packed - every seat filled. I sat at the bar with Robin Glasser (our famous Washington Heights author of My Life As A Concubine and Liz Popiel, a well known set & costume designer also from the heights. There were easily 60 people there at 10 bucks a pop - all of us there to support Fred and his new CD seeds.

If you'd like to listen to Fred to know more about him and hear his music, click on his name in this sentence.

Quite a few people followed Zev in his pub crawl which is exactly that. Not being much of a drinker I participated in a couple of rounds of poetry with features and all. Finally I got too cold since the temperature dropped and I left. Should've rocked my hoody for that outing, but who knew - after all the weather is not predicable.

A shout out to Fred for a wonderful evening and the party packs of Quinoa that he gave out at the end that I will definitely use and look up on the internet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

kute kold kitty kats

I'm sorry so sorry it's taken me this long
i recite lines of poetry in my head then forget to write them down...
sometimes I feel like a motherless child billie holiday reborn
never fun being a child when your main concerns are about money for rent and food
arguments about nothing taking its place in the next turn of events

Meet Davie. David Died on the day Davie was born, August 10, 2010. I adopted Davie - who is very similar to David in personality - hence I named him after David. I got Davie in October when he was 8 weeks old. Sphinx cats have a very unusual history. More or less, two different versions of the same hairless variety, appeared pretty much simultaneously in Canada and Russia. A regular offspring of the well known domestic cat just happened to come out hairless. This hairless variety was bred with a Siamese cat. Then the half Siamese /half hairless offspring who came out hairless was bred back to the original hairless who had been bred to the Siamese, in other words his mother.

I didn't realize that Sphinx cats are more work. They get cold, the same as you do if your apartment gets cold as they only have no hair, only a bit of fuzz in a few places at the most so you have to dress them. Sphinx cats also have an oily secretion on their skin and under their nails. They must be bathed regularly.

On the positive side, they are extremely communicative and sensitive.
They are also extremely curious and will approach any stranger and tap them on the shoulder to say hello.
Little Davie curls up under covers at the end of the bed while Cleo and Starr, mother and daughter curl up together at the head of the bed.
Isn't Davie funny he is hiding and peeking out.
Above is the work of our featured artist for next issue of The Cartier Street Review, Claudio Tomassini.
Starr is Tortoise point and her daughter Cleo is Flamepoint.
A moment to watch mommy snap photos.
Davie decides to hide as he is cold and tired now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The 50 Most Unforgettable Female Protagonists in Literature

Anyone agree or disagree with this list or want to add to add to it?

50 Most Unforgettable Female Protagonists in Literature

Personally I would have included the modern Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larrson who spent his working days hunting Nazi criminals and fighting fascism in his newspaper Expo. Larrson wrote this trilogy to give some fun and spice to his life. I wrote about this here and have a long comment published at Larson's website under Life & Work, page 48 on the comments.