Introduction to Misfit 29

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There was a time in life when I could have said, “I’ve seen just about everything there is to see.”  I should have qualified that statement by saying, “In the bar I was working in.” After twenty-five years spent in one place, being there was a kind of Zen meditation. Not being there for some months, after an operation, my sub, Peggy, asked how does it feel being back, when I returned?  And I replied, “After about forty-five minutes it felt as if I had never left.” There may a kind of madness (and occasional police presence) in a routine like that but not enough to get you committed, arrested maybe, but not committed. Having been away from the routine for nearly fifteen years, there are times I feel as if I am still staring at that old industrial clock, at one o’clock in the morning on a dead Monday night, wondering how it keeps time when the minute hands stick at twenty before the hour, trying to engage with Perry Mason reruns, thinking I went to graduate school for this? 

The one thing, I thought I would never see in my lifetime, was the Soviet style show trial and bogus “acquittal” of the president of the United States we just witnessed. I mean I saw the whole Watergate thing and that was how the system was supposed to work.  Well, we sure fixed that, didn’t we?

The party he ostensibly belongs to, let’s say, nominally belongs to, has effectively granted him permission to assume the role of autocrat in chief. Currently, there are no legislative checks and balances to his power. His henchman, The Attorney General, has colluded with the president to make judicial barriers less and less able to provide a balancing of the scales of justice. There is almost nothing standing between us and affixed election. It’s all disheartening to the nth degree.

The deconstructing of the government, as envisioned by Steve Bannon, is almost complete now. Without a doubt, the destruction of the state would be complete if he is elected a second time.  It would not be inconceivable that he might disavow an election that does not goes his way. Or, if it does, proclaim himself president for life during a second term.  “On the edge of moderate”, do- nothing-republican-sycophants, will rant, and rave, and say, “You have gone too far.”  But by then it will be too late.  Who will rise up and stop him?  Who will have the courage to say no?  He will have spy agencies, brown shirt ICE agents, data gatherings NSA, kangaroo courts and on and on and on.......

I fear for the free press. I fear for the Arts. I fear for artists and the poets who have a vision and a voice that wants to be heard. I fear for magazines, online or in print, that speak against the administration. I fear that, once there is complete governmental control, magazines such as this one will disappear, as in vanish completely over night, never to be seen again. .  The constitution has already been shredded. Revenge against the enemies who follow the law and testify against the president, is an ongoing process. Think the Internet can’t be neutered and shut down?  Or “Fixed.” Think again.

In this issue, we have one of the more diverse selections ever.  I am also publishing a poem as a Guest Editorial, as it speaks to our current situation. I do not want to become a forum for poetic rants, but I continue to welcome meaningful statements that have an artistic purpose, not merely a political one.  Charlie Brice’s guest editorial may be a one off. I can’t speak to the future. I can only relate what I see coming from the already posted signs.

I hope you will read the reviews, as I have had an exceptional rich selection of books to review. Help an author, and a press, by selecting one or two to purchase. More if possible. Without readers, we have no voice.  We need our poets now more than ever.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing of a small press icon, Lyn Lifshin.  Without question, she was the most published poet in the small press scene. Her work inspired, and influenced, a generation of poets who came after her.  I was saddened to hear of her passing as, even though we disagreed on issues, I liked her as a person. If there is another place for poets, after this existence, I hope she is there now writing ten poems a day, or more, as the spirit moves her.

Last year also saw the sudden, totally unexpected, passing of another small press poet, one who had an international reputation, and rated an obit in the New York Times, Steve Dalachinsky.  I saved the original collage art cards he began sending me back in 2003, as we maintained a casual correspondence over the years.  I always felt I had a friend in Steve in NYC, even if we never met face to face.  He was an unusual and gifted poet with a special feel for music, jazz in particular, that he translated into words on paper in his many books. Getting a post card from Steve was always a special occasion and he will be missed. 


Last Post Card from Steve: Original Collage June 2019

The background feels Futuristic.
Feels Otherworldly like a PK Dick phantasm.
A Minority Report just before the pre-crime
unit descends in force.

Blackbirds peck at the head of a
woman whose wig is on fire. A Difference Engine
implanted in her brain powers the machines that
traverse the space between her head and the man’s
on the opposite side of the image.

Twin black adders protrude from his head
just above the place where the ears would be if
they were attached to his head.

A black man is pointing at the tiny fellow
ensconced on a table secured to the snake bearer’s

Disembodied, all seeing eyes, killer drones,
crocks of gin, and floating tea cups float in the
weightless sky as if impelled by a solar wind.

What is on the peripherals will determine
the fate of this tenuous world. 

All we can see are the edges of things: a man
falling from a great height, a portrait of youth from
another time, hands clasped as if in prayer.


R.I. P Steve Dalachinsky