Saturday, January 31, 2009

Featured Poet: Greg Santos

"Greg Santos was born and raised in Montreal. He currently attends the MFA Creative Writing Program at The New School in Manhattan. He is the poetry editor of pax americana."

I Am His Majesty’s Most Trusted Servant

On winter nights the Emperor splays out

on his favorite ruby-encrusted divan,

his slight legs propped up on an ottoman.

I, along with a cavalcade of His Lordship’s servants,

the Imperial Grape Peeler, the Toy-Winder,

the Royal Fondue Dipper, His Majesty’s Pillow Fluffer,

among others, wait for our orders.

As the Royal Sheller of Chestnuts

I am the most important of

His Distinguished Majesty’s servants.

We wait for our bell, the ding-a-ling

signaling whether we are to grace the Emperor’s

munificent presence or whether we are fated

to slink away to our quarters in shame.

I am, more often than not, the chosen one.

For His Most Virtuous Highness’s fingers

are far too delicate for menial tasks

and I am truly blessed, having been descended

from a long line of noble nut shellers.

I take great joy in guillotining the nuts with a sharp blade,

exposing the meaty brains inside.

My most favorite thing to do once they’re shelled and popped

into our August Majesty’s mouth

is crunch the shells beneath my fists.

I hereby declare that the best feeling ever.

Taking the Amtrak Vermonter on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend to Brattleboro

Trees accustomed to swaying softly

formerly anchored telephone poles

snow-dusted mountains hardened to a sedentary life

ramble past your window

as if aware of something secret

looming over the horizon

like how cows lie down

when they sense a storm

or how Lassie knew Timmy had

fallen down a ventilation shaft or wandered

into a live mine field

while you, placid in the cup-holder

spill not a drop

they clamor: enough is enough

and the man in the gray flannel suit

stands, declares his aspiration:

medieval battle recreationist!

the woman in the aisle next to you

pumps her fists in the air and chants

sommelier! sommelier! (sommelière?)

potato chip specialist, opera singer

brewmaster, action figure fashion designer

one by one dreams

crackle and bounce amid the coach cars

and even the countryside decides to dusts itself off

pack its bags and take a little ‘me’ time

for an eco-vacation to Costa Rica

leaving you flustered and wondering

why oh why

you never went to sleepaway spacecamp

and now you’ve been left in the lurch

on a stretch of frosty tracks

with nary a bag of peanuts in sight.

Oh, Canada

The Canadian beaver is known for its industriousness.

It is also known for being mild-mannered and polite.

It mates for life and is a very social animal,

living and working with others in pastoral harmony.

But be forewarned: the beaver is not to be taken lightly.

The beaver has been known to fell small trees,

creating limpid ponds, which, while ideal for reflection,

can cause dangerous flooding in low lying areas.

The beaver’s ability to change the landscape is second only to that of humans.

Recently a crudely fashioned beaver lodge

was spotted along the banks of the Bronx River…

How can we be certain that these creatures will not take over?

This new and deceptively cuddly form of eco-terrorism has no place here.

We cannot rest on our haunches until all alien beavers are rounded up.

They must be sent back up north from whence they came.

Our national security depends on it, my friends.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


There is a mega-huge announcement that will drastically effect the future of humanity coming soon from O Sweet Flowery Roses. What's up with this colorful representation of jewels? Precious Reward Items Zoned Equally. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 23, 2009

OSFR II: Monster Success!

Thanks to the standing-room super no vacancy crowd of 25 (a big 25!) who made it out to Flushnik Studios in East Williamsburg/Bushwick for OSFR II! Enjoy these pictures from the show, including readers (from top to bottom): The crowd begins to gather and grow... I made this poster Cameraman Leland Fischer and OSFR Vice President of Acquisitions Becky Dewing (we're taping for NYC public access) Russell Jaffe David K. Tamura Shannah Schilit Niina Polari Sean Lyman Frasier

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Editor-in-Chief Russell Jaffe wants to know... ...are YOU READY for O SWEET FLOWERY READING II?!?!?! Here's who's ready for certain: Sean Lyman Frasier, editor of Fat Candiru Press (read at the last event, too) Niina Polari, editor of At Large Magazine and facilitator of the Bushwick Public Library reading series David K. Tamura, poet and MMA trainer/afficionado Shannah Schilit, a regular jack-of-all trades artist (and prolific blogger...see?) plus myself and, so far, perhaps one or two others...I have a working list. If you want to sign up for the next reading, email us please. And keep on a'sendin. See you January 22. 8:00 pm. Flushnik Studios, 698 Flushing Ave. Brooklyn. If you don't know... you know.

Featured Poet: David Kowalczyk

“David Kowalczyk lives and writes in Oakfield, New York. His poetry has appeared in five anthologies and over seventy magazines, including California Quarterly, Maryland Review, and St. Ann's Review. He has taught English in Changwon, South Korea, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, as well as at several American colleges, including Arizona State. David is fond of, in no particular order: Thai food, Canadian ales, Maggie Mae Ryan, foggy mornings, and the geese that fly over his house in late autumn.”

Prestidigitation The epitome of this.

The antithesis of that.

Both mother and father

of the wind,

it is usually preceded

by silent laughter, and

has a great affinity for

morally bankrupt leprechauns.

Loves to play Hungarian

rhapsodies upon its violin.




Poems in and of Themselves

abbatoir angst avuncular badinage

brouhaha callipygian charivari clandestine

cyesis doyenne effervescent endemic

gargoyle hegira insatiable keen

maculation nimbus opprobrious ordure

pedicular pedologist perambulate persiflage

puissant putrid quoin schmozzle schnorrer

sesquepedian shibboleth simulacrum subversive

sumptuous sunicular suskin tectonic

tinctuous traduce trepidation vagary

venal woof zeugma

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Featured Poet: Ray Succre

"Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son. He has been published in Aesthetica, BlazeVOX, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. His novel Tatterdemalion (Cauliay Publishing) was recently released in print and is available most places. He tries hard.

For inquiry, publication history, and information, visit me online:"

The Source of Time-Travel

He’s fond of stating California

greeted him with a heat wave,

thirteen cents in pocket, but yet

a Cadillac and house were attained

in the months post arrival.

“I worked it out, things were

great back then, but it all turned.

And to shit. It always does and will.”

I agree so he won’t pistol-whip

my afternoon with poisonous


I get the notion California carried him

out like chunks of broken cement.

He talks and grows angrier, then

slows to measure a sixties notion

of karma as the sole punishment

for those most internal of misdeeds:

“A painful consequence for

an infraction of the rules in

a painful, changing game

that is always inside you.”

He rates, criticizes, and complains

as if these acts were on sale.

Always the review, never the art.

“I go ahead ten mental years and

use hindsight on now,” he says,

“and I act on what I think I’ll know.

This pushes my head at a warped

lens, and seeing through,

it’s a lot of shit, this time of me.”

Puke Diver

Though my turns are ultimate topples,

pikeflip to layout, the knees unhinging,

ankles in revolutions like a turning toy crank,

even to the marvel of falling I still

perform a marvelous drop.

I dive in, diminutive splash, suffer a layer of

potato mash and apple flesh,

peas, chicken strings, cosmos of cubed-carrots

that the acid has rounded, as

the cords in my reddening eyes

work the image of sesame seeds past.

I bottom, arch, and navigate up through flecks

of spring onion. Treading a meniscus of

greasy broth. I surface, where the oils part,

swimming in the biley, crystallizing tang of it all.

How by-the-instant my arms tire,

breaths furling into topside foam,

and then up into steam streamed into heat.

I dive to the cooler level; I know heat can

leach the very voice from a throat.

I reach the wall, ascend, and ladder out.

A man congratulates, and soon I am banging my

ears to clear them, clearing my mind for next


This is the manner of my sturdiest passion,

and a soily will strongly realized.

Lloyd’s Boilerpot

Maisy had left for the restroom, and I stood there, waiting to be seated.

"Just one today?" the Groan asked.

"No, two. Smoking."

Lloyd’s Boilerpot was a coastal hick-joint with a restaurant and tavern

in its guts. I was seated.

"Menus?" the Groan inquired.

"Just one. For my wife. And two coffees."

“Sure thing. Guess it's a good thing they got Lucky outta here." she said.


"Good thing they got Lucky outta here."

"I don't—"

"Be right back with the coffee." she said before spilling off, a head

of patchy hair above showing, withered cleavage. The Groan

was a misshapen woman that someone had tried to wrap in a dress

and help with a nametag.

Maisy returned. I told her a menu was coming. She discovered we were out

of cigarettes.

“I’ll buy some in the tavern half.” I said.

The tavern’s weight had settled over years and the door into the tavern

only opened halfway, catching the faded carpet.

I slid in, found the machines. One was an old 45 jukebox

and the other was the cigarette machine. They were set up

beside one another.

I put in a five, the machine spit it out. I reinserted the five,

the machine spit it out. I put it in backward, the machine spit it out,

face down, creased, spit it out, spit it out.

There was an old crone in the bar, staring at me from a barstool and

brushing her hair with a large, teal brush. She kept drawing her

lower lip inward, as if it were a piece of food that hadn’t made it in.

I approached the bartender.

"I don't think the machine over there will take these new fives.

Could I exchange it?" I asked.

"The cigarette machine?"

The bartender’s face dented into her head like bruises on fruit

that had fallen from a truck on the highway.

The hairbrushing woman was beside me, still staring a hole in my head.

"Yes, the cigarette machine." I repeated.

"Son, that machine won't take the new fives." the bartender replied,

waving her hand at me. One of her ears bent, then straightened.

"I know,” I said, “Could I exchange it?"

"Could... what?" She didn’t understand.

An old light wedged in the dingey ceiling phased out, shot back on.

"Could I trade my new five... for an old five, is what I’m asking."

"Trade me fives? What for?"

The crew of men at the bar were noontimers, lifers. They didn't care

to notice me, but the bar crone with the Barbie fixation watched me

as she crotch-slid off the stool and dragged herself off into the dark.

"What for? ...So I can buy a pack of cigarettes."I repeated, frustrated.

The bartender stroked one of her eyebrows.

"Well, that machine is set at four-fifty."

A buzzing sound began just below my left ear and the anger began,

rising steady, my coals stirred, my forehead swimming.

"I— goddamnit, yeah, I know."

"Here son, why don't you just give me your five and I'll get another."

the bartender suggested.

Someone in the back yelled fuck. No one moved.

"...okay." I said, agitated.

I gave it to her.

She gave it to me.

Then, the bar crone with the teal hairbrush was leaning against

the cigarette machine, brushing her hair, waiting for me.

I approached, hoping she wasn't going to advance on me.

"How ya been, valentine?" she gagged.

"Uh, hey. I need to—" She moved out of my way.

"—yeah. Thanks."

I put the old five in and the machine whirred.

I pressed a button that was hot to the touch.

The machine began to click and hum.

The bar crone carefully worked a dollar into the jukebox,

slid it through the slot with a tampon knowledge.

She picked a track from memory.

My cigarettes still hadn't been dispensed but the machine was

working on something. A new, spinning noise had joined

the others.

A Yardbirds song began to play. She was watching me, playing

wryness, acting the old fuckhole. Did she feed the shirking men

who I could see stuffed in those dim corners and sitting on flat beer?

Was she theirs?

I looked at her and she hopped and snorted.

"Fuggin' hey!" she exclaimed.

“Okay.” I replied.

My cigarettes fell out of the machine onto the floor.

I retrieved them, turned, and left the tavern quickly.

In the restaurant, as I approached the booth and my wife, the Groan

crept up next to me with a strange smile.

"You know, I'm tryin' to quit but shit, you know what I mean."

A cook peeked out at her from a slat in the wall with slow,

lichen eyes and a swollen left cheek.

"Uh, keep at it, I guess.” I said. The groan made her noise.

"At least Lucky's outta here. Thank stars." she said.

“Yeah, no shit.” I responded, leaving her there. My wife had

overheard this odd bit of verbal transfer.

I sat down in the booth.

"Who’s Lucky?" Maisy asked me.

"I don’t know. But we have to leave."

"We do?"



"Yes, now."

"Well, I haven't ordered yet. Why?"

"Bad place."

"Bad place?"

"Yeah, let's go."

I went into that tavern again, four years later, for the same reason,

and while standing at the cigarette machine, a man crept up

behind me, stated angrily that he wouldn’t stand for my stealing

his seat.

I turned, and while looking at him,

vanished into smoke and falling shit.