Friday, February 16, 2018

You get the Pilcrow, I get the Dagger

Pilcrow & Dagger, a bright and enchanting literary journal edited by A. Marie Silver and LeeAnn Rhoden, has recently published another couple of my poems: "No Love Story," and "Two Cats, not having sex." The theme of the issue is "Let's Get Physical," as these two poems seem to imply did not happen. In any case, I'm very glad they included them. Here's where you can go to get information on how to download the issue and see what they're all about, the Pilcrow and the Dagger, that is.

Monday, February 12, 2018

New to Oddville

Not new to odd though. I'm excited to be included in the latest issue of The Oddville Press with a mildly political poem called "Power Broke". When I saw the handsome setting and read the other high-quality contributions, I liked my own poem even more. The frame makes the picture look better. Thanks to the editors and staff for letting me visit Oddville. You should too.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Scarlet Leaf Review, Yes, Yes!

Thanks to Roxana Nastase, Yes. A Royal Flush, Yes. Five poems in the current issue of The Scarlet Leaf Review, Yes. A beautiful mag from Toronto, Canada, Yes. What can I say, I'm happy and honored again, Yes. Five yesses. Good start for a good year. Read the whole issue and you'll get a good start too.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Stop! Kiwi Time!

Tony Chad, the generous editor of the New Zealander poetry journal, Valley Micropress, has graciously published a couple of my poems, "Seven Days a Week," and "Stung". Thanks to him and kudos for the work that V. M. does to promote poetry inside and outside New Zealand. V. M. is old-school, printed on paper like we used to do, stapled, cheap but full of good work. The real deal. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy. Write to Tony at for info. He's very nice; you won't get stung.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bang, Bang!

Two poems up today in Former People: Bangs, Whimpers, Arts, Culture and Commentary. "Gran Torino," (poem better than title) and "Gerrymandering the Great Unknown," (title better than poem). Thanks to editor and former person (zombie?), C. Derick Varn, for printing my work.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Going Yard

I went yard twice yesterday, Literary Yard, that is. Two of my poems were published in the online mag, that is a very active and important supporter of literature and writers. Thanks to the editor, Onkar Sharma. Batter up! Poetry's never out of season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

M. P. - As A Joke?

What me joking? It's a poem, stoopid. Cacti Fur as a joke? No, it's the journal the poem appears in. It's really good, I've read it. Jim Thompson is the boss. Thanks, Jim. So, people, go get you some Cacti Fur, a new dose every Wednesday. Today's my turn. Woohoo!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Bitchin' Bitchin' Kitsch is Out!

Thanks to Chris Talbot-Heindl for publishing my poem, "Vietnam", in the December issue of The Bitchin' Kitsch. Vietnam was the dark cloud over my youth, like Trumpism is today. It infects every thing with depression and hopelessness. We'll be okay once the nightmare ends.

The Bitchin' Kitsch is a really good mag. I know, I read every page. You should too. Takes half an hour, but something in there will stay with you all day.

Monday, November 27, 2017

It's Asbestos, Asbestos!

PoeticDiversity is a fine poetry journal. I'm very happy that they published my poem in their latest issue. Except that they misspelled the title: Abestos Factory should be Asbestos. Hey, made you look.

Maybe they try to stay away from it as much as possible. Good idea, nasty stuff. Anyway, this is a rare poem that comes mainly from a true story. I miss the old gentleman.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tower Journal Babel

Two of my poems appear in the latest issue of Tower Journal ("Ashes" and "I Kissed You"). It's a simple online mag dedicated to good words and art. Check it out. Thanks to Mary Anne Sullivan for inviting me into the Tower.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Peeking Cat Tourists

Get it? In the current issue (October 2017) of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine you will find my poem, "Tourists." It's a rare poem about living in Italy, sort of. Rustici are fried delicacies like rice balls or cheese sandwiches. Mignon means mini. They're good, but don't eat too many. The magazine contains about 20, good poems, that is. Thanks to Sam Rose, the editor, for including mine. And watch out for peeking cats.

Friday, October 27, 2017

I Got Nominated

Yippee! Richard Heby, editor of the Beechwood Review, nominated two of my haiku poems for the Touchstone Award for Individual Poems. I'm thrilled. Thanks to Richard, for a nomination is already a prize. If you're curious you can find the poems in BR3. It's in print, but I'm not sure it's available yet. You'll have to search it out, Sherlock.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

I Got Repurposed

"House of Experimentation," is a rare long poem of mine that appears in the Sept. 2017 issue (issue four) of Repurposed Magazine. I am particularly honored because only four poets are included. The layout is simple and effective. I like this poetry journal very much. You will too.


Monday, October 16, 2017

I Got Mused

In a poem, sometimes the speaker is not the poet. That's the case in my poem, "Lay It On," published recently in Mused, the BellaOnline Literary Review. Read it and you'll see what I mean. Heck, read the whole journal. You could even subscribe if you like poetry. If you don't like poetry then read my poem. You'll see what I mean.

Here's a link:

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Dash of the Good Stuff, Please

Dash Literary Journal published a poem of mine, "Blind Man to Junkie," in the Spring 2017 issue. I'm not sure how you can get a copy, try writing to the editors at Dept. of English, Cal State Fullerton or They're on facebook, twitter and instagram too. If you get the poem, you may wonder what inspired it. I was sitting in my car waiting for a used bookstore to open in downtown San Jose in 1985 with the passenger seat window rolled down. Some of the local characters were on that sidewalk a few feet from me having the conversation which became the poem.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Down in the Dirt Again

Janet Kuypers, editor of Down in the Dirt poetry magazine, has again found my stuff worthy. Thanks Janet. You, faithful reader, can find two ditties in the August 2017 issue 148: I Hate Monkeys and Malcolm X. Banjo. I stand by the monkey poem, whereas the other one is on shaky ground; an absurdist poem about racism in America seems inappropriate right now. It was written many years ago. Maybe it'll stimulate (like this photo). You decide.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Poet of the Weak?

Oh no, it's Poet of the Week. Along with fellow San Franciscan, Stephen Kopel, I'm honored by the Poetry Super Highway's editor, Rick Lupert. Two shorties are on that wide road: It's Not Late and Living 40 Years in Nuclear Fear.  Here they are:

Pretty good web mag, think I'll subscribe, and I advise you to get on the highway too.

So, poet of the weak? I hope. You tell me.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Door is a Jar, a literary magazine

When is a door not a door, Batman?  I'm so old I find that joke funny ... almost. Anyway the magazine is better than the joke. It's packed with good writing. My poem, "Photos of Food," is in there, for example. You can order the kindle version for a few bucks, paperback a few more. Go here to find out what's what.

Come in, if you dare! Ah ha ha ha.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Uut Uut, Uuray!

Uut (n.): the chance meeting of a galleon and a caribou on the dissecting table of America. That's what their website says among other unlikely explanations. I think Uut Poetry is simply writable on the top tier of the keyboard. Maybe they lost the lower letters. Anyway,  my poem Modern Error's in there. Or in here rather:

Sunday, July 2, 2017

As If You Didn't Know

It's a Dumbass World.
At least that's what the poem says.
Online at Down in the Dirt.
Gettin' down, gettin' dirty.
Thanks to Janet Kuypers.
Look here: July 2017 issue

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Zombie Logic Used to Good Effect

I woke up to a summer Sunday rain storm and six nasty poems published in the Zombie Logic Review. Warning: they're all dirty in different ways. If you dare, give them a glance.

My thanks to editor, Thomas L. Vaultonburg, for providing a place for the extreme. Some think poetry should be about butterflies and moonbeams, others, like Zombie Logic, say write all the pain, loathing, and porn that's in your head. That.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Two for One!

Today, June 1st 2017, I got two poems published in two different journals. That's fun.

The first is in Former People: Bangs, Whimpers, Arts, Culture, and Commentary. There's even a picture (of me as a former person). The poem is called "We Will All Become Vegetarians," and it includes Fruit Loops. Here:

The other one is called "Smokey Poetry," about burning one's own poems, and it includes a tin tub on the roof. It's in good old Verse-Virtual. Here:

I'm very pleased that my scribbles are finding some place in the world. And two in one day!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Everest: the Mountain or the Magazine?

What is it?

It's in Everest Magazine, Spring 2017, hot off the presses. It's called "The Double Prayer." It might be a prose poem or it might be a short short story. Or something else. Does it matter what it is? Fair or foul? I don't care if you don't. Sonya Maizell, Sarah Sassone and the staff at Everest Mag. don't care. They liked it and printed it. I'm very grateful. It's something that means a lot to me. I'll tell you why someday.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chrysanthemum, the word, the international journal of haiku

Chrysanthemum. I like to say the word: chrysanthemum. It rolls off the tongue, into the air, sails around my head, brightening my day. Like the little poems included in the current issue of the Chrysanthemum, the haiku journal that prints each poem in both English and German. Want to see my little poem in German?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Picasso's most relevant painting by Ana Velez

Eighty years ago, on April 26, 1937, the Spanish villa Guernica was bombed by German planes, known as the Legion Condor, sent by Hitler. The savage purpose, rather than helping Franco, was to test the destructive capacity of the Heinkel He 111, the Dornier, the Junker, and the Messerschmitt, bearers of the most advanced technology of that time. The bombing lasted three hours; the fires, more than two days, and the destruction of the villa was total. Guernica had no military significance and the act had no justification from the point of view of international opinion. For this reason, Guernica became a kind of Hiroshima, another icon of the infamies and aberrations of war.

That same year, after the fatal event, Picasso was invited to participate in the International Exhibition of Paris. The Exhibition, called the Arts and Techniques of Modern Life, expected to demonstrate that art and technology were not opposed, while at the same time attempted to promote world peace. In two months, in response to the invitation, Picasso painted the huge picture measuring 7.75 meters long by 3.50 meters high. The idea did not come at once. Picasso made many changes, photographically recorded by his lover then, Dora Marr. Picasso worked with astonishing confidence, that´s why he was able to accomplish such a masterpiece in two months.

The researcher José María Juarranz, who dedicated the last 14 years to explain the Guernica, thinks that Picasso never intended to paint what had happened in the Basque village. The poet Paul Eluard had the lucky idea to title the painting "Guernica". According to Juarranz, Paul Eluard pronounced its name in front of the canvas during a visit to Picasso's workshop; He must have felt that the painting reflected his poem The Victory of Guernica.

Many artists know how important a work of art title is. Sometimes the title is responsible for giving to the work its full meaning. Titles not only possess the same power that names have to identify people, but also they create expectations, suggest meanings, induce conclusions or contradict what is seen in the image. The title is a kind of conceptual framework of the work, belonging to the context, and can reveal the intention of the artist. If we see a situation of war in Picasso's enormous painting it is partly because we know the story behind it and recognize the name "Guernica" as an icon of destruction, injustice and war.

The meaning, the symbolism of each element of the picture, has been and still goes through endless discussion. There are complete books on the subject, and quite a few that show that people like to interpret beyond what is in the picture, making thousands of objective and subjective considerations. In 1947, in New York, there was a symposium to interpret Guernica, with papers by several experts: Alfred H. Barr Jr., Jose Luis Sert, Jerome Seckler, Juan Larrea, Jacques Lipchitz and Stuart Davis.

To summarize, different theorists have discussed the symbolic value of each of the nine elements of the painting: the four women, the bird, the light bulb, the man on the ground, and especially the bull and the horse. The positions of Jerome Seckler and Juan Larrea are opposed. For Seckler, the bull means evil, fascism and the horse is the victim, symbolizing the defeated people. For Juan Larrea it is the opposite, the horse is the symbol of Spanish nationalism, the villains, and the bull is the dignity of the people. According to Larrea, the Falangist people represented by the horse will be crushed by the Republic. The controversy reached a decisive point, and the always direct Picasso said that the horse was a horse and the bull was a bull, and each person can think what he wants. Picasso had a goal and he had fulfilled it: to shake the conscience of people of the world in respect to war. And so he said:

"My work is a cry of denunciation of the war and the attacks of the enemies of the Republic legally established after the elections of 31 (...) No, painting is not made to decorate apartments. It is an instrument for offensive and defensive war against the enemy. The Spanish war is the battle of reaction against the people, against freedom. In the mural painting in which I am working, and which I have named Guernica, and in all my last works, I express clearly my repulsion towards the military caste, which has plunged Spain into an ocean of pain and death. "1 Pablo Picasso, 1937.

Women and children are the innocent victims of wars. Picasso painted two women, one at the left and one at the right. The one on the left carries her dead son, we know it by the position of the head, and the one on the right, trapped in the flames, screams desperately in an immobilized posture. Some experts believe that the drawing of the mother with her dead son may have originated from a scene from a film, Battleship Potemkin (1925), by the Russian director S. M. Eisenstein. Picasso loved movies.


The other two women in the picture direct our eyes toward the center of the painting. One looks at the horse from below, the other looks at the general scene from a window and with the lamp illuminates what appears to be a night scene. We know this, not only by the lamp, but also by the bulb that is in the upper part of the painting, almost in the center; it is also insinuated by the touches of light, constituted by the white color over the dark elements of the painting. It is possible that the woman with the lamp thrust out of the window evokes the statue of liberty; especially if we understand the gesture and the way the arm that holds the lamp has stretched. There is also an element that reinforces this idea, even if it is not located where it is expected: the sparkling triangles of the bulb. They are similar to those of the crown of the statue mentioned, but turned upside down.


The woman on the ground, half naked, seems to crawl; she has her breasts in the air. The body breaks into fragments that increase her imploring gesture. The feet, deformed and naked, add information and the feeling of desolation and loss of everything. The man, as might be expected, is half dead, dismembered, with a broken sword in his hand, obviously a symbol of struggle. The flower is there as a primary symbol of life and hope. He shows his teeth, like one that has fought until the end. His arms are extended in the shape of a cross. He is the representation of sacrifice.

The body of the bull is black and the head and tail are white. The tail seems to be on fire. The bull looks at the viewer. The bull, the horse and the woman carrying the child have their mouths open and their tongues out. The tongues indicate a sound that is not the cry "ay" but "ahgrr", a guttural sound, of pain, of dread. The bull and the horse are contorted: their bodies are directed to the right and their heads to the left. The horse is the most volumetric figure and also the most broken, most fragmented figure of the whole. The horse is falling, one of the knees touches the ground, and a spear enters his body. The horse is the largest and most impressive figure of the painting; in addition, it is in the center, directly illuminated by the light coming out of the bulb. The horse's tongue seems an arrow leading to the dove. The dove, almost invisible, submerged in darkness, squawks into the sky.

The experts on this painting assure us that we do not know whether it is night or day, whether the scene is interior or exterior, or if all this happens simultaneously. In cubism, simultaneity is the rule. So not only can an object be seen from different angles at the same time, but an event may be occurring depending on whether there is an observer (similar to the problem of Schrodinger’s cat); in addition, space and time can be compressed or expanded, slowed or accelerated. All frames of reference are relative: back and forth and past and future depend on the location and movement of the viewer. In many paintings, the cubists suppressed color, as if they were aware of Einstein's theory of relativity. This is how the doctor, inventor and writer Leonard Shlain saw it, as well as thinking that artists, by means of intuition, are always ahead of scientific events. Regarding the lack of color in cubism, Shlain wrote in his book Art and Physics. Parallel vision in space, time and light:

“Indulging in a bit of whimsy, we might ask what color this infinitely thin slice of reality would be? White light contains all the colors of the spectrum, so the argument could be made that at the speed of light, only white light is visible. But as we may remember from the kindergarten, mixing all colors of the rainbow results in a muddy grayish-brown, so one could say space would be these tones. Black, the absence of color, would be the only shade to remain unchanged at the speed of light. Only four neutral tones could exist at the speed of light: black, white, brown, and gray; all devoid of any trace of the colors of the rainbow.”2

The image of Guernica demands time from the viewer, and long contemplation. It is not a picture that is delivered immediately, because at first it seems confusing, chaotic. Whoever is so makes it consistent with it message:  in a war everything is confusing and disordered. Elements are mounted on top of each other, overlapping, and what lies ahead can be seen behind; transparency is vivid. When you see Guernica you have the feeling that the objects could be like cellophane or paper; in addition you will experience an unexpected sense of three-dimensionality. There are only planes, but they seem to move in space, they are everything, less static. Picasso was not only a creator - one can say that he is one of the few who fall into the category of genius - but he was ahead of his time, “finding” images that look like computer art, done with drawing software like Ilustrator (The word “finding” is used here because of Picasso's famous phrase: “I do not look for, but I find”). This image of Guernica, if it had been made today, could have been a product of the aforementioned software; a tool that permits us to delete, join, trim and exclude fragments of an object. Anyone who has played with it knows that unexpected images can be achieved, visually strange, incomplete, but with a certain aspect of continuity, as the tool allows completing contours in unforeseen ways; and pulling out figures from the background. Figure and background do not exist in cubism. Defining the background, filling the background has always been a problem for the painter, because for the human eye the background is simply everything that creates a contrast with the figure and allows "seeing" it. The cubists found an interesting solution: to suppress it.

After observing the Guernica, one notices a predominant visual order: a triangle that goes from the upper half of the painting to the lower right and lower left corners. The composition is balanced by arranging two groups at these ends with more white, outside the large illuminated triangle that dominates the center of the composition.

The picture disdains color, and one does not know if this is to recall or to allude to the news of the newspapers of that time. Not only does it not lose strength with this, but it wins. It is a huge painting, captivating and expressive down to the marrow. It embodies the essence of horror.

The images of the comic are directed to the symbolic, abstracting visual information and unnecessary details. They are minimal, but highly communicative, as they go to the essence of meaning. They are very successful because they save energy in the process of understanding. Children and young people love them. Guernica is not painted in comic language, but takes elements of it. Picasso knew deeply the appalling strength of the schematic images over optical realistic images, the reason why he used them with forceful dominance. His painting concentrates our mind onto a tangible moment of violence and horror. And it gives us a synthesis of what is all war: nothing but crazy destruction and death.

After Picasso painted this huge picture, he wanted it to be in the custody of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and that it would not return to Spain until democracy was restored. The painting travelled through the United States, from museum to museum. It was exhibited in Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New Orleans, Minneapolis and Pittsburg. In 1981, the work returned to Spain, first to the Cason del Buen Retiro and then to the Reina Sofia Museum, in Madrid, where it is currently. This year there will be a complete exhibition on the Guernica, its history, its historical moment and its return to Reina Sofia Museum. The exhibition will be open between April 4 and September 4, 2017. Let us hope that during this year people will talk profusely about one of the most glorious and unfading works of the twentieth century. Very few will remember the bombing of Guernica without Picasso´s work. As John Ruskin put it:
 Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts—the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others; but of the three, the only quite trustworthy one is the last”3

2 Shlain, Leonard.Att & Fisics. Parallel Visions in Art Time and Light. New York, Perennial,1993, edición of 2001. Página 193.
3 St. Mark's rest; the history of Venice. (1877).
Recomended in Youtube El Guernica in 3D: