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Robert Ragan is ABP’s Featured Artist for the month of June 2019

ABP- Thank you for taking this interview Robert. A year ago in June of 2018 ABP had the privilege of releasing your collection of short stories, Mannequin Legs. Please tell us about your experience writing it, and how you feel about the book a year later.
RR- I wrote poetry for ten years, then started writing fiction when I was twenty-nine. The stories in Mannequin Legs were all written over a seven or eight year period. The title story itself was one of the first short stories I wrote when I was experimenting with fiction. Looking back on it a year later, I’m still proud of it. But with me when it comes to writing I always try to out-do the last story. So I hope that I can put out a much better collection with my follow-up.
ABP-  Your fiction has also been featured in several of ABP’s zines and anthologies. Is there one of those that is particularly memorable for you?
RR- I love appearing in anthologies and zines a long side great writers. As far as my work I have to say my favorite story was “The Jar of Death” published in zine #2.
ABP- What is the literary scene like in Lillington, North Carolina?
RR- I used to attend a Writer’s Workshop at the library in Lillington NC with a group of older writters. Some of them have been published but their styles were more suitable compared to mine. Other than that,  I’ve come across a few aspiring writers and poets here and there. Unfortunatley, they don’t take it as seriously.
ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?
RR- There’s so many, I dont know where to start. William Burroughs, and Kurt Vonnegut to name a couple. Lately I’ve been reading more stories and poetry written by my peers than more famous authors.
ABP- Aside from writing, you are also a visual artist. Tell us about your journey In that regard.
RR- My whole life I’ve always had a fascination and love for all types of art. Writing, music, and visual arts. Obviously, writing is my true passion but I was very excited when I got up the nerve to experiment with painting. I dont look at myself as a visual artist, it blew my mind when people actually asked about buying them. I write and paint all for the love of art. I would give them away, but I cant duplicate them. So I keep them for my private collection.
ABP- What do you have planned for the rest of 2019 and beyond?
RR- Being back at my old job I cant write as much as I had been. But in my spare time, I’m always working on new stories for anthologies and online magazines, as well as my follow-up collection.
ABP- Once again, thank you for taking this interview. It was a privilege to feature you. Please take as much space to share anything you would like to share with our WordPress audience
RR- One of my newer short stories “Right On The Hole Part”
20190413_123051
Right On The Hole Part

 

I call it like I see it. Sometimes though, I wonder if maybe I’m hallucinating.

This morning on the way to work. A diehard Duke Blue Devils fan says, “For every game Zion misses we will murder two young immigrants from Nike’s sweatshop.”

A couple of guys on a radio morning show ask, “Is America taking sports and entertainment too far.”

Wow, that’s cutting edge; very groundbreaking.

I turned it to something else and caught the end of the commercial, “O O O O’Reilly’s…Auto Parts….OW!”

Pulling into my parking spot…in hell, I see a couple of coworkers smoking cigarettes by the front entrance.

As I walk by, I hear one of them say, “Man you went down on that chick while she was on her period? That’s some nasty gross shit!”

 

The other guy says, “Man, she tricked me. She said she was just lightly spotting.”

For so long I was trapped in my own head. To save myself from my reality I started listening to everything anyone said around me. I couldn’t describe the smell, but I swear I stuck my nose into everything.

I don’t know why these people hired me. I’m hardly even qualified to stack boxes on the end of this assembly line. Before taping each one, I’m supposed to insert an instruction sheet.

The customers bitch and complain because I forget to add the instruction sheet in at least one box on every pallet.

How am I to worry about a sheet of paper, with so many thoughts racing through my head?

My body is in this warehouse for 10 hours a day. But my mind is far gone. I pay attention just enough to get by.

Most of the time I’m taping up boxes and thinking up rhymes in my head about all my co-workers.

I’m lucky no one can actually read minds.
My face is the book cover..open it up and my brain is filled with memories and fantasies turned into stories. Conspiracies tattooed on the soft tissue.

When I was younger my mother tried to prove I was mentally disabled in order to get a monthly check.

Psychiatrist admitted I was dumb as a rock and off in the head; but not to the point that I couldn’t be a functional member of society.

My mother swore I’d commit suicide or take a gun to school. After being turned down a few times, she vowed to take it to one more hearing.
My father had just died…A wannabe writer and painter, he was hardly ever in my life.

She said, “Well, he’s gonna be at that hearing.”

When the day finally came we sat in front of the administrative judge. He wanted to deny me again, you could see it in his eyes behind those thick lenses.

Just like mama said, I looked off to my right and asked the air, “What did you say, daddy?”

The judge ignores it and asks about my grades and if I ever I thought about hurting myself.

Ignoring his questions, I looked to my right again and said, “I don’t know..I’m not sure.”

My mother just stared at the judge wearing her best fake smile.

He asked her, “Who is he talking to, ma’am?”

Setting up straight she clears her throat and smooths out the wrinkles on her skirt.
She said, “He’s just started doing this recently. His father died and he swears he can see him and talk to him.”

This grey-haired old judge laughs. He then shouts at me, “Hey, kid, you can knock it off, I know this is all a big act!”
Breaking eye contact I say, “Yes daddy, I put on clean underwear right before we left.”

My mother goes into panic mode, “Come on! Can’t you see he needs help?”
Squinting her eyes trying her best to produce tears she said, “He needs some type of medication and I can’t afford it.”
Turning my head to look at her I say, “Mom calm down!” Daddy said he’ll take care of everything.”

Things didn’t go as we planned, I was not approved that day. The judge said there would be an emergency hearing sometime in the next few months.

He said, “That was a nice try, you people must think we’re stupid.”
As we walked out I now looked to my left and said, “You’re still taking me for ice cream, right Dad?”

On the drive home my mom didn’t stop for ice cream as she’d promised. “That was to celebrate if you got approved,” she said.

Later she informed me that I had to keep doing the imaginary dead father act everywhere I went. “Just until this next emergency hearing,” she said.

Everyone at school already called me a retard. But oh man, it really got worse once my invisible dead dad started showing up at school every day.

It wasn’t all bad, I got a date for the prom.
An awkward chubby pimple faced girl, her dress barely fit. We were like the biggest losers in the school.

Teri actually believed and thought it was cute that I was so close to my dead father.

On the floor in the gymnasium with other couples dancing all around us. I looked to my right and said, “Dad, she’s my date but I guess you can have this dance.”

Teri was graceful dancing right by herself.
Her dirty blonde hair bounced with each step. When the song was over she walked back to me and smiled.

She said, “I swear on everything it’s like I could feel myself in his arms.”

Teri didn’t have anything to worry about, she was already on disability and taking all remedial classes.

 

She and I broke up after she asked what I thought about having sex while she had a yeast infection. It pissed her off when I said, “I don’t care as long as we don’t make a breadstick.”

I carried on this act for so long, I really started believing it.

I came to the conclusion that my mom was trying to make this more than an act. I stopped doing it and she and I went to war.
She took my cd’s, my comic books, and even my best porno mag. Next, she took my Playstation. After that I was like forget this.

I went AWOL, tried to run away but she found me and beat me with a switch in the Food Tiger parking lot.

When the emergency hearing came around I was denied again.

My mother flew into a rage, “You crooked heartless bastards won’t help my son.
But yet, I know someone’s kid who gets disability just for being in a wheelchair.” she said, “It’s just not right.”

After that, she gave up and told me my dumbass better get a job flipping burgers or something.

Basically, that’s how I ended up here at this stupid warehouse job.

Hell, I don’t even know what’s going on half the time. At least once a week they threaten to fire me if I don’t get my act together.

My mama said I better stop forgetting to put them damn papers in the box.

Plus, she said I need to get my license and proper insurance on my junk car before I get pulled over or go through a roadblock.

When the alarm clock goes off, I bitch and moan and contemplate calling in dead to work.

She says, “It ain’t my fault you stay up all night watching dirty movies then don’t want to get up in the morning.”

Every morning it’s, “I tried to get you some help but you couldn’t follow along.”

Just the other day we went to see my grandma at the nursing home. Granny calls 50 times a day saying, “Call down here and tell ‘em to turn on the heat,” even in the dead of summer.

As soon as we walk in the door we can hear her down the hall yelling as loud as she can, “Help…Help!”

My mom’s always saying, “I’ve got enough to worry about with your grandma, I don’t need to deal with your shit too.”

 

Everybody is always picking on me, but momma and everybody at work can kiss my ass!

 

Right on the hole part…

ABP’s interview with Arthur Graham, Editor of Horror Sleaze Trash (from Alien Buddha Zine 7)

Interview with Arthur Graham of Horror Sleaze Trash

Interview questions conducted by Red Focks

 

ABP- Thank you for taking this interview, Arthur. I know that a lot of Alien Buddha’s readers and contributors admire Horror Sleaze Trash. Tell us a little bit about how you got started, who else is on the HST team, and your journey as a publisher leading up to 2019.

 

AG- Holy hell man, how much time have you got? I’ll try to provide an abridged version below:

About eight or nine years ago, back when I was first getting serious about publishing, I chanced an encounter with the Wildman from Down Under himself, the legendary Ben John Smith. The two of us ran in overlapping small press circles, and eventually the outfit I was with at the time (Rooster Republic Press) wound up releasing one of his earliest collections of poetry. Over the following years, we’d submit work to each other and help cross-promote whatever it was we were each separately working on at the time. This ultimately led to me taking the reins after Ben stepped away to focus on his family and health a few years back, and here we are today, still going strong at HST. Truly it is our honor and privilege to be picking up where he left off.

These days, our core team consists of myself and Associate Editor India LaPlace, who also heads up our social media department. Beyond us two, the extended HST family branches out through everyone who’s ever had their work published in our books and on our website. I like to think of HST as more of a creative collective than a traditional publishing house, just helping get the word out more than anything, really. We offer free downloads of almost everything we’ve ever published, and wherever we can get away with it, we encourage our contributors to print and sell/distribute their own copies as well. By the same token, we never claim exclusive rights on anything we publish, so contributors can always reprint with ease. It’s really all about spreading the disease!

 

ABP- Something that sets HST apart from its peers are your models. Your website features a variety of women modeling Horror Sleaze Trash t-shirts. Where did the idea for combining literature and risqué photography come from?

 

AG- That format had been in place since long before my tenure, but the way I look at it is this: It’s hard enough to get people to pick up a book these days, let alone a book of POETRY, so ya gotta get ’em through the door somehow. Sex sells, y’all – that’s a fact – and we’re certainly not above it.

Ben had worked with countless models from about 2010-2016, producing some very fine photoshoots for HST, many of which remain on our website to this day. Ever since India and I took over, we’ve adopted more of a practical, symbiotic approach to most of our shoots, wherein models net us exposure from their followers and vice versa. Whether we’re just having fun or trying to snap the perfect shot for our next cover, we strive to include a diverse cohort of models, photographers, and styles from all around the world. India in particular has been a great help in approaching/working with models, so I don’t have to come across as some dirty old man asking girls to take to their clothes off.

Most recently we shot with the lovely and talented Miss Jada (@horror.jada) and Juri Billy Doll from Japan (@j_bdoll). Interested models and photographers should get in touch!

 

ABP- Your tagline is “Like pissing wine into an ocean of alcoholics”. Can you break that down for us?

 

AG-  This is another artifact from well before my time, but I’ve always interpreted it as some sort of weird, extended metaphor in which our audience is this crowd of surging drunks, HST is the ship that sails upon them, and our content is the wine they so desperately thirst for. Only we’re shooting it into their mouths through our dicks, like piss, which I guess seems wholly appropriate.

Honestly, as weird as it sounds, I feel this sort of imagery is indicative of our overall aesthetic, where pretty much everything is fucking wild and virtually nothing is ever off limits. It doesn’t have to make sense or avoid offense, because as we all know there’s enough of that sort of thing going around these days. Horror Sleaze Trash truly is the art/lit zine that “has always been and will always be for the misfits”, and we intend to keep it that way by pissing all the wine that we please.

 

ABP- I love the book title A Warm cup of Assholes. Tell us about that publication.

 

AG- A Warm cup of Assholes is the excellent poetry album put together by Michael James Christian and Ben John Smith several years ago, which together with their follow-up, Turd Eye, can be found on the “Books” page of our website. Both of these can be previewed/purchased via Bandcamp, and I’d highly recommend them to anyone who feels that performance poetry can and should be so much more than just stilted lines and delivery. Here’s hoping they record another album together someday soon!

 

ABP- Is HST currently accepting manuscript submissions, submissions for print anthologies, or for your blog? If so, please tell us your guidelines and where one can send their work to.

 

AG- HST has generally been open to just about anything over the course of its existence, provided it fits with or improves our aesthetic. This includes poetry, prose, porn, reviews, interviews, etc. We’re always looking for models, artwork, and photography to round out the visual aspect, and we enjoy promoting independent music and musicians as well.

As for manuscripts, I have read a few submissions thus far, but unfortunately I have yet to find the bandwidth for publishing anything book-length that was not a compilation of shorter pieces we’d already published on our website. We’ll continue to consider manuscripts in the future, but we’ll have to remain picky lest we overwhelm ourselves with too many extraneous side projects.

As for blog/print submissions, we treat these as essentially the same thing, pulling from the vast pool of blog posts for use in future poetry quarterlies and the prose anthologies we’ll periodically publish.

Guidelines can be found on the “Submissions” page of our website. Send us your shit, motherfuckers!

https://horrorsleazetrash.com/

 

ABP- Do you have anything planned for later this year or in 2020 that you would like to announce here?

 

AG- This year we are hoping to release a follow-up to Horror Sleaze Trash: Prose in Poor Taste, while at the same time keeping up with our ongoing poetry quarterly as well. Beyond all that, we’re just going to continue doing what we’ve always done, publishing the underdogs and those in need of the exposure. It is our distinct pleasure to publish so much great talent, and we’re hoping to expand our little crew of misfits well through 2020 and on into the future as well.

 

ABP- It truly was a privilege to feature you here Arthur. Thanks again for making the time. The floor is yours. Please take the following pages to share anything at all you would like.

 

AG- Thank YOU, Red! As mentioned previously, HST exists to support the authors and artists shunned by more mainstream media, so the signal boost is much appreciated. Smaller outfits like ours can really benefit a lot from sharing readers and resources, and a rising tide lifts all boats, as they say. To that end, I’d encourage your readers to not only check out Horror Sleaze Trash, but also the many others listed on our “Friends” page as well. Thanks again for having us!

hst

Chani Zwibel is ABP’s featured artist for May 2019

ABP Thank you for taking this interview Chani. In July of 2018 Alien Buddha Press had the privilege of releasing your poetry chapbook Cave Dreams to Star Portals. Please tell us about that book; what went into it, and how you feel about it almost a year later.

 

CZ-  I had all these abstract poems, and others that were more narrative, but also just kind of weird. I was trying to group together poems in a way that made sense. I had been listening to a lot of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. I had this idea about cave people getting visited by UFOS, and so all these poems seemed to coalescence around that idea.

 

ABP- You have also participated in some of our anthologies, such as O’Riordan, The Mathematician, and This One Time the Alien Buddha Got so High. Your style of writing certainly added a particularly unique element to those books. Are there any other anthologies outside of ABP that you would like to recommend to our readers?

 

CZ- I have to shamelessly self-promote any anthologies from Madness Muse Press put out in the last couple years. Working as associate editor under the guidance of Adam Levon Brown has produced some awesome stuff. Also, I was just featured in one from Transcendent Zero Press with a bunch of other cool writers and artists, many of whom also work with ABP. That one is “Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love” edited by Claudine Nash.

 

ABP- Do you have anything planned for the rest of 2019, or in 2020?

 

CZ- Oh, nothing much, you know: take over the world. (JK LOL)

Seriously though, I’m working on an abcedarius style poetry  book and I have a few chapbooks out in contests (fingers crossed y’all).

 

ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?

 

CZ- Most of the Modernists and quite a few Victorians.  I read my Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson until the covers wore off. I love the goofy, nonsense rhymes of Shel Silverstein. More recently I’m into Warsan Shire, Claudia Rankine, and Joy Harjo.

 

ABP-  You once wrote “Justice weeps in the dark and none hear her cry/ Brazen men of evil want her voice to die”. Can you take us through what went into that rhyme?

CZ- After the 2016 election, I was feeling very helpless and upset. I started writing these scathing political poems that just chewed up the scenery. Then, I started experimenting with the idea of classical themes and styles (like rhyming couplets). So I had all these lady liberty and blind justice images floating around. I think I wrote that specific line in a poem after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as a supreme court justice. Sometimes I feel the only way my voice is heard is through poetry.

 

ABP- It was truly a privilege to feature you here. The floor is yours. Feel free to share anything you’d like.

 

CZ- Thank you! It’s a privilege to be here!  I really appreciate the opportunity.

The only other thing I want to share is I’m co-hosting a poetry event in my local community called Poetry and Palette, at The Good Acting Studio. The next one is on May 18. The idea is to get a variety of artists to come together for a good cause. If anyone is in the Atlanta, GA area or wants to travel here is the info:

https://m.bpt.me/event/4100768

Image may contain: Chani Zwibel Butler, closeup

 

Alien Buddha: Film Critic

Alien Buddha: Film Critic

Glass- Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Sarah Paulson. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Pg13

I did not think this movie was as bad as most film critics claim; but I do agree that it is the weakest of its trilogy, as the plotline does not match up with that of Unbreakable’s; nor does the energy and direction resemble what was produced in Split. Willis and Jackson phone in their performances a bit. James McAvoy salvages the production the best he can, returning with a excellent performance as Kevin Wendell Crumb and all of the other people living inside of him.

 

Perhaps the real problem with Glass is that it was forced. At the end of Split when it was reveled that the movie took place in the same universe as Unbreakable, there was a sense of satisfaction in that for me. If Shyamalan had found a way to continue expanding this superhero universe subtly, an eventual crossover/showdown film may have worked out. The way things played however, it felt relative to if the MCU tried to release Infinity War after just two movies. Shyamalan was trying to sell a massive story that just wasn’t there.

 

5.1

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse– Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Lily Tomlin. Directed by Bob Persichetti

PG

A well written, family-friendly, coming of age story with mind-blowing animation. Into the Spider-Verse is engaging, funny, action-packed, and heartwarming. A refreshing take on a story that has been rebooted hundreds of times over. As the story unfolds it continues to find new ways to be anything but predictable.

 

It is a cartoon and all, and one of its stars is a talking pig, but the movie finds a way to use this to its advantage. With underlying quantum physics and super colliders in the story there is a lot of intelligence hidden under surface level of goofy fun.

 

9.0

 

 

Vice– Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, and Jesse Plemons. Directed by Adam McKay

R

Did Dick Cheney just benefit from the 9/11 attacks, or did he flat out orchestrate it? When Vice implied the former over the latter I began to have doubts about the movie, but as it progressed the film started to feel more credible. Vice pulls few punches, but it does pull a few. Another complaint I have is that it is almost too similar to W, the movie about George W Bush.

 

Unlike the former vice president himself, this movie does have more good things to say than bad. It is funny, brash, and most-unlike its subject,  Vice has a good heart.

 

7.2

 

 

Creed 2– Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, and Florian Munteanu. Directed by Steven Caple Jr.

PG13

It is what it is; a movie about grown men punching each other. Stallone and Lundgren were never known for having impeccable range as thespians, but when it comes to portraying punch-drunk old men, nobody does it better. Jordan is electric as sympathetic as always, and Munteanu plays a hateable villain.

 

6.6

 

Newer Releases

Avengers Endgame- 9.5

Us- 9.4 (horror movie of the decade)

Shazam! – 8.3

Captain Marvel – 7 (not as bad as incels on the internet desperately need you to believe)

Pet Semetery – 6  

Luke Kuzmish is Alien Buddha Press’ featured artist for the month of April 2019

ABP- Thank you for agreeing to partake in the feature, Luke. One year ago, in the April of 2018 Alien Buddha Press had the privilege of publishing your poetry chapbook Little Hollywood. Please tell us about that book; when went into it, and what came out of writing it.
LK
I appreciate all you have done for the poetry community. I had published a few chapbooks previously, but they were staple-bound, and you had to run into me to buy one. Making my writing available through Amazon seemed like an impossibility. Thank you!
As for Little Hollywood, it was a book primarily written within the first few months of getting clean after a relapse. Little Hollywood is the name of the neighborhood my fiancee and I live in, and I think that was a decision you and I came to for the title. It’s a really bizarre name for a book or for a neighborhood, and I like that.
The process of writing while not using drugs was always an obstacle to overcome. My first stint in a drug and alcohol treatment center was back in 2012, and I really thought that my ability to write was directly linked to the drugs I was taking. I’m an impatient person, and the ability to find my voice was one that took time. Writing the poems that would become Little Hollywood felt like the first step in proving that to myself.
As for what came out of it… Confidence? Acceptance? Hope? It’s hard to say. I’m proud of the book, but I have found that when I look back at a
 skill I’m still improving on, seeing progress means recognizing shortcomings. I see a lot of progress in my writing today compared to just a year ago.
ABP- You have been a pivotal part of the live poetry readings that ABP hosted in Erie PA at Ember and Forge last year. What was that like? Do you have any amusing stories from those reads?
LK-
I love Hannah [Kirby, owner of Ember+Forge] and the people who work at Ember+Forge. They have been incredibly gracious to Jay Miner and I to allow us to put on readings there. I actually have two readings coming to Ember+Forge, April 13th, 2019 and May 11th, 2019. The April reading is going to feature Cee Williams, Keith Moses, Monica Igras, Kat Wolper, Jason Baldinger, and Scott Silsbe. May 11th will feature Kevin Martin, Scott Silsbe, Jason Baldinger, Sarah Shotland, and Carrie Hohmann Campbell. Heavy hitters all around.
I have been involved with the local Erie poetry community for a number of years. Cee Williams used to run Poets’ Hall which was a club dedicated to poetry and spoken word. I am incredibly lucky to have been so welcomed into the fellowship there. Cee really encouraged me a lot too, and it’s always a special thing when someone you admire tells you that they dig your art. Going to see and hear other writers every week really kept me writing… I always wanted to rise to the people around me. I got exposed to a lot of different voices.
Probably one of the most interesting things that happened as a result of the stuff with Ember+Forge is that Liz Johnson, the woman who painted the mural featured on the cover of Little Hollywood, reached out to me because she saw my book sitting around the coffee shop. I had no idea
 who created that mural when we published the book, so that was a cool moment of synchronicity.
ABP- You recently wrote something that I as a former resident of Dover NH can relate to entirely, “New Hampshire is good intentions…house guests who pawn your things & break the dryer before they go… a rented room found on Craigslist owned by beer drinking Patriots fans who scream & scream at their kids… five miles under the speed limit through winding back roads when I’ve been dope sick and sweating a trip to & from Boston”
What advice would you give to somebody currently in a similar situation who is wanting to get out?
LK-
I’m assuming that you mean escaping the bondage of addiction rather than how to move out of New Hampshire: reach out. As I mentioned before, the first time I went into a detox facility or a rehab was in 2012… I didn’t have even 6 months of sobriety until 2017. I consider myself beyond lucky, fortunate, or blessed to have not died in the time in- between.
I’m a master practitioner of self-deception, and that plays into my ability to sustain a 10+ year long addiction in the face of degradation and failure. I had to do some uncomfortable things like talking about how I feel and taking suggestions. There’s help available but it requires a big effort on the addict’s part.
ABP- I have also seen that you have recently become a father, congratulations. Has that changed your creative process as a writer at all?
 LK-
Thank you! I feel like having a child has cracked open a part of my being. I wear sweaters and slippers all the time now… that’s gotta be good for a writer, right?
But in all seriousness, I have been a lot more focused in my life. I feel like I’m attached to the ground. I have been writing in a fervor as of late too. The nature of having a young child is being awake at odd hours. This gives me new and different times to write.
ABP- Who are some of your biggest artistic influences?
LK-
Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Jim Carroll, CS Lewis, William S Burroughs, Philip Levine, Charles Bukowski, Robert Pollard…. jeez what (mostly) a depressing list. I move more to the beat of the community of writers around me, so it’s important to mention people I perform with and/or swap ideas online: like Matt Borczon who writes a new stunning piece every day.
ABP- What do you have planned for 2019, and what past projects should we look out for?
LK-
Check out Little Hollywood on Amazon. I have some poems that will appear later this year in Call Me [Brackets], Rigg Welter Press, Nixes Mate, Anti-Heroin Chic, Mojave River Review, Soft Cartel, Cabildo Quarterly, and Picaroon Poetry. I have readings scheduled at Ember+Forge in Erie, PA… I’ll keep Alien Buddha Press in the loop.
ABP- It was great to feature you here Luke. The floor is all yours. Please, share anything you would like with our readers on wordpress. Anything at all.
LK-
Thanks again!
“docket sheets” (originally appearing at Horror Sleaze Trash) https://
Video of Little Hollywood book release held at Ember+Forge Coffee on May 25, 2018. Thanks to Thasia Anne for capturing and editing this. https://youtu.be/S8dIUEhG85I?t=651
“sam” (originally appearing at The Beatnik Cowboy) https:// beatnikcowboy.com/2018/05/17/luke-kuzmish/
“fourth step” (originally appearing at Ink Sweat & Tears) http:// www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?p=18696
bus x
I remember
getting onto bus X my bus
stoned from two hits
 of mid-grade weed
out of a metal pipe
a stolen heirloom
with a portable CD player held in my dirty hands
in the low morning light of third semester suburbia
I sat in my seat
and watched the grape vines go by
listening
to The Ramones
I think
I could’ve died happy
right then
but
of course
life happened
the cops took
my pipe
and
my Ramones CD got scratched
 
women/words/wisdom
there are some doors
better left unopened
otherwise get stuck carrying brooms
a direct line to god
i never found essential he finds me enough
in dreams and in tongues spoken by little baby daughters in dead men’s rooms
who used to be brothers
and hustling thieves
become bourbon vapor acquaintances
in stardust
we all met once
found each other again
you could be my mother
 or maybe we played ball that one time on vacation
where i died
full body baptism washed in the undertow
and mary
mother of eternal hell misplaced me
momma thought it was aliens swapping me out
for another woman’s dead child
she loved me just the same said
you’ll forever know your kinfolk
I will leave you with a poem from Little Hollywood:
punishment coffee
at the food bank
 that citizens of the county could visit once a month
I volunteered
not by choice
at the food bank
at 9:15
a bell was rung
and the workers stopped to say a prayer
at the food bank
I’m not Catholic
in fact
every where else
I’m not Catholic either so
reciting Hail Mary
wasn’t something I could do I joined in on Our Father
at the food bank
they asked if I wanted coffee & I did
so Tony made it
he was fat and old
it tasted terrible
 it was a donation probably stale
definitely cheap
I don’t like creamer
but I tried it with creamer and it made my teeth hurt like a bolt of lightning
to my molars
at the food bank
every day I drank the coffee
8 ounces from a styrofoam cup it was more like a punishment than a pleasure
but
every day I drank the coffee
at the food bank
it crossed my mind
to throw out the canister of coffee
but God only knows when and with what they would replace it
at the food bank
there was a guy named Slinger
 he pushed carts
half full
a month’s worth of food for a family of 5
Slinger was happy Slinger volunteered –real volunteering
not the kind I was doing
at the food bank
they’d make coffee
and no one would drink it
I’d pour it out
before I left around noon
my pockets stuffed
with sweets
from damaged packages
in white box trucks
that I unloaded
Tony never satisfied
with my ability to take direction in putting the food away likewise
I was never satisfied
with his ability to state
exactly what he wanted
 at the food bank
they gave away rosaries
cheap plastic rosaries
with instructions on a paper
in a ziplock bag
drug addicts wore them
around their necks
always made me think
about
Chris Farley
begging the prostitute
not to leave him
up for days on cocaine and fades then praying the rosary
and dying ashamed
lk

Alien Buddha: Film Critic

Bohemian RhapsodyDirected by Bryan Singer; Starring Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury; 2hrs and 14 mins

 

If you like the music of Queen, you will enjoy this movie. The film recreates the sound and energy of the rock band wonderfully in the live performance and studio scenes. For me, this was the highlight of the experience. The plot starts in the groups early days during the early 70’s and ends with their live aid performance in 1985. At the beginning of the film I was lured into the false sense that Mercury’s personal life woud be white-washed as the flamboyant singer lays in bed with his fiancé Mary Austin, and confesses his love for her. This is not the case however, starting with a scene at a truckstop. Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality is as much a part of the story as it should be. This allows a bitter-sweet anti-love story between Mercury and Austin (Malek and Boynton) to unfold.

 

Rami Malek is convincing. His mannerisms and accent are nearly spot on. There are no complaints to be made about the acting throughout the entire cast. We even get a cameo from Mike Myers, as he portrays record producer Ray Foster; the man who rejected the band’s #1 hit for being ‘6 bloody minutes long’.

 

There is one major complaint to be made about the film, and it is that it resembled most every other rock and roll biopic in many ways. Band wants to get famous, band gets famous, band parties, lead singer gets manipulated by opportunistic agent, band breaks up, band gets back together, somebody dies… It is hard to blame the movie too much for this, as that is what really happened after all.

 

Kudos to the writers and director for pulling no punches when examining the circumstances of Mercury’s death from HIV.

I’ll give this movie a 8.2 out of 10

 

 

Slender ManDirected by Sylvain White; Starring Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, and Jaz Sinclair; 1h 33min

 

This movie was a disappointment. I got the sense that they were trying to sit on the fence between exploiting the real life murders involving the slender man lore, and ignoring it completely. The Slender Man is shown in the movie for all of sixty seconds, if that. The plot is underwhelming. A group of teenage girls summon the interdimensional boogeyman, he kidnaps one of them, and her friends are upset about it. The movie makes a big mistake in following the girls that got left behind as they go to school and argue amongst each other, and not the girl who got taken.

 

White, King, Telles, and Sinclair were not necessarily bad actors, but they also couldn’t make up for the awful writing, nor did any of them get close to doing that at any point.  It was not scary, funny, or dramatic. Just boring.

 

Where some horror movies can make up for bad writing and direction or pedestrian acting by being ‘so bad it’s good’ and delivering campiness or gore, even a damn jump-scare or two, Slender Man does not even deliver in that department. It’s one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years.

 

I’ll give this movie a 1.1 out of 10

 

 

DetroitDirected by Kathryn Bigelow; Starring John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, Michael Jibrin, Jacob Latimore, Joseph David-Jones, Ephraim Sykes,  Malcolm David Kelley, Kaitlyn Dever, Hannah Murray, and John Krasinski; 2hrs 23mins

 

This has to be the most underrated movie of 2017. Bigelow makes you feel like you are standing there is 1967 Detroit, with incredibly authentic cinematography tactics. The film is gritty and unapologetic.

 

The plot kicks off with police officers raiding a peaceful get-together of African Americans, some of which had just gotten home from fighting in the Vietnam war. From there the streets of Detroit devolve into a chaotic struggle for justice and retribution as an all-out race riot breaks out. Will Poulter is plays a most-realistic villain in his portrayal of officer Krauss, a racist cop who in his first scene shoots a black teenager armed with nothing but a bag of looted groceries in the back. I wanted to punch Poulter in his face several times throughout the picture.

At the center of everything is the Algiers Motel. The police raid a section of the building housing seven black men and two white women after a ‘sniper incident’ involving a toy gun. John Boyega plays Melvin Dismukes, a private security guard who finds himself on the side of law enforcement as they beat, humiliate, and flat out torment fellow black men in front of him. It is difficult at times to know how to feel about this character, feeling everything from sympathy to disgust about his actions throughout the standoff.

The movie does drag on a little bit. After the standoff there is a powerful courtroom confrontation between a scumbag police lawyer (John Krasinski) and survivor of the incident, a musician named Larry (Algee Smith). This would have been a good way to end the film, it is made clear that fascism wins on this day and Larry stands up in the courtroom and tells off his attackers, thus receiving a thunderous applause by civil rights activists in the gallows. The movie runs for another 15-20 mins after this, long after the movie climaxes.

I give this movie an 8.4 out of 10

Heidi Blakeslee is ABP’s featured artist of the month for March 2019

ABP- Thank you for taking this interview Heidi. Eight months ago, ABP had the privilege of releasing your novel “The House”. This was one of the first fiction titles we ever released. Please tell us about this book.

 

HB-  Well, Red, “The House” is a culmination of years of learning about the paranormal in my day to day life.  I think I read every book out there about the paranormal.  I’ve seen every ghostie show in existence.  I’ve studied Ed and Lorraine Warren, Hans Holzer, and many other famous ghost hunters and demonologists.  When I turned my focus towards writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month in November of 2017, “The House” was the natural reply from my brain.

 

ABP- I can see that you have also released some poetry books. In 2011 “Should the Need Arise” came out. Can you tell us about this collection. Also, do you have a preference between writing poetry or fiction?

 

HB-  If poetry is a sprint, then writing a novel/book length work is a marathon.  “Should the Need Arise” is the last poetry book that I put out, but I have never stopped writing poetry.

I prefer writing poetry because the payout is instantaneous, but I try to write a novel now and then to challenge myself.  It really is a different frame of mind.  And when I’m working on a novel, no poetry can come through.   I am 100% focused on the novel.

 

ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?

 

HB- I think I gravitate towards writers who give no fucks.  People who just say what needs to be said.  I am a voracious reader, and I know that I am influenced a lot by what I read.  News stories hit me pretty hard.  They stir up a lot of topics to write about.  As far as authors that influence me, I’d say Stephen King for sure.  I started reading his horror books at age 12 and they have stuck with me.  Feminist writers like Gloria Steinem, Mary Daly, and Adrienne Rich are favorites.  I also love Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Richard Brautigan, and virtually anyone who writes about the paranormal or serial killers.

 

ABP- In the anthology ‘Masks Still Aren’t Enough: More Poetic Responses to the Art of Marcel Herms’ you wrote what is in my opinion one of the most visceral lines in the book; “The hand man eats fingers for breakfast, and knuckles for lunch, he flosses with fingernails, and uses bones for toothpicks, maybe I should just give him my hands as a kind of offering, maybe he’ll let me keep my skin”. Can you take us through what that means to you?

 

HB- I think it’s primarily a guttural response to Marcel Herm’s art.  In “Masks Still Aren’t Enough: More Poetic Responses to the Art of Marcel Herms,” I had a basic process for each of the poems I contributed.  I would stare at the art and just sort of let it talk to me.  I tried to look into the art and figure out what was going on in the picture.  “The Hand Man” made sense to me.  A sort of horrifying reality in the art.  So it came out on the page!

 

ABP- Do you have anything planned that we should look out for in 2019?

 

HB- Well, I have a new poetry collection called “Neurotica” that I’m working on.  I also have half of a novel written.  It’s called “Cook or Die!”  It’s about a woman who ends up on a cooking competition show, but it goes horribly awry and gets crazy.

 

ABP- It really is wonderful to feature you here, Heidi. The floor is yours. Please take this time and space to share anything you would like. Anything at all.

HB-  Thank you for the interview and the many opportunities you have afforded me over the last year.  I have a great time coming up with work for the ‘zines and collections that Alien Buddha puts forth.  I love the anything goes, punk rock mentality of the Alien Buddha family.  I think with that license to freedom, true art can emerge.  And it does.   As I always say, “Viva La Alien Buddha!”

 

also, here’s a poem:

writing a novel

is a bitch

you have to pull the string of language

out of your chest

sometimes one line

at a time

 

minutes pass in hours

and the pain of it

is stultifying

 

other times,

pages come out faster

than your conscious mind

can fathom

 

it’s a rat race some days

a Cancun beach some days

 

flip of a damn dime

if I can ever tell how

it’s going to

play

out

 

BIO: Heidi Blakeslee lives near Pittsburgh, Pa with James and her seven cats. She is looking forward to publishing a new poetry collection, “Neurotica,” in the coming year.  She has been featured in “Duck Lake Books,” “Winedrunksidewalks,” “Nixes Mate,” and other publications.  Her works include the Alien Buddha publication, “The House,” as well as another novel, “Strange Man,” a memoir, “The White Cat: A Paranormal Memoir,” and two poetry books, “The Empress of Hours,” and “Should the Need Arise.”

hbhb