Mixed media from Daniel De Culla

Santilana del Mar, Cantabria. Pic: Isabel G. de Diego


 The General Inquisitor

What a great awakening has!

Throwing an abbess from his bed

That was not born of Mary

And, hugging his stiff prick

Praises the heavenly father and his beloved Son

Thanking the joyful glory of his prick

For raping four Witches

From among the most beautiful

To spread hosts or bread

Because he throws the ugliest

To the minions, canons of the Cathedral

To the pigs and the dogs.

Raping four agnostics and five heretics

Worthy of being whipped and humiliated

Crushing the eggs

Putting them an Easter candle by the Ass

While stealing and expropriating

Their earthly possessions

Under death threats at the stake

Or in the shackles

To give them to the King and the Church.

 This glory day, also

He had fucked seven blasphemous novices

By bringing them to the eternal day of their lives

Among the flames of other fires

And that, for being glorifying her Cunt

That Cunt that gives us Life

It makes us funny

And it is the joy of slime fools.

This General Inquisitor

After well marinate

The naked bodies of the Witches

Beautiful bodies between his hands raped

With his stale and rotten sperms

He brought them to the eternal day of their glory

Burning them at the stake.

When the sun sets

Contemplating, erect and disengaged

Stroking his prick

How the hairs of their cunts burnt

And those of the alveoli of her nipples

Not only.

In this position

Singing to the Father and the Son

And to the Holy Spirit

He wrote a “Treaty on Romanesque Art

And the Gothic Art ”

Affirming that: Romanesque art

Had been created by architects

Inspired by the chesnut sellers

And their pretty chestnuts

Seeing that they were all good

Because they participate in the glory of the Father

And that gothic art had occurred to them

Seeing the flames of the fires

That rose to Heaven

Dragging between threads of fire

The souls of the Witches.

This morning of proceedings was clear

And, before the awful burning was celebrated

With Easter clarity

The General Inquisitor was heading to his Cathedral

And once in the bell tower

He picked up the clapper of the bell

That was ringing

Placing it imposing his prick on her

Making her sounding.

All the believer people that to the false light deliver

Composed of fearful and conspicuous devout women

That come with pleasure as soon as they see him

Or guess, happy

That it is his carnal light that refuses them

And of criminals Font pissers defenders at all costs

Of so macabre burning for God and for the Church

In St Vitus’s dance looking for him

Because his inquisitorial presence is ardent

Without meridian or border.

For all of them

This criminal and murderer General Inquisitor

Was a wicked saint, column of the Aurora

Announcing his greatness at night

By the light of the fires.

From his episcopal balcony

He blinded the sun with his sperms

And to the moon gaves candle

For lighting the desert and its sands.

He closed the night of the fires

With scorched Witches’ bodies

Like sackcloth of darkness

That for his people it was a blessing

See sunrising over the roofs of their houses

So much smog in embers

Smelling of singed horsehairs and pigs.

The General Inquisitor, meanwhile

In his episcopal palace

With snooze

Watches his prick watching

 Tooking fire from the bowels of his eggs

And between the sheets

Aurora flipping over

Loudly praying:

“Husband Jesus come suddenly.

Go out to meet the Witches

That in the forest, naked, are dancing

With green bouquets

Singing to the horned God

And the mother Moon.

Bring to my presence

Agnostics,  heretics

And blasphemous novices

That have a shit at the door of your banquet.

Fires await for them.

How cry their scorched eyes

That won’t be able to see you!

-Daniel de Culla

Poetry from J.J. Campbell

Author J.J. Campbell
Author J.J. Campbell

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is old enough to know better. He’s been widely published over the last quarter century, most recently at Under The Bleachers, Misfit Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, Raw Dog Press and Red Eft Review. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

————————————————————————————————————————the alcohol works better these days 

another rainy afternoon 

another shot of bourbon

for the pain 

they tell me to stretch, do

a little light exercising, go

for a walk 

that always makes me laugh 

these “experts” don’t have

a bad back and arthritis

head to toe the alcohol works better

these days 

they worry about my liver
i don’t i’ve lived over a decade

longer than i ever wanted 

the end can arrive anytime

she wants


a soft suicide 

her love was like a soft

suicide the wrists

would bleed

but eventually

give up much like

her the stars


aligned we never

saw each

other again the only time

i ever saw

any lucky



allowing all the dirty thoughts

i’m the dirty old

man i used to read

about in my teens sitting back and

watching allowing all the

dirty thoughts to

wash over me in

a fever old enough to know

these thoughts would

get me arrested if

they became action but, having lost

the ability to smile,

i get the feeling a


of sorts is coming



wanted to be a gypsy

i once had a woman

who always wanted

to be a gypsy tell me

to seek out a mystery

on the north shore and

all my troubles would

be taken care of 

i asked her to be more

specific and she said

the adventure would

be worth it that was a quarter

century ago, i didn’t

take her advice i’m alone and lost

my desire to travel

years ago


multiple vials of blood 

i have a feeling

i’m living my future 

physical therapy

sessions medical facilities

on the other side

of the county strange women

concerned about

pulling sticky things

off my chest hair it’s the only pleasure

i can find anymore

that doesn’t cost mean arm or multiple

vials of blood the thought of death

resting comfortably

around every corner

Poetry from Christopher Bernard

The Silence

by Christopher Bernard

The silence seemed delicious. No one would have thought

the streets could be so still.

The whiplash hum of the cables,

slapping and whining in the slots

or clashing, electrically, above the streets,

the moaning and whimper of the busses,

the gnarled complaints of cars,

the arthritic squeal of a truck,

vanished, like the crumpled quiet of barroom talk.

The barroom talk, too, silenced,

with the garrulous, loud Pandora,

the restaurant ramage quietened

to a held breath by the cashiers.

The tap-tap of a single pedestrian.

The whisper of the wind in your ear.

The buzzing of a heavy bumble bee.

The full-throated aria of a mockingbird,

blithely ignoring sheltering in place,

singing his heart out at the top of a tree.

Under the silence, a trembling,

the lifting of a finger

turning in the wind,

like a cock on a weather vane.

West. South. East. North. East.

South. East. South. West. North.


Christopher Bernard is co-editor and poetry editor of the webzine Caveat Lector. His new novel, Meditations on Love and Catastrophe at The Liars’ Café, appeared in January 2020. His third collection of poetry, The Socialist’ Garden of Verses, is slated to appear later this year.

Christopher Bernard reviews Eunice Odio’s collection The Fire’s Journey

Eunice Odio (sculpture by Marisel Jiménez; image from Oregon Arts Watch)


The Fire’s Journey

Part IV: The Return

Eunice Odio

Translated by Keith Ekiss with Sonia P. Ticas and Mauricio Espinosa

Tavern Books

A review by Christopher Bernard

            “2ND MAN

            Where, where is the house of your words?


Behind your heart.”

                                    —The Fire’s Journey, Part IV: The Return

Eunice Odio, considered by many the greatest Costa Rican poet of the twentieth century, wrote what we can now see is one of that century’s most remarkable poems – her complex, elusive, deeply imagined epic of creation, The Fire’s Journey. It has taken several generations for Anglophones to be introduced to this extraordinary poem; with the publication of this translation of the epic’s concluding section, we are finally able to get a sense of the full magnitude of Odio’s accomplishment.

To briefly recap: the first three parts of this epic depict, and in some ways enact, the creation of the world from primordial chaos, and of both the poet narrating the epic (introduced in part two) and of the world’s poet-creator, Ion, named after a central character in Plato’s dialogue of the same name in which the philosopher presents his understanding of poetry as a kind of inspired madness and the role of the poet as a necromantic artificer and a tutor, wise in his madness and mad in his wisdom, of the ways of the gods.

The third, hitherto longest, section depicted the heroic making and remaking by Ion and his faithful servant, Dedalus, with the help of a host of gods, of a great cathedral, an edifice against the void that threatens creation at every instant of its existence.

The fourth part depicts the return of Ion and Dedalus and the other creator gods and goddesses (Om, Tiara, Thauma, Efrit, Demon) to the city of humanity to celebrate the creation of the world after a great victory has been achieved (it is not entirely clear what this “victory” is of, or against what, though it may be the victory of creation itself against chaos and nothingess). On their way to the city, they meet a group of men carrying an angel who seems, somewhat ominously, to have been killed by the masters of the city. In a Lazarus-like act, or an allusion to Jesus, they resurrect him:

He is a crippled angel, he is a man;

not a whole man, but broken in pieces;

half a man that rage spun cut by cut,

large in wounds and small in hope . . .

Ion, returning to his human form, hopes to be recognized by his mother, his uncle, and his brothers (curiously, Ion’s father is never referred to directly, though an ultimate being irregularly appearing, called “The Guardian,” may be him), but even his family does not see him for what and who he is (the second brother speaks):

You’re left, mother, with the son

who disturbs you piece by piece;

you’re left with your recovered son

in whom you never rest

the one you love in secret

without joy and without pause;

in whom you whirl, crying in pain.

In consequence, Ion, who, as a creator of the universe, is also the creator of himself, must now reject his family:

            Mother, . . .

            . . .

            Stay in your place,

            Stay there, living, besieged by the dead.

            Stay there, kissing me from within.

            A new word annihilates me,

            another sets me free

            another one is born in me, allowing a new birthing;

            I am become birth-light once again.

            I emerge.

            .  .  .

            I keep on until the end,

            journeying in rapture.

But on their way to the city, the creators make a harsh discovery: though those they meet are eagerly awaiting the coming of the creators to celebrate them and all of creation, Ion and Dedalus are not recognized; they are spurned, laughed at, denied. They then discover the harshest reality of all. The city of men where they hoped to celebrate, and justly be celebrated, has been conquered by an oligarchy of demons: god of the dead Erebos, three-headed Cerberus, Syriac devil Beherit, and Hybris, named not coincidentally for the Greek word for the overweening arrogance that leads to catastrophe. Humanity has been corrupted, and the euphoria of creation is poisoned by the reign of evil.

Ion and Dedalus are cast out of the city. After their long labor creating the universe, they are stripped of joy and pride, mocked, and left destitute in the wilderness:


Lord, you are sad. You have nothing left


but your solitude.

.  .  .

You, my populous solitude

my soul’s pluranimous movement,

the thirst that sustains me,

mother, child, my brother pulse,

the bread’s skeleton,

an unbroken visitor

.  .  .


keeping watch

at the gates of the earth.

“The return” of the title means different things: Ion’s return to the city of men, his return to human form from his time as spiritual creator, the return to “reality” from the inspired insanity of the rhapsode, a return to darkness after the blazing light of creation.  It is also a kind of return to the primordial questions of existence, to void and chaos confronting the painful articulations of reality, to the adventure of being that is always about to begin.

Thanks to Keith Ekiss and his associates, Anglophone readers now have a chance to be enriched by this strange and challenging poem, Blakean (as the great Mexican poet Octavio Paz recognized) in its range and originality, a myth of origin of endlessly ramifying depth, a spiritual and verbal journey rich with promises of discovery, and a look into human and ahuman reality depicted in a masterpiece that deserves a wide readership in any language. One can only wonder why it has taken so long for us to learn about it. But surely it has been worth the wait, since the result is this masterly translation.


Christopher Bernard is co-editor and poetry editor of the webzine Caveat Lector. His new novel, Meditations on Love and Catastrophe at The Liars’ Café, appeared in January 2020. His third collection of poetry, The Socialist’ Garden of Verses, is slated to appear later this year.

Poetry from Ahmad Al-Khatat

Life or Death

Ahmad Al-Khatat

My spirit have
Asked me questions,
Like a musician
Playing melancholy flute

Life or death?
Wilder wounds always extend
Hope or fortune?
Burning tears and not fallen

Skeleton or flesh?
Autumn cloud raining blood
Hard or warm hearted?
Heartbroken to be heartless

Mirror or shades?
The wind of late hours
Morning or dawn?
Twilight in the dell road

Cured or luck?
The sorrow of demon
Nightingale or nightmare?
Hidden dream of the future

Vampire or empire?
Slaughter sword in the graveyard
Figurine or fame?
The dictator forgives and never forget

Ink or a notepad?
Thoughts that can be judge by God
Sickness or inspiration?
A misery blooming in a colourless rose

Whisper or tears?
Echo of a lost spirit in Baghdad
Hunter or ghost?
Enemy who hates himself mostly

Party or funeral?
Holiday with a bloody screaming
Nest or mysteries?
Burning candle celebrating my lonesome.

Unknown Path

From the day
I decided to damage
Your life and break
Every beat of my heart

I walked down
The unknown path
I ran into trouble
In the wrong places

I lived a life
Of unborn mind set
Crying in holidays
Gagging in funerals

Your beauty became
The sunshine to my darkness
And I am still avoiding
Missing you on my birthday

I hated me before we met
I loved nobody but the army
That follows the leader of death
Break my legs and let me love you again.

On The Leaves

On the leaves
Of autumn season,
They are colour
Of your flesh.

On the leaves
Of spring flowers,
They will breathe
Of your perfume.

On the leaves
Of the notebook,
They are lines
With your name.

On the leaves
Of life journey,
Joy and tears
Of one being.

On the leaves
Of poetry book,
Rebound and dark
Are the themes.

On the leaves
Of colorful mirror,
Reflects your smile
Against my request.

On the leaves
Of blind eyed,
Joys arises when
Dreams become hopes.

Ahmad Al-Khatat was born in Baghdad, Iraq. His work has appeared in print and online journals globally and has poems translated into several languages. He has been nominated for Best of the Net 2018. He is the author of The Bleeding Heart Poet, Love On The War’s Frontline, Gas Chamber, Wounds from Iraq, Roofs of Dreams, and The Grey Revolution. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

Poetry from Jeremy Karn

The Newborn’s Swim
After Ife Olatona

‘’here/ where the water breaks/ where the shore lies/where the world opens/ here is the cord/ no backstroke/ here is the blood’’ – Ife Olatona

& there where darkness lies / by the smiles of the doctors/ you’ll know that being born in my country or anywhere nowadays is a sin
& i am smiling / the room is filled with some things we sometimes interpret as love
their eyes on me made me starved for death / the loss of too /much blood from my mother taught me that this world is a battlefield
the time it took / for me my head to be out / made me realize that nothing comes here easily like surviving /i am jealous of babies that die in labor 


i wrote my first poem in my mother’s kitchen three years ago, frustrated about the clogged sink. 
i have vowed to worship anything that may sound like our kitchen door
after all, a god’s voice is found in everything that moans 
i have wished so many things like the sound of water flooding the sink, or wet lips of the faucet
  i have been fattened by the sound & images they create
today i will be filled with air like my sister’s balloon 

  my mother says one day i will get tire of them i have drank her alertness like the last juice left open   often i have pleasured myself trying to clog my throat like the kitchen sink that keeps clogging 

Jeremy T. Karn

Karn, Jeremy. T
Poet / Storyteller
Monrovia, Liberia

Essay from Abigail George

“Prayer for a blind oak, sleeping woman, a lesson in Naomi Wolf’s
promiscuities and an open space where poetry matters””
By Abigail George

Shut the door. Shut out the quiet light. Tell yourself to swim away
from the tigers with arms pillars of smoke. One day I will find myself
in a forest without men, without huntsmen and warriors, nomads and
ghosts that burn all hours of the day and night. One day I will dazzle
and fizz like a champagne virgin. I will laugh in all their faces. I
will weave and thread stories, braid hair and dwell in possibility. My
mother taught me that. White Knight you jewel. The bluish sky falls
off you. I prefer the word ‘solitude’ to ‘loneliness’. White Knight
you jewel of Hollywood. One day I will shut the door. One day I will
shut out the quiet light. One day I will tell myself to swim away from
the tigers. My tingling arms pillars of smoke.

What a pale and beautiful creature you are (you once were upon a time
now we’re worlds apart) but are you happy? You went on to paradise and
wrote and wrote and wrote and won prizes and planted flags. My
beautiful creature as cold as some things that come from the life of
the sea, lover of love, of pictures of health. I have bits and pieces
in memory of you of other peoples’ keepsake stuff. Angelic mouth with
eyes like dew. I knew at the end of it you would still have a
soul-consciousness to come home to. Alas the same could not be said of
me, dude in black, urban-cowboy in black. To yearn for love, to live
in that paradise again is a wish granted to a chosen few, the chosen
ones and what happens to the others?

Others live to exist for their families, raising their children or for
themselves, for their ego. If there is no love, no culture, reality to
feed you, nurture you, caress your tired or grief-stricken face at the
end of the day then I imagine that there are people out there who
sometimes feel as lost as I do. What can loneliness communicate to
you? It can also be a lovely feeling. You’re freer in a way than other
people are. But who is there for you to talk to at the end of the day?
People need companions. People need friends and family, loved ones and
acquaintances. People need contact, closure, and relationships. There
are people who build empires on these kinds of things. And then there
are people who need, want, desire love as wide as rivers.
You’re the Pacific.

And then there are people who turn their back on that and embrace a
life guided by the pulse that tells them to be brave. And to turn
their back on a world that calls them an Outsider, a loner, strange
with strange ways of doing things, a strange way of thinking. And you
just have to have the courage of your convictions if you are this sort
of person. I am this sort of person. So weirdly out of sync with the
rhythm of other women my age. So good am I am at this thing, this
sly-odd movement that I have won prizes for it. It feels like a bird’s
wing in spasm in the air. It feels like a rush of warm, sweet air into
the beautiful red ribbons of your heart, a cry in the dark, a promise
that you make to meet up with someone at heaven’s gate
next to a deathbed.

Someone dear and truly loved who has passed on from this world into
the hereafter. What’s eternity anyway? A more novel, adventurous
dimension because it becomes lovely when you think of it in that way.
Not meeting up with strangers but meeting up with familiar faces. The
faces that you knew, loved and cherished since birth. They were people
who were always a part of your world in one way or another. So, I say
one day we’ll all meet in heaven. We’ll make our way there from all of
our other destinations that we ‘lost’ a little self, worth and
identity in. Everybody is married in some way to his or her soul and
every bit
of our soul is intended for and to be hitched, hooked, stitched to God.

Whether you want to believe that or not is entirely up to you but to
me it makes sense. I love the useful wonder in thinking that. And then
there are those fuzzy and lukewarm questions that tug at the puppet
strings of the heart. Not floating, suspended by nothing but an
existential breeze in the air, not drowning, just there, behaving
mysteriously as if they had all the right in the universe to be there.
When I was in love, I wanted to know everything about him and nothing
at the same time. Falling in love, head over heels, sweeping flaws
under the carpet did not come with instructions. I did not know how to
correct something I did wrong. Everything was new and pretty. To love
someone since you were a child is a very long time.

Illusions, they do not come with flaws and they cannot love. They’re
too much in love with themselves. People do not ask, ‘What were you
like in the womb?’ Men do not say with a great amount of insight, ‘You
seem to have been a fish with the spirit of a lioness even then.’
They’re answers for the volcano dreamer. The last battle won for me
was ‘keeping in touch’. My sister and I had a conversation and it went
something like this. We ended up not really saying anything at all
like most of our conversations these days.

God can keep your soul. Let me bury you there in paradise. In no
particular place in paradise. In your claustrophobic world where you
were so cold. You, white knight death cutie on parade. It’s the little
deaths in pixels from childhood that is as nutritious and forgetful as
dreaming. These days everything is crisper. Images are sharper and
brighter. The ‘less is more’ syndrome is in a minority. Even refugees
and the Masai seem to agree with me with their toothpick limbs and the
wounded sensibility they look at me with. ‘I am not responsible I want
to say,’ but I want to say something, anything really to make this
dark, dark feeling go away when I see these scenes. It’s just not fair
and then the world seems to agree with me but not enough.

(And now what about the men). Of course, the men are in secret code so
they can never be discovered out. In a mirror I see a wife (always a
fretful wife with screaming, crying babies). ‘Poor babies,’ I enjoyed
saying and why didn’t he love his beautiful wife more and why was I
the chosen one. I couldn’t really see why inexperience was so sexy.
There is nothing barren about this man’s ego. But his hands always
felt cold. He had dark, dark hands; skin like velvet and even his eyes
were dark. They were always so full of concern for me. I pretended it
was wonder. Living your life and moving forward is the easy part. It
is the forgetting that
is the hardest. I can put a face to a name, city, and occupation. I
remember. It is all in the details.

I don’t want to meet these men in heaven or in any place else. The men
with all that sadness, rage and perfect-wonder in their eyes. All
their faces look the same to me and after all this time I did not step
back from the picture and say I forgive this and I forget that. They
look at me and as if to say, ‘You too had a role in this. A part to
play in all that drama.’ The drama felt quite useless to me on the one
hand and like banana jazz in my head on the other. ‘You’re quite mad,
you know.’ One man told me but he couldn’t exactly look me in the eye.
So, I bravely posed in mask after mask after mask. Another man
preferred ‘the girl’. Well, that was his thing. He didn’t want
educated, intelligent or smart. He didn’t want cute. He wanted
‘the girl’.

He wanted a pure, angelic face in tight jeans. He wanted obedience. He
wanted to be put on a pedestal and worshiped. And so, I did all that.
I couldn’t quite understand why because I could make conversation but
he never wanted to talk and understand how claustrophobic I felt
sometimes just being in his presence. It felt completely otherworldly
to me. This thing called love or rather, ‘the affair’. It didn’t
exactly feel like romance to me. No, there was nothing romantic about
it. I feel a great deal of shame because I did not listen to my heart.
A heart that was telling me his wife meant a great deal more to him
than I did and even on a certain primeval level his wife’s body meant
a great deal more to him. She had given him children.

Any woman who can do that is a queen. Queens do not keep secret
diaries and Croxley black notebooks with red spines detailing
seductions and dalliances with the opposite sex. Sometimes I love
those notebooks. I have them. I have kept something back, a part of
their spirit and their joy for living and maybe they kept a part of my
spirit too (oh, I know that is wishful thinking). And this is what a
female writer, any female writer does. Ah, she thinks too much for her
own good. She has memories to write up into stories, laughter that she
has kept spirited away for far too long because no one has been there
to make her laugh and there’s poetry too. Perhaps not easy on the eye
because it is meant for people who actually enjoy reading sonnets
out loud for fun? What are memories for if not for assassinations, pretend?

And he had built the house they all lived in (the one, big, happy and
boisterous family). But since this is my secret diary it is just
between you and me. Nobody else has to know especially my father. I
don’t want him to think differently about me and the life I chose give
or take a few years ago because I am not that person anymore. And I
don’t believe that time heals. When people say that it is as if
there’s something specific to time. There’s nothing specific about
time and even clarity doesn’t even figure into it. I can ask my
ancestors why I’ve never been lucky in love. Why I’ve failed so
dismally in that department (much too much of a
daddy’s girl)? I can say I will never give my heart way again but I
don’t believe that.

I usually fall in love up to three times a day or more. Men move me.
Delicate men move me even more. This generation of youth, of women
wastes love. They fail to see it as a commodity, as a spiritual
and gift.

In the mornings when I am hungry, I have my breakfast, usually toast
spread with margarine. And I make myself some tea. Just toast (brown
bread toasted in the oven like in the old days). I smile when I think
to myself that I am from the old days now. I wake up earlier and
earlier and go to bed later and later. It feels good to be thirty-two.
I don’t feel it (old, stale, as if I was coming into a rut, the state
of the nation, the world my generation found themselves in) when it
was my birthday. Now that the next one is around the
corner I am feeling it.

It’s feels like an effort this morning to make a hardboiled egg or one
scrambled into bits. I have my toast with jam this morning. I think of
him and everyday it doesn’t hurt less, it hurts more. I’ve given up on
humanity. What I see on the news or the little I read in the
newspapers terrifies me. It scares me half to death. The suffering
children in Asia, Africa, (they’re just babies), unemployed youth,
strikers protesting, marching. I see the desolation of poverty. How it
isolates people from the mainstream of society. What is relevant to me
in society is not relevant to the media. They write what sells and it
is usually salacious material. Here today, gone tomorrow or the next
week until it comes back as an update or haunts you when you least
expect it.

It is funny how the mind can play tricks on you especially when you’re
over thirty, reaching that point of middle age. The news often pins
down the status of refugees, painting the women with their children,
food aid flown in from abroad, white tent after white tent in a field
of white tents and again there are stories of orphans. It never seems
to end. We’re capable of many, many things. God can keep your soul and
man will take and take everything else.