alt lit press

End of 2013 - This is it.

Not gonna do a “Best of 2013” post or anything like that. Beach sloth & others have that covered

What I am going to do is look forward. Talk about my plans for 2014 & beyond.

I’m going to work harder on this blog. I like posting people’s poems & images & ebooks. In fact it’s like one of the few things that makes me genuinely happy. I’m going to work harder to get people to submit things & I’m going to try to browse thru #Alt Lit and related tags more thoroughly for gems worth reblogging. I’m going to try to redo the layout and shit so this all seems more…“professional” or something.

I’m going to do physical book releases this year. The first physical release will by my very own book I’ve been working on. I hope my book will get the ball rolling, & after I put it out I hope to help other people get their stuff printed. 

I’ll also continue to accept ebook submissions.  

I’m going to try harder to collaborate with other alt lit blogs & entities. I started this blog as a sort of affront to the existing alt lit blogosphere—I wanted to outdo them, mostly out of spite—but I’ve come to find my initial attitude was somewhat childish. Each year this stupid thing called “alt lit” sticks around my respect for it & the people in it grows. So I want to be helping people who are into it, not competing with them—& I want to be more willing to ask for help with my own endeavors. 

I’m going to strive to be more politically active & socially engaged. Recently, Bebe Zeva posted an interesting thing about net art. You can take what she said as pessimism, or you can take what she said as a call to arms, to do better. I want to do better. I don’t know how net art can “change the world” or anything, but I maintain faith that what’s happening online is “real,” & not meaningless. If we can get a bunch of people together to listen to flarf poems or to look at funny image macros, it’s not a far step to believe we can get a bunch of people together to riot or vote or do whatever seems necessary to even slightly brighten our political landscape. We’re all too smart & educated about the ways in which our world sucks sometimes to not do anything about it together. I feel it’s almost 100% likely that anything we millennials try won’t make a huge difference. Earth’s already too fucked. But I also feel like you either try or you don’t in life, & if you don’t even try…you’re kinda a fuckwad, frankly.  

This won’t happen immediately. Might take years. Probably won’t happen in 2014. But I’m planning on sticking around online for a long time. I’m in it for the long haul. I’m one of those people who make plans & doesn’t fulfill those plans. But then I make more plans, I keep coming back, & eventually SOMETHING gets done, even if it’s just a tiny, little, insignificant thing. 

Steve Roggenbuck’s latest video says: sometimes the only thing you have to do is not quit. 

The times you want to quit? That’s when everybody is dropping out. 

So that’s when you know you have to keep going. 

For Xmas I got a book called “The War of Art” that’s about not quitting. Let me quote the last page of it here to sign off on 2013—& give myself guidance looking ahead into 2014. Have a safe & happy holiday.

“Are you a born writer? Were you put on the earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

Creative work is not a selfish act or bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

So give me what you got, motherfuckers. & I’ll do my best to give you all I have. 

summer

most days i work –
whisper secrets to plants and
listen to book tapes

make and then remake
“easy” and “fun” to-do lists
which i lose before
completion

“take shower”
“put on clothes”
“buy white ceramic planter”

trade gasoline for the illusion of
togetherness

(ascribing characteristics to
the drivers of Hondas
and Chevys
makes me feel
less alone
sometimes)

crack a beer
and then another

accidentally make
my mom cry

avoid facebook
and my phone

i am learning
how to be “an adult”

i am learning
how to be ok
with being
alone

You're Too Close To Her Face by Ben Morgan - coming out next week (Mon. Aug. 11) via webstore

This is a ~50 page book of poems.

Ben Morgan submitted this book to Alt Lit Press a few months ago, and I thought it was pretty good and wanted it to be the first “official book” for sale here.

I’ve never met Ben and we aren’t personal friends and the only reason I wanted to publish him is that I liked his poems he submitted and thought other people might like them, too.

I don’t know what else to really say about You’re Too Close To Her Face. If you like some of the writing on this here blog, or new lit / poetry in general, then you will probably enjoy this book of poems lol?

Also, buying it next week via http://altlitpress.com/store would really help us out / motivate us to keep publishing more new authors, I think, and keep this blog “going.”

Also, quantity is limited, and I can’t say for certain whether reprints will happen once we sell out. So if you really want this RARE book, you probably want to scoop it up quick on Monday lol? 

******

EXCERPT:

Economics

This worn out heel of a sole
asked: “why didn’t you— I…
Why didn’t I hang that frame.
Oh, forget it,” and they gave in.
Dined with the head of coins—
Instead!

“Nah, that’s mighty nostalgic
A bad roll of the dice—stay
Hands down or whatever true.
Dine alone and keep warm, too.
To the musical, and lancing cuts—
Relax!”

“K?”

“I’m joking! The sun’s still shining!”

i wish someone would teach me how to go back to sleep

you wake with a sticky note on your
bare ass; it says “kiss me”

your oj tastes like stale beer
everything tastes like stale beer

you are overwhelmed with
meaninglessness

you divide this feeling by
the number of others that have also felt this way and
dissolve slowly into
eternity, like what have you done to “contribute”
to “civilization” and “progress”

if only this feeling could be enough
to put gas in the car and buy cigarettes

if only this feeling could call on a few favors
and get you an interview for that job which you will
inevitably come to hate

try to masturbate but can’t
cum because you keep seeing his face, asking
“where do you see yourself in five years”
“what’s the point”
“do you not love me anymore”

when you stare at any body of water
you can’t help but wonder
“how big of a rock do i need to really
fuck this river up?”

hasty response to Aeneas Iv's comments on "alt lit & politics"

by Gabriel Wainio-Théberge

while in many ways valid, this statement also feels a lot like a product of “postmodernism”/the internet’s obsession with analyzing definitions/language to the detriment of being able to use them

it is a valid and useful conceptual exercise to say that certain things we don’t usually think of as “political” are “political” in the sense that “politics” literally means anything relating to the “polis” which by today’s functional definition, since we don’t live in a Greek city state, basically means “society”, and that nothing pertaining to even the individuals who make up that society ever can be separated from the issues we see as pertaining to it

feminists/activists in the ‘70s summed this up with “the personal is the political” but I like/dislike how Aeneas is kind of doing an inversion of that here, since the message of a lot of feminists/other activists in the '70s was (at least taken as) “organize every minute facet of your life around conventionally 'political’ issues that you wouldn’t think apply there but that totally do”, and Aeneas seems to be saying more that “by dealing with your personal life and issues on their own terms in ways that seem "ethical” and “good”, you are being an “ethical” and “good” political activist/member of the polis"

which is a good way to get people to lighten up about engaging with parts of their lives that aren’t necessarily suited to conventionally “political” analysis, and that may seem like a distraction from conventionally “political”, “important” issues but are still important and healthy parts of people’s lives

that said, I think it ignores the fact that what issues conventionally seen as “political” have an enormous impact on people’s lives, meaning we have an enormous responsibility to address them, and yet they not dealt with a lot in alt lit.  issues not so much like “who cheated in the primaries”, which is a bait-ass strawman example, as like “we are irreversibly changing our planet’s climate and taking any kind of control of this will require unprecedented international co-operation and sacrifice” or “the most wealthy 10% of people in the United States own 80% of everything in it”

these issues have something in common besides being commonly seen as “important” (which outside the circles of people criticizing alt lit, “personal” issues often are too, often at “political” ones’ expense, esp. “personal” issues as pertaining to social advancement/consumption)

i guess they could all be termed “large-scale collective organizational issues” or something but that would sound incredibly tedious and bureaucratic, which is why most people prefer to use “politics”

this seems reminiscent of the debate over the definition of “racism”/“sexism” between “Tumblr SJW” and their “opponents”, which if you follow it open-mindedly you’ll be forced to admit that what both “sides” need to admit is it’s useful to have a word for “racial/gendered prejudice”, but it’s also (arguably more) useful to have a word for “racial/gendered prejudice backed by institutional power”, which both “sides” are trying to use “racism”/“sexism” for

except in this case, of the two definitions being used, I’d argue one is less valuable as a definition

because Aeneas’s “definition” of politics becomes so broad that defining a word for it is almost functionally useless

it would be essentially a word for “daily reminder that everything you do reflects broader conditions and shared experiences in a society”, which is less a noun than a way of approaching life

feel unsure that the “definition” of a “word” is the ideal way of expressing that

feel more like, honestly, “literature” is

also “everyone/everything is connected” has a nicer ring than “large-scale collective organizational problems”, so there’s that

it’s a useful definition primarily for shutting down “lazy” blanket dismissals of alt lit on “political” grounds from people who went too far with the other “personal is the political” anyway and shit on anyone who disengages for a second from conscious consideration of “large-scale collective organizational problems”, for instance to write alt lit

which seems like an example of “unhealthily obsessing/overthinking”, regardless of your definition of “politics”/view on the “political” vs. “personal” divide

but observing this doesn’t render the criticism that alt lit doesn’t deal as much as it could with those issues invalid

anyway, also feel like “alt lit/net art/weird Twitter” is “falling hard for bait” by initiating defensive, self-reassuring discussions like this every two weeks or so

kind of wonder what we’re doing responding to admittedly “lazy” criticisms from mainstream media/academic people who look at like two Steve Roggenbuck macros and go “lol millennials, much narcissist, such apolitical” when there are sophisticated and nuanced political critiques of “alt lit” coming from people like David W. Pritchard

feel like a hard-hitting interview with David W. Pritchard is exactly what Alt Crit needs to revive itself in this weird slump, but he’s deleted his Tumblr again

feel like the value of criticizing alt lit on its level of “political” engagement mostly depends on whether said criticism aims to make alt lit more “closed” (to the “personal”?) or more “open” (to the “political” things that it’s not currently engaging?)

i am a lake and you are floating in me

in the dark the sky becomes water too
the lake reflects the absence of light
in a never-ending ping-pong effect
that can be ruined with a single
burst from a lighter

without light i think i would be lost
in the inky black
a skinless body
melting into nothing

but it’s ok

i will read you poetry on a dock
it is our only sanctuary
from the vomit minefield

i will read you poetry in our sanctuary
naked without specific emotions
as you provide many quick nods of
validation

at ~ fifty miles per hour
the air becomes a tangible
mischievous outstretched palm
that gently pushes and
slaps your
exposed skin

together we scream into
the roaring void but
it swallows us up
leaving throat vibrations that
can only be felt alone

it is comforting to me
that plagues and fires are finite in nature
everything will be ok

REAL LIFE by John "BRNLV" Rogers

Hereby recommend the book REAL LIFE by John “BRNLV” Rogers

Here’s a quote: “

…~360,000 people are born every day and ~151,000 people die every day.

Wow, human death is a daily apocalypse,‘ I think, ’but we are still like, doubling.’

 

John: "Dear internet friends. I have recently finished writing a book called Real Life. It is going to come out as a paperback/pdf in the new year via Mammal's Habitat press, under the watchful eye of Stephen Michael McDowell. We are currently collecting your pre-orders to mass some funds to set the wheels in motion and get it printed up.

The writing is collected pieces of autobiographical prose and impressionistic ~poetry, and some different shades between. Some early versions have been published on my Tumblr, and on Metazen & The Mall. It is ostensibly about what it is like being me, but noting that often when we talk about ourselves, we’re also talking about “what it is like to be a person”.

There are some excerpts on the site below. It’s super exciting to me to be doing this, and if it sounds super exciting to you too, you can order one via Paypal (£8/$13) on the BUY THE BOOK page. There will be a first edition of 100 numbered copies, and the first 50 ppl to order also get two image-macro art postcards. Orders now help us get it done.

Thanks for reading and thanks doubly if you buy it, like this, share this, hug me, high five me, smile at me, or all of the above.

BUY THE BOOK: http://reallifebyjohnrogers.tumblr.com/buy
a bumper sticker that says "i swerve for sunsets"

watched a waterfall today
felt good and calm
as i imagined the water, heavy
with gravity, pounding me into the earth

watched two couples also watching the waterfall
one young and one old
both smiling

watched them angle their phones to
take pictures of their own faces
next to the waterfall
like it was some kind
of celebrity

i listened as my friends discussed the nature of their relationships
with their respective significant others

right now
this waterfall, like me
feels indifferent
towards human relationships

it has been falling
since before we got here and
it will fall after
we are dust

i hope i never forget this

on my way home i drive past an old military depot
from the forties
it is a woody area inclosed by
rusty barbed wire

inside is a population
of rare white deer
that became trapped
when the fence was erected

i pass a sleeping brown deer on my side of the fence
it’s neck pointed at an unnatural angle
towards the sky

i’m really not sure which side i’d
rather be on

Life is So Terrible You Actually “Resort” to a Sunny or Otherwise Beautiful Place

After years of searching

scientists discovered a vast

ocean beneath the surface

hundreds of miles. rash is wanting

your body chopped into

100 mouse-sized pieces

+ in 100 tiny coffins

+ go 6 inches under-leaf.

So it looks like an army

of mice died. You and your 80

cent dress years of water hardly

left butterflies our sex lately

left after weather. A plane crash’sss

folks tear drugs out of their asses

an ocean, lower ocean, kelp sea-

red my dead grandma’s rug chassis.

How many mice were in cargo?

Who was looking out for them?

A spitting cobra shoots slow

hot grease and it’s the clouds.

-

I have opposite of dog-like

compulsion to avert

my eyes from your eyes. Weird, I could

bald, a tree, unravel away.

 Our asses were like four moons

in ‘wherever we went’ night skies

Cum like evangelical spumes

begging road kill to come alive.

We wielded giant bottles

of red wine for self defense

on back streets you tottered

fell away as swarms of whole mice

all running all you all committing

platonic serial murder

against bits of trash, flits of flies, while I duel wield, pick up your bottle.

I followed lines further

connecting trash on the sidewalks

to former owners stop! I need

to know what are you thinking talk

before we cross the street.

-

I woke up to porn and cash

everywhere. You had taken the car.

An ocean is hundreds of ash

below can swallow all we are

100, 000 times over.

I have the fear, a tingle

of hair follicle occuring

like ice settling in a ti-

ny glass of water. Knees are

burnt after sex on bare mattress

like riding on sharks or clouds of bees

lying supine doing both of us orgasms in hat tricks.

Before we know each other

we judge over trite shit like

milk or no milk in our coffee

because we don’t know there’s better.

I will keep buying red wine

on Tuesdays end up drinking it

all myself for I don’t know how many

Tuesdays until I notice—

you’re gone!??

I didn’t notice I didn’t

even notice.

youtube

I Often Forget

I write
In bare bone lines
I assemble a skeleton
I map out the anatomy
I avoid information 
That could stunt my creativity 
As I finish assembling the bones
I add flesh
I add organs
I think about
The poem 
I think about
The lines
That represent the body
I often forget 
That this is like a human
It will be read
It may be interpreted
It will be misunderstood
Neglected
Bullied
Discriminated
Destroyed
Harassed
Oppressed 
But I often forget
It may be the opposite

__________________

I wrote this poem, filmed this video, and edited the shit out of it. The music is by Alto Jeffro

I wrote this hoping to spread a certain message.  I mention in the piece that the poem will be, “neglected, bullied, discriminated…” and end the piece saying that it may be the opposite. 

Most people see themselves and their words as victims  to this violence but no one ever realizes that the words they put out may actually be hurtful and/or problematic. 

It is important to me recognize this fact before releasing my work and/or opening my mouth. 

Your words can be hurtful. Think before speaking. 

Thank you for reading. 

For more videos go to my channel

SCARED ROMANTIC by siobhan bledsoe

he doesn’t need to a ring a bell

for all the hearts in town to hear,

for me to know, it is over.

i can hear sounds like dogs can.

i hear: we're done.

he told me that we saw each other ‘seven days ago’; i am confused about pragmatism and the heart.

he may be a scared romantic, but i am a bruised one.

but bruises never stop me from wearing short shorts. there will be other men. there has to be. throwing love around isn’t cool. this doesn’t feel cool. i schedule all my time in the day so i don’t have to write poems like this, and feel this way.