“Some of my friends don’t know who they belong to.” Dipsomanic daytrippers kicking it in small motels on desert mornings dancing a june bug sonata percussive staccato legato flowing smooth and certain as a river Gram Parsons wailing through the walls infinity blue skies emptiness surrounding emptiness storm light orange as a flagman’s vest Chet… Read more »
LINDA “songs like a practiced whore who turns away from no one but the one who loves her.” –Djuna Barnes How deathly strange it all seems— especially here on the thin edge of passion, where all eyes chilled into beauty in blind innocence shield themselves against the night rain of reality; how strange what a… Read more »
Inspired by The Limits of Control, a film by Jim Jarmusch my mind hops back to the century trees of Cabo de Gata a woman in platinum wig white cowboy hat white trench coat and cowboy boots covered in leopard’s skin strides through the nearly mud-like surface folding the earth with her heels and counting… Read more »
i am a descendant of those that have survived for centuries & my mother wanted me to be the perfect child i am still amazed that people know how to make doors their ingenuity baffles me way beyond that of a beaver & its dam a beehive full of hungry workers an ant colony or… Read more »
“My problem is I’m both attracted and repelled by the male organ.” —Diane Keaton, Manhattan I hope you don’t quote me as saying I like your sexual organ, she said. There are better things I’d like to be known for – like being a good listener. I don’t have a special relationship… Read more »
Yes, there are bobble- head dolls of Poe, but where are the action figures of Auden? Bob Ross, oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″, 2014 by Samoa Moriki –Sparrow Sensitive Skin 12 available here in PDF format here for just $4.95, or get
Honeybee honeybee deep in the honeytree Do not tell me to suck dry the tips of whip grass Swan sway swan sway Ganges flows all day Would you send me off then to the blasting seas? Tale singer nightingale crooner carousing on the leaf drip Who dares say, Excuse me, quiet please, eat dry leaf… Read more »
The way my fingers fit beginning at the sternum, moving along the rib bones, each time I see the Doctor, each time I leave her office it seems easier to say “I am dying.” Photograph by Jeff Spirer I asked again to grab reality by the tail, “what if I stop taking all this medicine,… Read more »
Jason moved across the floor on his hands and knees, I see him this way constantly, in that scooting motion, making his way to the records lined against the other wall. Dawn is lighting up outside. He says, “You have to know what you mean before you mean what you say.” Photograph by Jean-Christian Bourcart… Read more »
I met you At the Grey Gallery Across from Washington Square Park. We were going to the opening Of The Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red Decade.” We ate all the peanuts And most of the chips That were set out as snacks, And drank way too much wine Which seemed to annoy the… Read more »
My friends tend to laugh when I bare my soul and slowly nod when I tell a joke These things occur to me only when I’m high and might have no truth whatsoever I’m most honest when purely drunk yet somehow pure belief still eludes me Strange how my worst lies are the most believable… Read more »
Sometimes I like to imagine that my family and I are a heavy metal band, playing gigs in the southern states, riding in a big tour bus that has skulls painted on the side, and a big decal of the grim reaper wielding his scythe on the rear windshield, moving east on Interstate-40 out of… Read more »
Ocean fog thick in the avenue night white Christmas lights in October Shamrock Arms Bar glowing green & red through clear quartz-glass block front the Dead Sailor Girls will play tomorrow salt taste in air where I’m a lost spirit gliding over the rain-sheen streets empty of cars & people Diamond in the Sky, solvent… Read more »
I don’t know what I am seeking In the cool night rivers and birds a sensuous lip a rainbow of dreams past waterfalls the ruins of cities appear and fade in front of me awkward man he dresses and clowns seeking love and shelter in criminal ways I want to rip off the mask of… Read more »
Justin Hott was a retail analyst for Bear Stearns I met at LaGuardia airport one night heading back to Detroit in December 2007, shortly before his company imploded. What is the basis of greed / wanting to be free of money worries / There are 2 ways to do it: either you chase down money… Read more »
(i love the scent of fresh cut grass) the mower is black mostly with bright orange parts illustration by JD King no engine to cut is to hear the whir of the reel and to smell fresh cut grass in quivering air insects rising (i love the scent of fresh cut grass) crickets buzz harbinger… Read more »
Take the gas mask off. Take a bath. Take the cake. Take the China exit. Hell is out there too, Other people’s concern, Gods’ voices, at it like grownups In the front seat. Photograph from the Wall Street series, by Charles Gatewood, Lunch tossed onto the flowers. Who said you could take my blanket? Cold… Read more »
The 12th edition of Sensitive Skin celebrates Poetry Month, with the work of 30 poets and 30 artists, one for each day in April. Includes poems by John S. Hall, Bonny Finberg, JD King, Emily XYZ, Marc Olmsted, Jack Micheline, Jose Padua, Michael Randall, Ron Kolm, Pete Simonelli, Bob Holman, Hal Sirowitz, Sparrow, steve dalachinsky, Wanda Phipps, Eddie Woods, Max Blagg, Larissa Shmailo, Rob Hardin, Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, Ron Richardson, Carl Watson, John Farris, David Rattray, Norman Douglas, Sharon Mesmer, Taylor Mead, Michael Carter Vladimir Mayakovsky and Sean Flaherty, with photographs by Charles Gatewood, Kym Ghee, Daniel Kolm, Jean-Christian Bourcart, Chris Bava, Evelyn Bencicova, Ted Barron, Dennis Gordon, Hal Hirshorn, Ruby Ray, Justin Clifford Rhody and Jeff Spirer, paintings, drawings and illustrations by Rick Prol, JD King, Henner Schröder, Jonathan Cowan, John Lurie, Liz Kresch, David de Biasio, Clinton King, Samoa Moriki, Tom McGlynn, Peter Shear, David West, Leslie Hardie, Joseph O’Neal, Charles Schick, Marina Loeb, Stephen Lack and Justine Frischmann. Front cover painting by Julie Torres. Back cover graphic design by Winston Smith.
This Fuckin' Guy (as told to John S. Hall)
Owls don’t seem so fucking wise to me. They look like dicks, usually, With their chests all puffed out and shit, Like they’re saying “Fuck me? No–fuck you!” But of course, they’re not fucking saying that. Owls don’t actually want to fuck with you. They will stay the fuck out of your way is what… Read more »
Playing Chicken With Thanatos By Díre McCain (Apophenia, 2013) Playing Chicken With Thanatos by the editor of Paraphilia Magazine, Díre McCain, is an extraordinary piece of autobiographical writing. For the first 200 pages it is the smoothest of reads, despite the often terrible and affecting stories of young teenage addiction and abuse it tells. Yet… Read more »
Nancy, the iconic series of graphic tone poems by the legendary Ernie Bushmiller, achieved landmark status not for its dada-esque art, its stark depiction of a near-barren (yet strangely psychedelic) landscape populated by perhaps half a dozen proto-beatniks, a tree, three rocks, maybe a house, and not just for its apparent lack of all humor—and… Read more »
Quite apart from the circumstantial affiliations that normally obtain among contemporaries, and quite apart from the facile optical resemblances that one can discern among artworks across distances in time, looking at a painter’s canvases has a way of making demands of the viewer that amount to a responsibility, a set of obligations, a contract, neither… Read more »
William S. Burroughs
Truman Capote once famously said of the work of Jack Kerouac: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.” A decade or so later, William S. Burroughs returned the favor with this epistolary riposte. July 23, 1970 My Dear Mr. Truman Capote, This is not a fan letter in the usual sense — unless you refer to ceiling… Read more »
Nightmare Code, directed by Mark Netter, starring Andrew J. West, Mei Melançon, and Googy Gress, written by M.J. Rotondi and Mark Netter. We start with a troubled young man (Andrew J. West, best known for his portrayal as the leader of the yuppie cannibal startup in this season’s Walking Dead), feigning nonchalance about serious charges… Read more »
Gladyss of the Hunt by Arthur Nersesian (Verse Chorus Press, 2014) The title of Arthur Nersesian’s new book, Gladyss of the Hunt, might seem a peculiar one for a detective novel. However, the author, like the book’s protagonist, is after bigger game than simply bringing down a serial killer or describing how that is accomplished…. Read more »
Hopefully the new year is “going smoothly” for you! Here’s what some of our editors and contributors thought was the best of 2014, or some other year, or at least they liked it, or whatever.
We’re leaving on tour in a few hours. Me and Pat and Julia will ride in Julia’s big black truck and Steve and Keith, the Road Manager, will ride in the “Boy Car,” a little white rental car. It’s not deliberate gender division, just worked out that way.
Steve likes to drive at the speed limit and make very few stops. Us girls like to go 90 miles an hour, pee every 40 minutes and go to malls we find along the way. Neither Pat, Julia or I grew up around malls, so we’re making up for that now.
on the b-38 what are you waiting for / get covered / start here / a gift of happiness or risky listening? ya never can tell / drivin 26 yrs / 47 / nice humble guy surprised / caught a heart attack / here today gone tomorrow let them do the work / short trips… Read more »
I have the kind of mind that would kill me if it didn’t need me for transportation. In this case to Ireland. I had no conscious desire to go anywhere near the place but somehow I found myself sucked into the subway, placed on a plane and bundled onto a bus for Kilkenny. Before I… Read more »
I’ve been drawn to abandoned buildings all my life. When I was a boy, the allure was breaking into forbidden places without getting caught, the adventure of making new discoveries. Later, when I became a firefighter in 1978 in the South Bronx, entering and navigating vacant structures became both a full time job and a… Read more »
D. Scot Miller
Let me tell you how I met Sham Black. West Virginia, Dunbar Jr. High School football field, 123rd Annual Commode Bowl, Riverside Rats versus The Hillside Rams. photograph by Kym Ghee Every Thanksgiving morning the men of Dunbar, on both sides of the railroad tracks that split through the town (Riverside and Hillside) begin to… Read more »
Photographs by Gretchen Faust.
The morning of the first day in the Dark Zone, I wake, still dreaming in black and white. I am Joan Crawford. I am Mildred Pierce. In the black of night, a storm is raging. I am in a bungalow by the ocean. The white foam waves crash on the beach. I dress frantically in… Read more »
Plants at Work Sunflowers bob on a raft near Chernobyl, roots leaching atoms humming with intent to harm, but diffusing like sugar in the slow surge of some big flower’s stalk, its face tilting to follow the sun’s arc, working much harder than sunflowers I planted in the backyard one summer, six lanky plants framed… Read more »
The Late Child and Other Animals opens in the middle of the blitz with two wide-eyed young women—sisters Hetty and Daisy—gazing down from a hillside upon the aftermath of another air raid over Portsmouth, a city on the southern coast of England. What unfolds in the 180 fluidly illustrated pages that follow is a fragmented chronicle of life as memory and memory as mosaic, its linear arrangement contingent upon the cycle of gathering and loss, revelation and vexation that polka-dot the soil of growth.
Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
AFTER YOU SAID I ALWAYS LOSE THINGS The red birthstone fell out of my ring, leaving its crowned prongs empty, a perfect chip chiseled from my heart’s bones. I dreamed being stopped by the long dark walkway with bricked wall leading to the locked iron gate enclosing the fenced stairwell topped by the steel door… Read more »
Expressionist, impressionist, symbolist. Pop imbued with guilt, political outrage, occasional indignation, existential disconnection and an overriding sense of loss. These works celebrate where I have been with tenderness, saying goodbye to a fragile but rich reality.
Vladislav Khodasevich & Jenny Wade
“Vladislav Khodasevich: Midlife Meltdown in Paris,” an essay by Jenny Wade, along with a new translation of K’s poem “In Front of the Mirror.”
I first saw the gold crescent of renegade freedom dangling from the lobe of a nameless hairy hippy Goy, his scrawny, insolent neck bound by a red bandanna. He leaned with outthrust hip of impertinent American coolness against the miniature white plaster-like Arc D’Triumph that looms in meager solemnity over the leafy green, daggered streetlamps… Read more »
I should probably tell you more about the night Blue pushed me off the bar because that was really when our marriage ended. Sure, we stayed together another nine, twelve, maybe fifteen months more, but nothing was ever good again. She stopped thinking it was possible to make me a man, thought that I was… Read more »
Found in Phoenix by Amy Ouzoonian (New York: Fly By Night Press, 2014) It’s a good thing Amy Ouzoonian put her name on her new book of poems, short stories and plays, Found in Phoenix, because otherwise a reader would think each of the literary forms was written by a different author. The poems are… Read more »
I have a date with Henry Henderson. We worked together one long summer canvassing for Greenpeace. Yes, I was one of those annoying young people who stop you on the street when you are rushing to your next appointment. He was hot then, now not so much, looking rather fat but with a very good… Read more »
The 9 Lives of Ray the Cat Jones: A Novel by Stewart Home (Test Centre, 2014) In June 2013 Stewart Home, an (in) famous London author/writer/performer, receives a parcel. There is no return address on it; or a name to indicate who the person who sent it is, but Home is excited for there are… Read more »
Silent Calls You know how sometimes the phone rings and when you answer it no one’s there? Many of those calls are made by cats. Science Virgin “I’m a science virgin,” said Adele. “I’ve never conducted an experiment!” photograph by Chris Bava Singing Furniture My furniture is singing a tune from Scriabin. Marriage Mistake “My… Read more »
Jim Bove and Matt Renzi
What happens when two friends, Jim Bove and Matt Renzi, who have played together for years walk into the studio with no charts, no plans, no ideas? When “Just GO” is the inspiration? Drummer Jim Bove and sax/oboe player Matt Renzi did exactly that and this new release from Sensitive Skin Music – Double –… Read more »
Evelyn Bencicova describes her work as “Behaviour of a vulnerable human body. The expression of human kind in a simplified situation, raised to the surface. Archetypical behavioral patterns of a human in a society, yet not adjusted to the repetition of the previous experience.”
Anyway I had a goldfish, a common Woolworth’s goldfish, which I brought home in a water filled plastic bag, and somebody, a man named Rick, I think, who worked for my father, said it would be safe to place him in a concrete planter on the terrace, filled with water.