LOST FOUND LOST - An essay by David P. Bates

I am absolutely lost. I thought I was lost before, even HOPED I was lost, because “lost” at least meant that maybe I wasn't doomed to the normalized “found” that surrounded me. The dull everything that screamed SHUT UP BE QUIET from every direction as if there were no direction but EVERYWHERE.

The books in class, the television at home-- my mother my father-- and my brother sister repeating mommy/daddy bullshit in both ears at the same time. I've been stomping and stomping for years now, and here I am-- lost again like I'm a teenager. Not just lost. But, finally, ABSOLUTELY lost. Whatever bearing I thought I had, is gone. Except the nagging. It pushes me to the left, and to the right, and when I struggle, it clamps down the way it always does. The nagging. Absolutely.

It comes to me softly with a low voice saying-- not why are YOU lost-- but WHY are you lost; I have this big basket of shit for you. Its bucket is made of shit and its handle is made of shit and the shit within the shit-basket is GOOD SHIT.

Here. Take it. It's full of Shakespeare and Wordsworth. Rhyme and Meter. Feet. Degrees-- Phd's and MFA's-- a few good books taught by a few good teachers in a few good schools. Have you been lucky enough? I don't think I was-- or maybe I was. Enough teachers I didn't trust making me read books I didn't like to MAKE me at least TRY to write my own work. A few good losers to inspire me to win.

BUT REALLY-- that's unfair.

or is it? Have I failed as an emotional being because I can't sit through a lecture on the virtues of a poet writing 100 years before my experience? Have I failed as a reader because I can't assimilate the nuance of a language that even my grandfather doesn't speak-- unless he's reciting “poetry”?

Why does every structured work-- the sonnet the ode-- sound like it was written 100 years ago? These structures have a STRUCTURE – rhythm, rhyme, feet, meters-- but why the archaic foulness? thee. thy. thine. reversed sentence structure? obscure references-- SURELY the modern poet can prepare the meal of language in a more edible arrangement!

Competing with the dead is a fools assignment.

If there is a god and there is no god but if there is a god--- please let me speak outside of the language I have, and damn the language that I have inherited, for its the language that I have, and I am trying to speak, i swear, but the words I have fuck me every time. I NEED MORE.

So I am lost. Finally. And absolutely. And here in these dumb places I will try to speak. The first thing I will do is stomp the voices in my head. The mommy/daddy voices. The teachers and the students trying to be teachers.

And the more I stomp the more words I'll lose-- and when I'm finally void of language, I will attempt my first poem.

It will fail.
David p Bates
March 2013

3 Poems by Allison Grayhurst

Hard As Cain

Against the down and heron white
the earth lifts up its collection plate.
Rivers and forest are overflowing with
amputees - a million voices nibbling away the sky.
Sour death against the dried thistles
and clouds are heavy with death's pungent odour.
You draw the iron, you draw the fist
until at last you too will weep for the birds upon
the hill.
            Everything's making too brutal a sense
            as the yellow lawns are sprinkled.
You cannot give in to the ruling sun nor to the misfits
and courageous. Orphaned cubs and kids blank
with disease, ruined by the sanctity of your pocket.

Heaven is in a song. You strike a match
and burn all instruments with a shrug and a wave
of your formidable hand.

In The Day

In the morning, cured,
claimed and finally welcoming the wind.
In the early afternoon,
assembling the fragments of my faith
like the bones of a bird and then giving it the key
to fly.
In the evening, close to dark,
hair-clipping all dishevelled expectations,
pin-pointing a place to lay down, to rest and witness the uneventful view.
In the night time, quietly kissing my children,
speaking of a golden tomorrow with my husband
but feeling the weight of one-more-day without.
In the bed, almost asleep, checking and re-checking
memories and failures, then unbuttoning to bathe
in the numerous blessings laid before me
this day, this year
                        deep in darkness
                                                no matter.

The Quiet That Comes

The quiet that comes
at a fork-in-the-road, quiet
as we listen to the direction of the breeze
and hope for a voice to bellow forth at our queue,
is the quiet of waiting, the time between
pressing-play and music.
The quiet that haunts and never leaves
in times of action, just stays hidden like a spider
behind the bookshelf, slowly emerging on the dark carpet for a clear view
is the quiet of awareness.

The quiet that consumes
like a poison steadily, in droplets
ingested or like a picture of a lost loved one
that follows from room to room, is the depths of a pit
where our future is carved on.
The quiet that heals after the hell
like a promise of spiritual safety,
is the quiet of peace, a gift for where ever circumstances
lead - a show of mercy after
the acceptance of our defeat.

2 Poems by Anne Bradshaw


My sister sits at my grave

and mourns the loss of herself.

She wears cool, black silk with small pearls

fastened round her neck which weep

like the babies she never had.

She leaves me her severed head

and walks home on four-inch stiletto heels

tapping out the rhythm of rain.

Flowers bloom in her wake which she never sees

but I feel their roots growing down into me.
An old habit, I would pick up the threads
that I wore each day
and patch them back together again.

But every time I felt
 less weft and weave,
         less give, less ease,
                  another stitch lost, less room to breathe…
I could hear them all breaking
as my fingers worked
and worked their strange and subtle dance

on a ripped corsage of threads
which suddenly weighed nothing, floating away
through a sliver of air
my skin revealing
secrets like

a reluctant bride’s clutched bouquet,
her lacework linen turned to stone
and the milk-white veil altered
in a gargoyle’s cold decay.

A pall of frozen silence stays my hand.
And soon my garb will be lichen,
the delicate filaments spidered
like veins through a dark glass,
and still threadbare.

Student, writer, sleep-talker

Stumbled upon Jackson Burgess today while clicking around on The Atticus Review. He is the featured poet there this month. I won't review his work here other than to say I dig it enough to share with you all and will be adding his personal page to our "Stuff We Like" section. It is my belief that he is an up-and-comer and I hope to see much more of his work in the near future. Please check him out.

Lee Lincecum, Managing Editor
Blind Vigilance Press

Who the hell is Matthew Zapruder?

That was the question I asked myself as I picked up his book from the very end of the library poetry shelf, far beyond the collected works of Ginsberg and Shakespeare's sonnets and plays. It was the title that initially piqued my interest: Come on All You Ghosts. The one hundred and eleven pages made for a slim volume, though this is not unusual for a poetry collection. The presentation of the cover was immediately endearing to me with its chalky seemingly handwritten script, and so I did what any potential reader of a newly unshelved book would do, I turned it over. The blurb on the back began "Poet, editor, translator, and winner of the William Carlos Williams award," "Okay," I thought, "where's the MFA, surely there's a MFA here somewhere." There was no mention anywhere in the blurb nor within the Author's Bio on the back page of a MFA degree, although, I found out in later research that Matthew Zapruder does indeed have one. However, to read Come on All You Ghosts, you would never suspect it. I know in saying so, I have probably opened a can I don't want to eat. To clarify: there is nothing wrong with having a MFA, Zapruder uses his to fantastic effect, however, it is purely a personal opinion that he is one of the exceptions, rather than the rule. Zapruder makes no attempt to confuse with fancy language and archaic methods. You will not need to pair this poetry collection with a dictionary in order to enjoy it, but you will need an open mind and perhaps, a little life experience. The 55 poems in this volume range from personal (although still relateable), to confessional, to the occasionally spiritual. If I were tasked with describing his poetry by using only one word, that word would be juxtaposition. Matthew has an ability to mix the concrete with the abstract in a way that leaves me simultaneously inspired and jealous. Very, very jealous. Here's an excerpt from the title poem:

Hello. I am 40. 
I have lived in Maryland, 
Amherst, San Francisco,

New York, Ljubljana, 
Stonington (house 
of the great ornate wooden frame

holding the mirror the dead 
saw us in whenever 
we walked past),

New Hampshire at the base 
of the White Mountains 
on clear blue days

full of dark blue jays 
beyond emotion jaggedly piercing, 
Minneapolis of which

I have spoken 
earlier and quite enough, 
Paris, and now

San Francisco again. 
Reader, you are right now 
in what for me is the future

The imagery he produces, at least for me, achieves its complexity through its simplicity. I find myself reading his poems, and then reading them again, not for lack of understanding, but rather a desire to peel back each layer and appreciate them at all levels of emotion that they evoke. So, who the hell is Matthew Zapruder? I urge you to find out for yourself and read some of his work. You can find more of his poems on his personal website located at http://matthewzapruder.wordpress.com/. He is also, like most writers these days, active on Twitter and maintains a Facebook page as well. The book referenced in this article may be purchased from Amazon, or on its publishers website. I for one, will be buying a copy for myself, if I can ever put this one away long enough to stuff it into my backpack and return it to the library before it is overdue.

Lee Lincecum, Managing Editor
Blind Vigilance Press.

2 Poems by Emily Sorrells

Revisiting Kiomizu-dera

I’ve looked and yet to find
a word for the shrinking
of temples and scenery
upon a second visit.

Those grand roofs once grazing
the sky, melting into mountain,
become buildings touched by
the hands of workers with tool boxes.

And, I’ve looked and yet to find
a word for the inaction
of gods. Pennies and pennies
of prayers in a slatted wooden box.

Covered in chicken wire, their faces
a kaleidoscope of aged paint
and splinters. Fragmented selves,
I now see only what’s been left out too long.

Still, I’ve looked and yet to find
a word for worrying about hair
not spirits while wafting in the gray
smoke of incense. Thinking about photos.

But trying to hold on and feel it. Suddenly
ready to leave and standing too quickly.
Mistaken for god's whisper, the vortex of air
caught between two trains.

Lighter: John Doe

I want to write a poem
with your name in it.
Strangers rolling their tongues
in your name. Names

bouncing off eardrums. Yours
sang in high chorus to the pillow
soft clouds in May, when those
last drops of rain catch on the
tips of your jet hair and splash
onto you gray shirt, diamonds
dropping to the river. Finally

Home. I want to write a poem
with your name in it. So that
you may never know what truths

I've kept onto. What lighter still sits
on the ledge of my bathroom
window -- where you smoked
and thought of leaving.

I want your name to leave me
so I give it to the strongest mouth
to feed on, breathe on, praise
out to gods on. But mine, I want

a poem to spill out about nothing,
but the darkest day of winter
and the warmest day of spring,
and not you, nothing about you.

Poem by Mitch Grabois


punk-ass misogynist teenager
even his acne malicious
his hate viral
drag racing on every highway
accelerating down the straightaway of each bone
sliding through the curves of organs

spitting molecules of blood
like unleaded gas
accelerating toward the Eiffel Tower
galloping through the Coliseum

2 Poems by Dustin Pickering

We Are Free

Each attempt to love
leaves a scar, and
an empty breakfast table.
The heat will not let me go,
my body is the clown of it.
I am a nightmask,
horror's relevant kiss, this streak of satisfaction that love's technology
grants the lover.
I am free to give love,
though it rejects me.
A cynic fresh from questions
I do not love you as the courts
love mischief.
I love you as the judge loves justice.
Let us go, set my people free!
The vast abyss, open to decaying voids,
these words are depths of the heart.
Let it go, let it be, either way we are free.


Intuition is the way life dreams

without plan.
Whose mind is split without
the constant renewal of time?
The oceanic feeling--
these blank powers of existence.
I test my heart with a sorrowing leap,
and I surrender my title to the damned.
Every day I strain my poems
to make this incense fester like a corpse.

2 Poems by Ross Vassilev

animal kingdom

so many strange things
like that one time in a Kroger parking lot--
a young man walked up to me
and asked if he could pray for me
he said that God told him to pray
for the first man he sees walking with a limp
(I walk with a limp)
I said sure
so he put his hand on my shoulder
and sent a prayer on my behalf to Jesus
when he finished
he beamed with evangelical ecstasy
I said thanks
he said something I don't recall
and walked away.
so many strange things--
I was watching football one Sunday
the second game of the day
when I felt something weird in me
and wondered what it was
then suddenly it hit me:
every second that I watched that game
I was getting dumber
both in mind and in spirit
so I turned off the TV
and stopped watching crap of any kind
soon thereafter.
when I think of all the crap TV I used to watch
when I was a kid
(my poor brain!) hour after hour
it's a wonder I can think at all.
so many strange things--
my insane family
the white trash and their kids
and their dogs--
so many things
I'll never understand
and I've given up on trying.


it's a funny world we live in
where the people who slaughtered the Indians
and penned them up in reservations
keep talking about freedom.

I guess you need black slaves to build democracy
you need nuclear bombs too
and the biggest prison complex
the world has ever seen.

do these people
really believe their own bullshit?

here's some NO-bullshit:
I didn't mind working 40 hrs. a week--
what I did mind was sweating my ass off
for minimum wage till my feet hurt
in conditions that were more slavery than freedom
and all the union could say was sorry.

if zombies are the walking dead
then I certainly was one for a few years
till my luck kicked in for once
and I finally got a chance to work at
becoming a human being.

but when my luck runs out
(and I know that some day it will)
I'll be back in the warehouses
the supermarkets and dim factories
(if there's any factories left in America)
busting ass and bitching
and stinking of sweat
cuz when it comes to working for shit-money
I just don't feel like showering some days.

Poem by Corey Cook

To-Do List

Yvonne Alstead ripped up rummage sale
handkerchiefs and used the scraps to patch
her husband’s beloved coveralls. Dabbed
cotton balls soaked with hydrogen peroxide
on the nicks and burns plaguing his hands -

inflicted by car engines. Truck axels. Cooked
his steak on the grill, placed it before him
and cut it up as he watched Match Game
and barked, “Move your fat ass!” All until
the day he scratched “Get a life” on her list

of things to do. Sandwiched between “Scrub
kitchen floor” and “Wash and iron curtains.”
And so she did. She moved in with his brother
who made her pan-fried brook trout, left love
notes in her pockets and took her line dancing. 

Open Call for Submissions

Very excited to announce today that the journal arm of Blind Vigilance Press, The Blind Vigil Revue has risen from the ashes and is back online! We currently have an open call for submissions and hope to be re-listed on Duotrope soon. Please read thoroughly through our Submission Guidelines and then send us some poems! Also in the very near future we expect to add additional staff. We hope for The Blind Vigil Revue to become as successful as Whisper & Scream Magazine was during its short run. We are pretty bare bones right now, but hope to bring forth some great content very soon. Thank you for reading!

Lee Lincecum, Managing Editor