Dunja Janković

Dunja Janković lives a double life between Portland and Croatia. She received BFA on Fine Art Academy in Zagreb, Croatia and a MFA degree on School of Visual Arts in New York. She has been publishing comics and illustrations in various magazines (TimeOut NY, Diamond Comics, KUSH, Stripburger...), books and anthologies and had exhibited her works in Europe and US. All that time she's been active in Komikaze comic collective. Her comics albums Department of Art and Habitat, published by Sparkplug Comic Books, were nominated for the Ignatz Award in the category Outstanding Comic. Besides comics she's been working on multiple art projects, collages, animations, space installations and music. She is a founder and a main organizer of the ŠKVER! Art project in the shipyards of Mali Losinj, and one of the organizers of the international comics festival THE PROJECTS which will be held in October in Portland, Oregon. She teaches comics at Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland Oregon.


Al Burian


 “Given the swimming pools of booze I’ve guzzled over the years,” singer Ozzy Osbourne wrote recently in a column for the Sunday Times of London, “not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol… you name it– there’s really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive.” What is the secret of the dark prince’s longevity? “I was curious,” says Mr. Osbourne, and so he has done what any scientifically interested person with some extra millions to spare would do: he has gotten his DNA sequenced and decoded. “Maybe my DNA could say why,” he hopes.

From the dawn of time, musicians have tended towards such robustness. They have always been the shamans, the oracles, the freaks, the party animals. The genetic benefit for such people is obvious: the more vice you can tolerate, the more earthly woe escaping you can do, with no strings attached. Mankind effectively becomes closer to God-like. And this, in the end, is what the scientific hopes of DNA decoders are all about: imagine the possibilities, the human potential, if we could just splice together the brain-power of Albert Einstein with the drug resistance of Ozzy Osbourne. 

Disappointingly, scientist have failed to isolate the “non-stop party gene” in Osbourne’s DNA. But the genome sequencing has led to one profound revelation: “We found a little segment on Ozzy’s chromosome 10 that very likely traces back to a Neanderthal forebearer,” says research director Dr. Nathan Pearson.

That’s right: Ozzy Osbourne, derided as part Neanderthal by the music press ever since Black Sabbath first shambled their way onstage in the late 60’s, turns out to be, as it happens, part Neanderthal. One of mankind’s oldest prejudices rears its ugly head: our long-lost cousins, with whom we co-existed 80,000 years ago, now extinct, but still subject to our derision and ridicule. The term Neanderthal has gone down in Homo Sapien colloquialism as unsophisticated, backwards, a hulking idiot. But more than a few of us have some traces of that branch in our family tree. If you are naïve enough to think that no human-Neanderthal interbreeding went on, you are underestimating the allure of a warm, fire-lit cave on a cold winter night eight hundred centuries ago.

Neanderthal man had, fire, tools, culture and religion. The main thing that separates Neanderthals from Homo Sapiens, as with Ozzy and the music journalists, is language. Human beings, alone amongst animals, communicate with discrete units of vocabulary in infinitely recombinable variation, giving them a survival advantage in the long-term evolutionary sense, but not necessarily equipping them to optimally appreciate contemporary music. The journalistic tendency of the early 1970s was to sit at a typewriter and come up with clever and often evolution-based insults for the new breed of Zeppelin/Sabbath style blues: these were “cave men,” or even “dinosaurs.” The journalists felt the primitive gravity of the music and rushed to reject it, to clothe themselves in the cynical costume of modern man; the audience, meanwhile, was happy to fall into the trance of an ancient shamanistic drone.   

How, we might ask, did the Neanderthals, with as large or larger brain capacity than humans, but no actual spoken language, communicate with one another? Steven Mithen, in his book the Singing Neanderthal, proposes an interesting answer: a system he terms “holistic, multi-modal, manipulative, and musical” (which perhaps not totally coincidentally spells out HMMMM). “Its essence would have been a large number of holistic utterances, each functioning as a complete message in itself,” he writes. Nuances of pitch, melody or volume would have lent these noises shades of meaning, as they do in bird songs. This system, which consists essentially of communicating emotion and guiding group action through repetitive, communal chanting, might have been further augmented through musical instruments such as bone flutes, which have been found amongst Neanderthal remains and dated thousands of years before similar objects appeared amongst humans. In fact, music itself may be one of mankind’s earliest cultural appropriations.

Music pre-dates language, and though no one can explain its exact origin or evolutionary function, there are probably several: attracting a mate, intimidating predators, creating a sense of community. Mothers sing to newborn children using “motherese,” a set of sounds and inflections that are surprisingly consistent across nations and cultures. The parts of the brain that produce or perceive music are among its most ancient circuits, used otherwise only in critical survival situations.  

There are several theories as to why the Neanderthal died out: some suspect humanity committed its first genocide, while others argue that interbreeding subsumed our neighbors. Modern, recombinable-fragment language won out as the most efficient communication system, leaving the more ancient forms of meaning to attach themselves to that which could not be spoken: it is no accident that almost all religion and spiritual practice incorporates music, chanting, and trance. Perhaps the “big black shape with eyes of fire” that Ozzy Osbourne encounters in the first few minutes of the first Black Sabbath album is not Satan; perhaps it is the ghost of Ozzy’s long-gone ancestor, commanding him to carry on, to continue beating on hollow logs and barking at the moon. Even the Neanderthals would have recognized the sound, and, had they the words to do so, might have called it “heavy rock.”   

Al Burian is a writer, artist and musician. He is the author of the long-running fanzine Burn Collector, has published two anthologies of his zine writing and a book of comics. He lives in Berlin.


Shane Jones

Final Crystal 

He found a bird with a broken wing and stepped on it. Not with a single thump of a boot though. What he did is step on the broken wing first with one foot, and step on the good wing with his other foot and move his toes away from the bird’s body until a bone cracked. Remy told him to stop but he didn’t. He held the bird at the winged edges with his feet, the sun framing the bird’s body in yellow light as the bird exhaled its last crystal. This was the worst thing Pants McDonovan ever did as a child.

Tock Ocki 

When Megan was a child she had an imaginary friend named Tock Ocki who only appeared when she used the toilet. Tock Ocki always sat in the corner of the bathtub. He had a toddler’s body and the head of a lion. Megan would tell Tock Ocki about the kids at school throwing sand in her eyes during recess and how at lunch they said she would be alone forever because she was F.A.T FAT. All Tock Ocki ever did was nod in agreement. On occasion, he would tell her in a weird and creepy animal whisper that she was special, and special people are destined to do special things. Sometimes when she asked, he would stand in the tub, claw at the air near his ears, and roar.

Shane Jones is the author of Light Boxes, The Failure Six, and A Cake Appeared. A new novel, Daniel Fights a Hurricane, will be published this week by Penguin.


Tung-Hui Hu

Reprinted from Tung-Hui Hu, Mine (Ausable/Copper Canyon Press, 2007)

It is true that you act differently: you’ve started eating the fish that we catch. No—there is no need, the fish here are small and bony, more like jewels than food. And your eyes shine yellow now at night, like a cat’s. You once told me about a dream you had: floating in the salt-water, face down, tasting fish as the schools swim past. No brassière. You’ve eaten so many fish you worry you’ll sink, you worry you’ll spend years at the bottom waiting for someone to find you, to kiss you, to cut open your stomach—only then will the rubies and sapphires tumble out and let you float again.
But when you took the life of the boathand! A boathand is not a crate to be so easily discarded, one day I called for him and there you stood with a guilty smile on your face, I don’t even remember when we hired the boathand, perhaps he was a stowaway, either way he must have managed to swim ashore, I am certain of that. And it was just like you to take someone’s life, we are all capable of that, but how did you do it? Did you push him overboard while he was singing the cadenza of your favorite aria? Did you ask him to swim out to find your hat that blew away in a gust of wind? So I was upset about losing something I barely knew I had.
And soon there was no need to navigate at all. When we sailed through the mangrove trees we quickly got lost in between their roots: one would point one way and another the opposite, it was a maze of arrows and signs. It even seemed they were moving faster than we were, certainly with more purpose, speaking louder than us, they had so much force, divine right or presence. When we walked we took care to use as few footsteps as possible; the sounds were of parrots squawking off in the distance, the sun like honey poured from a jar, so slow you could hear it shift across your feet, for a minute perched on your big toe like a golden scarab, and then inching up your leg. In this time we spoke to each other so majestically that it would take a week to finish a thought. Like this: Lllllooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaammmmm. As I listened to a particularly long vowel I would close my eyes and steer in the warmest direction.

Tung-Hui Hu is the author of three books of poems: The Book of Motion (2003), Mine (2007), and Greenhouses, Lighthouses (forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, 2012). Recent installations include digitally-mediated poems about crying ("The Last Time You Cried", 2010, with architect Vivian Lee). Hu is assistant professor of English at the University of Michigan, where he teaches poetry and film/media studies.


Mg Roberts

Tasseomancy: see hear now

[She] empties thought, ponders the basis of perfection at the bottom of a porcelain cup. Clustering synthesis much like the way a wheel represents movement.

Reading tea leaves [she] attempts to hold outer layers of saying. Disturbance generates pictures to be discerned only by the eccentricities of shape.

[She] finds it easier to predict

better things than unpleasant


The human mind reduces pieces for observation and study, constantly reabsorbing and recreating with inherent flexibility: light influenced by the compression of dots.

What is beautiful is

predicable, so


Small netted veins steep into patterns, crossing its ringed interior in floating bits. [She] focuses on breath, watching leaves cluster, bend into rectangles and squares, questions break apart


smaller pieces.

Mg Roberts is a Kundiman Fellow and MFA graduate of New College of California, where strange tricks were added to her bag. Currently she is a member of Kelsey Street Press and teaches in the San Francisco Bay area. Her work has appeared and or is forthcoming in 580 Split, The New Delta Review, Web Conjunctions, and KQED’s Writers’ Block. If she were not a poet she would be a snake handler, or maybe just a good speller.


Jane Cope

the brain new stuff'd

janie up in a tree
head lolled to the right

same side mommy keeps her
same side mommy keeps her shoulder bag

what couldn't she see there
what couldn't she            reams
of paper             that which she
keeps that which she keeps there

in facts mommy never said
"come down"
"you come down now"
"right this instant"

in fact

she felt she was not sure she could
momma she felt she        momma
she felt                a momma could
cling to it            mommy how do
you do  mom how didja do

Jane Cope is a queer poet and activist from Michigan. For the past three years, she has ived and worked in Paris and its suburbs. She's currently thinking about epic heroines and ghost towns of the internet. She blogs at


Chris Nealon

Scenic poem

I guess sometimes I do imagine people as an onrush, yeah

     Uzbeks Chileans Jamaicans Australians
     Also the Brookings Institution

Cyclist! Ergonomic legal and romantic impact all rolled into one
He makes a sharp diagonal to miss me

     — and I step back inside my great distraction, art and politics

Acrylic optics: Washington, 1960
Paintings less as works of genius than as negatives that came out great

     Washington, ‘76: assassination in broad daylight
     The car bomb burns the hooves of Sheridan’s horse

You can tilt a little, standing still, and the technical will seem aesthetic
Your head is mimicking its free-fall

But there’s a slowness in the field, the fields of goldenrod —

     Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, murdered by Pinochet
     Philip Sheridan, who made a Carthage of the Shenandoah

Winter clouds blow by

          Hey, buddy, chase that man-ray-looking thing, yeah!

Light like the light at the back of the brain

Chris Nealon lives in Washington, DC with his partner Rob and his son Nico. His chapbook The Dial is forthcoming from The Song Cave this summer.


Kimberly Alidio


Circling around a memory of flat-out reading the inside
Dust jacket aloud for an oral book report without
Bothering to hide the fact I wasn’t trying to
Grow my seven-year-old words by re-telling a foreign
Story, breaking it down into character, plot and moral
Copied out the text through the loud clear plastic
Stumbled a second too long over the word TSAR
An amateur moment no teacher ever

Prove capable of wifery
Childbearing is the oldest authority
You should put your money in my purse
A proposal   
I.               All my eggs are in this basket, no need to read on   
II.             Careful, the plate is hot        
III.           Method, theories, how I roll             
IV.           Expected findings: is that a quarter behind your ear?
V.             Everyone I’ve ever heard of but never really read
It’s OK. We believe in you, we want you. That’s why
You’re here.
We long for your genes.

Compare and contrast on company letterhead
Your collegiality and a head of lettuce
For every syllabus Terms of Service spelled out
Copy the plagiarism policy from the student handbook
Of the university under-employing you at the moment
Audiotape the role-play
You’ll never get to Italy or Flanders
Be original or fail. Repeat
Be close to original but not too
Yes-or-no answers are key to building opinion
But only when the student keeps talking
For a minimum of three minutes
If her opinion is ungrounded, she must not be allowed to Lapse into silence
As Francis I, write a letter to Leonardo da Vinci
Asking him to retire in France
Discuss your bikini tan at tenure-and-promotion meetings
List all the inferiors in love with you
Reenact kingly gestures

She can forge an archival source because she has no

hi ms this is with A T I a crass your retirement company I was just following up on the conversation you had with my colleague a few days ago I know that he had emailed you out some letters church to set up a new I a Ray and to roll over and old account into the irate as a enrollment rollover specialist here in the financial solutions group on the fine to you to help you to make that process is easy as possible again that's morsey poor not with T I A Crap thanks so much I look forward to speaking with you

Wait until you enter
The precise organs of reproduction
Do stay in the probationary vestibule until your DNA maps
The discipline
We’ll make new things incested with thumbprints

Don’t worry
Just grind your teeth
For fifteen minutes a day between milkings
Whenever you get a little space to piss
It’s best not to eat much during the day and
Wait till the sun goes down to begin grazing
Finish the entire contents of the pantry by midnight
If you do it everyday
You’ll get it down to where it needs to be
You’ll have to find possums to bring ice baths
On the half-hour to soak your feet
So you can eat skullcap slowly into the night
They’ll have to learn to decipher your mush-mouth

Read the following excerpt and answer person re
Fuses that person mis
Places that person for
Gets that person politely de
Clines that person passes that person sur
Mises that person misuses that person bull
Shits that person drops that person sees
Right through that the student needs to read
Without moving her lips
Letters by people rich enough to write

Role-play the reunion of art students in 1500
One returned from Italy and the other from Flanders
Early twenty-first century idiom expected
So messed up I want you here
In my room I want you here
Now we're gonna be face-to-face
And I'll lay right down in my favorite place
And now I wanna be
Eaten by the Igorots at St. Louis. Now I wanna be
Eaten by the Igorots at St. Louis. Now I wanna be
Eaten by the Igorots at St. Louis. Well c'mon
Other women live only as foils and shopping buddies
Don’t forget to divorce

Kimberly Alidio is a teacher, historian and poet. She runs a small poetry salon and a weekly art-making session, Writing with Viewpoints, in Austin, TX.


Kevin Killian

Activism, Gay Poetry, AIDS in the 1980s
Excerpts from an address presented in June on “Activism, Gay Poetry, AIDS in the 1980s” at the National Poetry Foundation’s “Poetries of the 1980s” conference.

In San Francisco there was a different vibe on the street, than there had been in broken, dangerous Manhattan. In a bookstore window I saw an exquisite square book, “The Graces” by Aaron Shurin. His face on the flyer looked exquisite too. I called him up on the phone and asked if I could meet him. I must have been high, because he was so awesome it was like calling up an angel. We just had a coffee date thing. Nothing came of it. We were like moving islands tethered on Castro Street.

Soon our differences broke the smooth surface. I admired Aaron’s gay shaman persona, one I would have loved to emulate, but I couldn’t go there. But I loved San Francisco because it provided a non-ironic space in which this stance was possible. You had Robert Duncan teaching at New College, filling up twin blackboards with his beautifully willful handwriting, with different chalks to make different sorts of points, boards so gorgeous his students would photograph them, or draw them painstakingly in the primitive proto-Sharpies of our day. The magic of multiplication. You had Ronald Johnson on Elgin Park, the Phantom of the Opera, writing cookbooks, conceptual ones, like Simple Fare, in which no recipe had more than three ingredients. That was the magic of subtraction. Later he told me his publisher had vetoed the idea, and he had to put in recipes with as many as five or six ingredients. Thom Gunn I met at the annual leather sex fair, blithe as a kite, leaning against a lamppost in characteristic pose, the heel of one boot raised against the pole behind him, to raise his knee, where keys dangled from his gloved hand. There was Irving Rosenthal, the author of Sheeper, who had torn out the floor of the Victorian living room and dining room that made up his communal house, and he had a garden in it, with lawn chairs on a real lawn. Some said chipmunks. Bryan Monte told me that a fawn roamed through those rooms. I never saw it. In Buena Vista Park and in the Ambush and Ramrod, Michel Foucault was inventing a new kind of sex, or so he claimed when he came up for air, and there was a poetry in that, an operatic surrender, an exchange of symbols, an exchange of hours. When I met Robin Blaser he explained to me that poetry was by its nature hieratic, and brought together different orders of discourse, and then came a part I didn’t follow, but it was all about that poets were priests—that there’s a spiritual dimension to the work. And a political dimension too, though that wasn’t always easy to access.

But the shamanic was always there, woven in and out of ordinary life. “You, priest, must know where to strike,” Robin wrote. (It’s in "The Moth Poem.")
The cost has
been high     when all the world is loved by the
daimon of mediocrity,      you, unpriestly, among
hierarchs on fire       burned mouth

must know why you strike


We wanted to infuse stories of our lives with the rigors of theoretical discourse. We wanted to bring the body back to writing, by any means necessary, and so we employed everything from the litany of biology to the badlands of porn to get it there. Bataille was our god, and John Wieners our other God, because he was so abject. he seemed to have been the wax mask breathed on by Bataille, to make his word into flesh. Asked in 1984 by Raymond Foye about whether he subscribed to a theory of poetics, Wieners replied, “I try to write the most embarrassing thing I can think of.” That’s what we did in the New Narrative. For me the great tragedies of life were then that life was basically too sad to live; like Wieners I cried when the stars died, and I remember my room on Guerrero Street, plastered with photos and posters and headlines of the one-two punch, the one after another deaths that slammed my world when first Princess Grace died, then Romy Schneider, both in early middle age, both Continental, each a hideous death, and one afternoon in the fall of 1982 I was standing up fucking a guy against that wall with big faces of Romy and Grace, and him saying, er, maybe a condom, I can see him peering back at me against the black and white engravature of Grace Kelly, sort of shy, but persistent, what you’d call a power bottom, his lips pouting in silhouette, a condom, why? For we hadn’t used them since I was a teenager I expect, and now I was in my 20s. “Because, you know,” his voice dropped to a whisper, “gay cancer.” I’d like to say I had a condom on me but no, and I’d like to say I went to safe sex right away, but now, these were just whispers in the dark, and by the time HIV was identified they say fully half of the gay men in San Francisco hadbeen infected, perhaps 55,000 men and at that moment, and for years afterwards, it was roughly the same as a death sentence. Half! That was like every other guy you saw as you walked down the street. I’ve often wondered how my one guy was so prescient, begging for a condom in that small voice, for then we didn’t know, we had no idea how to stay alive, or what it was that was pushing us off that cliff. [1]

[1] “By the time the virus was identified in 1984, approximately 50% of the city’s gay men were already infected.” (Sura Wood, “Rhapsody in AIDS Activism: New exhibit at the GLBT History Museum explores our past,” The Bay Area Reporter, Vol 42, No, 12, March 22-28, 2012, pp. 17, 29.)

Kevin Killian has written two novels, Shy (1989) and Arctic Summer (1997), a book of memoirs, Bedrooms Have Windows (1990), and three books of stories, Little Men (1996), I Cry Like a Baby (2001), and Impossible Princess (2009). He is the author of two collections of poetry, Argento Series (2001), and Action Kylie (2008). For the San Francisco Poets Theater Killian has written forty plays, including Stone Marmalade (1996, with Leslie Scalapino), The American Objectivists (2001, with Brian Kim Stefans), and Often (2001, with Barbara Guest). He has written on the life and work of the poet Jack Spicer (with Lewis Ellingham) and edited My Vocabulary Did This To Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (2008, with Peter Gizzi) for Wesleyan University Press. Recent projects include Screen Tests, an edition of Killian's film writing, a show inspired by the late poet Elizabeth Bishop (in collaboration with artist Ajit Chauhan), and a book of Killian’s intimate photographs, Tagged, to appear in the spring. His new novel, 22 years in the making, is called Spreadeagle from Publication Studio.


Karen Lillis

Thirteen 50-word Stories

Studios, not Efficiencies
582 West 14th: These studio apartments are some of the smallest you'll find, 10' x 19' rectangles with integrated kitchen, full bath off to the side. Perfect for one, perfect for "starting out." What a laugh: Nearly every unit's occupied by two, mostly gay couples, mostly a long time in.

South to Downtown
Erin arrives five days after graduation, hailing a cab outside Penn Station. Jane’s had this place for six months, and it almost goes without saying that she’ll put Erin up until she gets settled: a job, a pad. There’s room for one suitcase, but summer clothes take up less bulk.

MacDougal Street
For no good reason, they end up at Café Reggio the second night. It feels like things Erin’s read about—Paris, New York in the ‘50s—or the steaming cappuccino she served student-types in Virginia. The city’s still a blank slate, waiting. For memories of movies; places Jane takes her.

Second Floor Walkup
As far as motion is concerned, in these 200 square feet there's only three things: the window, the television, or Jane. Of course time and circumstance dictate which is most compelling: 5:00pm, Kaity Tong narrates murder in Chelsea; 7:30, Jane chatters until narcolepsy; Midnight, the drag queens court 14th Street.

The Angelika
Going to see "Zentropa" means hopping the A-C-E to the B-D-Q, but Erin never even notices the transfer at West 4th: It's like they're finishing each other's sentences the whole way. In the cloud- ceilinged, chrome-edged lobby, they stand silent and watch; everyone's so desirable, and only slightly out of reach.

The Search
One week she would tailor her resume to become an administrative assistant, and the next, a copy editor—it was overwhelming otherwise. Waitress, Girl Friday, museum docent--everyone seemed to want two years experience. "Lie!" Jane insisted. "I did it myyyyy wayy!" Erin would sing in reply. Jane just scowled.

Sharing Space
Of course, there's worlds within worlds, there's a few doors here to close: The typewriter fits the toilet lid just fine, the loft bed is for scribbling in your journal and dreaming the Virginia landscape, the closet is where Melissa on the phone relays news of her mother's sudden passing.

High Gloss Means Egg Whites and Paint Brushes
Photography is Erin’s passion, but until she gets an income, it’s more like an expensive hobby. Jane works as a photog’s assistant and comes home with stories of prima-donna hand models and food prop fake-outs. But sometimes the food is real, and they feast for a week on the discards.

What Amazes Her
Living not only surrounded by skyscrapers and strangers, 24-7 life and a non-stop wall of noise, but among their heroes, small giants of the silver screen and silver gelatin: the likes of Hal Hartley, Jim Jarmusch, Cindy Sherman, Spike Lee. Jennie Livingston, Lorna Simpson, Lyle Ashton Harris, Carrie Mae Weems.

No New York Bank Account
The summer started with a finite bankroll: graduation money plus a generous prize from a photo contest. Her budget depends (naturally!) on how long it takes her to find a job, what they’ll charge for a rented room. It’s all starting to feel more like an If than a When.

The Photo That Won Her $500
Not a nude but a naked portrait of one young man’s mental state—the brooding intensity that once wooed her. Not really a lover but an obsession, now just a “friend” who lives across the Hudson and doesn’t return her phone calls. She counts her change and gets the message.

Former Sanctuary
It’s like the apartment is too small for all three things: two people and the relationship between them. Jane comes home later and later, never says hello, falls asleep sitting up. Erin doesn’t know yet what it means to have a room alone in the city, in a working life.

Black and White Prints
When she feels like splurging, Erin walks a few blocks over to Dial A Darkroom. The rates aren't bad, and there's still some room on her credit card. She tries to heed what her photography teacher recommended, to give her eyes a break every half hour and look to infinity.

Karen Lillis is the author four books of fiction, most recently, "Watch the Doors as They Close" (Spuyten Duyvil Novella Series, February 2012). Her writing has appeared in Blink Ink, Cashiers du Cinemart, Sensitive Skin Magazine, Toad Suck Review, and Undie Press, among others. She blogs at