Sunday, July 5, 2015

Saturday, July 4, 2015

John M. Bennett: Six Poems

La cara en el Lago Petén Itzá

I struck the ph one
the lake's lung a
grass forgets air th
inks thru tiny holes yr
busted foot cloaca
del cielo mes doigts
iluminés comme sand
thumb can't hold no
thing can it hold tu
lengua agusanada
cómetela it's good
muy rica

don't stop to cough

gnattts in the bush yr
*;*;;***;**;;;*;**;;*** *
forehead con geals o
gels with qquivve
rring plate the c
rumbled nest my
sock in there my f
ork and sky my
my my howler in a c
rumpled can a p
lastic bottle eye
et nous un peu de
gelée blanche André Breton
)))where the rotting shoes
stink in mud

las hormigas de mi abuela

bandwurst ,fog in all
the floors a towel
fall around yr legs
or rabbits was it ? flack
bog behind the noodle
itching clawing
corning falling listing
each an every ant
scurries cross yr foot

nodules on the roots

spelled from corn fo
am spun the sea ,if
seen the water's name
or n lessness to fill
leafy space space or h
air sprayed from too
thy face toothy e
ar speaks wind
falls down me
shirt with nouns
soaked pouring
out the sleeves I
want my touseled
head I want my
fattened tongue I
wwant my aaftter

ended sleep.....

le sable d'une femme oubliée

names in the shirtless sand
tout paradis de snakes si
mmering in the lamp n'est
pas perdu como caca o
nariz raíz y lago dans le
cristal des ruines donde
voy sin ID sin mano y ¿qué
hago? dans une horloge
phosphorescent a sideways
window under water stone
qui dit minuit qui dit
chevelures chevelures the
chains of clouds mes images
¿soy yo el paraíso? nuit
que décalque les coqs
rustling in your legs
yr sleeves yr flaming chair
c'est ici c'est ici la
fiebre in the wings of grass la
fiebre flushed down the throat
of the book

3 voices: John M. Bennett,
Ivan Argüelles ("anabasis vi"), &
Andre Breton ("Tout paradis n'est pas perdu")

palpita en el viento

the egg before it
fry lurks under sur
face a swivelled mask
gun combs the door am
monia below your lint
el's bookish sea dr
ools around the fr
ame gnats and blood
snails writ in smoke
cliff's ax snakes
jut out beneath the
bed beaks or pock
ets change clangs for
m rushing up the
basement make 'em
scrambled hollow
soap b roke ,thund
ered leaf on the grave
l intes tines sp read
minutes clatter in your
phonetic units forks
thrust up the anus the
window's zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
night song an ancient n
erve pulses in the road

...el corazón es una hoja...
-Pablo Neruda

3 voices: John M. Bennett; Jim Leftwich,
Six Months Aint No Sentence, Book 107, 2015;
Ivan Argüelles, “anabasis xiii”, 2015. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Nico Vassilakis: An Essay

Creative Staring

I think of vispo as preparation for a future language event. We are inundated by our word-text surroundings, it suffocates our thoughts. Vispo may be a repurposing, a pared down version of our verbal-visual offering to show reverence for our interconnectedness with the planet we're on. I doubt people look at vispo that way though. So, what is it that vispo's doing?

Vispo takes from the blurred periphery of language, and language material, and brings it front and center. This helps people refocus their attention toward what's missed, what's missing, what needs further investigation. It's the same as a “poem,” only the interaction with it may seem more fleeting.

You can read anything as language is everything. Someone asked me if I could read a shag rug, so I got down and began articulating the width, length, direction, color, etc of each tuft/thread in sound units.

The thing you don't want to do is explain everything. You don't want to verbally replicate what is obviously visual. Some reviewers of vispo do this and suck the life force out of a piece. Many vispoets accompany their work by deciphering it with sound. A slideshowing disconnect, a visual lectured as well.

I think vispo is a kinetic mirror. It shows origins, where written language came from, and it shows potential, where it might be going. Words are a limited system that convey only some aspects of our experience. To visually enhance written language by getting in there among the letters and exposing the ingredients of words is useful. It keeps our communication exchange agile and fresh, it enables us to (re)explore new terrain and readies us for future language. What makes language language? 

Graffiti expands visual alphabet too. It constantly tries new combinations, designs, to convey the idea of I AM HERE. Vispo seeks to unlock or continue our experience with alphabet.

There are 2 schools of thinking here. One is that visual poetry is the pinnacle, the top of the categorization pyramid, with everything below it (concrete, lettrism, hieroglyphics, pattern, etc) and two, that vispo is the come lately sub-genre of concrete poetry.

Calling art abstract is subjective. Abstract to who(m)? Vispo is, I think, more determined to transmit and document alphabet information that has been visually altered and to convey a reaction to language, a response that furthers the conversation. Further to who)m(? So, I do not say vispo is art.

One current trend is to try and understand what vispo is? What it is to engage alphabet and language from this vantage? How are the tools that create the charged language of a “poem” not equally present in a vispoem? There is lots to read about but few writers to capture it.

I think asemic writing/poetry is the ratcheted up magnification of parts of letters, the parts that no longer resemble and cannot be traced back to the original and so have determined to make a go of it on their own. It will be interesting to see where all the threads arrive.

If language ingredients can be fashioned to make a charged utterance, what is the difference in using those same ingredients for vispoems?

I'm very interested in drawn letters. I'm not so interested in written letters. There was a time when the brain danced while drawing letters, moving passed the perforated lines, going off the page, drawing on walls, etc, then came the time you were forced to write, to write within the designated lines, to be accurate, exacting, precise, to use right angles. That time frame between drawing letters and writing letters is more fetching to me.

I point directly to my childhood memories about the difference. Hand drawing vs handwriting alphabet was a dramatic segue for me. The letter O, for instance, was first drawn by me as a surrealistic potato encapsulating space wherever it moved. Very soon after that the letter O became uniform, compliant and precise. It was forced to fit obediently between the perforated lines. The line itself became rigid and no longer stole time with unwatched abandon. Perhaps something in my life never quite recovered from that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Truck's new editor/driver for July 2015

Please welcome Matt Margo, who will be at the wheel of Truck during the month of July. The keys are over the sun-visor, Matt.

Many, many thanks to Gwyn McVay for wheeling us through the merry month of June.

Truck's editors/drivers past, present and future as of July 1, 2015


Matt Margo


Aug. 2015 -- Volodymyr Bilyk
Sept. 2015 -- Stephen Vincent
Oct. 2015 -- Maxianne Berger
Nov. 2015 -- Alexander Jorgensen
Dec. 2015 -- Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

Jan. 2016 -- Michael Rothenberg
Feb. 2016 -- C. L. Bledsoe
Mar. 2016 -- Paul Sampson
Apr. 2016 -- Lynda Schor
May 2016 -- 
June 2016 -- Joanna Howard
July 2016 -- Robert Archambeau
Aug. 2016 -- 
Sept. 2016 -- Tero Hannula
Oct. 2016 -- Laura Young
Nov. 2016 -- 
Dec. 2016 -- Philip Garrison


Apr. 2011 -- Kate Schapira

May 2011 -- Wendy Battin
June 2011 -- Frank Parker
July 2011 --  Skip Fox
Aug. 2011 -- Ken Wolman
Sept. 2011 -- Michael Tod Edgerton
Oct. 2011 -- Kelly Cherry
Nov. 2011 -- Andrew Burke
Dec. 2011 -- Lewis LaCook

Jan. 2012 --  Larissa Shmailo

Feb. 2012 -- Gerald Schwartz
Mar. 2012 -- Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Apr. 2012 -- Lynda Schor
May 2012 -- David Graham
June 2012 -- Lars Palm
July 2012 --  Elizabeth Switaj
Aug. 2012 --  rob mclennan
Sept. 2012 -- Georgios Tsangaris
Oct. 2012 -- Douglas Barbour
Nov. 2012 -- Dirk Vekemans 
Dec. 2012 -- Erik Rzepka

Jan. 2013 -- Alan Britt
Feb. 2013 -- Mark Weiss
Mar. 2013-- Mary Kasimor
Apr. 2013-- John M. Bennett
May 2013-- Orchid Tierney
June 2013--Victoria Marinelli
July 2013 -- Volodymyr Bilyk
Aug. 2013 -- David Howard
Sept. 2013 -- Philip Meersman
Oct. 2013 -- Chris Lott
Nov. 2013 -- Alexander Cigale
Dec. 2013 -- Catherine Daly

Jan. 2014 -- Maria Damon
Feb. 2014 -- John Oughton
Mar. 2014 -- Colin Morton and MaryLee Bragg
Apr. 2014 -- Alan Sondheim
May 2014 -- Glenn Bach
June 2014 -- Bill Pearlman
July 2014 -- Edgar Gabriel Silex
Aug. 2014 -- Jerry McGuire
Sept. 2014 -- Karri Kokko
Oct. 2014 -- Márton Koppány
Nov. 2014 -- Anny Ballardini
Dec. 2014 -- Chris Lott

Jan. 2015 -- Marc Vincenz
Feb. 2015 -- mIEKAL aND
Mar. 2015 -- Eileen Tabios
Apr. 2015 -- Crag Hill
May 2015 -- Rudolfo Carrillo
June 2015 -- Gwyn McVay

Monday, June 1, 2015

Truck June 2015: Essay by Shawn Smucker

One fall night, just as the sun sank into a sea of brown leaves, we heard my 4-year-old son screaming somewhere in the woods. Sam’s cries were urgent and panic-stricken, those of a child in trouble.

First I should tell you that before we moved into the city last year we lived in the middle of a forty-acre wood, in the southernmost tip of Lancaster County. When we drove home and came around the second-to-last hill, the sky was low and the fields split by large rocks. It felt like we were ascending some holy mountain, some distant place few mortals dared to visit. That house was far away from everything. It took us ten minutes just to drive the lane to the house.

Sometimes, in early spring or late fall, our two youngest children wandered outside, into the trees. Abra was five and Sam was four, and my wife and I kept track of them from the kitchen window as they stumbled through the undergrowth, swinging sticks like swords. We only asked that they wear bright clothing and keep the house in sight. They moved through the drab trees like two bright kites on a day when the wind comes in close dashes, then stops, then flares up again.

We had been having a dinner party on the deck when we first heard Sam scream, and those of us close to the edge raced into the woods, crashing through the underbrush. The other kids shouted for us to come, but when we got to where they were playing, he wasn’t there. His voice was still some ways off.

I ran down a small path, the tiny branches cutting at my face. You think of the worst possible scenario in those moments. You wonder if this will be one of those days that completely change the trajectory of your life.

There he was, barefoot, sitting on a rock, screaming, tears lining his face.

“Sam?” I asked, out of breath. “What’s wrong?”

He pointed at his feet and screamed again. He had wandered into a small patch of stinging nettles, and he didn’t have any shoes on. Of course he didn’t. He rarely did. Small red blotches started to emerge on his feet and ankles and the backs of his legs. I picked him up, cradled him against me, and carried him back through the forest, back through the undergrowth, trying not to stumble.

Back at the house we put cold cloths on his feet and held his hand. We told him it would be okay and we soaked up the huge tears. He looked uncertain. He looked betrayed. It was the first time in his life he had been so hurt by a plant, and I think the realization that tender green things can cause so much pain confused him. Before it had been only dinosaurs or mean-looking insects. If this, then what? Could clouds injure him? Could the very air he breathed turn on him?

What is this world, so full of unexpected pain?


We live in the city now. We walk to St. James Episcopal Church on Sundays, and sometimes my older son and I walk to the park in the morning when the sun is just coming up over the buildings, casting fresh shadows down the alleys.

There are no stinging nettles growing up through the cracked sidewalks.

Our backyard is small and fenced in and inhabited by semi-wild cats that roam the neighborhood. Beyond our yard is a narrow alley where they live their life, yowling and fighting and moving here and there like shadows. Beyond that, a broken building rises up over an empty lot. It smiles down on us through shattered teeth.

On a whim, I bought seeds and turned the backyard over by hand, with only a shovel. The kids helped me rake it smooth, and then my oldest son, the one who goes to the park with me in the early mornings, took a small spade and made lines, shallow furrows. He counted out the seeds, one at a time, while his sisters cleaned a different bed, while his brothers clowned around on the back patio.

Leo was not alive when we lived on the forty acres. He is only nine months old, and if we do not move, he will know nothing besides this busy street in front of our house, this broken building, this stinging nettle-less landscape. We protected his older siblings from bees and falling-down trees – we protect him from broken glass and the screaming of sirens.

“Dad, what’s this?”

My daughter found a crack pipe there in the dirt while we prepared the garden. The stem was shattered, the bulb round and full of mud. It was as unexpected as Sam’s stinging nettles. We talked about it with the kids, what it was for, what it meant (as much as any of can explain the meaning of these things, this life, this pain).

There are unexpected things everywhere, I suppose, pain and hurt and other things the children will stumble upon at some point. But we go on planting, we go on letting them search, watching them find. It’s the only way to live a life. The pain is there, and the things that hint at pain, but there are also seeds, just below the surface, dying a death that brings unexpected life.


Shawn Smucker is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including Building a Life Out of Words, How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp, and Refuse to Drown. His first novel, The Day the Angels Fell, was published in late 2014. He lives with his wife and five children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him online at

Truck June 2015: Poem by Andrew Demcak, "Ornithological"


Altruistic light falls everywhere now.
Glassy-eyed before the dusty cases,

our historian indexes his finch,
his altricial crow.  Syntax of labor,

sifting all, the small auditor tagging
the endless shapes of feathers.  Loosening

ideas of flight, like the cloth tails of kites.

Andrew Demcak is an award-winning poet and novelist whose work has been widely published and anthologized both in print and online, and whose books have been featured by the American Library Association, Verse Daily, The Lambda Literary Foundation, the Best American Poetry blog, The Nervous Breakdown, and Poets/Artists. His forthcoming teen GLTBQ science-fiction coming-out novel, A Little Bit Langston, will be published by Harmony Ink Press in 2015. 

Truck June 2015: Three Poems by Gwyn McVay

The Grey-Streaked Hare

thumping hard against my fingers
your furry heart beats with my need
you sense it — do you not —

perhaps you are frightened
I hold the beastie to my breast
O, know you are safe —

you and your fast heart — within mine
such body heat — salty and constant


All You Have To Do

You can pose but you don't have to pose
You can play your instrument or just sit
by the river with me and listen to that
You can toast me with your fizzing soda
or sip it quietly and just smile
You can tell me a story or just lie
next to me, I'll guard your dreams
You can do cartwheels, you can just be
the musclebound pony I saw striding
smooth as beach rock under a load
of all you possess and all you need own

If I have an orange you have half an orange
If I draw breath you have all my heart


The Butterfly Effect

the roughest bastard,
born in a bear's den, will let
a butterfly sit

in the crook of his elbow,
watching its slightest beat


Gwyn McVay is the author of two chapbooks of poems and one full-length collection, Ordinary Beans (Pecan Grove Press). She has published poems and reviews in more than sixty periodicals and in three anthologies, most recently Letters to the World (Red Hen Press). She lives in southeastern Pennsylvania, where she teaches writing at Millersville University; three of her poems are in this year's volume of the university's literary magazine, George Street Carnival