Friday, August 28, 2020

Deaf Girl Reviews Music: Yote Magus by Su Zi

Image:  A carved, block print of a standing person with wings. They are blue with raised arms. To the left of the print are the artist's tools.

We were told to stay home.

As we turned even more to our communication devices, our cloudy realities, the concerts and festivals came within reach—we saw performances by artists who were, like us, too at home—there was art and music and models catwalking their kitchens. Somehow the algorithms shifted, and it was easier to find the outsiders, those few in followers who also showed their art, had been showing their art. From a graphic perspective, Instagram presents art in a way that is artist-viewing friendly, and there’s always the hope to see a dress or some pottery that lifts us for a moment. It was in searching for interesting printmaking, that so there appeared a printmaker whose work was consistently stunning: vibrant and sensual, technically perfect—Yote Magus.

When art is encountered online, the experience is compressed by the presentation features of the device; we lose scale, and our experience is with the kernel of the idea and the physical perception of it. The printmaking presented by Yote Magus was so visually forceful that the experience of it as a handheld image did not diminish a perceptible power. In following this account, viewers were treated to not only printmaking process videos, but also animation shorts, and finally, a dancing skeleton video that was a short for a full musical composition, “Really, Bitch”.

Beginning with a tom-tom beat and a whisper, the single vocalist relates a narrative of betrayal; however, rhyme is not rigid in the lyrical construct, it is used as a highlight to the narrative, as in “rain/gold chain”. The song itself is an interplay of layered rhythms, much in the way that the artist layers colors in his prints. In the song’s circumstance, the percussion beat emphasizes both the tom-tom downstroke, and a top hat emphasis on all but the second beat, in the standard tetrameter (4/4)—which is then layered with the whispered narrative. The music progresses alongside the narrative, until the two become entwined on the chorus phrase “really, bitch”. From a metrical perspective, this phrase is a construct of three syllables in a Stressed-Unstressed-Stressed pattern that might be notated as either half-notes or as an amphimacer, an atypical construction. Towards the song’s last minute, the chorus shifts and becomes “something”, a more common trochaic construction of two beats, with the first as foremost. And while the lyrical construct of the song provides a storyline where the emotion is refreshingly perceived (as opposed to the too common fatigue brought by fashionable, emotional yammering), it’s the insistence on the entwined meter that makes this song so replayable: it’s a danceable beat.  The metrics of the song encourage a salsa step that is both subtle and potent, the listener becomes participatory, the whispered voice becomes an incantation.

When we find something striking, resonant, there is the sigh of pleasure, and then we look to see “Who Made This?”. More academic minds are easily satisfied by a research of authorship that may strike others as a snobby form of “Who’s Your Daddy?”. Nonetheless, although “Really, Bitch” appears to be the solo offering of Yote Magus on Apple iTunes, the Instagram account yields a searchable name and the appearance of the artist on other platforms. We discover that the artist is Peruvian, has followers, follows hashtags of hawk tattoos, but consistently posts work that is visually and acoustically captivating.

For those of us who are Staying Home, for whom certain of our limited joys Outside no longer exist, finding the unusual online is a focused aspect of our lives. It is now dangerous for us to fling ourselves into the contaminated throng, and so the online art we can find becomes crucial. And despite the iconic horror symbols and mythological imagery Yote Magus employs in his prints, the lyrics of “Really, Bitch” are as current as the 2020 copyright, as current of that of a thieving drug addict and of a life that is far too street for staying at home, if there is a home. And in our homes thousands of miles away, we find a music that is almost cheerful in rhythm, decidedly danceable, despite a gritty reality portrayed in the lyrics. And in this we find a gift—the luxury of finding an artist , and doing so from a point of relative safety.

Su Zi is a poet/writer and artist/printmaker and edits, designs and constructs the eco-feminist poetry chapbook series Red Mare
Publications include poetry, essays, stories and reviews that date back to pre-cyber publishing, including when Exquisite Corpse was a vertical print publication, and a few editions of New American Writing. More recent publications include Red FezAlien Buddha and Thrice. A resident of the Ocala National Forest, with a dedicated commitment to providing a safe feeding respite for wild birds, and for a haphazard gardening practice that serves as a life model for all aspects of her work.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Fog by Joshua P. Sorensen

Phantom pain! or is it real?
I should know... I do know this.
So simple, like swimming.
Swimming through mud.
Hands quiver.
Medicine helps that.
No drug clears the fog.
The easy, the difficult, the now unreachable.
I slap my head.
Fails to clear the mind.
Makes me feel better.
Expectation management
The key to my survival.
I am not what I was,
But I am still great.

Maybe, I’ll just stay in today
Biography:  Joshua P. Sorensen is from Orem, Utah (United States).  He graduated with a Masters of Military History from Norwich University. His extensive travels inspire him to write poetry and short fiction. Drawn to horror writing, he particularly enjoys writing monster fiction. His other loves include history, nature, and all things geek. Joshua’s current life goal is to bring delightful chills to all ages, particularly the young. His children’s picture books are available online or at your favorite bookseller. He is a member of the HWA and LUW. He can be found on Facebook: #SorensenVagabondWriter and Amazon:

Friday, August 14, 2020

Me at My Most Vulnerable by Lisa Jones

I want to hide within myself
Away from everyone and everything
Voices natter inside my head
Feelings swell
Insecurities rise
I don’t know how to control them
A blinding fear overtakes
Flutters in my chest
Brings tears to eyes
A croak in my voice
I’m afraid to make too much noise
Others will hear
See the real me
The one with a degenerative illness
The one who is weak
Has been abandoned
Despite all she gave
The one who feels unloved
Even though all she wants is to be loved
This is me
Me at my most vulnerable
Biography:  Lisa Jones writes poetry as a form of therapy. She lives in Ontario, Canada.