December 7-13, 1998: Walt Phillips and Dylan Russell

Week of December 7, 1998-December 13, 1998

Walt Phillips and Dylan Russell

Walt Phillips


Walt Phillips, just nominated for a pushcart prize by Chiron Review,  has published poems and drawings throughout the small press world since l959 His work has appeared in such places as Wormwood Review,  Lost & Found Times, Yellow Brick Road, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Impetus, Pearl and Lynx Eye Online, he is currently at Gravity, Zero City, Afternoon, Arcanum Aafe and many others his line art has been praised by such as Todd Moore, Gerald Locklin and the legendary Judson Crews Walt, retired from careers as a newspapers journalist and amusement park factotum, lives in American Canyon, California, with his wife of 42 years, Bonnie He is a Massachusetts native.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Walt Phillips and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

He Said He’d Been Dreaming

about mud-wrestling
the waitress at randy’s
hell you can barely walk let
alone wrestle
I told him
everything went to hell
he said after
I gave up drinking
which was when? I said
next week sure he

They Were Playing Cards

in the maintenance room
and chester got pissed
and broke a bottle of
dog and cat repellant you’re
a hell of a sport you are
hollered shaky andy I ain’t
paid to be a sport in
this fucking place
hollered chester it went
quiet then he
I don’t get paid much
for anything else either
and they all departed to
avoid the afternoon as

Primary Means Fundamental

I climbed in with the
and went back to the
old gardens of eden which
of course were no such
every time is peopled with the
befuddled and difficult and
flat out nuts
and the loveliest gardens of
any era host
encyclopedic in range and


breaks your heart
breaks your heart
breaks your heart

he kept saying it
again and again
breaks your heart

his heart was penned
in a dry field

and the only rescue
o so final

The Superintendent

of the nuthouse said he could
empty the place if it weren’t
for guilt
the reporter took his picture
standing with one of
the patients
and the big interview afternoon
was over
then the superintendent went
home and
washed his hands 13 times
before dinner
and 21 afterward

He Said

thinking he
of places where
is slow and

Dylan Russell


Dylan is a student living in Southern California He’s a vagabond who’s annual re-location has placed him in various cities throughout So Cal , including, in the immortal words of Snoop Doggy Dog,  ” .the hills next to Chino ,” where he currently stays He’s even spent time recently living in self-exile in the desert of Las Vegas He justifies all of his moving as a search for the Southwestern sense of place He avoids using the cliched term Zeitgeist, but a sense of time and place are something that he’s obsessed about He edits a literary magazine at Cal State Fullerton,  which has been organized to with the intent to bring about some sort of artistic community at a school overrun with a feeling of transientness, caused by its large population of commuter students

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Dylan Russel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Zombie Lovesong

in the windburnt, halflight of october
my hand grows scales and the skin
stretches thin over a row of bones I think of the spine of a triceritops
our backs to the santa anas,
I notice the halfworn cherry polish
on her thumbnail as she picks at it I don’t even hear what she says
about the film:
something about davy crockett
wrestling a bear and I turn to look at her
straight into her autumnal eyes;
each eye haloed like the eyes
of a zombie
I see a baby deer,
hopping after its mother,
look up at me
as she passes through the clear,
back into the thick trees
we are zombies, 
living on vitamins and amphetamines,
reading a thousand pages a day, 
and we’ve stopped here to admit it,
to admit we have grown thin we’ve drug ourselves here
to talk shop,
to struggle out q & a
that is as careful, as deliberate,
as a cardhouse and as thin as we are, 
as scaled as we are,
we see through gaps we can read the language at the back of
“what other classes are you taking,”
which is a metaphor for
“I am lonely,
rest with me “

her lotioned hand takes hold of mine she has more initiative, i think she motions toward the drinking fountain
and we take turns.

Tattooed to Me

I can still see you sprawled out
making snow angels in our dim-lit
upstairs brick apartment,
just east of Lake-
not the side strewn with Church’s
& Pioneer Chickens & Korean markets,
but the side with the most clear view
of Lowe Mountain,
where all the mulberry trees grow
There you are,
wrapped in a paisley silk scarf,
wearing your pink nightgown,
listening to Hall and Oates’ “Maneater”
in your headphones A dusty lightbulb & a flickering candle
paint your legs olive,
hide three days stubble,
and just hint @ the curves of a woman
who was only caught half dozen times or so
this millennium
when she came down to play
in the late night studios
w/ her other muse friends
I’d imagine you’re thinking
about something obscure_
what you’d do to get your
silver-nail-teeth into a fat,
juicy burger w/ cheese
& fresh lettuce, ripe tomato
& sharp onions,
the grease running down your chin Just a late night snack
This is how you live up to your name-
you are the diamond mines in Africa,
you are the sweet piece of coal
kissed by soft, dark mud & clay
a thousand times, ëtil you shine
brighter than any steel star
that ever got stuck in the black sky
I can still see you
from way out here in space;
the hum of metal stars, mars I am studying you,
looking for a pattern,
scanning for a language I’ll read you in rows,
scatter plots,
cross-hatch you on newsprint,
burn a beeswax candle
behind onion-skin,
turn a vacuum on
& suck you onto the page Sound strange?
All I really wanna do is borrow your soul
for a story, lady Can’t you help me, 
save me,

I keep drawing circles around
the thing I mean to make Here and there my pen crosses over,
I slip and put my foot in the river Like when I say you are electric When I see you, I see a barn,
a burning, blazing barn & a dam
A pent up flood A barn and a dam And there you are,
all shiny,
soft light,
sparks between your chattering teeth,
& that fuzz just above your skin Electric
Then, every aspect of you,
from the split ends of your hair
to the callouses on your feet
swirl like a blackhole
@ the edge of our galaxy Things are askew,
you are something I never knew I was daydreaming
& you were caught in my blink.


We are the thin crowd-
thinned out by sweaty, almost-summer days,
lounging under shady Jacarandas,
eating sticky oranges while we bob our head
like cool black kids, 
beat boxin’, rappin’ the chorus
to “We Be Clubbin’ “
We’re so cool we miss the moon;
even on a day like today:
a break in the weather, 
the shiny white sun, in fat rays,
like long arms
extending through still gray clouds;
ya, it brushes our pale skin pink
& squints through the dark
circles of our eyes
We are the weary kids-
splintered apart as we burn through space Tonight, when we’re down w/ the moon again,
when we’re cool with the mooon again,
we’ll only be a dim glow,
a faint buzz,
like a stone worn by
every layer of the earth since the core,
held down under a petrographic microscope
ëtill we squeal our name
We are the burros-
dumb as the Jerry Springer Show,
living on amphetamines & vitamins,
living Online,
always Online We have a Zeitgeist i.v
Even with a blue screen
we’re assessing our portfolios, 
hearing music from God’s mouth,
cleaning our cars,
shopping 4 clothes the designers
haven’t even thought to wear Cash has become air We are wearing our fingertips printless,
confusing downtime w/ worktime It’s always worktime
But look @ our bee-pollen faces,
hear our tickled nose sneezes We’ve lived through April before We know about hot sun and wet rain We know about empty calories
and the Bionic Man We’ve driven out here from Reseda
and Glendora and Tustin and Fontana We’ve come here for the show
So here is your flea dip Here is your debut strip We’ve been waiting for you We’ve been praying for you Lay down on this soft grassy hill,
breath the thin blue air,
smell the teeming wildflowers,
watch the first fireflies
of the burning dusk, 
and hum along
to the cool kids’ song.

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