Songs of a Dissident

Book Review written by Holly Holt

Songs of a Dissident Front

Scott Thomas Outlar

Released December 2015

Transcendent Zero Press

Available on Amazon 


There are works that align with the heartbeat of the world through various parts of history. The United States was given “Common Sense” during a time when we were seeking independence from Great Britain. “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” graced us at a time when women didn’t have a voice, while “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” made us realize (and do something about) the inhumanity of slavery. Through these works (and there are so many, many others), we are able to see the true power of words, because of the depth of truth that they speak, from authors who have witnessed the world. These words became books—windows to see into the better world these writers are seeking.


In much the same way, Scott Thomas Outlar’s “Songs of a Dissident” seeks a better world through making us aware there is something wrong with this one. From the poem “Plastic Parasites,” he gives us lines that prompt us to pause and consider the devastation occurring in the world around us, “I’m starting to feel drastic/in this world made of plastic/drink a little oil and all is well/Black muck replaces blue blood/it’s spilling in the streets now/hear the sirens blaze as chaos calls…”


His truth, for me, extends into this year’s election, where two “outsiders” are garnering attention from voters, while most of those who dropped out of the race hold positions in the government. Although I am a political junkie, I won’t weigh this review down with names, except to prove Outlar’s truth. His words are brutal, oftentimes weighed heavily with cynicism and anger, but they are much tapped into America’s vein: we are sick of liars and thieves; of looking for true patriots in the wreckage of a nation run by fools; of upper-class roads being smeared with the blood of the over-worked and under-paid.


There are moments in his work that speak of how deep the lies run; moments where you feel there’s nothing but gloom and doom to be had; then, you are witness to something as beautiful as is held in “Feeding The Beast”: “Work is where it’s at –/not some rote, machine-like, mechanistic, / factory assembly line, grind your soul/into dust, nine to five type shit,/but real work,/hands in the dirt work,/sun on your back work,/feeding the homeless work,/doing whatever your passion demands work.” These lines spoke to me above all of the others, to explore what is for you, personally, to be human, without being restrained by a fixed definition; to examine the work that will save your soul, instead of leave it to be ruined by the tar of corruption and greed.


Outlar’s work calls for a revolution, and lines like “How many souls/will rise/on the day that the truth/takes flight/lofty and laced with visions/of a lit up nebula being born…” lead to the image of a phoenix rising from the ashes. The reader can create a compare/contrast between this phoenix, the mythical bird of rebirth, and the eagle, brought into his verse in “Apocalyptic Eagle”: “I see an Eagle in the sky./It has claws that will tear/into the fabric of creation/and spill the spitfire lies/all over the burnt horizon.” I sense in these poems someone who is outraged—and rightly so—over the way the nation is breaking apart; yet, I also sense, in these two sets of lines alone, someone who believes something greater can be formed. In other words: there is, always, hope.

Work Is Where It's At - Songs of a Dissident

Throughout my time with his 40-page book, my heart spoke of the words written in 1776: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” These words, of course, came from the pens of our Founding Fathers, which aligned with the heartbeat of a nation yet to begin. I will let you decide the historic role of “Songs of a Dissident.”


My summary: deep, entertaining read; makes you think; packs a punch; and doesn’t release you until the end (whereby, you’ll go back and read again). Outlar is intense, so buckle up!

Holt has been published by various magazines and blogs, including The Blue Mountain Review, Eunoia Review, Yellow Chair Review, Hobo Camp Review, and Ishaan Literary Review. She has been published in “Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems,” alongside former president Jimmy Carter, among others. Holt serves as the managing editor for Walking Is Still Honest Press; and is also the one-woman show behind Southern Muse Services, which is a business dedicated to artistic renderings, where she takes works from other poets and puts them to digital art. Holt is a full-time student, full-time employee, and a full-time member of The Southern Collective Experience with dreams of writing the next great American novel.


Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, books, and interviews can be found.


Sex at the Mall

Poetry by HR Creel ◊ StreetArt Photography by ILL 69ER


youth pass by

eyeing on another

I am just trying to buy

a pair of sneakers

to fulfill my regimen

of work procedures

they are all spinning

in a soup of their own


looking for what they

think is beauty

but their minds have

not seen it yet.

image3 (1)

She Knows
there is nothing

to escape the dark

world I have made
my house of lies

has many jagged edges
how do you hide

your bleeding

from someone you love?

HR Creel is too old not to write.  His poems also appear at I Am Not A Silent Poet, Blood Root Poetry Blog, and other pages.

In search of a chemical smile

Flash Fiction by Michael Marrotti 💥 Art by Callum Iqbal

imageThe habitual lack of self control I have over my own medication, has a tendency to block out the sun. This is the rerun of my life. I’m prescribed painkillers for my lower back problem, but I have a problem following rules.

It says to take one, three times a day. Don’t make me laugh. I’m taking two or more, three times a day, and enjoying life more than anyone else when under the influence. I have a problem with excess, which equates to a problem with life, once my supply begins to dwindle.

I’d raid your medicine cabinet if given the opportunity. Whatever it takes for a chemically induced smile, ’cause as of now I’m not smiling.
My week of misery had begun. I had to wait until next Monday for my refill. Each passing second is an opportunity lost. I was flopped out on my couch pondering the possibilities, when I reached in my pocket for my iPhone to make a call to Jake.
He picked up after the first ring. He must be lonely.

“Jake, what’s up, bro. I need a favor.”
“Who didn’t know that,” said Jake. “I only hear from you when you’re desperate. When’s the last time you called to jam on the guitar, man?”
“Fuck all that,” I said. “Are you holding.”
“Nothing but my dick.”
“Uh huh. You never had much luck with the ladies.”
“And you never had much luck with my medicine cabinet, asshole.”

“Fuck you,” I told him, as I pushed end on his sorry ass.
The last thing I wanted was to subject myself to the belligerent behavior of my inebriated mother, but drastic times call for drastic measures. Jake was my only other option. You’ve seen where that got me. I searched for her number in my miniscule list of contacts, pushed the button and said hello.


“Is this my only son,” she asked in a half drunken voice.
“Yeah, mom. It’s me.”
“I see. So it is my son, the big shot author who can’t support himself through his writing. What do you want?”

And this is a typical conversation between me and my mother. I can’t even begin to express the amount of resentment I feel for this woman. Or the amount of emotional stress I go through each time we interact. She’s done damn near nothing but traumatize me throughout my life. There’s been plenty of times I’ve shed tears over it. More times than I care to count.

I always seem to give her a break though, cause of her title, only to endure more abuse. On a positive note, she’s set a multitude of bad examples for me not to follow, plus she’s my inspiration for staying off the bottle. But then again, I’m at my wits end with a different type of bottle.
“Well, mom, I was gonna stop on by to say hello. If that’s alright.”
“Bring a bottle of cheap vodka and we got a deal.”
I arrived at her modest sized, red brick home in Brookline, bottle in hand, about fifteen minutes after I hung up the phone. She let me in, then staggered her sorry ass into the kitchen. She must’ve had an early start. I followed her in, and handed over the poison. After that she started her celebratory dance, hands in the air, spinning around like an asshole. It’s the type of thing that would scare off any girlfriend, regardless of their self proclaimed liberal predilection.
“Holy fuck,” I said. “Are you through making an ass out of yourself yet, mom?”
She gave me that evil drunken look that used to frighten me as a small child and said, “You always were an ungrateful little bastard!”
“Wonderful,” I said. “Have another drink, mom. I love these special moments we share together.”
She opened the bottom shelf bottle of vodka, and made a mix drink that would hinder the motor vehicle skills of the most seasoned alcoholic.
“How’s your writing going, son? Have you found an audience for the filth you put out to the world? Do you know how that makes me feel?”
“You should be happy, mom. You can add it to the list of reasons to drink. Not like you need an excuse.”

She took a big hit of her drink and said, “Fuck you!”
My backs killing me, I’m ready to strangle this drunk, and I still can’t smile. Especially here.
I looked to the steps leading upstairs to the medicine cabinet. I was feeling optimistic. But she was just warming up.
“Your writing is terrible, and you don’t know how to treat your own mother. Shame on you, asshole! Shame! On! YOU!”
At this point I’m fed up. There’s no winning against a righteous drunk like her. She’s the type of person who starts shit, then plays victim. I’ve been dealing with this headache since she quit alcoholic anonymous in my teenage years.
Fuck! Nobody can make me wanna kill, murder, destroy like my own mother. Instead of going all OJ Simpson on her ass I took off to the bathroom.
“Where the fuck do you think you’re going?”
“I’m going to the bathroom, mom.”
“The fuck you are! You’re going to raid my medicine cabinet!”
“Mom, fuck off! I gotta shit! Leave me alone!”
She started to stagger her ass towards me slurring, “You fucking cliche! All the failed authors become pill addicts. You’re no better!”
“Fuck this,” I said, as I took off up the stairs.

I’m in her bathroom pissing in the sink, spitting on the floor, raiding her pharmaceuticals for everything she had, and she’s at the bottom of the stairs calling me every malicious name in the book. I ignored her drunken antics with ease. I was busy chewing up perks. I’ll tell you what, the taste isn’t rewarding, but the chemical pleasure is almost instantaneous.
I was looking at the bitter, sickening face of a man chewing up pills in the mirror, when I began to laugh out loud. All the madness downstairs became mute. The chemicals were taking effect. Boredom ceased to be, and with it, the lingering pain in my lower back.
I felt the mental explosion going off in my head. I knew then, everything was going to be okay. I’ve acquired the chemical smile.
I took off down the stairs like an overzealous drugstore cowboy, pushed my way through the Lush known as my mom, and walked out the door.
I’m on the sidewalk when my mother walked, face first, through the screen door. It was knocked out of the frame, laying flat on the porch.
I said to her as I laughed, “Way to go, mom! Lemme guess, you didn’t see the screen door, huh?”
With a tall glass of vodka in her hand she said, “I’m near sighted, you fucking asshole!”
I’m laughing my ass off when I hear a few of her neighbors outside on their porches laughing along with me. What a spectacle. This is the behavior of my mom who’s in her mid fifties. She has a lot of nerve using words like shame.
“You give me back my painkillers, you half ass author! You’re not even good enough to self publish at Amazon! You call yourself a writer? I’m calling you a fucking loser! Give me my pills!”

I reached in my pocket, grabbed a perk to throw in my mouth and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, mom. I’ll call you around Christmas time. Enjoy the vodka.”
Then I took off to more of a serene atmosphere to enjoy my high in.
I chose Marrotti’s coffee shop as my destination. I was all alone but I was happy, enjoying a cappuccino, reading some lousy contemporary poetry, and thinking about how great of a relationship I had with my mother when she was sober. Then I chewed up another perk, and thought to myself how alcohol fractures relationships.
Some cute blonde walked past me after that. We made eye contact and exchanged chemical smiles.


Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he’s not writing, he’s volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man’s work, please check out his for his latest poetry and short stories.


Poetry by Angelica Fuse 〉 Art by Stephen Nolan27865-6982756-Adultery_earthquakes_THE_FACTS
He moves, travels
through his own
world of cast off
Some would
say he has wings
on his back,
a guardian angel
sent here to test
our faith
in humanity
I just say he
smells like piss

See more art from Stephen Nolan (Ireland)

Cult of Celebrity

Opinion by Adam Brown ⇔ Art by Stephen Nolan27865-6982782-Valentines_Day

So, a congressional candidate was caught watching porn.

Fire and pitchforks? Why?

On one hand, people bitch about politicians, congress ect. not being able relate to normal people, not being like them…and then on the other hand, people hold these certain politicians to impossible standards..What do they expect?

Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy to me. We expect politicians (celebrities too) to be these, “Perfect” representations of something which doesn’t even exist. They are all just humans, barely more advanced than apes, with feelings, drives, and they bleed real blood. Perhaps if we empathized more and stopped putting these fellow humans on pedestals, we would see some real change happen. This is especially true in places like the United States, where from a very early age, people are taught exactly what success means. It’s not Us vs. Them….it is all of us caught in a maelstrom of dogma and a flawed belief system. We don’t need revolution, we need awakening.


→  Artwork by Garis Lurus dan Warna  ⁄ Story by Michael Maschio


Dawin in WPAP


Hayat Mousa doesn’t want to be a martyr.

“I don’t want anyone to be a martyr,” she claims.  “The ones who want to be martyrs are doing this.”

She means destroying her country, her family, her life and the lives of her children.  Her husband, Omar, didn’t want to be a martyr.  He wanted nothing to do with martyrdom, IS, the Islamic Front, the FLA or the Syrian government.  He wanted to live his life and provide for his family: a practical man, yet a foolish man.

“A good man,” insists Hayat.

Two years ago, on his way to buy weights and line for his fishing rod, he was kidnapped for a third time, and now, after two years of no contact with his family, he’s presumably dead, i.e. he hasn’t contacted Hayat in Lebanon, he hasn’t contacted his parents in Syria, and the kidnappers haven’t contacted anyone.  He was assassinated, not kidnapped.

“I was kidnapped.  I mean I was contacted by the kidnappers,” asserts Hayat.  “They said they had him.  They didn’t want money.  The other times they wanted money.  They said I’d see what they wanted.  So I left.”

She left with her daughters, Hanan and Mona, who were six and four at the time; now they’re eight and six and harvest lettuce on a Lebanese farm in the Bekaa Valley, making twenty-four thousand Lebanese pounds per day: twelve thousand pounds each.

“They’re too young to make that much.  They make fifteen, and it’s not enough.”

Hayat makes money selling herself to a baker.  Omar’s parents, both Sunnis, want her to come to Tartus, where many Sunnis are refugees, albeit minorities.  Both her brothers were killed in Damascus.  Omar’s brothers live in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.  Her parents live in Toronto with her aunt.  She’s applied for asylum, but Canada isn’t doing anything.  If Omar were alive, his parents would know.  Hayat has no money.  Traveling to Tartus isn’t safe.  Putin just fired twenty-six cruise missiles at rebels throughout Syria, killing hundreds, just like her brothers were killed by missiles.  She needs to stay safe.  Her children need to go to school.  She has to get a legitimate job.  They live in a white tent abutting a tree where refugees gather nightly and keep her children up.  The tree’s roots bevel their tent’s cinderblock foundation.

“My children are up when I’m asleep, and in the morning I can’t get them up to go to work.  They eat and walk.”

The camp isn’t safe.  Teenage girls aren’t safe.  Kidnapping’s ruining families.

“We shouldn’t be here.  No one should be here.”

Some days she doesn’t leave her tent.  She also doesn’t eat.  She’s afraid of who might come in.

“They don’t knock.  They have no honor because I have no honor.”

Her brothers don’t have graves.  Neither does Omar.  She knows he’s dead, yet can’t help but wait for him to walk in.  Selling herself, assisting drug dealers, smugglers or rebels, is neither wise nor safe, and sorting garbage for fuel and re-sale is unhealthy and unprofitable.  She can work as a maid in Beirut, or she can work for Mr. Khaled. Continue reading


Fiction by Colin T GallagherArt by Robert VenechanosZoeSplodin

We were walking down Lake Street, my friend Kevin and I.

“Hey Steve, I’m so spaced out and tired of that Sewhass project were working on!”

“Well, you have more experience with the Logwood Facing account than I do. What’s the problem?”

“I just need more down time. The pace and intensity is racking my brain. I know we have a time factor with this project, I wish I could just clear my head.”

Steve replied, “We can go to ‘The Third Solution.’ I go there frequently. It’s great for that. It is a little pricey but you can write it off as a business expense.”

“What is it?” asked Kevin.

“Well, it takes away that brain congestion and you think clearly again. Want to go?”

“Sure, business expense I’m all for that,” Kevin agreed.

“We’ll grab a cab. There’s one! Taxi, Taxi! Oh good he sees us,” Steve says.

The taxi stops and Kevin and Steve get inside.

“Thanks’ sir, Fourth and Broadway. The Third Solution.”

“Yes sir!” The cabby said as he pulled away from the curb.

“It’s a blast. You’ll love it,” Steve reassures Kevin.

As the taxi drove through the streets of Seattle, Steve told Kevin his experience.

“I’ve been here many times. It is the only business in Seattle where you can find such a thing.”

I continued, “It was started by Neal Hathaway in 2014. I read a lengthy article about it in the Seattle Chronicle. He tells of getting the idea for this business from two sources. First watching his children turn on a circular ride at the park. It left them dizzy to temporarily laugh and play. Also, inspiration from extraordinary heart-felt experiences like the clanging of an old cast iron church bell, or the whistle of a steam locomotive, or a 20th century Wurlitzer pipe organ.”

“He thought there was a market for this business and presenting his business plan, he found eager investors and got start-up money.”

“After a headline start, lots of press and great customer service, it is a great way to detach the senses from video games and computer overload. You haven’t heard about it?”

“No! This is completely new to me,” Kevin said.

“Parents and employers began to see the benefits of this experience. Their clientele includes many companies in the Seattle area. They send their employees to ‘The Third Solution’ for debugging and restoration.”

Kevin looked intrigued as Steve continues, “After you’ve tried it there will be new life in you with elimination from the grip of negative physical and mental control by various electronic devices, and its’ fun too.”

Computer; Off

The taxi stopped as they reached Fourth and Broadway.

Steve paid the cabby, and they came into the business.

Logistics associate, Susan, sat Kevin and Steve in a cubicle in the front of the store. They listened as she described how the experience enthralls clients. “You’ll really like this. It is the next unexplored adventure that frees people minds. They experience new vigor and energy!”

With little more than that, Kevin decided to go-for-it, and thought the ride must be experienced to understand.

Logistics associate Janice came over to assist Kevin, as Susan explained to Steve the set-up. Most of it he already knew.

Each had their own globe which has a very comfortable reclining chair inside. A seat belt is secured to the passenger to prevent being dislodged like a fast roller-coaster at an amusement park.

Steve was given a mouthpiece which also covered his nose for extra oxygen if needed. Kevin received one too. The onboard computer would determine if it was needed.  One simply inhaled calmly and it takes care of the rest.

After set-up, the glass and steel reinforced door was sealed shut. Both globes started to spin. Each experiences sensations similar to the thrust of acceleration from a passenger jet racing up the runway.

When the spinning reached maximum revolution, they could see wonderful colors in their mind: red, yellow, blue and even black that take the shape of blobs rising and falling like the interior of a Lava Lamp.

Steve was excited as the first vision had him free falling from what looked like ten thousand feet without a parachute or safety partner.  He started to scream it is so realistic, just Steve with the world racing up as he continue to fall.

Even though he had experienced this before each time is different and thrilling.

As Steve got close to the ground, he could see it approaching fast. Then he angled out at ninety degrees being caught-up in a lush tropical canopy of moist leaves, flowers, mist and sounds of wild birds in the jungle. All at once, it was an explosion to the senses just super thrilling.

Kevin’s first visual had him walking on a railroad bridge. He heard a train sounding its whistle as it made itself visible. He started running toward the end of the bridge where he could jump off the tracks. He said his adrenalin was reaching maximum. The train approached. Soon it was upon him, when it disappeared.

Next Kevin found himself on a river raft racing on a raging river. He twisted and flung his body from side-to-side to avoid the raft hitting rocks and overhanging tree branches. Later he said his heart was about to come out of his chest.

Steve could barely catch his breath. At this the point he was pulling out of the tropical canopy. The oxygen kicked in and his focus returned. Racing alone without thought of getting hurt or dying, only the feeling of excitement.”

Steve’s next visual was of a huge bursting geyser. It was as if a fire hydrant had been knocked off. The water shot high into the sky. He was transfixed by its power tried to keep his cool. He was in the middle of a water explosion like a broken fire hydrant.

Then Kevin went from the river to a jungle. He was walking along slowly when he heard a growl and spotted a tiger. It spotted him too, and it chased him. This is when the oxygen kicked in for him. He left the Tiger behind which he thought good, because it looked like it would catch him and eat him.

Both Kevin and Steve were breathing the oxygen and loving every minute of it.

‘I couldn’t imagine it getting better,’ Steve told Kevin later.

Steve approached what appeared to be an erupting volcano. It looked like Kilimanjaro exploding. He thought he’d be burned up as lava and steam came flying out of the opening. The reality of the ride took over. It was really scary, but it turned out to be delayed imaginary burn which fades very quickly.

Meanwhile, Kevin was at a rodeo. He was riding a bucking bronco bull. He had one hand on the rope and the other in the air moving along with the roar and intensity of the crowd. The bull threw him all over the arena. Finally, he got bucked off. He picked himself up and ran to the fence.

Now they could sense the excitement coming to an end as the spinning slowed, the visuals were fading.

They were skimming across a group of clouds: bounce, bounce then bounce, yielding to opening their eyes with the globe depressurizing.

The seat belts were removed automatically and the chairs swung out separately from the two globes allowing them to stand on our own two feet.

With the doors open, the friendly operators, Janice and Susan, with voices so soft they reminded Kevin and Steve of marshmallows. They asked, “How was your experience?”

“Wonderful! I can’t wait to try it again,” Kevin exclaimed with such excitement.

Susan the logistics associate was very pleased.

Then Steve shouted, “How was it Kevin?”

“Excellent!!” Kevin yelled.

“See dude, told you you’ll enjoy this. We should do this every Friday.”

“Very good sir. We’re glad that you enjoyed your experience here at ‘The Third Solution.’ That’s our goal.”

“Where did you get the idea for this awesome ride?” Kevin asked.

“Along with watching his children at the park, a great transition for this concept came from the novel The Tooth Picker by John Potter. It has a quote which inspired our founder ‘to free the mind from bondage is to give it a new day. To walk by a river and enjoy its power, to see a flower and be awed by its beauty or to hear a bird singing all of these awaken and refresh the soul.’

“Mr. Hathaway changed his life from one of watching computer monitors, and that mental burn sensation from too much exposure. He could look where he wanted and see: a slight breeze, feel a gentle kiss, hear the subtle laughter of his children. He just had to let others experience this.”

“This is what life is about. Our technicians worked to perfect this experience.  I hope you come back and see us again.”

“Yeah we’ll be back next Friday!!” Kevin called out.

She continued, “You will find a new world of experience where you are no longer fused to electronic devices.”

“I feel terrific!” Kevin said smiling.

“Well, we’re glad you enjoyed it.”

Steve and Kevin walked from the transition room into the lobby. Everyone waved as they walked to the front door then out onto the sidewalk.

They walked up Fourth Street with a new attitude.

They smiled at people and shook their hand inviting them for coffee or just a friendly glance.

The End

Timed Bomb

Colin T Gallagher is a member of the California Writers Club and enjoys the crafting short stories. His editing and adding dialogue is for him similar to why people use crossword puzzles or bingo: to keep the mind focused and sharp.

He spent a number of years working for a grocery store chain as a Frozen Food Clerk, then moved on to a bank where he was a loan service rep.

He wrote the first story he was very proud of in the sixth grade. It was about a group of characters robbing a bank. They were all animals: Sidney the Snake; Billy the bear…

He retired here in the San Fernando Valley a suburb of Los Angeles. He moved here twelve years ago and is very happy. I’ve heard it said a writer needs an income. So, he has his retirement. He’s been writing for a few years, and has been published in the Writers Club magazine.

He hope you enjoy ‘The Third Solution.’


Poetry and Art by Emiliano Zingale (New translation by Artist)niko pic 1 001 dig


in un amico sincero,
penso, ma manco
di un legame vero


Guardo, ma trovo
una logica banale
catastrofe moderna
è il tuo rigurgito animale


Sento che piove
una pioggia di rancore,
per chi ho amato tanto
e adesso è solo un altro attore


In questa storia di comparse,
che io voglio cancellare…


Consuma il tuo corpo,
brucia la tua mente,
confondi ogni attimo di oggi
come se domani non fosse tuo,


Ignorando ogni stilla di pudore
che il cosmo ha creato anche per te


Guarda dentro a un mondo di realtà,
estingui il tuo debito di verità.
Accettare la menzogna
è uccidersi da sé.


Rifiuto e forse sbaglio
ad incrociare quegli sguardi
sperando che in qualcosa io possa ancora ritrovarti,
imparando poi, che ormai, è troppo tardi.


true colors : painting by Emiliano Zingale


I believe
in a sincere friend ,
I think, but I lack
of a genuine connection

I look , but I find
a trivial logic,
modern calamity
is your animal insanity

I can feel it raining,

a grudge rain,
for who I loved so much
and now it’s just another player

In this story of extras ,
I want to erase …

Consume your body ,
burn your mind ,
confuse every moment of today
as if tomorrow wasn’t yours ,

Passing over any drop of shame
that the cosmos has created for you too

Look into a world of reality ,
extinguish your duty to one new verity
Accepting all these lies
Is killing yourself.

I Refuse and I could be wrong
to cross those looks,

hoping that in something I can still recover you,
learning then, now, it’s too late .niko ep 2 001



Interview with an artist


Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Aimee Cozza, and I am from New England. Originally from Massachusetts, I live on the border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.


Can you tell us about your latest project?

My latest project is a series I call “Worlds”. Essentially, this series is based upon the idea that things may not always be as they seem. Each idea for the separate works are based upon real scenarios and real situations – although there is something “off” about each one. This may range from something small (in example, in one image, there are two blood moons reflected in the background of an image), to something larger and more noticeable. There are worlds inside of this world in this series.


What message do you want people to receive from your artwork?

I think the message of my artwork varies from piece to piece. As an illustrator, I’m often drawing a multitude of things and constantly trying to “shake it up”. I think any artist wants people to make their own assumptions and develop their own messages about works. Speaking just for myself, though, I feel like I almost like it better when people see things in a work of yours. They really make a connection, and if you drew something just for the sake of drawing it, and someone can come up to it, view it, and tell you this incredibly in depth conclusion they came to… Well, that’s a really “that’s it” moment for me. Drawing makes me whole, as I’m sure many other creatives feel about their works, so having someone validate my work in that way is just stunning to me.


Do you remember your first creative work, the moment you knew that you where an artist?

This is a tough question! I grew up in a household that was fairly supportive of my creative endeavors. My mom was always the creative type, and my grandmother was an excellent painter. There was never a huge “a-ha” moment for me – I kind of always knew that I had some way of natural talent and/or skill since I was young. My mother to this day jokes that I dwarf “any sort of drawing [she] could do.”


Who are your favorite artist and inspirations?

The list is so incredibly long. I have a lot of musical inspirations and artistic inspirations. I like to pull a lot of musical aspects into my works (if that makes sense) if I can; sometimes I reference songs or bands in my titles or descriptions. Some of my favorite and most inspirational visual artists are: Chet Zar, Wendy Ortiz, Marcelo Frusin, Greg Capullo, Angel Medina, Jose Quesada, Cam de Leon, and Alex Grey just to name a few. I follow so many visual artists on social channels that it’s easy to forget who my “favorites” may be… I love it all.

I also of course draw a ton of inspiration from my artistic friends – Tory Keith, Patrick Termini, Jason Shulkin, Sam Paolini, Sharon Hamer, Sarah Hamilton and a bunch of others I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention.

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What tools do you use to create?

I’m a big time digital user. Since I live in a fairly small home, I don’t have a lot of room to store traditional art supplies and paintings. So I turn to digital illustration to fix that for me. My workspace is pretty cramped – I just treated myself to upgrading to an on-screen drawing tablet, which is really fun and streamlines my drawing process a lot.

In the past it’s been sketch, scan, computer, and off-screen tablet, but the process varies from work to work depending on the desired outcome or even where/when I got the idea. Sometimes a work can start being majorly traditional and then get pulled in as a digital work for edits – sometimes the reverse happens, and sometimes it’s a 100% digital work from start to finish.


Where can we see more of your art, what other places has your work been published?

The best of the best (in my opinion, anyway) can be viewed at my personal website at I’m also an avid DeviantART, Society6, RedBubble, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter user. I’m all over the web – chances are I’m probably on most of the obscure art websites out there. My work has been included in Creative Quarterly, Zaum, Wrong Brain, ArtQuench, and other independent ‘zines.


What do you see yourself doing in 20 years?

I’m hoping I’ll be in a position that I’ll be doing illustration – or something creative – as a full time way to support myself. I’m good at a lot of things but art is seriously my passion and something I’d love to be more involved with when it comes to my career.

Optimally I’m going to hope for something pretty simple: being able to have the time and energy to draw and create at my own space. That’s it – that’s all I want.


If you could work on a creative project with anyone in the world from any period in time who would it be?

That’s a really good question. I love collaborating with anyone and everyone, so it’s very difficult for me to pick.


Any last words you would like to say to the Section 8 Magazine readers worldwide?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak out! Section 8 Magazine is such a wonderful place for artists and writers alike to connect as well as display their works. I love what you guys are doing and I hope you keep up the awesome work.

If anyone is ever interested in collaborating, working on group projects, or otherwise, they can contact me via any social media channel or via my contact form on my website, . I love connecting with new people and seeing what we can come up with together!

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Poetry by Joseph K. Wells  ♦ Art by Tomas Honztomas-honz-tomas-honz-sanctuary

I am all withered within;

nothing can now set me straight.

I stand no chance to win

yet another fight against fate.


I’d hoped to share my joys with you,

but that you said caused you pain.

Even without the slightest adieu,

You made me a stranger again.


Breathing against this new reality,

my chest so tightly barbed.

I live but my non-entity,

with my corpse in flesh garbed.


And, while I put forward this broad chin,

as my love story ends in your words of hate,

I am all withered within;

nothing can now set me straight…




Sorry for causing

a nightmare

as I woke up

from your dream,

where you played

a fairy tale princess,

and I-

a beastly being.

Contrasted by

my imperfections,

you pictured

more pristine…

Sorry for causing

a nightmare

as I woke up

from your dream.


 Joseph K. Wells is a businessman, doctor of occupational therapy, part-time academic and few wannabes from time to time. With his poetry pretty much forgotten over the past two decades, the old flame was rekindled a few months ago. He blames this on his midlife. Since the beginning of this year, his poetry has been published or accepted into multiple literary journals/ e-zines including the Section-8 Magazine.


See more art from Tomas Honz at:,