Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tonight get your weekly fix of poetry at The Annex in Asbury Park. It starts at 7 when Josh Ballard has a new discussion topic for our literary minds and then a writing prompt for our creative minds. Then we get to share all that and other words as Chris Rockwell hosts the open mic afterwards….also available tonight will be the next issue of The Idiom Magazine and copies of Thief-kus. Nicole Greenwood a regular at the Annex will have copies of her beautiful new chapbook, “If You Would Only Look Up” available!

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So Saturday, at the soulsational festival, is the release of the newest Idiom and a collection of Thief-kus. Here’s a glimpse at parts of their covers. Come to the festival and learn how to be healthy and pick up a copy of these two lit mags with some great poems by the poetry tent. A whole slew of us will be reading there all day….and a puppy will be there….

A Tony Hoagland Poem

Here is a poem from this months issue of Poetry Magazine. Tony Hoagland is one of my favorite poets and here he is showing me again why I feel that way….

“There is no Word”

There isn’t a word for walking out of the grocery store
with a gallon jug of milk in a plastic sack
that should have been bagged in double layers

—so that before you are even out the door
you feel the weight of the jug dragging
the bag down, stretching the thin

plastic handles longer and longer
and you know it’s only a matter of time until
bottom suddenly splits.

There is no single, unimpeachable word
for that vague sensation of something
moving away from you

as it exceeds its elastic capacity
—which is too bad, because that is the word
I would like to use to describe standing on the street

chatting with an old friend
as the awareness grows in me that he is
no longer a friend, but only an acquaintance,

a person with whom I never made the effort—
until this moment, when as we say goodbye
I think we share a feeling of relief,

a recognition that we have reached
the end of a pretense,
though to tell the truth

what I already am thinking about
is my gratitude for language—
how it will stretch just so much and no farther;

how there are some holes it will not cover up;
how it will move, if not inside, then
around the circumference of almost anything—

how, over the years, it has given me
back all the hours and days, all the
plodding love and faith, all the

misunderstandings and secrets
I have willingly poured into it.

Here’s the link to the Poetry Magazine site. Check it out for more words and plenty of other things….

Thief-Ku’s are coming!

A regular aspect of The Idiom Magazine are the infamous “Diner Haikus”.  Inspired by the late night, coffee induced, rituals for those of us who can’t sleep after a show, Diner Haikus have been submitted to the Idiom on the backs of place mats from all over New Jersey.  They were started and continued by Keith Baird a regular writer and editor for Piscataway House Publications and even moved him to create a collection of Haiku from 5 other New Jersey writers into an anthology:


5, 7, then, 5
We must tell a whole story
in just three short lines


Now Keith has ventured further into the world of Haiku and has started creating them from conversations, facebook posts, tweets, and singled out lines from poems he hears at readings.  He has collected these pieces into a small collection he has titled, Thief-Kus which will be printed up by Piscataway House Publications and distributed for free at local Jersey venues and shows.  If you would like a copy of this limited print-up send an email to and we’ll see what we can do…. 
Thief-kus and the next issue of the Idiom will be available at this Saturday’s Soulsational Music and Wellness Festival

Aberration Labyrinth, a new online literary mag.

Check out this new online lit mag. Submit your work to it, plug it on your own blog, feel famous…

Can you name the two poets from the first issue who have been in the idiom?

Idiom podcast proposition

Idiom Podcast Idea

I have an idea for a poetry podcast that focuses more on the poem than the poet.

To get involved send 4 of your best poems (prose will be accepted too) to  These 4 poems will be used as the subject and basis of what we talk about during the podcast.

Please put “Idiom Podcast” in the subject line.

You should be in the new jersey area or able to travel there and open to criticism of your work.



First Workshop Exercise: In Order to be Good they are always Forgetting…

Basis for the writing exercise / workshop

Alright, so lately I have been creating little workshop ideas in my head.  Sometimes they are based off of poems, sometimes they are based off of things I do or see and write about.

I’ll be putting out a workshop exercise at the beginning of each month and you can share the poems you write based on them here in the comments section or perhaps send them for a possible submission to The Idiom Magazine at ….maybe you’ll hate what you write or not write anything and that’s ok too.  But keep writing and something is bound to happen eventually….I think the odds are for us if we do that….right?

First Writing Exercise:  Based off the poem, “The Noise the Hairless Make”

So this first assignment is based off of Stephen Dobyns poem “The Noise the Hairless Make”.  I have his bookVelocitiesand really love the whole book.  This was one of the first pieces that stuck out for me:

“The Noise the Hairless Make”

How difficult to be an angel.
In order to forgive, they have no memory.
In order to be good, they are always forgetting.
How else could heaven be run? Still,
it needs to be full of teachers and textbooks
imported from God’s own basement, since only
in hell is memory exact. In one classroom,
a dozen angels scratch their heads as their teacher
displays the cross-section of a human skull,
saying, Here is the sadness, here
the anger, here’s where laughter is kept.
And the angels think, How strange, and take notes
and would temper their forgiveness if it weren’t
all forgotten by the afternoon. Sometimes
a group flies down to earth with their teacher,
who wants them to study a living example, and
this evening they find a man lying in a doorway
in an alley in Detroit. They stand around
chewing their pencils as their teacher says,
This is the bottle he drinks from when he
wants to forget, this is the Detroit Tigers
T-shirt he wears whenever he’s sad, this is
the electric kazoo he plays in order to weep.
And the angels think, How peculiar, and wonder
whether to temper their forgiveness or just
let it ride, which really doesn’t matter since
they forget the question as soon as it’s asked.
But their muttering wakes the man in the doorway,
who looks to see a flock of doves departing
over the trash cans. And because he dreamt
of betrayal and pursuit, of defeat in battle,
the death of friends, he heaves a bottle at them
and it breaks under a streetlight so the light
reflects on its hundred broken pieces with such
a multicolored twinkling that the man laughs.
From their place on a brick wall, the angels
watch and one asks, What good are they? Then
others take up the cry, What good are they,
what good are they? But as fast as they articulate
the question it’s forgotten and their teacher,
a minor demon, returns with them to heaven.
But the man, still chuckling, sits in his doorway,
and the rats in their dumpsters hear this sound
like stones rattling or metal banging together,
and they see how the man is by himself without
food or companions, without work or family
or a real bed for his body. They creep back
to their holes and practice little laughs
that sound like coughing or a dog throwing up
as once more they uselessly try to imitate
the noise the hairless make when defeated.

Whether you believe in angels or not you can’t deny how well this story is told and how beautifully it is laid out.  Every line runs so smooth and I wish even my blog posts could do that….but now those first few lines
How difficult to be an angel.
In order to forgive, they have no memory.
In order to be good, they are always forgetting.
How else could heaven be run?

He starts off really explaining why angels are the way they are….how they differ from humans.  The idea that they keep forgetting is what allows them to forgive or to be good is a great introduction.

I want you to write a poem that explains how angels differ from humans, what traits make them exist in ways that we are faulted….try to tell a story about the angels and make them as descriptive as possible….don’t like angels?  Use devils instead with that same rationale….don’t believe in angels or devils?  Try to write a piece based around our souls or some kind of afterlife explanation or aliens perhaps….put the angels in some kind of common situation (not a classroom though, like Dobyns did)  maybe write the situation first and the differences between them and humans may come after you write that out….

any questions post them in the comments section and we can discuss them as a group.

Piscataway House Publications and The Idiom Magazine has a Blog!


So this is our new blog for the site!

Through here I want to interact more with our readers by

  • providing polls
  • posting articles about writing
  • creating writing prompts
  • and positing poems and pieces from current issues of The Idiom and from Piscataway House Books where people can comment on them.

For the first post I’ll just let you know that our website is and through there you can find an interactive current issue to flip through and some of the books we have for sale and also information on how to submit your own work to be considered for our magazine.

Tonight I’ll post the first writing prompt and look forward to see who responds and submits a piece….As shown through our site any submissions or questions can be put in the comments section or sent to

Mark Brunetti