WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THIS DREAM I HAD by Sommer Browning is a chronicle of the author’s dreamscape recorded through the first half of 2016. 44 pages in length, it captures the intersection of the surreal and domestic that the running narrative of dream life transpires at. It is a diary of an alternate form of life, featuring elements of the author’s waking life free from the filters of logic. This book is a dream walk through the mind of a poet.
This book is produced in a limited edition of 100 hand-numbered copies. Its cover features the author’s rendering of the title hand screened in matte black onto heavyweight reflective black mirricard stock. End papers are made from handmade dyed stock. It is bound with handspun and dyed Turkish waxed thread.
We are absolutely ecstatic to announce that beginning with ISSUE FIVE, REALITY BEACH will be edited by three of its favorite poetry minds: Jordan Hoxsie, Precious Okoyomon, and Lydia Hounat. As the scale of our operation increases, Adam and Anna will be concentrating on chapbook editing, design, and production.
We have transitioned to a new submissions platform and will be open for ISSUE FIVE submissions beginning December Fifteenth.
We love you!
One time, years ago, the poet Erin Dorney and I walked through the Baltimore IKEA showroom and wrote a poem inside each ridiculous space.
Every time the poet Erin Dorney and I go to an IKEA, our energy skyrockets. It’s something about the affordability. About the lighting. Maybe it’s the language. The meatballs. Some of my verrrry best tweets have come from letting IKEA wash totally over me. As Erin said in our interview, “The first time I was in an IKEA, I was blown away…I had never heard of it before…I didn’t know it was a thing…I was overwhelmed…everything I wanted to buy could fit into my two-door Honda Civic.”
We were inside an IKEA showroom in Bloomington, Minnesota last weekend when I asked her some questions.
Erin, picking up a white tea-kettle:
I will buy a vessel today. 90% sure.
Erin, after a woman behind us says, This is more me than my living room is me:
One of the weird things about being in IKEA is that I’ve shopped there with different partners who I have lived with over the years. So when I come here, I’ll see things I used to own. And it makes me think about that person, that time in my life, like why did I even like that magazine holder?
Me, pulling a Swedish book out of a chic, orange bookcase:
Make a found poem out of this.
Erin’s poem, sourced from page 51. of Klaus Rifbjerg’s Bilden:
satt som de
inte se att
lite för sig
punkt och slut
och ut på
sig I helfigur
Erin’s poem translated:
not see that
some of the
point and end
In the full-length
Me, by the window overlooking the parking lot and Mall of America:
Can you explain how the poem “Test” was written?
I searched for the different phrases on twitter. Like “the boy questioned” and then from all the tweets that came back, I wrote down the ones that stuck out to me. Anything that was interesting. There were so many ways that each phrase was taken. So, I just did a bunch of different phrases like that. Then I went back through and deleted until the ones that were left worked together.
Then I had an idea to make it a multiple choice test. I thought that was an interesting form. Basically, I got the content and then put it into a form.
It was fun to play with.
What is ‘interesting’?
Language used in a surprising way. Like, a combination of words that I wouldn’t think to put together. But as soon as I see it, I’m like, “Yeah, that’s exactly it.”
Is it a feeling?
It’s more like a visual. Especially if it’s on a page, like with my erasure poetry. A word or a combination of words will just pop out of the page. My eyes are just drawn to them.
Me, holding the above FEJKA:
Give this thing a name.
SPRIGSTEN. It’s like the Swedish Bruce Springsteen.
Me, behind a stack of Christmas presents addressed to “Dylan” and “Lydia”:
Avian Quarantine is one of my favorite poems of yours. I remember when you wrote it.
Erin, also there with me behind the presents:
You were there.
And I remember workshopping it with our friends at the big dinner table at our old house in Lancaster.
We didn’t live there then.
I think it’s almost like three years old.
Well I remember you always saying it was your favorite poem too.
Yeah, for a long time it was.
Why do you think it was rejected so many times?
I don’t know. It wasn’t resonating with anyone. Maybe it’s because I know the picture that inspired it but other people don’t?
Avian Quarantine is an ekphrastic poem in response to a photo in the book called “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar,” by Terrance Simon. There’s these birds in glass boxes, a quarantine before they can enter United States. Any bird coming in to the country has to be quarantined for thirty days or something. The poem was a response to that image.
I don’t know. I don’t know why it was reject so much. I remember sneaking it into batches of other poems that were nothing like it. And some would get taken but never that one.
I didn’t even remember that it was ekphrastic. I do remember you saying, “No one likes this poem.”
Erin, as Nickleback’s “Far Away” plays through the store:
I don’t know what to say. It resonated with someone at Reality Beach. As an editor, I know that some poems hit you and some don’t. Maybe it just wasn’t catching people the way it caught me, the way it caught Reality Beach.
Why did you submit poems to Reality Beach?
I was blown away by the first issue. I never read online lit mags cover to cover. Especially in one day. But I did with the first issue.
Their aesthetic is like what a person on TV in the 80s would be warning everyone what the future will be like.
What risks have you been taking in your poetry lately?
Erin, as both a man with one leg and a woman with one arm shop behind her:
I’ve been working on projects lately. I’m almost done with the October project, which was to create a found poem every day from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. I had never read the book or seen the movie. That was a challenge because the vocab he uses is so strange and dark. That’s been fun. The book is not quality writing at all. I would like to think Stephen King agrees with me. Because he never wanted it published anyway.
Me, by the baby beds:
Tell me about a time you couldn’t write poetry
*is silent for awhile*
Just let the question wash over you.
Tyler Barton and Erin Dorney edit Fear No Lit, a web and IRL literary organization.
For more information about Tyler, visit him here.
To learn more about Erin, visit her here.
To read Erin’s amazing poems in Reality Beach Issue Two, click here.
Heart Sutra is a chapbook inspired by meditating on a line of Bernadette Mayer’s, “My heart is a fancy place”, and a text from the Tantric Buddhist tradition with which the chapbook shares its name. The pith of this text is the instructive passage “go, go, go beyond, go completely beyond.” This phrase informed the approach taken in constructing the poems within Heart Sutra, which is to say the personal, the inner life of identity, emotion and memory is something to be traveled through to an inner elsewhere, then the inverse as well, and all of this is a path to laughter, release and the realization of not knowing, even one’s own heart.
i love The <3 Sutra, it’s utterly charming, funny, sad, in the sense that every great poem is essentially saying: I too feel sad, life & time also vice-grip me like a cliched torture victim in an early aughts horror movie, my <3 too is a Pizza Hut / that doesn’t serve beer / that you have to walk to / through a cherry orchard. Adam’s done it, he’s written a book that’s better than TV, better than the internet, better than
sex late-night sandwiches. Did i mention i <3 it! I do.
-Sampson Starkweather, author of PAIN: The Board Game
The experience of reading Adam Tedesco’s Heart Sutra was to curl up around a heart whose beats mirrored the daily compassion, filth, drugs, and fun. I was having the worst day: I was filled with rage and lethargy. But then I sat down to read this chapbook and it calmed me down, reminded me about feeling things and the poetry of our everyday environment, how a cloud can be in the shape of a penis and how fun that is. How that equalizes. He writes “A glass and brass table flipped / The wet fog, the upturned top / The slow loss of want / for breath, an exchange of nothing.” Adam Tedesco has probably watched all the same music videos as us, binge-watched the same TV, paused and rewatched the same cat videos, and this has filled his heart to the brim with clear-eyed humanity, clowns teetering in void, and intoxicating humor.
-Amy Lawless , author of I Cry: The Desire to Be Rejected
Adam Tedesco has worked as a shipbuilder, a meditation instructor, and as cultural critic for the now disbanded Maoist Internationalist Movement. He is a founding editor of REALITY BEACH and a contributing editor for Drunk In AMidnight Choir. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Funhouse, Souvenir, Cosmonauts Avenue, Hobart, Fanzine and elsewhere.
This hand made chapbook is a limited edition of 108 8″x 8″ numbered copies. Its cover features hand screened raised ink available on both black and bright green covers which contains text printed on premium 32lb paper, all bound with hand-spun Turkish thread.
We’ve closed submissions while we transition to a new platform.
If you have not received a reply regarding work already submitted, it is still under consideration.
Feel free to contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
We love you!
Richard Kerwin is a poet, collage artist, and animator of gifs; low-key anti-natalist, high-strung mongrel anarchist, mad, depressed, queer. they’ve published in fruita pulp, the torist (forthcoming), and metatron’s omega blog and you can see more of their regular brain trash at http://metonymicallyme.tumblr.
An OCD List
By Michael Seymour Blake
Stick your hand out the window. Extend your pointer and middle finger, making them into little legs that run alongside the car. Your mom is driving about 40mph. Vigorously pump your fingers to keep up with the passing landscape.
Jump over every tree that comes your way (miss once, and dread will be your world. A vague dread you can’t quite place).
Flick the light switch near the front door on and off, on and off. Keep the rhythm going. On the 18th flick, stop. Don’t breathe. Don’t do a thing. Just stand there, staring. Did you get it right? If not, start over. Your head will begin to ache in anticipation of the next steps. Don’t let it distract you, or you’ll be here forever. Once you’ve finished, you may move on to the next room. (Ignore your mother saying “that’s enough of this nonsense” as you move from room to room. 15, 16, 17. Keep proper rhythm.)
When you’ve made it to your bedroom, adjust everything on your shelves. Every book, knickknack, toy. Adjust it all. Move it back and forth. If it feels right, move it again to be sure. Nothing can be pointed towards the bed, so take care, be vigilant. Anything less than perfection will cost you another 15-20 minutes of readjustments. Keep going until that boiling dread settles down. (It’ll be back soon, but don’t worry—we have other ways to distract it.)
Tap each shelf. No set number of times, just until it feels right. It could be 10, 50, 150 times per shelf. (You’ll be stuck on this step often, huffing and puffing with frustration, face burning bright red. Don’t be discouraged, you always figure it out in the end.)
Pace around the room, stopping a foot short of the wall in either direction. Back and forth. (I know you’re tired. It’s been a long day at school and you have a lot of homework, but you need to focus on what’s important right now.) Back and forth. The sound of your shuffling feet is like a mother’s gentle hum, soothing and safe. Pace until your legs ache. Pace until you can’t think. Back and forth.
Open the closet door. Now close it. You know the drill. Open. Close. Gusts of air fan your hair back and tickle your eyelashes. Whoosh. Whoosh. Enjoy it. There’s a hoodie hanging from the knob. Metal zipper smacks wooden door over and over. (Annoying, isn’t it? Keep going, and don’t you dare touch the hoodie. Don’t even think about touching that hoodie.)
Walk to the bed. Keep the sheets smooth and flat. No wrinkles, no creases. Make sure to run your hands over it until the skin on your palms feels tender and irritated. Keep going. You’ve got to be sure. Don’t touch the bed again until it’s time to sleep. Not a second before.
The dreaded pager ritual. The pager (google it) is on the floor next to the TV. (You still remember the day it fell off your desk and landed there, pointing right at you, taunting you. You still remember the tingling, nauseous realization that it would now be your duty to have it stay there forever.) Take off your shoes. Now your socks. Never touch the pager with your hands. You may only adjust it with bare feet. Position yourself over the pager. Using your big toes, wiggle it one way, then the other. It needs to be perfectly straight. More perfectly straight than perfectly straight. It needs to feel right. (You’ll stand here for an hour, sometimes two. Adjusting, readjusting. Feeling ridiculous, your thighs and calves aching, your forehead sweating, tongue peeking out between dry lips. You go sort of numb after the first 15 minutes. It’s better that way. The pager is facing clip down, delicately balanced on that little strip of plastic. One wrong move and it will flop over and you’ll need to start again. This can happen at any time, day or night.)
Time to get sneaky. Creep into each room and spit twice in the corner. Any corner will do. (This part takes some degree of stealth. If your mother sees you, you’re through.) One, two. Next room. One, two. Next room. (Your mother works hard to afford this little home, and here you are spitting all over it. Don’t be ashamed, focus on the task at hand. You’ve come too far to give up now.)
Eat. If your mother made something, grab it, heat it up. If not, make some cereal. You earned it.
Flick the light switches again on your way back to the bedroom. Each and every one. (You’re almost in the clear, but don’t get cocky. A screw-up here will cost you at least an hour of crippling self-doubt. Mountains of nausea will rupture in your stomach, your headache will linger, the rapid pulse already pounding in your temples will increase.)
In the bedroom, sit on whatever section of the floor nothing is pointing at. Mind the pager. Breathe for a little while.
Start your homework. You’ll have about an hour until the light switches start calling again.
Don’t end this on an odd number.
What Remains is Modesty
I gnaw at the moon
with a wrong set of teeth.
A man swallows fire
with sticks in his throat.
Everything so small
in the dark!
There are many ways to hide
secrets in static, in birdsongs.
How to enunciate maps
of threaded ghosts.
The only thing I can give
you is a vision of drifting.
A Calendar With No Sense of Urgency
If you think about something
long enough in the rain,
you’re bound to feel guilty.
I sit with leaves on my lap.
My cat swats at nothing
in the kitchen corner.
Some things are better said
as an elegy. Some days, it’s
feeling like a vampire.
Some days, it’s feeling
like a tiny boat at the edge
of an expanding darkness.