4 Poems From The Ferocious Silence by Darryl Price


How to Remember Important Things

Save the whales. Save the dolphins. 
Save the bored housewives.
Save my hands, so often cupped over the sorrow in
being alive. Save the beautiful 
made-up cherries of delight
I feel everywhere in your presence.
Save the sprawling landscapes

of late night cafeterias of the mind.
Save the often
 forgotten radios of our flying dreams.
Save the hand-printed love

letters of early morning light. Save the inexhaustible
curiosity of a small interior poem of silence.
Save the naked air.

Save the Spanish tongue of Neruda.
Save the sparkle in
the brushstrokes of a Picasso. 
Save storm and the rainbow.
Save the North Sea. Save shadows. 
Save all hearts from
beginning to break again. 
Save the ripped apart sky from
the rain of so many angry bombs leaking inside.
Save the secret handshake. Save the Pandas. 
Save the sea turtles. Save the roses. Save the last dance.
Save the sailing boats and floating planes
of melting romance. Save whatever makes

no sense. Save this feeling. Save the butterflies
with passionate, provocative kisses. 

Save the question of imagination. Save the end
of the poem until you really need it. Save the
world from itself. Save your wild goodbyes.
Save every word.



With Nothing Here But Me I Begin

to unwind looking for the answer.
I confess I wasn’t so discreet
as life demanded, laughing like a
nowhere poet. Nothing relieved the
god awful boredom. Many times I
confess I hadn’t really taken
the vitamins, crying like a court
jester thrown into a dungeon on
market day, and felt ashamed of all
human hypocrisy everywhere.
Many times over I confess I’m
paranoid; I can try to love the
police but they all act like Hitler
to me. Many times I confess there’s
a sadness inside. Often I say
to myself I guess I can describe
a circle as well as the next guy.
I put forth my arms, look, I confess
to embrace the whole world, too, but just
because you’re in it. Many times I
confess I’ve been places and seen things
that didn’t appeal to me, weird things
worried me, like proselytizing guys
looking for disciples and money.
Many times I confess my own quick
sarcastic stupidity lacks all
sense of tenderness. Many times I
confess I’m scared, a madly lost cat,
a paradox, I’m sorry, really.
But if I close my eyes the horses
are beautiful again; the haunted
hopelessness I can do without. I
must confess I only wish to be
real, authentic, surprising, human
and kind with you in both joy and pain.

The Moon Rose up on Its Tinfoil Bed


and floated along with
us like it was attached
with a string. I thought that
meant we had a boat in
case of emergencies
but she said it was sad

to see it following
in our wake like a cork.
I still think it looked every
bit the stylish silver-
capped swimmer doing
the backhanded tango.

There was no noticeable 
splash, ever, but it
did come apart in several
glowing pieces 
whenever it hit the
tallest trees, only to

pull itself back into
an almost perfect circle,
albeit a mostly
wobbly one, instantly,
upon clearing
the branches. By midnight

we were the ones dangling
beneath magnetized toes
and being borne along
like a couple of hair
pins. I had to laugh. Your
scarf it was covered in dust.


We Wore Our Hair Long


You don’t have to push so 
hard. We wore our hair long.
We wanted the animals to trust 
us in the wild open spaces.
Everything will come. We wore our 
hair long because we wanted to

be able to find our way 
back in the moonlight. It’ll  be 
alright. We wore our hair long
because we walked among your

horses and they seemed to think 
it was the right thing to 
do. You can’t take these cosmic 
things too lightly. We wore our
hair long because there was no 
future left. And because the bullshit

was beginning to pile up 
and over our heads like an 
avalanche of grey clouds. They offered 
us nothing in return for

our broken hearts. This is the 
world, they said. We wore our 
hair long in spite of robot 
armies with falling bombs tattooed on 
their metal encased brains. You don’t 
have to push. We wore our

hair long because we were 
in love. It’s as simple as 
that. We were able to see 
all creatures breathing in every

blade of grass. We Wore our 
hair long to magnify their tears. 
You don’t have to push us 
so hard. We wanted the animals 
to not be afraid to let 
us reach them. We wore our hair

long to show the ancient 
dragons that we still respected them. 
Put your arms around me now. 
We were in love. We

wore our hair long as long 
as we were together. After that 
the poems came like rain. After
that we hit the ground. Please 
don’t let me hit the ground. 
Our hair lit up the sky. 

An Interview with Ron Kolm

Recently, Unknown Press was lucky enough to put out Ron Kolm’s collection of linked short stories called Duke & Jill. Duke & Jill is a love story and comedy of misadventures through a 1970s lower east side NYC that has since vanished. The stories are beautiful in a way that hurts the heart, because the characters just do not seem to belong to the streets that they live on, but they keep scrambling along anyway, getting high, having fun, doing whatever they can as the lower east side burns down around them


“Duke and Jill do drugs. They live on the corner of Avenue A and 10th street, in a mostly burnt-out building. Duke is originally from Wisconsin. Jill is from Wisconsin, too. They don’t have much else in common.”


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“Ron Kolm’s Duke & Jill stories are classic illustrations of appealingly casual criminal ingenuity in a society where everybody has too much of nothing, either materially or spiriitually. They remind me of Denis Johnson’s doom flicked narratives as well as my favorite Buster Keaton movies.” Gary Indiana, Do it in the Dark

“Take the bumblings of the Keystone Cops, season with a pinch of Bonnie and Clyde and you have the comedy of errors that is Duke & Jill.” Susan Sherman, Nirvana on Ninth Street

Anyone who has attended a poetry/fiction/storytelling reading in NYC within the last 30 years has stood a good chance of running into Ron, either in the audience or as a reader himself. I know, whenever I’ve gone out to an open mic in the city, I either ran into Ron Kolm or I ran into someone who knows Ron who has said, “Where’s Ron?”

ron reading

Ron Kolm is a poet, editor, activist and bookseller in NYC. He is the co-founder of the Unbearables, a loose collection of writers and artists. Kolm has been one of the editors of their anthologies. His books are The Plastic Factory (Red Dust, 1989), Welcome to the Barbecue (Low Tech Press, 1990), Rank Cologne (P.O.N. Press, 1991), Divine Comedy (Fly By Night Press, 2013) and Suburban Ambush (Autonomedia, 2014). He is a contributing editor at Sensitive Skin Magazine and the Senior editor at Evergreen Review and his papers have been purchased by the NYU Library.

Here’s an interview conducted with Ron Kolm over email. Questions in bold by Bud Smith, Kolm’s answers below.

I think of you as a prototypical New York guy, not the business-man-type, but the old-school artist type, usually dressed all in black and usually with a beer in your hand. Have you lived in the suburbs ever?

Yeah, I did. I was born in Pittsburgh, and spent my childhood in a crowded neighborhood in Bethlehem, Pa., but my parents were upwardly mobile (unlike me; I seem to be downwardly mobile, but it is a lot more fun.), and they moved to a place called Flourtown just outside of Philly. I guess I was a teenager there – I had a beat-up Plymouth.

Most of your writing seems to be drawn from your own life, and more often than not, things that have happened her in NYC. When did you start writing stories? Poems?

In college, in Reading, Penna. I flagged down the woman who would later be my first wife as she drove by the dorm in an MGA. No sex, at least at first, but it turned out she wrote poetry and I thought that was so cool! She was way cooler than me; still is. First real story I ever wrote was a tricky novel about the Strand Bookstore; it was a piece of shit – I later tossed it down a sewer grate. The story of writing that novel is my piece in the fourth Unbearables anthology: The Worst Book I Ever Read. I am kind of proud of that one.

You do a lot of readings, any advice to be a better reader?

This is gonna sound stupid, but just keep doing it. You get to hear your own stuff from the outside, kind of. I do a lot of corrections after readings, and you get to experience other styles of reading out loud. And the main plus is you, hopefully, make new friends and thus, new drinking buddies and budettes. I still think that being part of a community is what this is all about; ego comes into it from time to time, but you have to slay that beast. We’re all in this boat together.

What are you working on now? 

Revising my collection of poems that came out years ago: Welcome to the Barbecue. Those poems tended to be shorter, and most of my new stuff is longer, so it’s a challenge trying to get these two different batches of work to get along with each other. And the other project is the 6th Unbearables anthology: From Somewhere to Nowhere; The End of the American Dream. Raising money for this one is gonna be impossible, but we continue on…

You write a lot about the day to day grind of work, and how that translates into the extraordinary. What are some of the worst jobs you’ve ever had?

Trust me, I’ve written about all of them. The Plastic Factory is a very small book about a very bad time in my life. The poem ‘Hand Jobs’ in my collection, Divine Comedy, is about when I got a job cleaning new welds on steel hand trucks, and followed that up with a job in a box factory; a factory where they make cardboard boxes – you would not believe how sharp the edges on the newly cut boxes are – I was bleeding all over the damn things til I borrow gloves from someone. Didn’t last too long. I worked in a paint factory in Montgomeryville, Pa.  — turned that into a long poem: ‘Forklift’ because I had to learn how to drive a forklift. I still have the letter of recommendation the boss wrote me – my heart beats a little faster every time I pass one – sometimes there’s a dude driving one on 24th street just west of 6th Avenue – for a building supply store.

How do you do your writing? What’s your workspace like?

Ok, here’s the truth on that: I write longhand on the subway, I take the subway a lot because I now work in the Wall Street area in a new bookstore, and then I try to find an empty table in the food court of Grand Central Terminal whenever I can to revise my scribbles. The last story I wrote, I think it’s titled ‘1975’, I did in the Sidewalk Café – it’s kind of empty around five in the evening and I really like the folks tending bar. I’ve written there a lot recently. And then I revise the fuck out of everything when I get to a computer; you know that personally from the last story I submitted your way – some four or five versions.

How did the Duke & Jill stories come about?

Well, they started with some stories I heard in Pennsylvania when my first marriage was crashing and burning; my ex-wife and I had gone there to sort of try to fix things, and the people we were hanging out with had interesting lives. When I got back to NYC it was still the bad old days with buildings on fire, and me getting stabbed and all, but the stories I brought back with me seemed to fit the new setting better than what was actually going on around me. That did change as I kept doing them; I got more of my own life into them. The story in ‘Bad Karma’ happened to me. A lot of the stories were written on ‘spec’ – I think that is the right word. Gary Indiana wanted one for a special issue of New Observations, so I came up with one to fit the theme, which was ‘Murgatroyds’ – that was a tough one. The last story, ‘Notes to Myself’, was done to fit the theme of one of the Unbearables anthologies; Help Yourself! – a send up of self-help books.

ron black and white
*photo credit, Leanne Staples

What are the Unbearables? 

Here’s our official definition: The Unbearables are a loose collective of artists and writers mostly based in NYC. They have published five anthologies, and an ongoing series of books. They have read as a group in many of the well-known New York venues:  the Gathering of the Tribes, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, the Parkside Lounge, etc. Their usual targets are literary clichés, which they attempt to deconstruct with humor.

How have the Unbearables evolved?

That’s a good question, and I think the answer for me has changed a bit in the past year. We continue to put out books and get together for beers at the Sidewalk Café, but we did two big performances at Shalom Neuman’s Fusionarts Gallery/Museum on Stanton Street in the past month or two, and we seem to be adding a new generation of writers to our roster; Jason Gallagher, Linder Tieber, Joey Infante, John Casquarelli, and David Pemberton, among others. And I hope that somewhere along the way we get work from a host of Unknown Press folks: you, Chuck Howe, James Duncan, Erin Lynn and so many more.

What’s next?

For me it’s just keeping on: Selling books, writing them, hanging onto the job, paying the rent, trying not to hurt anyone – same old, same old.


Coming May 2015

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Duke and Jill do drugs. They live on the corner of Avenue A and 10th street,

in a mostly burnt-out building. Duke is originally from Wisconsin. Jill is from Wisconsin, too.

They don’t have much else in common.


“Ron Kolm’s Duke & Jill stories are classic illustrations of appealingly casual criminal ingenuity at work in a society where everybody has too much of nothing, either materially or spiritually. They remind me of Denis Johnson’s doom-flecked narratives as well as my favorite Buster Keaton movies. Even if the time and place of their setting is gone with the wind, their anarchic spirit is still a breath of fresh air.”
–Gary Indiana, author of Utopia’s Debris: Selected Essays and Last Seen Entering the Biltmore: Plays, Short Fiction, Poems 1975–2010

“Take the bumbling antics of the Keystone Cops, season with a pinch of Bonnie and Clyde, add in some not-so-gentle satire of East Village funk, top with a generous helping of a kind-of-a-love story and you have the comedy of errors that is Ron Kolm’s, Duke & Jill. His sometimes street smart, more often street un-smart characters use their wits to survive the changes in their East Village neighborhood–and survive they do, in spite of all the setbacks they get themselves into and out of.  Kolm handles his characters and their misadventures with just the right touch, moving from vignette to vignette with an effortless ease that belies the skillful deftness of his writing. It’s all there, and extremely well executed indeed.”–Susan Sherman, author of Nirvana on Ninth Street and The Light that Puts an End to Dreams.

“You probably knew Duke and Jill at some point. They might have lived down the hall from you back in the day. Maybe you didn’t like them, or maybe you did.  Maybe they scored for you, or you for them. Poet and literary impresario Ron Kolm represents this classic East Village trouble couple with the deadpan élan of a bohemian raconteur looking back from the other side of nowheresville. Kolm’s spare, but evocative scenarios always end in a fated punctuation point that leaves the reader laughing while crying while wondering, perhaps, just why this sad species of ours has gained the earthly prominence it has.”
–Carl Watson, author of Hotel of Irrevocable Acts and Backwards the Drowned Go Dreaming.

Forthcoming: the Part Time Shaman Handbook by Michael Gilan Maxwell

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An instruction manual for that which cannot be taught. This pocket-sized collection of poems and incantations will guide you through all the bullshit and beyond. With lessons covering, The Edge, the Day-To-Day, Community, Finding Your Way, Principles For Living, Things To Do Before Going To Bed, Health, The Inner World and—everything you’ll need to pack for your Vision Quest. Michael Gillan Maxwell is a master of self help and self destruction, who will lead you with bells and chants and Fritos covered in chili to find your way through roaring surf,  and the chaos and fury of thunderstorms.

JUNE 2015

Three Publications

Hey! Heather Dorn, one of my favorite poets, has a bunch of work out. Check it out!

17 of the poems are in print, in the TOO MUCH anthology that my house, Unknown Press recently released. The anthology is all about excess.

Facts About Neuroplasticity

I have three publications out currently.

The first is a group of poems closing out a book (I believe 17 poems) called Too Much: An Anthology About Excess:

Too Much

The second is a project of the Literary Underground called This Is Poetry: Women of the Small Presses. It is the first of 8 volumes, and two of my poems “Cicadas” and “Scared of the Dark” appear in this first volume:

This Is Poetry

Finally, I have a poem (“Heather Wants to Invest $40,000”) in the new issue of Kleft Jaw, accessible online:

Kleft Jaw

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We’re thrilled to announce the release of Chuck Howe’s short story collection If I had Wings These Windmills Would Be Dead.


“Chuck Howe is a great musician and with If I Had Wings, These Windmills Would Be Dead, he shows what I’ve known for years: That he’s also a brilliant writer. Wings reads like a concept album, with its recurring themes, tons of gorgeous, leftfield imagery and a memory so vivid, you would swear it was all his imagination, if you didn’t know him any better. Howe takes you on a trip full of many bumps, bruises and missteps, but the most important thing about a book this good is that it never comes off as boastful and it all leads to a conclusion that leaves you with a feeling of overwhelming hope and love. I hope Chuck keeps at this for a long time. He has the potential to be a real noisemaker in this business and Wings is a great opening riff to start off with. — Jonny Sparkles, stand up comedian”