Punk by Bunkong Tuon


On YouTube, the kids go apeshit over the Sex Pistols
        gleefully giving Johnny Lydon, green-haired, rotten-teethed,
foul-mouthed, wily-eyed punk icon their hard-earned cash.
        During the first year of the pandemic Lydon is seen sporting
a red Make-America-Great-Again t-shirt, belly protruding like
        a pesky spoiled brat. So it goes with getting old,
the world you once knew is turned upside down, the punk you love
        is now the pop music you hate. But back in the 70s,
when the Pistols played in some unknown bar down in Texas
        Rotten screamed “I am the anti-Christ. I’m going to destroy the Pacifists”
& they hated him with everything they got. They spat, threw chairs, rioted.
        The hate was pure and, of course, mutual, as Rotten spat back
and screamed some more. Sid Vicious scowled, sliced his skinny chest
        with a used razor while Steve and Glenn held down the beat.
Everything was clear then, lines were drawn. And it wasn’t about money,
        fame, and other illusions. It was a war between the establishment
and the underground, between authority and reckless youth, fought
        in the beautiful chaos of noise, the only kind of war for me.


Bunkong Tuon is a Cambodian-American writer and critic. He is the author of three full-length poetry collections and a chapbook. His publications include The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Chiron Review, Paterson Literary Review, Misfit, carte-blanche, among others. He writes for Cultural Daily. Tuon teaches at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.

Three Poems by Anne Babson


So much depends
A red hat about
Stitched in China
For Russia
Beside the white



The Shinto soundbyte
Smacked between bubblegum lips
Is irreligious.

Five beats, seven beats,
Five beats — and why should we think
This is not an ad?

Japanese culture
Owns the rights to bonsai verse.
Coke is it for us.



Whatever words say, bodies govern us,
Trapped by flesh, no matter which pretty speech.
But on Bourbon, bouncers don’t card this
Child corpse. They assume I’m auditioning.
I watch women spin on poles, cellulite
Jiggling while they twerk, fat nipples bouncing.
Louis and Lestat slip into the lounge,
But I am not hungry for the buffet.
I stole a wallet off my midnight snack
On Conti. I slip bills in g-strings, not
To satisfy appetites but to watch
Women’s thighs show me stretch marks and track marks
Through bronze spray tan, tattoos, and glitter sweat.

This book freezes me in glitter amber.
My child vampire body will never grow.
That’s not vampire blood. That’s vampire novel.
I ask Britni, the one I panty-stuffed
With twenty singles, to answer questions.
What’s her favorite book? She doesn’t read.
Not reading books traps, too, I see. Britni
Won’t reach fifti, my night vision tells me.
But what is your favorite book? Yes, you there!
And to what has it taught you to submit?


Anne Babson is the author of three full-length collections of poetry — The White Trash Pantheon, Polite Occasions, and Messiah. Her fourth collection, The Bunker Book, will be published in 2021 by Unsolicited Press. Her poems have appeared in literary journals on five continents. She lives and writes in New Orleans.