By Chris Tarello


I watched the world crumble and be rebuilt again by monsters,
castles cursed to the ground in accordance with gnawing jabberjaws sitting in seats elected,
forests branded as the eternal unemployed got typecast as leeches bums uncooperative sores,
lined up to be sodomized by flannel-wearing cavemen.
Waves obeyed orders from the pocked boss in the sky who courts the polka dots that dance on the hazy abyss-mal projection screen,
but the water’s thick with cum and shit from the mainland husks and sludges against the shore like curdled milk
leaving the waves thick and heavy, cracked origami
          on the surface and shredding civilizations
I heard voices that shattered the liberation movement annihilators,
but they were wrapped up clapped up destined to dabble with the real devils who are predisposed to penitentiary life,
voices that rang out from the Northern Lights to the sweaty tip of Florida,
that rang and rang, until they couldn’t help being ignored any longer and imploded into their own enlightenment at the stub of a joint needle bottle cliff --
took flight like Icarus.


Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your piece.
Chris Tarello: "Scowl" was inspired by Ginsberg's "Howl". I remember never having read anything like that poem when I came across it about five years ago. I didn't really grasp its immensity at the time, either. To say that I fully grasp it now would be a lie, but his structure was inspiring, and so, I took a stab at it myself.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
CT: Los Angeles and the West Coast are my greatest influences. There's a unique pace to LA, and I think that characteristic of the city has found its way into my poetry.

AM: How do you conceptualize your work?
CT: It always starts with a moment; a real moment from the past or one that has only ever lived in my imagination. A pen, a notebook, and I do our best to give that moment life. The production of my work, that's much more interesting.

AM: Can you elaborate on that?
CT: The conceptualization is always just a random thought, but getting that thought out is the trial. Sure, sometimes it all just flows, but other times I go crazy trying to get a poem on paper. That's what I mean by the production of my work is so much more interesting. The catalyst to quality production is variable. It can be anything: a glass of whiskey, walking my dog, a smoke, three glasses of whiskey, good sex. The terrible challenge is remembering that the poem is the purpose, not the distraction.

AM: How does this compare to your other work?
CT: This poem has age. I've been working on it for years and probably will continue to make edits to it forever. "Scowl" is much more experimental than my other work; I don't attempt to recreate the voice of Allen Ginsberg very often.

AM: What can we expect to see from you next?
CT: Poetry. The world can never have enough poetry. I'm also working on some short fiction and a novel about a writer and painter who live together in a loft in San Francisco. Anyone who's interested in my projects can follow them here.

Chris Tarello is a Southern California writer, currently seeking inspiration on the Central Coast. You can keep up with his writing here or follow him on Instagram and Twitter for an inside look. Check out "Pour one out for humanity" previously featured in Asymmetric here.

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