Reapers Room

Kevin Misner Ó


‘Seems like all I can do is watch

From the picket-fence outside your home

With my eyelids inside-out

I can still see your breath corrode the air.


And the bells chime again

From inside the Reaper’s Room

Calling me to be something

Within something I don’t know.


And it feels like every time

I cut that brittle cord

I feel it’s sudden release

Whip back into my face.


And I can see you stand there

Before my burnt-out mind

Telling me to go there

But I always end up here.


And I know my faults

I know my mistakes

I carry them with me

They poison my days.


And I wish you’d let me breathe

Take your skeletal hand off my face

Let me dance under the sun

And let me sleep by the moon.


‘Seems like all I can do is watch

From the picket-fence outside your home

And inside the Reaper’s Room

I know what I am not.



A Word From the Editors:           So, what’s it going to be then? Congratulations, if you are able to read this it means you are literate, and part of a small percentage of people lucky enough to be born in luxury. People often deride words, actions speak louder than etc, etc… but words have power, incredible power, enough to bring down empires and change the world hundreds of years in the future. Just look what effect the communist manifesto had on the entire world in the twentieth century, and it was written in the 1800’s.

No this is not a political manifesto. I’m sure many of the artists included differ in their political beliefs. This is a space where artists, poets, musicians and just plain people can have a chance to express themselves, in a time when most local art programs are poorly, if funded at all. We were lucky enough to work for the Undercroft in previous times, both as members of the editorial committee. It gave youth a voice, a voice that’s being strangled. We want to give youth a voice back, and not only the youth, the people on the fringes, old poets, ex cons, freaks, the mentally, & physically ill the LGBTQ (We can’t remember the rest of the acronym, keeps growing, our deepest apologies) the chronic psychiatric patients and alcoholics.


That’s not to say we don’t have standards. Don’t bother sending in any racist, sexist, homophobic & radically religious, we’ll probably laugh at it, then use it to start a fire. In the words of Jello Biafra, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” Otherwise my dearest readers and writers, this is a playground for expression and experiment, opinion and artistic vision. This is just paper, its your job to fill it, and in a world like this, if you don’t have anything to say about it, well their ain’t much hope for you is there?


This is a world of inequality, for many it’s a world of pain. And, of course it’s a world of questions. Why did the biochemist that discovered the increased risk of GMO Monsanto crops to cause organ damage, lose his job the day after his discovery? Why were we (NATO) so quick to intervene in Libya, yet stand by like statues as thousands of Syrian Civilians are murdered by Assad & killed in the crossfire? So many questions. Free healthcare they say, but it won’t cover the thousands of dollars needed for an HIV or Hepatitis medications. Why are our First Nations people living in third world conditions?

Why do we endure a Prime Minister that was held in contempt of parliament?


What do you know? What do you feel? Who are you? This is a platform for the artists, the poets, the weirdoes, musicians and freaks. If you want a place to speak your mind, here it is. Send submissions to hollow publishing@gmail.com . Now fuck off your computer and do something creative.


Your loving editors


This House


By Lisa Russell


Howling ghosts they reappear

That creak in the door

Never goes away

And the floors

Sound like someone’s

Walking in the night

This house had many windows

But they are all boarded up

Except one

In the attic

Where I’m trapped

There’s poison running

Through my veins

I couldn’t escape

Even if I tried

The darkness roams

Like a creature

Bitter souls haunt this house

And they huddle close

To my single burning candle

But as long as it burns

They can’t hurt me

Slowly as I watch

I’m too afraid to sleep

I must stay in the light

Because when it goes out

I will lose myself

Amongst the souls

Of this place

And never again

Be able to know the know the light.


Thrown Under the Bus

By Josh W.F.


Me, followed by the dog,

Then the cat,

Then the cat’s bird.


The fingers finely fiddling away.

I wish I were kidding but I’m not.


Seemingly relentless cold arctic air,

Boon serving sunshine

Trading deep-freeze blues

For blue lagoons.


Being thrown under the bus

You shouldn’t be throwing your

Rocks so hard

When you’re living in a glass house.

Lets kill this bird before it flies.

A good run-on sentence.


Actions are my actions regardless

When what was said

Wants to change.


The Nature of Snow

By Caroline Misener

For Sharon: November 13, 1981

The wind bore through the cloth of my coat,

Casting glass missiles through its scant armour,

But such is the nature of snow.

It was a hand-me-down from my mother

Who had lost weight and gloated

That her clothes didn’t fit her anymore,

But I was just plump enough to don it,

And besides, I had nothing warmer to wear.


The snow gathered in piles of white plush

Against my eyes and cheekbones and nose,

Soaked my hat and we dipped our heads

Into the gusts; the snow glazing your

Curly black hair like sugared lace.


No use, we said, to wait

For the bus, we could easily walk

The distance; it would be faster and easier

To slog along the crusty sidewalks

And it would spare us the ordeal

Of the surly driver with his cocked back cap

As he struggled with the wheel, and the reek

Of snow-soaked bodies, weary

From the day’s work and the grey saline slush

That seeped through the cracks in our boots

As it melted into the grooves of the rubber mats.


No, we said, we’d rather walk;

We’d make much better time

Than the humpbacked cars caught in drifts

That had slid across the laneways and intersections,

Their windows dusky from fog-blasted heat

And the air inside them dry and pungent.


I would have preferred the whitewashed ruin

Of the afternoon than what awaited me at home.

I preferred your warm companionship, discussing

Books in the aluminum bus shelter, than to

The loathsome drunk splayed on the couch at home,

Waking just often enough to tell me

What I was doing wrong, to tell me

How I ruined his life the day he married my mom.

But it was he, who’d ruined my life,

Plucking me like an orchid from

My garden of familiars.


How I loathed his drinking, dunking

His bland soul in a bottle of glitters

He kept hidden under his pillow,

Believing we’d never know,

While outside the snow beat and bunched

In the corners of his windows.


And we, Sharon, were caught

In that bubble of whiteness.

I thought if I died that day

It would quiet the sky.

But no such luck, with you, Sharon

A stranger and a friend.


Cash Over Quality

It’s a cash over quality society we’re living in now. Art, music and literature nobody gives a fuck anymore. They want to make pay cheques, own a pool, get fucked by the chick with big tits and end up on the cover of mainstream magazine. You never see anyone doing anything different, new. Turn on the TV. And try to find a program that actually makes you think and ask questions rather than tells you what’s cool to wear. Find one that doesn’t hand you your opinion gift wrapped with a bottle of cheap perfume and a free sample Xanax. I dare you.

The same 30 songs get repeated on the radio every single day, punctuated by the same commercials instructing the populace on how important the size of their cocks are and why exactly Jenny from upstairs won’t sleep with them. This isn’t to say that the good shit isn’t around anymore; it’s just getting really hard to find. Record companies don’t want to take a chance on music that won’t “sell”. Think bands like The Velvet Underground or Patti Smith would get signed today? Played on top 40 radio? Me neither. And as for art and poetry the majority of people would rather go jack off to M.T.V. and shotgun strong beer. So why bother? Why bother writing poetry if it has a one in a thousand chance of being published, and even less of making any money? Why start a band if you can’t be as “catchy” as The Beatles or sell as many singles as Coldplay? Because if you really give a fuck about art, care about the beauty and ugliness and sincerity of it. Hell if you fucking ENJOY IT! Well then who cares if your band never sells an album if you make great songs. Why not write a hundred pages of poetry if you actually like doing it?

So much boring elevator crap is being pissed out by second-rate hack artists who get paid morbidly obese paychecks for it that the thought of doing anything interesting or different hasn’t crossed their minds. I don’t know when exactly everyone started believing this whole “money and fame is the key to paradise” dogma but I for one think it’s complete and utter bullshit. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire lifetime and Jack Kerouac died a poor man, were they failures? Don’t get me wrong, there’s no problem with profiting off your work, or becoming wildly famous because of it, but what really draws me in about any sort of art is if it’s real, if its good, if it has something to say. Half the time all I hear on the radio is “Keep paying for my house, car and prescription drugs you tasteless mental invalids.” Sure is catchy but I really don’t care. Go out to shows, listen to everything, read everything, find the shit that really tells the truth and support it! It’s easy to say that there’s nothing good on the radio anymore and that book everyone likes is crap, but why not produce an alternative? If you have a passion for jazz but playing pop punk would make you a star then why not burn all those Miles records and pawn your upright bass? Because maybe that one underground song means more to you than ten platinum records, because what’s popular don’t mean what’s the best. Maybe because art for arts and fuck what everyone else thinks?

Tj Brown