“Elegy for a Midwestern Punk Scene” & “a sonnet” by Isobel Bess

Textured red lines with hands and a flower emerging.

Elegy for a Midwestern Punk Scene

Everybody I used to play
music with died or moved

to LA or changed
their sex or got a job

in an office and started
a heterosexual family. Class

interest is class interest
and the abattoir is an invitation,

right? Somebody has to drink all this
blood. Hey have you tried salvia?

Nobody left around here
is gonna 360 big spin a revolution

from the warehouse floor. I’ve got
my own personal opioid crisis

going on and besides that
it’s cold. I hear it never gets cold

in LA. The old guys downstairs
keep inviting me to their

AA meetings but I say look guys
I’m just here to practice

with my noise band okay? And
one of them says you don’t have to

drink to have a drinking problem
and I say you don’t have to drink

to have a noise band either.
We nod to each other

at the bar across the street after
practice but nobody says anything.

a sonnet

looked through some old horology
manuals and thought about quitting
poetry so many ways to count the passage
of time like how many days without
sleep now or how many hours short
or how many layers of dirt on top of
this other layer of dirt and how long
is a radiocarbon year before present
anyway well you see it’s complicated but
it has something to do with all those
atomic bombs and the changing composition
of the atmosphere and ideology
does a sonnet really have to have
fourteen lines exactly dang


Isobel Bess is a poet and sound artist growing snap peas just outside of Philadelphia. She is co-author of Braided Channel with Amy Marvin. You can find her music at https://isobelbess.bandcamp.com.

Katbing (@katbingart) is a graphic designer, illustrator and muralist from Los Angeles. She has worked on large-scale installations for Tommy Hilfiger, The Hive Gallery & Studios in LA, and festivals including Desert Daze and Music Tastes Good. Katbing is currently trying her hand at stop motion animation and she is having a really good time and doing a gosh darn great job. Katbing is good at most sports.