Matthew Bullen

Editor’s Note

For a journal named Red Ogre Review, it seems fitting to post at least one piece featuring an ogre! I wrote Three Seasons a number of years ago. As one might gather from it, I was a law student at the time.

I wrote Interesting Landscapes using OpenAI’s GPT-3 natural language processing software platform to generate text snippets that I then assembled into a completed piece.

Lastly, It’s No Worse is an example of the type of prose poetry that we like to see in submissions.

We like experimental writing! We welcome submissions that challenge the technical boundaries of how verse and text can be composed.

Three Seasons and I’m Still a Rotten Neurotic

September

Dreaming of red medicines seeping into my lungs,
breath becomes sound,
then sound becomes vision.
I see the stars speak of decaying sovereignty,
spray vomit on my bedding.

February

At a museum of modern art, two law students
balance shoes on pond ice.
Words float by:
a carp bound in electrical wire
dreams of tea leaves,
of tendrils of tobacco smoke.

July

Shreds of plastic wrap litter the carpet.
Startled, Red Ogre wakes in a dim apartment,
lobs an ashtray through the window glass.
Torrents of orange city-glow
gush over arms and face.

Interesting Landscapes (Machine Learning Poem)

There was this bear cam
on the Internet.
From There was this bear cam, Sandra Simonds

The best way to make a landscape
interesting is to slap a bear in there.

Under a bush in the cedars,
the sky bulging with stars,
the bear lights a pipe.

At sunset, by a pebbled shore,
the bear wades into the waves
in a string bikini.

On a slippery dune in the desert,
surrounded by metalworking gear,
the bear lights a campfire.

The bear sniffs at a moth
in a fragrant summer meadow.

The bear stands on a galleon’s prow
in an amethyst sea, tosses a lifeboat
overboard.

In a garden of mossy sculptures,
the bear digs with a tiny shovel.

The bear also bites.

It’s No Worse Than the Common Flu

I wanted to write a novel about dragons, she said, but I thought that three hundred or more pages of subverting tropes about surly lizards and the heroes who whack at them with swords was too predictable, if not exhausting.

We agreed.

The idea of a thing is more perniciously infectious than the thing itself, under the microscope, the contagions of the psyche too stubborn to stay dead for long; in any event, since most people rarely see wild animals of any significant maliciousness – racoons in the trash don’t count, nor the occasional opossum, nor the average territorial jay – let alone see mythological creatures, the theme devolves to a projection of the unknown into a reification of moral panic.

Dragons, of course, designed to destroy and devour, take any shape they please.

About the Author

Owner of Liquid Raven Media and a graduate of Lancaster University’s Creative Writing Masters program, Matthew Bullen founded Red Ogre Review. Aside from writing, he occasionally produces visual art - a sample portfolio is available on ArtPal. NFTs are available on OpenSea.