Three Poems by Ross Knapp with Illustrations by Alan Semrow



Psychology, down at its most axiomatic core is best when ‘neutrally’ secular and at its worst when dogmatically atheistic. But in its social scientific insecurity it often attempts to make human beings as rigid as a chemical reaction, as mechanistic as the Newtonian revolution of planets. In ages past St. Augustine, Rumi, St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, Luther, Moses, Muhammad, Buddha, every great saint and mystic in every single age, and even Paul and Christ themselves probably would have been diagnosed as mentally ill. After all, our criterion of delusions as anything different than the norm would have labeled them all as psychotic.

Thought experiment: all of the world’s greatest moral and spiritual guides shackled away in sterile sad madhouses. True, much progress has been made on understanding and empathizing with these different minds. But the fact remains that society still sees them fundamentally as dangerous and threatening epileptics or psychotic maniacs or schizophrenics. Does this mean all of psychology implicitly assumes all religion is simply a disease needing to be cured? Must it? But if it does then who’s truly delusional here if insanity is just culturally relative?

Alan Semrow // “If It Makes You Happy” //


All-American Valiue

What are you thinking little Timmy? Drop what you’re doing, burn those books, study exterior looks, schmooze with the rich, put on that Armani, ascertain that Maserati, acquire that McMansion, score that submissive witless trophy wife, don’t worry too much about silly things like love or if you’re both materialistic bitches, statistically speaking, happiness should be yours! What will we ever do with all this stuff and with our new little disillusioned mini-Timmy and Katie who hate our guts?

Alan Semrow // "Rolling Stone" //
Alan Semrow // “Rolling Stone” //


The Rich See Differently

We float on–

Inherently conservative, and therefore

Strong from our schadenfreude solipsism

Endless materialist excursions and personal journeys

Beating and bobbing blindly against the current


We see it all, we eat it all, we own it all.

This pitiful world bows in the wake of our pharaonic power

The hollow shadows of our mansions

Stretch over all

Planting our hints of potassium cyanide

Deep inside all, knowing no bounds

Our yachts and helicopters rip through the earth’s aether

Leaving leveled city voids and millions of screaming slave voices

We are the sadistic SS masters–

We who rule the world and its hilarious disasters


Alan Semrow lives in Wisconsin and is a graduate of English from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His poetry and fiction have been featured in multiple publications, including BlazeVOX14, Red Fez, The Bicycle Review, and many more. and he won the Essayist Award from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point English Department for his nonfiction work.


Ross Knapp is a recent college graduate with degrees in philosophy and literature. He has an experimental literary novel forthcoming and various poetry publications in Commonline Journal, Blue Lake Review, Poetry Pacific Magazine, Shot Glass Journal, and others.