Conduit: subtitled, “Last Laugh,” “Black Humor in Deadpan Alley,” “Words & Visions for Minds on Fire,” is just what these phrases suggest. This tall, narrow issue with a gold skull and crossbones printed on the black cover definitely sports a sense of humor, and strives to be different. Instead of having numbered pages, it has alphabetized words on the lower corners of pages, such as, “antics, balderdash, banter, barb….”all the way to “wag, whoopee cushion, wiseacre, x-ray specs, zany.”
This is a frequently off-the-wall, electric publication. It contains prose poetry that will delight, like “Sing Sing!” by Lara Glenum, or “Beans,” “Crimea,” and “Finally Myself” by Greg Bachar. “Finally myself” begins: “Nobody knows that I am nobody. They think that I am somebody, and treat me as such, with equal parts fear and apprehension.” Although short pieces, they should be taken whole.
One of the longer works is a short story, “Take Your Wife…Please,” by Lee Upton. Written in epistolary form, it begins as a victor-to-vanquished letter and becomes something quite different. It’s wickedly funny. The main character begins it, “Dear Simon, – Has anyone ever told you that you have one of those names that usually belongs to jerks – like the name Kevin?” The character undoes himself further from there, to the great amusement of the reader. Not all the material is humorous. Some is thoughtfully ironic, painful, tragic, or idealistic. Much lies off the beaten track. Most is poetry and shorter prose, and there are two interviews. The front and back cover pages have some unusual humor, such as, “Please notify Conduit of address changes. Returned mail is a crying shame.” So would be missing this issue.