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We’re pleased to announce that Ben Pease’s Scattered Rhymes podcast is going to become the official podcast of THEthe!

Scattered Rhymes is a long-form interview podcast in which poets discuss and read their work. Ben Pease has been doing the podcast for several years now and has created a back log of work that THEthe will be reposting over the next month or so in anticipation of Scattered Rhymes’ next installment. From that point on, we hope to make Scattered Rhymes a monthly endeavor. The latest episode will be posted and featured on THEthe and later archived at the Scattered Rhymes website.

The first featured poet from the Scattered Rhymes podcast is Gail Mazur.

Gail Mazur Interview, Part 1

Gail Mazur, Part 1

Gail Mazur Interview, Part 2

Gail Mazur, Part 2

Listen to Joe Weil’s album of original poetry and music, recorded with the help of Vic Ruggiero.

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We would also like to thank Stewart Lundy of  Bulldog Technology Solutions, whose patience and helpfulness through The The’s “birth pangs” have gone above and beyond the call of duty. If you are looking to build a great website to compete with The The Poetry Blog, give him a ring. His rates are incredibly reasonable and the service can’t be beat.

for David Shapiro

I

PARITY

Underneath the garden,
loose stars stapled to ribbed snail shells
in octaves of sky,
the revised mistranslation
of a black pool
expects
what an inveterate tuba suggests:
a broken interflow
inhabiting the honeysuckle–
but diction is unlivable,
a plastic replica
stuck in low tides,
the snow’s psyche nearby,
and the pool, its live-in help,
third-persons the loud night,
its open mouth
an analogy of vowels…

Such fierce quantums
ingest roman à clefs, gondolas
drifting on changed names
below rows of dead windows. Oh,
the globe’s pallor
is so themelessly narrow,
its doors glamorous and blind.
Messy cement, set by geometrics,
cannot fix it,
though music’s lost paragraph
can.

II

EVERYBODY HATES LOVE…

its pale-colored loops. mental and spiritual,
its woeful exaggerations
primitive as tequila
resonated through salt in vacuums
invented by thieves–
lorry lingo, islets, milkweed–
and, yet, its purple-and-silver drivers
get a groom’s reprieve,
obvious boundaries, and a private life
in the engaged comedies of cutlery and confidence,
so unoccupied
are the avalanches.

It is best to place pillows beside this tear,
politely veined as the sun
lazily screaming
the anti-grammar of happiness,
then accelerate, burstingly,
through space,
for the sun is multiple
and unhumiliated,
like the green certitude of a blank page,
and love, its blue beetle,
engraves the edges.

III

CAREENED

The kneeling roadside,
its film of oil callowly cooled
by “timbrel dissonance,”
subsists below an imperfect hardhat,
its unanswerable flashlight noli me tangere;
and where the beam’s wandering error
stares seems dark as a motive
that permits no friend
beneath the grillework of an eyelid,
that mournful interior that slides
like a bed across a sun spot
into cross-sections of fate,
wheels rolling as buttons from a mannequin,
unconsciously–
elocutions on too many colors.

Oh brother, those throttles of weather,
unsmiling, cloudless,
technically precise, creamed innocence
until rats themselves lay comatose
in the cemetery,
its futuring approach keeling
below hardhats of memory.

IV

ANGER, SEX AND HISTORY

Suburbia’s psychological chrysalis
is truthless and whirls
like the shadow of an ancestor
awake in the West,
an effaced death partly singing
across the aluminum horse show’s loutish goodbyes,
late copy
in the contaminated dust
with its Brechtian vacation spots
moteled by Duchamp
under margins of clouds,
their simulations left by deleted sculptors
who once galloped
across these fragrant walls.

You see, Russianly,
all– the other mind’s Alexandrian
prayer, stranded
like a disarrayed laurel
from that frightening tree,
its manifold precedents
trapped in the bric-a-brac of coherence’s
confusing clichés. Born to combat,
driven and infantile,
the chrysalis’s governance wavers
under this jagged emitting,
tainted and fragmentary,
restless, while you
argue through the fragile kitsch of the spatial
nothing but hope.

V

TRACES

These half-seeded gardens,
unconcealed,
feel suspect–
time-lapse ruptures
blurring the poplars’ plaintive mustards.
A softening
is thrust across connoisseurs,
a smeared hurrah in “the spray of time,”
something doubtful
like the explication of “z”
with red octagons aswirl in the rigmarole
that punctuates the pleasantries,

but I ramble
from a chair at the bottom of an swimming pool
without a scatterbrained portal
to frame uncloistered predictions,
while the crickets’
rainy gravity
adjusts pencil-dots made by Rouault,
and your violin swims
in waters brimming with black lamps,
half-tuned in the vigil
where osmosis is improvised,
like soft petals
brushed against the cymbal’s inner sides.

VI

ALMOST A PARK

The skidding fountains,
their compassionate kilometers
slowed by toy boats,
interrupt “the tiny dead day,”
its lodestone splash
confused by hundreds of muffs
surrounding the word “uh.”

Winter, flightlessly noticeable
like butterflies on a cello,
magnifies
the cascade’s twists,
dilatory as pity,
but the seasonal paysage
is like Niobe’s entourage: in trouble–
a beagle without eyes.
You said so,
in your spraycan diary
which is why fountains,
their pistol-silver laxity, are still-lifes,
even five dreams away,
and so pretty.

VII

EVIDENT

God– a red stain on cardboard,
a recognizable accent, morning embedded–
loosen me among layers of street
in raw materials made white by Utah’s inland sea,
saline-green and collaborative.
Secrets nod to nomads
and the psychotic connection’s pastels
break the glass.
Lend me limits, optics tilted,
and lame ledges, love’s
terrible mania colloquial yet tamed,
tea-time amazed
by your architectural downtowns,
by the sound of mud,
its ministering sensuality.
Exemptions race by me in ultra-red fog–
traced traumerei
taking a ferry across a painting.
Enter my wary brain,
its splitting sunlight,
Jonah’s complex unsharable night.

Genevieve Burger-Weiser’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Boston Review, Western Humanities Review, Washington Square Review and Juked. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

PART 1

PART 2

Dear an hour north the trees
are already shuttered leaves

whip my face and the lake
is lashed to whitewash while

back home our initials grow
dim erosion smoothes cement

and names and your lover writes me
letters detailing your predilections

in colored pencils asking for friendship
I suppose she does you well out here

in the forest the season is brewing
and no one minds the strange

accent the new girl wears around
her neck with a cross our senses shatter

on punctuation and dropped Roman
vowels streetlights and shadows

follow sirens deep into the maze
of named streets while here a fox

has been eating chickens one by one
in the skeleton night where once

a shiv of moon grew flat on our lake
while snow fell and held the light

Easier Than Learning Klingon

Jason Crane reviews John Gallaher’s Map of the Folded World

In the realm of wrong answers, someone

always has the radio on.

– “I Will Sing the Monster to Sleep, & He Will Need Me”

~

I’ve been watching the middle seasons of Stargate SG-1 again. If you’ve never seen the show, the premise is that there are Stargates that allow instant travel between planets. You step into one and step out into a completely different landscape.

To get around the problem of having to invent new languages for every race of aliens encountered, the producers cut the knot this way: They explained that a particular race of evil aliens had captured many humans from earth and sprinkled them throughout the galaxy to use as slaves. So most of the folks you encounter are human. And most of them speak English, albeit with some interesting variations in dialect.  And no, that last bit doesn’t make any sense, but it sure is easier than having to learn Klingon.

Which brings me to John Gallaher’s Map of the Folded World (University of Akron Press, 2009).  Gallaher has managed to create a language all his own using English words. Reading his poems, I felt like I’d arrived on some other world where the linguistic building blocks were familiar, but the physics of assembling them was completely different, surprising, otherworldly.

Map of the Folded World gathers momentum as it goes, and traveling through it I was quickly swept up into Gallaher’s deft use of language, not really needing to know what something meant so much as to hear how Gallaher had opened up the possibilities of the words by putting them next to one another in surprising ways.

I don’t feel it’s helpful to quote sections of his poems (even though I began this review with my favorite line from the book) because his poems are so dependent on wholeness. To remove any piece for study under the microscope would be to miss the point. Gallaher is sculpting, constructing, imagining, transporting the words. And while I’m sure these poems would be captivating individually, Map of the Folded World is a book; it is held together by the strength of Gallaher’s imagination and by the cascading wash of the language through the volume’s entirety. By the time I reached the end, I felt almost as though I could speak the language, as though I could understand what some of the natives were saying, and maybe even try to carry on a rudimentary conversation of my own.

All of that said, though, it’s worth giving you a chance to experience Gallaher’s linguistic achievements for yourself. Here’s the entire poem from which I quoted above:

~

I Will Sing the Monster to Sleep,
& He Will Need Me

In the realm of wrong answers, someone
always has the radio on.

Someone is eating, and someone
walking about the room, in the dim café
which ends in a distant range of snow-capped mountains.

There are vanishing people
meeting at the diving board off the window sill,
and a cloud pierced by windows.

There are a lot of things you don’t get to decide.

At first, the evenings were filled with stories, music,
or both, with a beige floor
shaded here and there with red.

And then the children are walking across the gravel
in the dark. Always small footsteps
in any manner of realms.

And they quiver like the moon.

Let’s look for them awhile, and see what we find
beside the intimidating tower at the summit
of the gently rising square.

There will be water in this pool soon.
And we’ll know what happiness is.
There’s time, and figures

moving among the arches.

We will take some questions now, they’ll say.
Please raise your hand.

~

I love clear, narrative poetry. For me, this is not that. What it is, instead, is something equally valuable and maybe more rare — a transformative experience that occurs through nothing but the careful placement of word blocks on a landscape of Gallaher’s own devising.

Highly recommended.

—Jason Crane

Jason Crane hosts the online jazz interview show The Jazz Session (http://thejazzsession.com) and writes poems at http://jasoncrane.org. His first book, Unexpected Sunlight, is forthcoming from FootHills Publishing.

It’s been a year since that goddamned horse died
and I have yet to pick up the pieces.
It brought me water on down that road.
It took the tarp with buck’d teeth and made a tent

by lifting it over the low branches of a nearby tree.
It’s been a year since that goddamned horse died
and I’ve used all the lessons he taught me
during our time together braving the elements.

My right arm has burned off from the sun’s radiation
and I can no longer call out at night in pain like I used to.
It’s been a year since that goddamned horse died
from swallowing the last of the Brita filters.

And even if having clean water did nothing
it made me feel safe, like we were able to improve our
own condition. It’s been a year since that goddamned
horse died. Triple crown I lost my body, mind, and soul.

Amy Lawless’s first book of poems, Noctis Licentia, was published by Black Maze Books in 2008. Her poems have recently appeared in Sub-Lit, Scapegoat Review, The Paramanu Pentaquark,Forklift, Ohio, Portable Boog Reader 3, Agriculture Reader, Radioactive Moat, Pax Americana, Sink Review, and Barrow Street. Lawless holds a degree in journalism from Boston University and an MFA in poetry from The New School. She  teaches at John Jay College, and lives in Brooklyn. For more about Amy, check out her blog, (F)LAWLESS.

Stomach

Teeth remain but lips do not.
A flattened pouch filled
With a jackal-headed god’s
Crumbs, a steady and tasteless
Nourishing, until again the
Lips burn, hungry for fowl
In the infinite field of reeds.

Lungs

Tree dismantled. One half
On top the other, losing pink
Quickly. A baboon’s snout
Blows the new air of a god
Inside and during the rise
Twin sponge-roots relearn
To expand, contract, expand.

Intestines

The longest road of the body
Is watched by a hawk-faced god
Who flies the Nile’s length
In two wing-beats, collects
Water in his beak and returns
The river’s still blue coolness
To the driest coil of flesh.

Liver

The usefulness of what’s left
Behind—blessed by the hands of
A god with a human face, wide-eyed
And mindful. Four parts, four winds
Stilled, the kind of silence needed
To end and begin. To make venom
Essential, to warm again the blood.

In a photograph of my father’s Rhode Island,
His home describes itself in tactile, sculptural terms.

A well looms. Once, I stared the photo down
Till I could picture it—till the clapboard

And shingles lay like any focused thought
Against a pure white backdrop. Now

It was an idealized beauty treated as a vision,
But an abstraction unquiet in its given body—

Insistant, puritanical & aware of its materials
And heft—stolid and wooden. The roof joists

Turn up, but return earthward decisively
Like a check-mark upside-down.

We staked it out when I first saw New England.
My father pointed, Look at the well, it’s gone.


Alexander Landfair lives on Manhattan, where he is the associate poetry editor of Narrative Magazine. He was recently a Finalist for Poetry’s Ruth Lilly Fellowship.

I sit with my head in the meadow and compare it to the stones
In my biography I own a home
I associate my home with pleasant feelings
In my biography I am very sleepy
I go sit on a stump and a log
Sometimes for days I am moving
I weep all night for my child
In my biography epaulets grow in sorrow
I braided them myself the golden worms
And I am a horse owner I own a horse
In my biography we are an island
Food arrives and news and ammunition
Very slowly I move to the cellar
What I have buried there I still adore

Heather Christle is the author of The Difficult Farm (Octopus Books).  She grew up in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and now lives in Atlanta.  More information is at heatherchristle.blogspot.com.

Scott Cairns has a featured podcast on the Eastern Orthodox web-station Ancient Faith Radio. Check it out. Similar to the popularity of “the body” in poetry today, the idea of “incarnational ______” (fill in the blank) is quite hot in Christian theology as well.

Interview Part 1:

Interview Part 2:

A HILL | by Anthony Hecht

In Italy, where this sort of thing can occur,
I had a vision once – though you understand
It was nothing at all like Dante’s, or the visions of saints,
And perhaps not a vision at all. I was with some friends,
Picking my way through a warm sunlit piazza
In the early morning. A clear fretwork of shadows
From huge umbrellas littered the pavement and made
A sort of lucent shallows in which was moored
A small navy of carts. Books, coins, old maps,
Cheap landscapes and ugly religious prints
Were all on sale. The colors and noise
Like the flying hands were gestures of exultation,
So that even the bargaining
Rose to the ear like a voluble godliness.
And then, where it happened, the noises suddenly stopped,
And it got darker; pushcarts and people dissolved
And even the great Farnese Palace itself
Was gone, for all its marble; in its place
Was a hill, mole-colored and bare. It was very cold,
Close to freezing, with a promise of snow.
The trees were like old ironwork gathered for scrap
Outside a factory wall. There was no wind,
And the only sound for a while was the little click
Of ice as it broke in the mud under my feet.
I saw a piece of ribbon snagged on a hedge,
But no other sign of life. And then I heard
What seemed the crack of a rifle. A hunter, I guessed;
At least I was not alone. But just after that
Came the soft and papery crash
Of a great branch somewhere unseen falling to earth.

And that was all, except for the cold and silence
That promised to last forever, like the hill.

Then prices came through, and fingers, and I was restored
To the sunlight and my friends. But for more than a week
I was scared by the plain bitterness of what I had seen.
All this happened about ten years ago,
And it hasn’t troubled me since, but at last, today,
I remembered that hill; it lies just to the left
Of the road north of Poughkeepsie; and as a boy
I stood before it for hours in wintertime.

Allezallez, I leave a radio like a light on for my return from campus the way Mrs. Snediker left Katie Couric velveteening for the golden retrievers who might well prefer less Katie more quiet, all the more so as hours melt the morning, Katie becoming more nasal, less paid television friend versions of herself. I like returning to my radio friends. In lieu of dogs I dote on this ghoulish sadness that cares beyond itself, punctiliously, about Katie Couric’s heels; it astounds me upon my  return that the ghoulish sadness can be so dire when it comes to the world’s hostile, dubious relation to my buoyance, but out of nowhere is oh wow, those shoes. The things on which it has opinions. Gay sadness, the leashes I give. That’s the sadness, the radio in part being on for it,  to keep it occupied in my absence; ditto my returns from campus, suggesting without much strain that I am the ghoulish sadness, lonely and the occasion of loneliness all at once; I can’t bear the quiet, antsiness moving quickly to the narcissism of really liking the sadness in its reflection without realizing it in fact is reflection, bracketing whatever psychoanalysis says about the jubilance of this specular moment, and when I return from  teaching, the radio is playing one of my favorites, a Mendellsohn concerto, the one where Felix is throwing plates at Cécile Jeanrenaud, and then at the surprising tail end of aTempo semplice, he accuses her in English of never truly having communicated the extent of her loyalty. She insists in broken German she thought her loyalty a given. At which point all of her languages break, she riffles through them for one that seems fluent,  but duress has made fluency itself the thing that is missing. If only I were articulate slipping (fluently) into if only I were fluentif only I were graceful,  or does this mean if only he a bit more were grateful. The radio, she can’t stand, she doesn’t even understand radios, their being beyond her time, even as her predicament requires technologies she can barely conjure. Sometimes I leave the radio on as a nostalgic technology, the sort of thing that might have assuaged someone many decades previous, to the extent that this could trick the ghoulish sadness into believing if not its own anti-macassar quaintness than its kitsch factor which would be the first step in my learning to take it less seriously. And so the radio. And of course as I teach I’m distracted, Poor Cécile, the world being unkind, what can she say to assuage her husband’s sense that things get more brittle as each attempt at lubrication or leavening ends up freaking things out. We needed out-moded technologies to convince us that the things they solved weren’t  beyond our ken, or what several decades ago we nonironically called cutting edge. Solitude, like music, arrived as movement and directive. This loneliness was allegro, this one subito. And as I turn the key with real and dirty fantasies of contact, of ceramic projectile, another plate remembers crashes.

Michael Snediker’s poems have appeared and/or forthcoming in Cream City, Court Green, Jubilat, Paris Review, Black Warrior Review & Margie. His latest chapbook BOURDON will be published by White Rabbit Press.