Jill McKenna Reed is a poet, writing instructor, and beekeeper living in Portland, Oregon. She is co-editor of “Winged: New Writing on Bees,” an anthology of modern literary writing, forthcoming in October of 2014. Jill earned her MFA in Creative Writing Poetry at Portland State University. She is a native of the Chicago area.
How cool the air above the horizon—the sky lights up
As you take your leave. And this leaving feels severe
It feels the way trees look as they clutch rough edges of land
All the while being shaped by a persistent wind.
I can be traced by satellite. Here is my house on a virtual map
But what of your soul? What of this next-phase?
I might be the tree clawing to stay. Also, you might be the wind.
The moon pulls these thoughts across a barren sea named Desert.
You dwelled here for a time with your lens—finding the synesthesia
In the mindlessness of the mesquite. What did I forget
To tell you before you splintered from your body
So fraught and pale—so tired of the process of breath?
You should know that your intended stillness
Gave way to the most difficult shifts of voice.
Your lithograph—the tea stained print
Of hallway and woman in three point perspective
Would form a constellation. And, dear friend,
We spoke once about the dead light of stars—the endless travelling
To briefly illuminate. I ask of contrast, why life/death? Why black/white?
There are no areas unmarked by this gasp
Of collective color. I gaze through darkness
Upwards to notice the moon. How it forms
A shy smile—a knowing wisp of light._________________________________________________________________
Jess Burnquist was raised in Tempe, Arizona. She received her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Arizona State University. Her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Persona, Clackamas Literary Review, Natural Bridge and various online journals. She is a recipient of the Joan Frazier Memorial Award for the Arts at ASU. Jess currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Combs High School in San Tan Valley, and has been honored with a Sylvan Silver Apple Award and grant for teaching. She resides in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area with her husband, son, and daughter.
Remember the laundry that hangs on bamboo fences, on the edges of corrugated tin, on the rafters next to fishing nets that clump together and billow like 18th-century petticoats. Remember the blue jeans, the yellow t-shirts, the thick-hooded sweatshirts. Remember the slender brown legs that slide into the jeans, the fat lips of the toddler who sat on your lap, the hands of the man who, while working his day job as a security guard in front of an ATM, tied the knots that made the nets. Remember the brown waters of the Mekong, the Nam Khong, the Nam Song, the heavy rains in the afternoon, the early morning mist. Remember the clear rising song of a gibbon family at dawn. Remember the Chinese rock music. The gristle and fat in the meat. Even remember the mosquitos and salmonella. Remember how to say, “Do you speak English?” in five languages. And thank you. And please. Let me remember even when I’m hunched with work, when I’m old and crumpled with life. This life. Thank you. Please.
Jen Ashburn recently completed her MFA at Chatham University in poetry and creative nonfiction. She has work published or forthcoming in Grey Sparrow, Pretty Owl Poetry, Anak Sastra, The Poet’s Billow, Puff Puff Prose & Poetry Vol. II and the anthology Make Mine Words (Trinity University Press). She lives in Pittsburgh.
Ruben Quesada is the author of Next Extinct Mammal (2011) and Luis Cernuda: Exiled from the Throne of Night (2008). He is Poetry Editor
for Cobalt Review, Codex Journal and The Cossack Review. His writing
has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, The Rumpus, and Superstition Review. He teaches English and creative
writing for the performing arts at Eastern Illinois University.
There is a freshly-made bed next to mine,
that I don’t touch. There is a hum in the room, a hymn
in the sky. That evening two animal gods stood mountaintop,
and I sat below in the sunset, my body rooted, theirs extended,
all precision and color; hoof on mountaintop, bone and rock,
fur and mane; curve and wish, the desert
is nothing but curve and wish, the shhhh of air, the hush
of morning, of waking, of speaking to a silent room,
to an unbearable angel, to a movement not unlike birth,
legs open, body out
A Sad, Private Place
(From The Way Home)
This is how I imagine it would go if I did not prick my finger, if I did not stop growing while asleep; if it did not matter that, in these years, you lived and grew beautifully, independently. This is how I imagine it would go:
I sweep my fingers across your shoulder, following the curve of your collarbone to the place your skin dips. Here, there is no bone to catch skin. We are in a sad, private place. It is not dark, it is not light. It was never a question of dark or light. Instead it is a question of sound, waves of noise thinner than needles. Here, in my imaginings, you cup your hands onto my shoulders, square my bare body toward yours. You say we will never find the way home. I say we are already there, even at times like these, times when death cannot see that she is birth, that she is animal, that she is flower. I lift my chin, tilt my head to the left, stretching my neck. Inside, we are screaming one great wall. Inside, there are mouths full of clean teeth, ready to tear it down.
Fuk my vuyz yu zummy kud. Juz mud ud dum nd buy mu zum nuw guns.
ACE WARNS X: B IS TROUBLE
X buzzd, Buddy flubbd. muddy muddy mulx-n-juzz! wud Buddy buy my guwn? U n flux. flux-fluxed bu dubbd—wuf? X uz lux blud. Wud Buddy buy my gun? Buddy uz “muddy muddy mulx-n-juzz.” jud wuk duwn. buy un gun. wuf? X gunny buy my bulb. fun, fun.
X—wud ug guy, wud ug guy, X buy ug bud, buy ug bud. wud u? funny guy, funny guy. Buddy buy ug gun. un buk! un buk? X & Y buy ug jug—jug uf muddy muddy mulx-n-juzz! u wud. Y, u gunny mulb my bulb. kull duwn: luv uf muddy muddy mulx-n-juzz!
ACE ASKS BUDDY
Buddy dudn’d zud bud Buddy luvd B. B fud Bunny—Bunny & X. X & Bunny.
Buddy dun mud yuf. Buddy nud lux. Wy X gud Bunny-wuf? Wy nud Buddy gud luky? Wy nud Buddy & Bunny? Buddy um dummy.
Buddy luk duk.
Buddy buy ug gun.
BUDDY TELLS ACE
X & B fund guld. Lufd wud ull du gunz & du guld.
Dummy dumn yung kud. Zummy dum lufd wud ull my bulbs.
Erik Richardson lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his family and assorted pets. In addition to teaching, he attends grad school in psychology, coaches several award-winning robotics teams, and runs a small communications firm. He is a three-time winner of the Gahagan Prize at the world’s largest Irish festival, in Milwaukee, received honorable mention for the Hixson Award, and is a regular contributor to Centrifugal Eye. His work has appeared in Nerve Cowboy, Verse Wisconsin, and Chiron Review, among others.
I am setting a place for each person I love, so they will be comfortable when they set down and start to talk. The morning comes, the morning lates. The lake around which people gather claps its light applause.
The people who I love are growing infections. They florally reconstitute. I am wishing their stamens. I am unconscious. What lips these flowers will vaunt.
The content is set neutrally. We wonder how to marble each audible shift in tone. For instance, when addressing the child you were, I am a foreign stance; but when addressing the adult you were, I am dancing.
The lake stills. Going out to take pictures of these different versions of ourselves, we shade without corollary, we color and color without any line meaning less.
The things that feed us
the justice of the megaphone
in a tube or glass-like cylinder
beneath the want of a young century
or centaur, maybe, yes, this centaur
gloating over her half horsed future
with one cone of noise and another
cone of ice cream, nice ice cream
nice fantasy melting into toddle-dum and tweedle
the brick of the backbone
the slope of the normally seated office-drones
once they rise and stretch their morning coffee
breath a fog of spreadsheets and search engine
optimization cubed into the menu, no salt or
sanguinary attachments, the able-bodied
mongering their courses, their copses, their
closing-time fertility and all the dashes that
have been forgotten within their names
run together strings of letters – constant press
of vowels on the order of the day.
the abstract of the plinth
in the court of modern pining
with a toothsome sweetness in your
abalone jesus – how we form attachment
with the things that feed us, with the hands,
intestines, and the instruments, the steel and flour,
the bed of the bet with the bed and with honor to lay
down heavy each setting, each pace stepped back
toward repetition among seasons – they change me
from pallid to downy, they change you from
languid to delicate and each of our descriptions
pin us here to our fronted and shameful bodies
the lead of the forehead of the mechanical shoe
stuck out and we are all tongues and soles. empty
mouths to be shit out and tied shut.
Tony Mancus is the author of four chapbooks – most recentlyBye Sea from Tree Light Books and Again(st) Membering, out this fall from Horse Less Press. In 2008, he co-founded Flying Guillotine Press with Sommer Browning. They make small chapbooks. He currently works as a technical writer and lives with his wife Shannon and two yappy cats in Arlington, VA.
Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni is a CantoMundo Fellow and the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists Collective, 2013). Her work has appeared in TheAmerican Poetry Review, Arts & Letters, Bayou, Puerto del Sol, and other publications. In Fall 2014, she will be a visiting writer at the University of Texas at Brownsville’s Writers Live Series. Rosebud is an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts (vidaweb.org). Find out more about her at 7TrainLove.org
I look through the blind slats at work.
Everyone has a spiral ham fetish.
What is the difference between
A house and a mall really?
Then there’s the classic photo
Of the bride leaning down
To give her attention to
The young flower girl at her wedding,
And there’s the door my grandma
Would open and I would have
To hide my chillum pipe,
Lighting a stick of purple rain incense
You and your family can live here
Pay rent and/or mortgage
I smell myself
In order to start over
Since everybody is so
Terribly clean these days.
At the baby shop
The cribs have names
& the Shenandoah,
cooling in around 800 ducats.
Everything is loud all the time now.
They growl happily at rollerbladers
Wearing “Fight the Power” cotton tees
Somebody has a new idea
about 21st century slum clearance
Nikki Wallschlaeger’s work has been featured in DecomP, Word Riot, Spork, Likewise Folio, Horse Less Review, Storyscape Journal, Coconut ,The Account, & others. She is also the author of the chapbook TheFrogs at Night ( Shirt Pocket Press) and the chapbook I Would Be the Happiest Bird(Horseless Press). Her first full-length book of poems, HOUSES, is forthcoming from Horseless Press in 2015. She’s also an Assistant Poetry Editor at Coconut Poetry. She lives in Milwaukee, WI and you can reach her at www.nikkiwallschlaeger.com
else makeup without pretty retweeted
without personal notes
retweeted without notes without
personnel retweeting personal doubt
is else bulling me typing retweeted.
I can’t speak for myself i can’t tweet.
I cannot speak of an illness
I cannot speak a chance dogging
the title unwoken else used i make
Bully negated retweeted.
He slows things down, catches the vulture
Circling above our clearing in the woods. He
Focuses on lichen, close up to mimic
Coral. His body dances on the rusting can.
I built a garden in the game
And spent my labor
In that garden, to make it
cris cheek is a transdisciplinary poet. He is currently Director of Creative Writing at Miami University in southwest Ohio, where he was the Altman Fellow in the Humanities Center 2011-12, co-initiating and co-organizing the Network Archaeology conference with Nicole Starosielski. cris is an affiliate both of the Armstrong Interactive Media Studies and Comparative Media Studies programs at Miami. He has a herstory of collaborative and collective practice; as co-founder of Chisenhale Dance Space, in London’s east end, he worked alongside Ghislaine Boddington, with whom he started Shinkansen and co-curated the Voice Over festival. For 17 years he worked in various text-sound combinations with Sianed Jones, including Slant (with sound artist Phillip Jeck). Following a field trip spent researching forms of song poetry in southwest Magdagascar, he won a 1995 Sony Academy Gold Award for his radio program The Music of Madagascar. He taught performance writing at Dartington College of Arts, during which time he made a substantive body of networked practice with Kirsten Lavers under the moniker TNWK (things not worth keeping, 1998-2007). He was research fellow in Interdisciplinary Text from 2000-02 there. Since then he has been making and showing works in spoken and projected text-sound, such as Limn, Impluperfections, and the crowd-sourced piece b a c k l i t. His most recent books are the church, the school, the beer (Critical Documents, 2007), and part : short life housing (The Gig, 2009).
A special transmission / from outside of scripture / pointed directly / up inside / the heart of man / I twist mine / the part most red / skyward / toward my lord / or whatever holy something / might want / even me / a teenage symphony / a pure system of spasms / wrecked with sex / I stretch what’s left / along the distance / as real as my skull / the skeleton sang / and so I pray / catch for us the foxes / I sing / catch for us / the little foxes / what fuck up the vines / my southern brain / my southern spine / gone black / but bright / laid straight / made new / next to a northern soul / she was a girl / cast as the girl / in my movie / my god / I touched her / to touch you / to allow the day / to save itself / to become a scene / in full flower / inside the city / of the dead / I escape / unlit / yet afloat / the ferry takes me / to where they wait / for me / the useless trees / of some distant shore
PINK FLAG SUTRA
Damage is not why / we come to damage / it’s the same as my stranger / is not always your stranger / an accident in nature / is an accident / in every automatic day / even here we are / an awesome silence / in the black out beauty hour / he’s a happy slaughter / the man made of anger / and light and / the angel’s slang / I am spitting on something / I love / an image / the way a ray of skin / attacks a girl / is how I am ready to go / a flesh toned surrender / the worst joke ever / is the real question / I am asking you / not to return
Ben Kopel is the author of VICTORY, released by H_NGM_N Books in 2012. He’s currently at work on a new collection of poems, possibly titled Sutras of Love & Hate.