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nitoo das

nitoo das

ON THE SHYNESS OF BIRDS

(From A Meghalaya Travelogue)

In that shiver of leaves, a certain

caution lives. It is a thought

as precise as suspicion. Then,

inside the gaps

 

linking rain and dawn, fall

the sure gasp of song. They

are not afraid,

no. Every move covers

 

the hills, navigates

the clouds. There is escape, quick whip

strokes in the sky, a rustle

of bodies in the scrubs, but

 

they are never here. Their songs

are shadows. The leaves

are shaken by visitations.

The only verification

is shit.

_________________________________________________________________

Nitoo Das is a birder, caricaturist and poet. She teaches English at Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi. Her first collection, Boki, was published in September 2008.

 

kryptonite

 

kryptonite

 

EXCERPT FROM EMERE’S TOBACCONIST (FROM DIATOMHERO: RELIGIOUS POEMS)

Nothing is to be preferred before justice.

-Socrates

 

There are roach motels

Set out around almost every portal to heaven.

Watch for them, but do not beware, my love

For when the sweet die

The adhesive turns to honey on their feet.

I

There was one point

When I had rolled over slightly to the left

When I thought I felt a slight peace.

I just seemed to bleed out faster that way .

Once someone bent down and lapped a stream from my ear-

A childhood friend of mine

Twenty years ago in rural Ohio,

Long since spread out into middle age,

Across a landscape fate would sow for her.

I wanted to reassure her, Rachel, you’ll live.

I was already halfway in paradise,

 

Waiting out my death.

The destruction to my body was like a pedicure.

As I flipped through magazines,

Mercy sat down and spoke to me.

“When you died you were beautiful,” she said.

“May I show you around?”

But then Justice came in, in her big white robes

And let her hair fall over me, and lifted my shirt,

And gently put her mouth to my nipple

And let my story fall open.

At one point, it seemed,

While my assailant

 had stopped momentarily,

and gone to piss behind a tree

(An inane act of discretion)

Somebody had come along,

Taken my destiny from me

Placed it in a basket,

And sent it down the river,

A baby Moses

For someone to find, among the reeds

As others were finding my body with the bright recognition

 of finding an Easter egg

And the spreading numbness of coming up upon a snake

Coiled at their feet in the brush,

A snake curled ‘round an egg.

My  white-blonde  hair was due to deepen to gold at sixteen.

But the hairdresser in my DNA

Simply sat there, in a darkening studio.

My menstrual cycle was due to start when I was thirteen.

But it stopped, like a jammed washing machine.

The movers arrived a few hours later. My teenage and adult years were packed up and put into freight.

Then they came and boarded up my memories of my last moments on earth.

“Don’t go near yourself,” I was warned.

We set off through the woods

Passing those sent to find me,

And I caught my foot on a snarl of hair

And a snare of rotted clothing.

“Don’t worry…that’s Snow White,’’ somebody reassured me.

“She accidentally fell out of her glass coffin,

And no one bothered to put her back in.”

I didn’t understand my death any more

Than a two year old understands the language

Of a room of adults talking around her.

I kept fidgeting under the table as they were discussing

 how I had been killed,

Playfully biting them, like the kitten I had had when I was five,

Pulling at the hems of their gowns.

Justice took me on a tour of the facility.

“The roach motels you see set out at every entrance,” she said,

“Are not our only way of keeping evil out.

Recycling here is a lot like recycling on earth:

Not everything that comes to us can be put back into the cosmos.

The bins you see at the gates are only for redemption-based products.

Some think they’re getting away because they’ve existed

Inside the camera of the body for so long,”

She explained,

“But when they get up here we simply pull the film out…

And expose it to the Light of the World.”

Other children were brought up on the escalator.

They had no adolescence and no adulthood,

And had to wear hand me downs.

Some of the lives were too big for them.

“I can barely fit into your teens,”

One complained. And:

“My, your old age is vast! Look how it hangs off me!”

In the baths one day

I met Heide Goebbels.

“‘Misch, Misch, du bist ein fisch,’”

I called playfully, on the stairs,”

She said,

“Not realizing my next incarnation

 was already plunging down the Elbe towards me

On a fishing line that could still be cut.

Rapunzel bent over the drain we circled

So we might climb back out of death on her hair;

As we eddied down,

sending the maiden back into her myth with bald spots.

There was a blockage in the pipes

As if our guardian spirits

Knowing we were only children

Had sent any premonitions to us

Watered down, like a toddler’s apple juice;

Gauging, as responsible adults will,

The impact of traumatic imagery on the very young.

So we didn’t know

That our lives had quietly begun hemorrhaging

Til they woke us in a bed wetting.

As soon as we realized what was happening

My sisters and I

Seized as many memories as we could as we

Tangled into the drain

Hoping the Lord wouldn’t notice

As we climbed into a wayward dinghy

Taking no oars, being absolutely silent.

There was a benefit to dying in numbers

In a mass pandemonium

Where the stars, already overcrowding paradise

Were temporarily indistinguishable

 from the numbers coming to heaven.

For a long time we drifted;

Occasionally legends passed:

Peg Powler, pulling Ophelia in her teeth;

The head of Orpheus

Singing sleep, little ones, sleep

To Willa Harper’s children, in their skiff.

There were other children on the banks, at night

Dressed in hospital gowns,

Who had not died, but were hovering on the edge of it,

Who stared at us,

Eyes thick with morphine,

Half looking forward, dreamily

To going to heaven

Bundled into their illnesses like storks;

Others in the dense riverbed foliage

Who’d crept by night into Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights

Thinking they were going into A Child’s Garden of Verses.

By the time they saw the

Asses,

Upturned, in the greenery

Spurting chlorophyll,

Pain was spurting dark green

The cool foliage of the garden where they crawled to die

And woke up, ten seconds later

Pulsing like pod people

In the dawn flower beds

Of Eden.

After we had gotten X amount of centuries out to sea

We could look back in time and see the sepia clouds of World War II behind us

As others would look back en route to Catalina later

And see smog hanging over Long Beach.

Days past the point

where billboards along the shore appeared

Advertising classes

For atheists, coming into paradise

With no language skills

Like immigrants off the boat,

We washed up,

Flickering like flashlights whose batteries were about to go dead.

We had carried mystery in us as long as we could

Knowing that it must die

So that we could live.

When the last Titanic victim died, at 97

And entered the heat of the Light of the World

She melted out of that berg

Like an Arctic mummy

And stood before herself in 1912 again: a soggy little girl.

Her first night there, when she woke in the dark and asked for some water,

They brought her a glass of the sea she’d died in.

This is frugality ,

The transmigration of elements.”

But there were dangers:

Once, when they went to hose down the screens

They’d put down to stop the damned from rising

They were appalled to find

Millions upon millions of ascending prayers

That would have been answered, decades or centuries ago,

Had they not been intercepted

A plea to survive the Spanish American War,

Desiccated in the screen & drifting down in an exoskeletal snow

With a plea for a Tonka truck at Christmas 1978.

Once I lifted a waffle iron

On a soul that was still forming

And the batter clotted,

And the spirit was ruined.

I crept out guiltily,

As Cook raised her fist at me darkly .

There were many being reborn.

But often, they were difficult babies.

I saw one who had been a horse

Trying to come out as a human

Which rendered him a centaur.

“You should have seen one of our reincarnates last week,”

One physician told me, rolling his eyes.

“In her last life she had been an idea. Can you imagine the

difficulty that kind of transition presents…delivering

something intangible

Into a human form?”

The kennels of reincarnation were also in a constant state of disarray.

There were many species

Becoming confused by the mating odors of other species…

Wolves lurching toward humans, and such.

Eventually

I decided to be born again

My memory of the afterlife, they said

Would last only through my early childhood,

After which the skullplates of forgetfulness would grow over it

As forgetfulness scabs over the incoming dead,

To present the Lord with a perfectly smooth knee.

I was taken

To the border of Samsara

To be seen off.

I saw my former lives jumping, like dolphins, in the west

And my future lives jumping

Out in the east.

How beautifully they both played, in light and air!

For a time, I just drifted through variations of the afterlife,

Picking up jobs here and there;

For a while as a  migrant worker

In the Elysian Fields

Until I thought I should be reborn somewhere.

I wandered upstream in the snow.

Rabbit was being born by Old Man Bickle’s farm.

For three years, I was a rabbit.

 

Then got word downwind

As I was an old hare,

Close to dying

That a family one county over was going to have a baby.

 

I lived to be 85 that time

And dropped off the radar for a bit.

Last word anyone had I was a hunting dog

Drowsing at my master’s feet

By a hearth in Lake Tahoe.

_____________________________

Lisa A. Flowers is a poet, critic, vocalist,  the founding editor of Vulgar Marsala Press, and the author of diatomhero: religious poems. Her work has appeared in The Cortland Review, elimae, Tarpaulin Sky, The Collagist, Entropy, and other magazines and online journals. She is a poetry curator for Luna Luna Magazine. Raised in Los Angeles and Portland, OR, she now resides in the rugged terrain above Boulder, Colorado. Visit her here or here.

 

 

LAMENT

 After Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii

There was a time when giants ruled the earth

and women were gods, too. But here in this moment

of mortality who, woman, will hold back your heart

from the imminent cliffs of grief? You cry out instead

of speaking, and if you were allowed you’d take the oath

and follow your husband, guard him against the wretched

spell of death like a shadow of black silk unraveling,

like a permanent shadow forged onto the ground

after an atomic blast, your arms outstretched;

in the background a curtain surrenders in the wind.

Beloved woman, twisted with torment

your spinning head cries like a god out of control:

Be brief! Let the weight of your serrated edges

cut this sorrow out of me.

_____________________________________________________________________

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.

 

 

Body, Out 

(From Voicemail Poems)

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.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Ashley Inguanta is the Art Director of SmokeLong Quarterly. She is the
author of The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press/The Writing Disorder) and
For The Woman Alone (Ampersand Books).

 

 

 

 

 

EPITHALAMION FOR OUTLAWS: ACE HIPORST

for Sara Nicholson & C. Violet Eaton

THE STORY

X & B buy ug gun. X & B full n luv.

 

 

ACE WATCHES THE DAY THEY MEET

X yullz, Buy um muddy muddy mulx-n-juzz fuv yud mum—mummy luv, B’z mummy luv luv luv muddy muddy mulx-n-juzz. bud nug gun—nuw gunz fuddu luk fug gud luk—luky luky mulx-n-juzz—zummy bulby bums wud nud wun buk bud bugz uf muddy-muddy mulx-n-juzz. Fuxy vuyz yu gud.

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.

 

 

BUNNY SAYS HI

Wu Bunny & X. Wu dub blunkz.
Wud zum muddy-muddy mulx-n-juzz?

 

 


______________________________________
Meg Ronan is the author of the obligatory garnish argument (SpringGun Press 2014). Her poems have appeared in 1913: a journal of formsAPARTMENT PoetryRobot MelonWest Wind Review, & other lovely journals. She works as a shop girl at Bridge Street Books in Washington, DC and tries to be like a good party.

erik

love on the windswept Cartesian plane

 

— 1.

Forth from the intersecting origin

each number is newly born

and ages as it goes

 

this is the realm of the rich

and the shallow, an empty quadrant

where they think they exist

 

but to imagine you and all you love

can be positive pushes you out of

the plane, into imaginary numbers.

 

— 2 and 4.

If negative multiplies with positive

their creation is incomplete

a kind of un-being

 

negative numbers have empty hearts,

must reach out to others alike

else we are bound to fall

 

into shadow quadrants that measure

loss like childhood fears, doubts

trapped in closets

 

— 3.

While hopes lie hidden in the un-space

behind mirrors and old bookshelves

waiting for backwards and down

 

to see all the others are empty like them

then (and only) creation is positive

and all finally find balance.

 

___________________________________________________

???????????????????????????????

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.

 

 

 

 

the birthbone’s connected to the deathbone

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 recently Bye 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Am Ha’aretz*

In the gardens of givat ram

We never saw

Solomon’s turtledoves

For seven years the winter

And the rain               she and I

Strangers in the midrahov   she and I

Cracked cobblestone

Once a market road

Deserted on a sabbath evening

All the jackals are gone

And every day in july

Tempting that last stretch of sky     she and I

The end so close                   we lied

Beyond reach                        somewhere the mountains in the mountains

Among lotus shrubs in the Galilee              she and I never saw

Wild goats rising up

In contest                   the grackles

Picking off their parasites

And what of those nights

In the snow in the snow

Sweeping the midrahov

Those nights when I was repossessed

By am ha’aretz

After I lost her

In ammei ha’aretz

These roads I do not know I do not know

her arms anymore her arms

those child’s songs

in arabic         when I was a summer day

falling

into the tongue of a woman             she and I

those lost gardens of the desert

that die each night

in ammei ha’aretz

 

* In the Hebrew canon, “the people of the land” (the singular am ha’aretz) refers to the Jews. The plural ammei ha’aretz refers to foreigners, or non-Jews living within Eretz Yisrael.

 

 Gods Our Ancestors Did Not Fear

after Joseph

You say we don’t name our children

after the living

and if I tattoo my body

I won’t be buried

in this house of eternity

 

As if I ever said let me in

I’m not the right one

I’m breaking night

in a palace where the roof the roof

I let that motherfucker burn

 

I’ve dreamt my way out of prison

and I’ve still got a bone to pick

with what went down in canaan

 

Blood is not blood

like it was before

I’m more than this body

you spared and sold

 

I saved a great house

while you a famine bore

 

As if I’d let my own grave grow cold

 

As if I couldn’t send you into the wilderness

 

for spilt blood on my coat

for twenty pieces of silver

for twisting my name

in our native tongue

 

beware the dreamers

you leave for dead in the cistern

we run our branches over the walls

 

we never stay in the ground long

 

and you will come when we call

 

only we come back wrong

 

only we come back

with the foreign gods hanging on

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

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 The American 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

 

AND SO IT IS BECAUSE OF THE LICHEN
Gathering the facts like so many
bones. They make a good tool
for telling you I am in love. With
the flint, I tear one open, climb in,
and speak: hold me close like a crucifix
above the river. I cannot cross it the way
I would my heart. In certain chambers,
the water pooled and stood. Day by day,
you recount your disillusions. You drink
from one spring & then the next. I have
remarked in women a curious ability
to embroider the facts. To get at the truth
I have been compelled to treat them as
pathological. What are her threats
but testimonies of love? That sincerity
she strewed about her as seed is
strewn and up grew a trampled flower.
Gathering the facts like so many flowers,
I just don’t like the water in the air
anymore. Stay on the ground. Let
your feet touch the bottom of the
spring, gaze longingly. These are
your instructions. It’s all you have
to do. He will love you too. You
will have a home. But I am scared
to descend. What if I hate it there?
So many birds in the air, pictures
in the rocks. It is vertiginous. Why
do they make it here, rather than
there? Because of the lichen, it is
impossible to see the footprints of
a child with the natural eye. His
life can be impenetrable because
of the footprints of his children
beneath the lichen. The sun is out &
water falls upon my head. My heart
takes leaps because of the lichen.
_______________________________________________________________________________
Stephanie Berger is the Executive Director of The Poetry Society of New York, co-founder of the New York City Poetry Festival, and Creator/Madame of The Poetry Brothel.  Stephanie’s poetry has appeared in Fence, Interim, La Fovea, H_NGM_N, and Coconut, among other publications, and she published a chapbook, In The Madame’s Hat Box, on Dancing Girl Press. Stephanie is also an editor for #wtfislongsdrugspress and sings in the all girl electrofolk band, The London Skül of Economics. 

From Crawlspace

Sonnet (3)

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

Sonnet (10)

I smell myself
In order to start over
Since everybody is so

Terribly clean these days.
At the baby shop
The cribs have names
Hampton, Worthington,
& 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 The Frogs 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

 

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Usage

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
dissimilar.

_________________________________
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 LimnImpluperfections, 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). 

butcher knife

KING JAMES SUTRA

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.

 

lara glenum

 

*

Slap my meat biscuit + toss off

The day is a perverse dictionary

& Nothing spells me

 

the way u do

Everywhere I look  there are clusters of balls

 

I’m in some obscene orchard

 

So much eating

This must be a diner

 

My body must be a diner

 

*

U r dripping in2

 

my femmebot

I am eating your face

 

Peel the bad days

 

away from my

one ensorcelled eye

 

This is a dumbwich

 

made of two slices

A creamy spread

 

of legs

Some random meat

 

between

 

*

The jizz dripping out

of my eye sockets

 

catches fire

& burns down my cakeface

 

Peek-a-boo

 

fright gown + sea urchin

stilettos

 

The way I rub yr brains

against my clit

 

My gluey matter

 

Yr one good claw

gets my bubbles all gummy

 

U spit them out like tacks

 

The freakbirds gnarl up

the crummy sky

*

In my season of wilding

they said O

 

Her snout

is scaly + She has a grotty disease

 

of the gums Her junk

 

is prob rotten

Her hoofs r def fake

 

Let’s spank her

Yes let’s

 

Let’s spank her &

ride her

 

all the way out of

our fossilized love

 

4 her

_______________________________________

Lara Glenum is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Pop Corpse (Action Books, 2013) and All Hopped Up On Fleshy Dum Dums (Spork Press, 2014). She teaches in the MFA program at LSU.

Jenny-Zhang

 

THE LAST FIVE CENTURIES WERE UNEVENTFUL

The last five centuries were uneventful

the stitches that melted

from my ripped open cunt

tasted like mint and changed color

when I peed

I peed with the door open

because this is bounty

the universe has a fat lip

we put every cock from China

inside it and splash

in the slippery oriental jizz

you feel like seppukuing because your butthole is unretractable

you feel like seppukuing because your butthole is too determined

you feel like seppukuing because one time a man was rejected by a woman

she said, You’re creepy

and he got a gun

and wrote a manifesto

against bikram yoga

against women with great bodies

against women who want to have babies with other men

against women who want to have babies with men who are not allowed to be part of their lives after they have the baby

against women who know they are good looking

against women who have died for knowing they are good looking

against women who loved women and mocked men for jerking off to the idea of a woman touching a woman

I have jerked off to the idea of a man

jerking off to the idea of a woman touching a woman

and that idea bought a samurai sword from ebay

and seppukued

I wanted to have a baby

I wanted to carry my baby to term

I wanted to have milk oozing from my tits

I wanted to have bigger tits than the tits I have now

I wanted to drink my own milk and breastfeed myself

I wanted to breastfeed my mother and tell her I love her

I wanted to miscarry a baby by falling down the stairs

I wanted to toast to my own miscarriage with breast milk from my tits

I wanted to have bigger tits without having a baby

I wanted you to tell me I’m the reason why the world is going to hell

I wanted to give you the hell you said I was capable of creating

no one really cares but you do and I do

we take the relics of entire countries

and trash them in the sea

when we dive for the past

we find unearthed thoughts

the fertility of what you think could one day be

is just the honest desire to be remembered after you’re dead

so much that you focus on how to be great

so much that you focus on how to be new

so much that you forget to love your father

so much that you forget to love your mother

so much that you forget to love your children

so much that you forget to love your pets

so much that you would forsake the barren godforsaken twice

farted sea which gave rise to the queen and her queenly farts

and her princely kingdom

where she once told you and I and our children to fear everything

and we did

and we lived like that

and we still live like that

and we still know nothing

hiding our big dreams in the invisible centers of roses

where we feel big and round and ready

and ready

and ready

and ready

and ready

and ready

and ready

I’m ready

I’m ready

I’m ready

I’m ready

I’m ready

I’m ready

I’m ready

—–

I would have no pubes if I were truly in love

This I know

This I am sure of

the only non-white person at the poetry reading

was totally related to me

I don’t call anything a dream

your primeval stink really gets me

I think fucking is P in V but later

my mom tells me there’s more

Is p pussy and v vagina, I say

You must try everything, she says

I say it too always striving

to be someone’s mirror

everyone tells me I am my mother’s mother

both of us were born with curly pubes

that straightened out late in life

she tells me about a Chinese academic

and I’m like, I’m a Chinese academic!

and she’s like, yeeeah

but not like him

so yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah

I’m not like him

I don’t have anything to say

I don’t have very many ideas

after falling in love I smell medicinal shit

everywhere

trying to locate the source

I trace it to the inside of my bedroom walls

“If you never marry and stay in New York

no one will ever see the lovely paintings

from your childhood that hang on your walls,”

Yah mom, I know that

Is that what you want, she inquires

I know the answer

I know my answer

I know the answer

still I don’t think I have enough

still I don’t think I think enough

At home, I make Minnie Mouse dive into my muff

and I swear to god she’s the only one

who gets me: “You, my dear Minnie

are my best and only friend

no one else in this whole world

understands.” At the library

I swear to god

I shit myself standing up

reading Sweet Valley High

squeezing my cheeks with determination

when Bruce Patman “grazes” Elizabeth’s breast

later I swear to god I wrote “graces” her breast in my diary

and I am so excited by this first evidence of poetic greatness

that I wipe my big sloppy cunt lips on my diary

so I can frame it and get it shown

in the next Whitney Biennial

I know lots of white guys

who have done this

who have rejected their family wealth

framed their own cum

splattered against the front page of yesterday’s newspaper

I have been offered day-old semen

in a champagne glass that came with the discounted Moet

my mom bought from Costco

it’s important to get a good deal on cum-vessels

tomorrow I think I shall shop in bulk for flour and sugar

so that I can bake cum cakes

for my own true love

how good I am

how saintly my practice becomes

how generous I naturally can be

it’s everyone’s party

it’s everyone’s right

“just because it offends u doesn’t mean

u you should make everyone else feel like shit”

just because most days I feel like doo doo

doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say sorry

every once in a while

every once in a while

my mom is all like, say sorry

and I’m all like, say sorry

and she’s all like, say sorry without the say

and I’m all like, say sorry without the say!

I bet if she could

she’d stuff me right back up her lil cunt

and we would fulfill each other

in ways we cannot dream of now

it is not so doo doo to be admired

when someone says:

I dream of your rice paper skin

and those almond milk eyes

and your water lily breath

gets my American hamburger

so completely solid

I am like, yah I know

you think I don’t see myself the way you see me?

but I’m not gonna make this about me

I’m not gonna eat Keats’ eye after all and use it

to see who will read me when I’m dead

to see who will write about the women in the fire

after the rest of New York’s landfill floats away

I swear I am related to every single person

who has ever suffered

not that this is about me

or my suffering

or how I am at the center of all this

how no one has ever had it

the way I have had it

People who know me ask:

how does it feel that the most tragic thing about you

is something the average person cannot ever see?

it feels secretive, I shall say at the next party

it feels wonderful, I shall say at the next dinner

it feels tremendous, I shall say at the next wine and cheese

I feel everything, I shall say to the one person

who has suffered nearly as much as me

we are both so lucky, I shall say

we have both lived so much, I will say

don’t you think so? I find myself saying

don’t you feel it to be true?

______________________________________

JENNY ZHANG is the author of the poetry collection, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find (Octopus Books, 2012) and Hags, a non-fiction chapbook forthcoming from Guillotine Press. She holds degrees from Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Fence, Rookie Yearbook One & Two, Third Rail, The American Reader, Bomblog, HTMLGIANT, Glimmertrain, The Iowa Review, Pen American, Jezebel, The Guardian, and Vice. She writes for teenage girls at Rookie magazine.

 

 

Amanda w. Book Yellowed

Swallowed Whole

Recently, on vacation, I saw a blue heron catch and eat a fish.
In its middle, the fish was a good deal larger than the heron’s
slender neck.

Looking out subway windows, sparks fly, light up
graffiti tags in this dark, rat-infested tunnel
I am hurtling through. Ideas leap to mind:
violence, poverty, being born with very little
real opportunity. I’ve been taught these ideas.

The heron brought the fish on land, pecked into it
repeatedly until it was good and dead,
then somehow managed to swallow it whole.

Can I have an original idea? It all feels collaborative,
this living of life. My original ideas are the smallest
of perceptions.

I’ve been taught, too, the importance of graffiti
as urban art, street culture expressed. I’ve rounded
many corners, blown back by a mural with teeth.

In a class I took, one theory-loving student asked
a particularly earnest student if he meant HOPE
ironically in his piece. My small perception was
astonishment that she really could not grasp
where he was coming from.

Can art create a better world? Not a prettier,
better decorated world, not even a more
thought-provoking one, but a world where
people suffer less?

The heron killed the fuck out of that fish, and yet
the idea leaping to mind was how impressive, how
possible that heron had made what seemed impossible.

I am 40. I am starting to question this writing of poems business.

______________________________________________________

Amanda J. Bradley released two books of poems from NYQ Books: Oz at Night in 2011 and Hints and Allegations in 2009. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals such as Paterson Literary Review, Ragazine, Gargoyle, Rattle, Pirene’s Fountain, and Toronto Quarterly. Amanda earned a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Washington University in Saint Louis and an MFA in Poetry Writing from The New School in Manhattan.

 

 

IMG_02591-e1397835434956

On This Side

In the dream father was finished with me.
He was dressed for work or moving on.
Whichever it was he would soon be gone–
his silence a warning, in his gaze regret:
whatever it was he had wished for me
hadn’t happened yet and by now probably
never would.
The window framed his measured stride
and I understood, when he did not turn
to wave, he had given all he could
on this side of the glass and the grave.

_________________________________________________________

Jeff Rath is the author of three collections of poetry: The Waiting Room at the End of the World (2007), In the Shooting Gallery of the Heart (2009) and Film Noir (2011), all published by Iris G. Press. His works have been published in a number of journals including Everyday Genius and Fledgling Rag. He is the 2007 R.E. Foundation Award winner and a Pushcart Prize nominee.