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The Human Zoo Soon I appear through the fog, my face presses against the cage. There is a scrim of dark edging the metal. You are there, pushing life toward my mouth with your fingers. Now I reach without biting. In the dark my own hands grasp how small & tame I am. You say, stay wild with your eyes & ideas. But imagine if my hand could not find your hand. Through the skin of what has survived. If I come up for air but then slip again beneath the current, remember how I glittered, with water pouring from every pore. You would walk down into our earth & watch me race behind the captive green glass. I leave you the gills of my faith, the jaw of my [...]

hanging from the fruit-flavored walls is the ripe Betty Crocker. she punctures me with desire, I mean the steaming oven and the thrill of chopping. the apron corset teaches you how to cook everything. her apron sex is amazing

Initially, there is a fear of madness, a flurry of locking doors, no discourse, as people begin to disappear. Birds, too, are gone -- replaced with small rodent parades scurrying down the sidewalk, or ants swarming a basement. The humans that remain search for their place in a world without dreams.

The Street Where I Lived ______________________(on one Facebook thread, I asked for a childhood address ______________________and a detail from that house. 24 hours later, I asked for an ______________________address where something bad had happened and one detail ______________________from that house) I think it was on Reservoir Street _____on 1234 Fremont Street I think it was on Elemetra _____on Huckleberry Road named for Desert Avenue named for Humble Avenue named for Swallow Lane _____for South Layton Boulevard _____for the oil company I think I lived on Park Avenue East then _____on Primm Road then _____on Lydale Place then it was was Smith Drive then where I lived__Denver Avenue ___________Buffalo Avenue then or--Princeton Road named for Paseo Primero named for Menahan Street _____for East River Road I lived on East Fairfax then [...]

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"Making myself visible through my writing is often uncomfortable. Being visible still feels dangerous. I try to live more honestly with both my trauma and my power. I’ve learned to live in, and with, multiple realities: Hindu, American, Indian, woman. Each of these encompass so much, and my experience is different from the thousands of people who identify with those labels. The only place all my diverse realities intersect is me; this is true of everyone. This is why I write. It’s not just to educate or inform others; it may to an attempt to change the norm, but it’s also an attempt to understand it, and to understand why and how I don’t fit. I don’t think my ambivalence will ever go away. I am a soft-spoken woman who has dedicated herself to interfaith and intercultural understanding, but I’m also the girl who once rode a horse through a riot.

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Bird, by Saumya Arya Haas, 2015. Ink and paper.

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I remember my regular bangle-seller,
Rotund and genial,
Telling me (I was 14) that if a man ever grabs me

And I cannot get away,

To slam my wrist against his eyes.

This surprises me:

They are glass, these bangles, decorative and fragile-seeming
Pretty, useless.
But he tells me that adornment never only serves one purpose.

PIER AT CANNES seen at a film (fish) marketacross the bay, a string of lights never thought she’d find herself in an Antonioni film yet here she is and so is he— mere witnesses to an abstraction the dark sea and dark sky meet somewhere _________________she thinks, _____directing herself to find a gesture as apt as this moment he stares back in irreflection The sea and sky may kiss at the horizon Why not we? _____________She turns a cartwheel instead _____________to approach him and yet remain distant absurdity strikes at the very heart of the proposition What a child, an American! He is of course a French polygamist with several children by several wives in farmhouses scattered about the French countryside so fated to act out two wholly different scripts, [...]

School of the Blind. Daniel Simpson. Poets Wear Prada, 2014. 31 pages, ISBN: 978-0692284575 Homer and Milton were blind poets but one doesn’t think of them as blind poets, only as poets. And that is what Daniel Simpson is: simply a good poet. He also happens to be blind. School for the Blind is his first collection, and, yes, it centers on his life growing up blind. The reality is that we are all blind in some way and that is what surfaces in these poems, not simply physical blindness but a failure to see, to notice the reality of others, even to notice what we reveal about ourselves. . . . in conversation, I try to act undivided while, in fact, I’m on alert for any glitch in composure, [...]

Faux King in the Parking Lot   It was in the parking lot at the Samba Club between sets at the Huxley wedding and he was an Elvis impersonator. We’d eyed each other during “Love Me Tender” through his heavy lashes he nodded me over. Ah, to be taken without being adored. Though to be adored without being taken is also a wonder. Those silver studs on his white suit. The Brylcreem (I didn’t know they still made it) left oil stains, dammit, on my nice linen skirt. Techno boinked from a passing car and we pumped to it. He said his wife didn’t understand him. “I never sleep with happily married men,” I told him. Curling his lip, the faux king shot “Then you ought to sleep with your [...]

Datura suaveolens If there were flowers on the moon they’d look like this, droopy and luminous, butter-colored, fading down to white, I’m thinking, swinging my bare feet, sipping at some moon-hued wine from the lunar landscape of Sardegna, just as he asks me if I know they’re often called “moon- flowers.” I did not know that, but I’m not surprised that he does, nor that he’s read my poem-thoughts again. I do know, though, that this blowsy flower’s parts are hallucinogenic as all get out, something that Rappaccini would have been proud to bring into existence were he in that business rather than that of breeding a toxic daughter, beautiful but unlovable. And just then I remember how we went for a walk through the park behind Domus Aurea one [...]

For a poet who confesses to having more subscriptions to science magazines than literary ones, it’s not surprising to find something like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle couched in the closing of a poem such as “Your Way,” you get just one thing or the other— where the water came from, or the water. What is surprising and gratifying is that James Richardson’s poetry is not merely clever. It is also tender. Not necessarily in the way that Bishop’s “The Shampoo” is tender. It is not so much intimacy but a glimpse into the grander scale of things that puts our smallness into perspective, that kind of perspective science usually gives through its comprehension of vast spaces and terribly long intervals of time. It’s a perspective that permits a compassion for the [...]

The Downside of Superpowers Invisibility makes you aloof, brute super strength makes you an easy mark for anyone with trucks to haul, no spark of gratitude from them. The truth? Your gift is only special if there's proof and ordinary mortals want your work to entertain them day and night, til dark, your life a kind of superpower spoof where all you do is turn them on with speed or x-ray sight or teleported flesh, the way you walk through walls or dash through time. Does anybody care about your needs, grant you vacation days, an empty beach? No wonder apathy's become your crime. _________________________________________________________________________ Allison Joseph lives, writes and teaches in Carbondale, Illinois, where's she's part of the creative writing faculty at Southern Illinois University.  Her latest books are [...]

Natasha close up Two Sylvias

We bed down in a room/named Poppy/the sound of something alarming/across the hall

tom blood

a man carrying a dirigible defense/the one we hand around is full/final and stifling, like a love or re-entry

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