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You Were Born One Time. Quitman Marshall. Ninety-Six Press, 2014. 70 pages, ISBN: 978-0-9797995-4-6 I take pleasure in some poets for their incredibly beautiful music, while others thrill me with their startling metaphoric leaps. Still others I enjoy for their sheer exuberance, the ability to transform dark material into light, such as Jack Gilbert and this poet: Quitman Marshall. His latest and first full-length collection is You Were Born One Time. It received the South Carolina Poetry Archives Book Prize and was published by Ninety-Six Press in 2014. There is a deep undercurrent of gratitude in his poetry. There are moments that intrude on speakers and surprise them with beauty or insight. This occurs in such poems as “Civilization,” or “Bagel.” Here is the collection’s concluding poem “Twenty Thousand Sunsets,” [...]


Forward Reflection

cold down fire start sky runned
time revolving winds the train
continually puffs down
forever night motion star hands
cottonwood reaching along

riding horse quiet still as ---

  tsunami as misguided kwannon her hypervigilance such that everything becomes a piercing a harrowing she can’t turn off   her superpower a wound a lightning rod / and sponge / speaking the language of wounds to wounds   like echolocation that dopplers the contours of another’s sorrow against her own ricocheted song   or touch subtle as the naked push broom of a star-nosed mole’s tentacles nuzzling the bruised flesh of worms   or a nose for muscling out fresh blood old ghosts / the sweet fat of lost dreams like a winter-lean bear come spring or feathery antennae’s raw quiver pinched to ash by the hot sparks of disconsolate pheromones   her nervous system a glitter of neurotransmitters on fire   an electric-chaired switchboard short circuited / fuse [...]

In the South, sometimes heat
is the closest thing to love.

Valente keeps her speakers -- indeed, the entire book -- at a remove from the reader, as well. The title is evocative of the antiquated greeting of an impersonal, formal letter: "Dear Sir or Madam." Even as Valente addresses her readers, she cannot entirely pierce their isolation, nor can we entirely access her speakers' various states of alienation.


Detail shot from Medusa in her Sunday Best, oil on canvas. MANDEM is the art name shared by Maize Arendsee (an art instructor and Studio Art MFA student at Florida State University) and her life-partner, Moco Steinman-Arendsee. Drawing on an academic background in classical mythology, gender studies, and critical theory, MANDEM works across media and materials (painting, assemblage/collage, film, sculpture, and book-making), intentionally destabilizing genre in terms of content and media. MANDEM has received numerous art awards, including Juror's Merit at the LaGrange National XXVII (2014) and First Place at the FSU Museum of Fine Art Summer Annual Exhibition (2014). While being widely published and nationally exhibited, MANDEM remains actively involved in the Tallahassee art scene. ( Artist Statement: We are a transdigital artist. Our art is an exercise in [...]

People I’d Like to Meet Ken Singleton & Emerson Boozer. Wait, I already met Ken Singleton & Emerson Boozer signing autographs at some kind of auto show when I was a kid. Haixia Zheng, Otis Birdsong, World B. Free. Nancy Kerrigan & Tonya Harding. Surya Bonaly. The Flash. Lucille Ball. Rosemarie Waldrop. A helicopter. A litter of kittens. A pair of mittens. A bolt of lightning. Ellen Page, Kesha. Martellus Bennett. Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, & the Blue Marvel. A raindrop. A footprint. 2,000 years. An image of an image of Billie Holiday. Yayoi Kusama, Robert Smithson, Jenny Holzer. (I already met Henry Rollins & Mike Watt & Vincent Price in bookstores.) Jane Freilicher. James Schuyler. A dozen roses or slices of bread. The He & She from the That’s [...]

Good morning and welcome to the Aphrodite workshop.
A swelling, puffed-out mass around the face.

An exemplar of marriage for her human worshippers.
Stone for the limbs and wood for the body.

His father was a watchmaker who had worked in Paris.

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 [...]


"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.


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