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Automatonophilia

Love of things that falsely represent a sentient being

You married a marionette for the lumbering way
that she succumbs to teeth. You saw; she sways

and says okay. And she admires the daze
you move in, hydroplaning days away:

exultant accidents. Instead of me,
a blissful wooden girl; a wooden knee

submitted for exhibit. Deadened trees:
the shelter you inhabit. And didn’t we

expect it, eking out animatronic
epochs on the sofa? Both electric—

me with boredom; you ran programs: tricks
for trenchant eyes. Disguised, the lists you ticked

led straight to this. Your love nest: nuts and bolts,
no musts. No lust. No faults, and no one’s fault.

Automatonophilia from Nathan Sharratt on Vimeo.

______________________________________________________
Jessica Piazza‘s first full-length collection of poems, Interrobang, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2013. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She is co-founder of Bat City Review, an editor at Gold Line Press, a contributing editor at The Offending Adam and has blogged for The Best American Poetry and Barrelhouse.

Elegy for a Forty-Three Pound Woman with Mental Retardation

Autumn and you are in your mother’s house.
__________Plants no longer turn
_____but fail down to the soil
_______________from which they sprung.
To be sure I can’t speak properly to you until Winter
_____when the kindly rescuer appeared to find you
alive and moving, resuscitating a growing need on a soiled mattress
__________—whisper body—
one chain away from death in a room you’ve never escaped.
_____Thus you, my joyless seed, sprout.
____________________Could you often hear
_____the butchers’ feast being torn into by mouths in the outer rooms?
Partitioned again the body that is end-stopped. This world
__________did not fall from my head.
_____An ornate impotence arose with the descent of you, and instead
of the too much to say to tell a truth, I’m burdened by a phlegm-thick mouth, my sounds
_______________throat bound and the entire vocal
__________apparatus breaks at the appearance of
_____the French word for apology. I do not sorry.
And so it is that experience becomes
____________________remoteness from you and where and how
_____you were recovered, nude save a diaper, which you filled
__________somehow.
____________________You haunt my lunches henceforth:
eyes obsidian looking back at me: with the warning, this is you.
_______________I waste my food, mingle it with all the others
_____in the cafeteria’s heaping garbage bin. Always luxuriating
in decomposition I think of your hunger and your distance
____________________from being sated. Yet you have
have survived the compost heap, becoming a new
__________drift engendered from a decayed parent system.
_____Was it not a type of softness, kindness that laid you initially
down ___onto the mattress? And you thinned like a blade
unable to come to an end. I know you are alive somewhere,
_____tube dripping
__________protein into your stomach, and I know too because
our luck doesn’t run in that direction. Of all the mad things to wish,
____________________your death is the one unmet by my madness.
_____Just be dead already so I may lead the choir
_______________through practice of your dirge. I’ve chastised
____________________them for prematurely practicing their lilts
_____and guffaws and their throaty chuckles. Rare phenomenon, white music,
_______________denying your own existence yet still issuing waste,
and until there is a word for that,
__________a name for you, the limpid melodies composed
_____and my static accompaniment on the piano falter in your name.
_______________You heard all this and worse
while in your mother’s house where
_____your sole wish was to cut yourself open, expose your perfect interior
_______________to the eyes circling about you.
Perhaps you too heard your requiem. All the more reason to cut off an ear.
Mutilation is a lesser goal of the slaughterhouse. Peer inside it.
__________Equiposed between the animate and the inanimate the terms
_____are laid thus: You, profoundly disabled; me, profoundly incapable.
_______________My thinness, keep your thoughts on me and
__________what I bleed on the killing floor. Here am I
leaning over the butcher’s block with knives
__________shiny and clinical—that much I can promise you.
_______________Disarticulate the memory from the body so finally, here, away from
your mother’s house, in the abattoir-of-what-we-can’t-give-you,
__________I determine our roles in the fantasy
until the fated removal occurs and I the butcher hold
_____the beef heart in my palm, and I lob
____________________the organ onto the table. Its dark melt pools.

_________________________________________________
Ethan J. Hon is from Omaha, NE. He is an editor at JERRY Magazine and a contributing editor at The New Inquiry. He is adjunct faculty at LIM College.

INVISIBLE FUNERAL IN ONE ACT

A bird runs into a window

Enter: A woman (who looks
like me) staring at the patterns
on a Persian rug __Enter: A stagehand, carrying a
mirror

The woman tapes black
construction paper over the mirror When she stares
at the rug and then back at the blacked-
out mirror, neon ghosts of
paisley fractals squirm

A bird runs into a window &
I watch It strikes its beak with its
own beak

Previously Entered: Maurice Blanchot

Maurice Blanchot stands by a desk lamp
in the corner & notes: __It is striking that at
this very moment, when the cadaverous presence
is

Enter: the woman (who is me) staring at
the reflected patterns on her face__ Enter: the television
projecting a woman (who is not me) staring at
a family photograph and saying
___________& I didn’t
___________recognize

Maurice Blanchot scratches
his head __He writes: __when the cadaverous

presence is the presence
of the unknown before us, the mourned deceased
begins to

A bird runs into a window & I
watch & call it by its cadaver name

Enter: the woman, the woman, the philosopher, the
bird __They hold mirrors in front

of their faces __They stretch out
their arms __They will never accidentally crash
through

How else would you touch that othered
eye
___________the mourned deceased begins
___________to resemble himself

(It strikes its arm with its
own arm __It makes a palindrome out of all
its eyes __It lies
in this mirror-plated coffin & talks
of regurgitated worms __I
watch)

Exit: me


___________________________________________________
Elizabeth Cantwell lives in Los Angeles, where she is earning her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. Her poems have recently appeared in such publications as PANK, The Los Angeles Review, La Petite Zine, Indiana Review, and Matter. Her first book, Nights I Let The Tiger Get You, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.

______________________________________________________________
Bradley Harrison grew up in small town Iowa and is a graduate of Truman State University. Currently a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas in Austin, his work can be found in Gulf Coast, CutBank, The Los Angeles Review, Hunger Mountain, New Orleans Review and other journals. His chapbook Diorama of a People, Burning is forthcoming from Ricochet Editions (Fall 2012).

Maternalique

Sure as a first balled fist,
____________________it wells
you awake
_______as from a quake–

_____the want
_______________to give a swaddled
__________star to the night’s arc.

You step out
_____and the landscape lengthens.

Each parcel of dark
_______________a mouth to be fed,

each umbra hunkered
__________to its suckling.

The fog rocks the gray,
_____loving it with its life.

You walk, emboldened as a nova.

You unfurl.
____________Half-ready to catch the moon’s fall.

______________________Your hand halfway

to the soft part of that skull.

______________________________________________
Stacy Gnall
 is the author of Heart First into the Forest (Alice James Books, 2011). She earned her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA at the University of Alabama, and she is currently pursuing her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. Her work has previously appeared in The Cincinnati ReviewThe Florida ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewIndiana ReviewThe Laurel ReviewThe Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio she now lives in Los Angeles.