Life is the Jet Wash, Eric Miller
Blade sharpened sickle sitting starkly on
grey-brown kicker with profligate foot-
licker demurely dancing circles around
the carpet, carpenterman just come for
clean up. Fully loaded umpires now closely
watching through his every move, not
quite what he expected, this mad house,
this lead huntsman’s pissing yard, measure
the length, the width and the time it takes
to get there and I swear from the far end
of the gymnasium, there’s this tick, people
watching, hard with time it takes loaded
up under the dancing circles; the world of
sunrises is a harrowed and hollow one.
Vision, Christopher Houston
There was God and ashes everywhere—
ashes skimming my deep lake.
I kissed the servant with
the salty lips, imagining
my eyes were
Their sound was the
opened: human doors.
Burnt pennies, sour pudding,
pupils miniature bruises,
my shirt rushing north:
my pink canopy,
Fell into them.
was the key. That
([Oulipo] Lines from Tina Chang’s “Origin and Ash”)
List-en, Christopher Houston
“See, he will kill me; I have no hope,
but I will defend my ways to his face.”
r (ing) r- r (ing) r-
he- (knows) he- (knows)
how I select is, Alan Bromwell
how I select is, I wait for the smile at the edge of the bridge to make itself female and I divide the time her whites tease teach me into a ball of lint by the air bulge short glued to my throat. the rigor of the couch decides for both of us whose pocket albums remind more of horseshoes than cartoons. like the crunching sound you made at my suggestion, the wrinkle we sipped at long into this smug parade of an evening is a more persuasive lip than either scotch or sativa. and there like an unglued bird the path is one again, and with it some new semblance of ego, a newly colored pen to record the new madness in all its lucid tongues.
convinced, Alan Bromwell
convinced when I landed
you the old failures would be tarnished
frames at the back of a museum
of amber intent, I let the sun
wrinkle my folds into two
where before I exhumed
quilts one thread at a time,
plucked sweaty dandelions,
we are scarf flesh now (it’s not
for twills like us to know whose
neck we warm)
pretend we’re free, Alan Bromell
pretend we’re free. let me
untaint silver, repaint fame in
break undercut truisms,
entreat mental tribalism—
sectors compete, corrode,
treasures untie dopamine
knots. regale us with
blood foliage, lease
posture. neurons flutter.
memories unwind, collared
chimps rearrange daft
chants, unlend intimacy.
we’ll ask untruth to unravel,
spirit to dilute symmetry,
winters to thaw proselytize
a mind without an overcoat.
coiled, she sheds curls—
believes in soulmates;
wonders hotly whether
kindred souls prewrite
quantum entangled strands
and space&time synchronize at love’s locus
and DNA is a pedantic romancer.
on doubting your existence, Stephen Mirabito
i’d’ve grown several beards
by now, taken the trimmings
and’ve made a sweater that you’d’ve worn
and you’d’ve rolled around in my masculinity
shaking-orgasmic with all the wonders my body can provide.
after a bloody t-bone and a glass of chablis
you’d’ve confessed your undying love
to me. to which i’d’ve crossed-arm
never’ve indulged in the comfort of counterfactuals
Series of Untiltled Poems, Sara Falk-Mann
whenever we walk
near a cemetery my stomach falls backward and
I am still blinking.
it is so typical to be tortured
by people coming in & out of other countries.
you do not want to understand the machine
in wyoming. she always said to leave your fingers
alone—that they will take care of themselves. we can do our own dishes, and peel our
own mangos. i would like to forget any affection near staircases and the way you walk across the kitchen.
that all encompassing i-cannot-look-at-your-teeth. when you said, i could fuck
with that, near turning lanes, i wanted to hold your entire family.
to not be so nice
to not be so fun.
i disappeared, but i do not want you to see
Everybody talks about themselves
We eat flowers out of photographs dressed in denim dresses.
We surround rib cages near slanted walls.
We ache when elbows bend into the sunlight.
We admitted once that Iran was like the orchid near your window.
We wear snow on our feet like our mothers never went to the hospital.
Oh, I am objectifying you.
The back of my chest still leather sometimes, too.
Think about it:
I ache when bodies stack in your mouth. I
bow in every city away from you.
Literally—I wear these boots and grab my
crotch near kitchen counters like these legs have
something to say, like you know your mouth
gets around the ocean. We are in a cave
and you are smarter than ever—holding
some version of Spain.
We are sprung on ordinary kinds
of bedroom darkness. Near or in a fall,
we lay on furniture—feel blurry lined
up in bathing suits, every smaller
day full of water—every pier sort
of under your ribcage. Oh, we are so cold
every other laugh put back near an airport.
Doors only here to see jaws unfold.
I tried to hold your sleep in my throat. We
could wake up to yard sales everywhere with
people only dying. Let me
love the lawn chair and patio even the
fifth time out the door. Do not tell the leaves
about sadness when only summer grieves.
Los Angeles/Poem for Jack Onorato, Jack Christie
I write this for you, Los Angeles, I write this for you, Los Angeles, you’re the kind that I put out my eyes in a airport restroom, for permission there is the long alleyway walk, a family came out of you and crawled across my plains and I cut myself up with oceans but you still set up your restaurant a four-hour busride away, for you Los Angeles, if you have rivers they sleep for me, I sleep at the bottom of them, for you Los Angeles is the peyote and the long, firm mattress, all the little places I write about are 1940’s hardwood and civil engineering, you are punctuation and enough places to lose virginity that I could do it the right way, they are installed early morning the worker’s gap teeth and new shag carpeting and a glass obtuse metal serpent desk fist-filled nettle caldron, for you there are twenty-two hours in the airport with face-in-hands, I’m sorry Los Angeles, for walking past you on the busy street, for not returning your calls, for sleeping with your sister, I have this for you, Los Angeles, ––Los Angeles, this is pleading, see, this is my first armpit hair, this is running through the house and waking my mother when I try to jump out my window, all my poems are confessional and I’d be shamed if you threw them, Los Angeles, you are enough for me to wait in a wheelchair, you are enough for my legs going to sleep on the floor, you are enough for any northeast train, you are enough for a metal grill to lean against, across from tennis courts. It works like this, I bought a quilted mattress from Army-Navy surplus, will that work Los Angeles, meet we halfway here, bring a cocktail party in the next room so I can write to it, lemme jam, Los Angeles, I’ll raise you a cardboard box with everything in it in the stone hallway of a northeast university with deep wooden hollows and oiled canvas and I wanna deal with you Los Angeles, I want a lot of body fluids Los Angeles, if someone wanted a novel out of me I’d go into the desert and talk to lizards and shit and I’d never mention you at all Los Angeles, I’d mention you once and say “just kidding”, I’d do it for one hundred dollars a word. Give me twenty-seven minutes, Los Angeles. Tell me about your rivers, Los Angeles. I don’t know what you’d ask if I lived with you. I do not know what your people are but they are paper and white things and they are smart enough to welcome everyone in so they can spread you across city blocks, so they can rub you down with the cutting-tomato motion of drained basin walkaround bombastic watching crowd orange like the shape in a snowbank, the bit of carapace and lizard shine and how I walked around it, got into it, looking out over the plain like I owned it, for you Los Angeles, try the neck, maybe the ear, always the mouth, if she arches her back toward you you know you got it, you got it, remember this, Los Angeles, if I ever find myself dancing in a mid-priced hotel I should kill myself, remind me, if a girl ever gets off with you kill myself, kill me, I will be out in the desert and I will be dangling around a stick and I will have cacti all down my throat and I be food for spiders, it would be alright, Los Angeles, ––Los Angeles, say it like that and I will be happy, give me the wet and dark and certainty and a streetlight placed above a tree so when it is night everything kind of works out and that’d be enough to do it for free, at least for a while.
Keraunopathy, Audra Figgins
Dolores, Fraser Long
Sassafras stood one hand on hip and snap chewed bubblegum. Pop pop. She boiled water for grits and then made coffee instead. Poured whiskey wetly in glug glug. No grits. Just coffee. Whiskey. To the slammed screen door she turned and yelled. Don’t slam that door! Wove a wooden spoon near small trousered behinds. Pop pop. Applied lipstick in the shiny chrome ovenlight. Red red. Smack. Don’t tell your daddy I’m goin’ out. Don’t do it. Pop pop. Undid and tied up the apron gingham cherry red peach pie on a hook by the door stepped click click out and revved the truck engine. I ain’t comin’ back neither. Sassafras gone.
Weld, Fraser Long
Spinning the thread out of nothing. Out of the air and a few hairs. Light from the sun filtering down through the fibers from every corner of the sky stumped against the flat shadow of her pinched fingers. She glances up with sheltered eyes at the red plateau falling away against the blue sky. The grained dust closing in around silver green rocks and scrub desert plants scattered about here and over there accidentally rooted. Checking the time by the fall of light and shadow – by the angle of the horizon line. And back down to her fingers the tips puckered with age and the colors of her wool. Red green yellow blue desert dark earth and night. In the morning there is nothing to fear nothing to see. By afternoon gray roiling clouds have begun to align in the distance and an ill sly wind picks at the strings of her loom.
ECHOES, Sofia Laguna
This is the sound
of you, of a
slump bell ringing
a sign of
neighborliness, of green
to the sea.
your eyes knot
with discretion: they are
the smallest kind
of russet shell
an oscillated blue.
this is the sound of
at an empty sky.
would you crouch
in any wooden heart
in any place of blue
of fighting footsteps
against the dawns pavement.
would you find bird hair
in your own hair
this is the sound
of improvement, this is
a saffron day.
inhabiting the lavender
of this little residency.
inside, there is a dream
of revolving sea foam
a different kind of green.
crooked geese, they sing
like you, arching their necks
twisting like driftwood.
there is something speckled
to hold on to here