Friday, December 26, 2008

Patricia Lockwood

The Pro-Vivisection Poems

Apes, especially, will not feel a thing, and all fanned out,
will not be measurably less, like whores arrived on other sides
of wormholes minus orange-blossom perfume, split lips,

and half-moon marks in huge-pored peels, minus tall unfeeling
fruit, numb spots along a spine. Earthworms especially,
who have no arms, are happy to have them sliced away;

delimit me, say diamondbacks, and severalize me, say spotted
mice; dogs are glad to see your scalpel, glad to be wiped
clean on your sleeve. Horses are happy to be born half-horse--

near the end they remember almost nothing: how they
survived on scraps, how the air was a stepped and shining
pyramid of fish parts, how it was winter and weedy necks

were happy to be stretched over stumps, when you
appeared to them, mythical, half-seen and half-man.

Patricia Lockwood's poems have appeared in
American Letters & Commentary, Chelsea, Many Mountains Moving, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Please find her at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Andrew Lundwall


ancient tower
circling millennia
i want a storm

i know rings
try on each
what i think

i live in my life
i have a hawk
i perform


eyes wide
fall distant
in the heavens

his traps murmur
his traps gesture
infinitely heavy

earth isolated
from all stars
looks far to trip

sky hands that hook
these hands all fall
they fall to andrej

Andrew Lundwall is the editor of
Scantily Clad Press ( His work has appeared in numerous print and electronic literary journals internationally, including PFS Post, Big Bridge, Shampoo, Moria, Near South, Miami Sun Post's Mad Love, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, Otoliths, rock heals, and Blazevox. He has released two chapbooks, klang (deep cleveland press, 2006) and funtime (Funtime Press, 2007), a collaboration with Adam Fieled.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanh Tam Tuyen

Definition of a Good Poem

more than a species of frightful crow
white curtain a worried finger rubbing the eye
let's drop it into the sky's evening
a life as round as a green rice flake
third season of a year dripping milk
as lucky as a poem with agreeable consonants

syllogism needed
a man must die
you're a man so you must die
a public notice
sleep children the hearts of loved ones
a sacred journey without end conducted with blood

how many creative works completed
only to be summed up with a spoken word
you should use your work to say farewell to everyone

a line of poetry as good as a saying
a good poem is the final death

so long the bed the table the chair
one person two persons three persons

one person two persons three persons

In the Name of

Au nom du front parfait profond—Eluard

An imperfect love
Inside the soul of each eye
A shameful life

A mute chest without voice
Lips without laughing substance
Starving senses

An alley night surrounding window
A seated person forgetting time
Emotions demanding an exit

A free barren hand
Flowers declining youthful hair
Measured breaths

The survival of one person
The survival of many people
Innocent people

In the name of
Love freedom man
I have the right to call forth

Those who have died to show up
Those still alive to raise their hands

translated from the Vietnamese by Linh Dinh

Thanh Tam Tuyen was born in Vinh, northern Vietnam, in 1936, moved to Saigon in 1954, emigrated to the US in 1983, and died in Minnesota in 2006. Drafted into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, he served two stints, 1962-1966, then from 1968 until the end of the war in 1975. He was imprisoned for seven years in remote Yen Bai by the victorious Hanoi government. His first and most famous poetry collection, Tôi không còn cô độc [I'm No Longer Desolate], was released in Saigon in 1956. That same year, he co-founded, with Mai Thao, the groundbreaking literary journal Sáng Tạo [Creativity]. Thanh Tam Tuyen introduced a cleaner, starker music into Vietnamese poetry. He was also the first Viet poet to write about jazz.

Linh Dinh is the author of two collections of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), four books of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006) and Jam Alerts (2007), with a novel, Love Like Hate, scheduled to be released in 2009 by Seven Stories Press. His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007 and Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, among many other places. Linh Dinh is also the editor of the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and Three Vietnamese Poets (2001), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by the Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. He has also published widely in Vietnamese. His latest project is the blog, The Lower Half.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daniela Olszewska

The House That Jane Built

The house that Jane built:
lick-able wallpapers and edible floors.

The color scheme is chartreuse.
As in, the evolution of.
As in, the reptilian brain.

The bathrooms are anesthetic-lite
with tastefully clawed tubs.

Halved by prisms, the multiple
staircases articulate their discomfort.
Like the creaking of recently made ghosts.

There is a frequent unraveling
of royal standards. Sky window spacing:

a fine view of the piñata clouds.
The living room full of potted orchids
exhaling ever so rapidly.

The practice of husbandry in trilogy form.
Conveyor belts transfer

to the porch/study/bedroom.

The proprietress pacing her attic floor
Down into isosceles triangle pattern.

Daniela Olszewska was born in Wrocław, Poland and raised in the area known as Chicagoland. Poetry-related activities include serving on the editorial board of Columbia Poetry Review (volumes 19 and 20) and acting as Deputy-at-Large for Switchback Books. Her chapbook is called The Partial Autobiography of Jane Doe (dancing girl press, 2008).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jane Rice

In Charcoal

Catch passing face of a man, three views
of tower, a few table things. Brooding blue
moonlights floor. Seated silhouette.
No one cares about the lamp. Trees rattle
brown shadows. My face part quarrel,
part kiss. Tricked into thinking
little boat could be.

Rue Okbaa Ibn Nafaa

Short moon, cusp whose reason deceives.
No inducement to be honest. Watch me
catch strangers who lean. Into sleep.
You. I'm not your friend. Bribe me.
I'll give you little mirror,
slip it from its hook.
Drums, clarions, wrestlers
swim blue mosaic. White for the sea.
Homeward two sails, one tier of oars.
Thoughts stern on the faces of sailors.
Along the border, chiseled acacias
divide into ships.


Meatballs, pickles fries. Don't trust fish.
Don't eat in restaurants. Here, sweep roofs.
Streets run all night, end extra large, any
hour. Squirrel, hubcap, runoff, condom,
needle, sock. Typical hat loses glove on bus.
Quick, before chaotic jells. Voice crams
down neck of the phone. If it crashes, think
how many people will be killed. Hey, free
movie here. Isn't nature great? Of course,
It is. Surprise. Surprise.

In all my poems I seek to create a tension between coincidence and the expectation of sequence. The mind yearns to find meaning in the connections of things. Yet we ascribe meaning only to a fraction of the coincidences that surround us. My poems have appeared in various journals including Barrow Street and Diner. Other poems have been posted on various Web sites. A letterpress edition of Portrait Sitters was published by Propolis Press, 2007. Line Drawings was a finalist in the Center for Book Arts chapbook competition, New York, 2007. Crayfish Tale, a book-length manuscript, was a finalist in the Colorado Prize for Poetry, 2005. I pursue my interest in poetry, art, and art history.

Jane Rice

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nicole Steinberg


There's a stamp of the world on the back
of my hand, but one third is missing; the Atlantic
spills into my skin and paints my veins even
bluer. I have to tell my boyfriends
I have the ocean in me. My mother will press
her lips to my forehead and decide if I'm salty.
Veins rise, firm streaks of Appalachia.
Florida shrinks; Cuba smears. I fear for the womanly
archipelagos: cowering gazelles, legs folding.

Nicole Steinberg is co-editor of LIT and Web Director at BOMB. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Gulf Coast, No Tell Motel, Eleven Eleven, Barrelhouse, Spooky Boyfriend, and elsewhere. She hosts and curates EARSHOT, a Brooklyn-based reading series dedicated to emerging writers, and lives in Queens, NY.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Anne Gorrick

Her Linen Smogged
for NM

                        She is caged
                        in an encasing glance

                                                                         Slim moss, camel sung

                                     Smog over glass songs

Calm loss, lemons scaling solemn

                       Melon macing smells

                                                          She hangs from the clang elm
                                                          a lime smile

Lilac claims her mica
manic linens smog omens

                                          lac ensigns nine
                                          a clonal messing

                        Nosing around names
                        an “amen” clings

                        Into the canal’s galena lace
                        magic snags on glass

                                                                                Coma angel, my gallon mangle
                                                                                mango and lanolin, nominal

                                    The enigma of signalmen

Lame ass!

Anne Gorrick's work has been published in many journals including: American Letters and Commentary, the Cortland Review, Dislocate, eratio, Fence, Gutcult, Hunger Magazine, MiPOesias, No Tell Motel, Seneca Review, Sulfur, and word for/word. Her work has appeared in several anthologies including: The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel (No Tell Press, 2006), Homage to Vallejo (Greenhouse Review Press, 2006), and Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers (Codhill Press, 2007). Her first book, Kyotologic, was published in 2008 by Shearsman Books (Exeter, UK). Collaborating with artist Cynthia Winika, she produced a limited edition artists' book "Swans, the ice," she said with grants from the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY and the New York State Council for the Arts. She also curates the reading series Cadmium Text, featuring innovative writing from in and around New York's Hudson Valley. More about the readings can be found here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Adam Fieled

Ticket to Ride

Past is where I live now,
when eternally the earth
moves like ginger within
her without her, & she
picked up/left town &
she was wearing a jumper
& golden earrings & a
blouse over a blouse &
a pom-pom hat for cold
weather & I remember
being together & her head,
its imprint, lingers like a
fossil shell, & I am ancient.

I've Just Seen a Face

I can't forget it: pressed
up against the window
of the Pine St Starbucks,
it seemed to open up a
world, self-sufficient, in
which I fall through ten
hoops, each a finger, &
then am free to loosen
what binds me to come.


When I was younger I
thought I knew about
what is was to be free.
Free was green smoke.
Free was sheets stirred.
Now I find myself here:
alone in a blue vacuum,
putting together pieces
of a puzzle for eternity.
I need my puzzle to be
read, I need to be sold,
molded, solid, created,
put in perspective, full.
I need all these things,
I appreciate every piece.
I know that I just need
you like an opened door.

I Need You

I didn't mean to say
that two hands applied
to a nail a back a toe
curled in hurling its
wrath is such a big
turn-on, just that I
have to say it as I
don't know what to
do with myself except
put myself in your
path, ask for a pow-
wow or an armistice,
anything for those hands

Adam Fieled is a poet based in Philadelphia. He has released two books and three chaps: books are Opera Bufa (Otoliths, 2007), Beams (Blazevox, 2007), chaps, Posit (Dusie Press, 2007), Funtime (Funtime Press, 2007), and Revolver (Scantily Clad Press, 2008). Two additional books and a chapbook are forthcoming: Help!, a chap from Greying Ghost in August, When You Bit.., a book from Otoliths late summer '08, and Chimes, a book from Blazevox in 2009. Fieled edits the blog-journal PFS Post, has guest edited Ocho, and has contributed to Jacket, Dusie, Tears in the Fence, Upstairs at Duroc's, Ectoplasmic Necropolis, Mipoesias, and many other journals.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sarah Heller

Everyone's Ex-Girlfriend

Everyone's ex-girlfriend keeps showing up.
She surfaces when I've only just relaxed,
when I let things be
soft. I recognize her because I've been her so well.
You have nothing to worry about,
he says. Why would I want someone
who tried so hard to hurt me?
And then the distracted look.

She used to scream at everyone,
was the first to walk out.
Everyone's ex-girlfriend
had sex with their good friends
during a phase.

Everyone's ex-girlfriend is always
meeting everyone late at night.
Busy girl. He says
Maybe I'll stop by after
and then calls from home.
I say Did you have a good time
and he says We've really grown apart.
But I can picture the tall bar stools.

You look great, they might
say to each other, shiny eyes. You always were
like that. Some things never change.
It's snowing! The snow is in their hair.

When he says It was wild to see someone
after so long, I hear Our skin was so cold.

Everyone says
I don't know who I am right now.
I feel like I haven't felt anything in a long time.

Alright, he says to her,
You're giving me a hard-on.
Really, she murmurs. She is so mean.
Her drink splashes around in her glass.
Touch it, he says.

My Life on a Conveyor Belt

Mostly, my lover lies there,
his soft penis against his thigh.
He is sleeping. I watch him go by.
Then – the commandments.
And my body parts,
breasts falling to the side
snagging on the rubber,
hair flowing from a small white plate
covered with tildes.
The clear plastic bowl on top.
The hostess seats people all around me.
Desire shimmers by like the pavement
in sunshine. My family is not on the belt,
they are in me.
The belt motors:
a beautiful soap dish,
a small machine.
Some soup, or at least a soupy substance.
Piles of sugar.
Plus one man.
My heart pounds. Is it the sugar?
Fear like an animal crouching
at the night opening of a tent. Dark
at first, and then the eyes adjust.

Sarah Heller received her BA from Bard College and her MFA in poetry from NYU. She currently works as the Executive Director of the Authors League Fund and teaches at Rutgers University. She has work published or forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly, Pembroke Magazine, NextBook The Temple/El Templo, Thin Air, and Hayloft, and she is on the board of directors of Nightboat Books. She has received fellowships or awards from the MacDowell Colony, the Drisha Institute, Virginia Council for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and the Soul Mountain Retreat. She was the recipient of the Nadya Aisenberg Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony for 2005-2006.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lesley Jenike

Battle of Bunker Hill

Dear Lesley, don't shoot till you see the whites
of their eyes; shoot when you see; don't shoot
before you look: winter scourges the dirt you
groomed to bloom hydrangea once May made

peace with this Eastern city. Among buds you
hung paper stars, bashful, ripped by wind, just
shy, by perspective's virtue, of a white obelisk
where we hung our collective remembrance.

Some battles bleach in sun, field that pillowed
men's feet and cradled the stakes they struck
to fly their colored cotton, draws up its green.
Your face met pavement after an evening; even

the greyhound in his quarter, bound on each
side by black iron, seemed to understand: war
is running. I painted this one for you. The sky
is a rainbow of sun and gunfire, the earth is

a gunwale. These men are just hanging on,
one hour, another. The wilderness in you
is ignorance: the smell of your skin, cells'
nuclei, the twin poleis of your eyes, a politic.

In this Eastern city, anxious men exit trains
so you may enter them and bullet yourself
to Wonderland where dogs still chase steel,
muzzled, mysteriously named, like the hill

this battle was named for. It's not the hill
where the battle seethed. But I allow myth
to dictate. You, too, moving across the track
with precision, allow the rabbit to escape.

Spring of a New Era

Dear Lesley, the lawn has grown long sooner
this year. Soon your nieces will be in blades
looking for eggs, the yard a treasure. Bound

in gold foil, chocolate hares spoil as they hide.
I'm reminded of the bullion sun we hunted,
hidden among pines or in a marsh regularly

filling then draining according to the moon,
that lesser, silver aster. The timber it took
to build a house was akin to skin stretched

by god's hand over scaffolding. In the Age
of Reason, we understood. You understand:
there's no end to reason. It soaks the room

with its harpsichord, its brocade repeating
deference in discrete pattern on your lap
as you take up your sewing. I wish I could

see your hands and hold them up to mine.
In the twenty-first century, blonde girls
discover egg after egg after discovering

the hider's philosophy: behind a tree or
beside the wheel of a car. We thought we
could predict nature but instead we built

a country. It stretched its rationality out
like a hand to pluck an egg, pink and blue,
from the meadow. Look, there are so many!

Sinking into Our We

Dear John, the British are coming! Just kidding.
They've already come, and long ago, painting
Our map with a cream and crimson expulsion

From sun to setting sun, that blessed star, even
After so many years, we still imagine comes
And goes, sinking into our we. We got it wrong.

The sea is just what it advertises: a primordial
bubble, its own laws, public gardens, public
policy: Whosoever sinks becomes for the lesser

that make light at the cellular level, a meal
of disproportion, skull of a hull through which
schools disappear. Your paintings in the dome,

a pitched roof to stop rain ruining, guide our
bones through their wreckage, their post-storm
compositions so caringly rendered sky opens

above. What happens to the dead? You had
your opinion and wager: Washington is there
eternally hating the color red, a sky forever

red. He's the sailor that took the warning:
morning happens every day. Looking into
the sun of your interpretation, we understood.

Lesley Jenike's poems have appeared or will appear soon in Fairy Tale Review, Florida Review, Brooklyn Review, Court Green, POOL, Verse, and others. Her first book Ghost of Fashion is forthcoming from WordPress. She will be joining the faculty at the Columbus College of Art and Design next year.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mary Lyon

I Need to Change My Waves 

So predictalous      Am I mint to leave 
my lies doing the seam strings    day after 
tea    wreak after wreck     month 
after February?      I'm amble 
but somehow not thrilling     If only 
I could shinny like those hoovers and nailers

who fake it right to the maelstrom    never 
looking bright or cleft        virtually 
without cockerel         I'm as fluxuated 
as they are and even more punctilious     Why not 
me in Carnegie Mall      grinding my 
sorghum    winking at the top of my rungs?    Am I 
not garnished enough?     Recently I had my hair 

plimped and shined and lost scallions 
of grubs       I have the kipper 
but maybe lack the mulch       For minions 
I've been vying to tincture my qualms and putty 
it out      Here is a theory      My poppin and marvin 
didn't get to fulfill their derisions      therefore 
I didn't feel enlightened to pine      Sub-conscious 

contusions were a major bandyhat     more 
difficult for me to biffle      Mais je n'est sais 
le cumquat        No use corn-cracking now      
I will march my crows to the byzantine and in the end 
I will cummerbund       I don't intend to end up 
a lugworm in the Garden of Fancy Containers     Today 
is the first day of the mess of my strife 

Mary Lyon is a New York City poet and performer. She has studied with Sharon Dolin, Philip Schultz and Martha Rhodes. At the Cornelia Street Café she has appeared several times in the series "Writers Read." She is a featured artist on the CD "Little Noises," available on

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Miller Oberman


His body's the marsh of north 
Jersey, brackish water, 
cattails.  The turnpike all 
exhausted gravel up to New York.  
Yellow stalks stick up from the muck.  
I can't walk across him; I'd sink.  

He's a wild persimmon, picked 
from the briers.  Sour, bitter, 
wrinkled.  He's heart pine, gold-
soft.  He's still awake at four 
in the morning, and sick.  

He's a shtetl in Russia.  It's 1904, 
the pogrom fires stink and smoke.  
He's an old newsboy cap.  Silk lining 
orange and frayed. He's woolen. 
Scratchy but warm, even when wet.  

He's in his body on the beach, Coney 
Island, the salt sings fritters and beer.  
He watches the boys strut in uniform, 
link their arms in the pink arms of strange 
girls.  He is so still feels shells 
turning to sand, and the giant  creak 
of the coasters climbing their tracks.  
They click up, up and up; then let go.

To Keep the House Quiet

Father closes the door when he teaches little sister 
music.  Myron has a stub of charcoal.  
He draws her playing great-uncle's violin.  
Draws it how it is, the violin too big, 
her hair pulled back with twine.

The horsehair bow, brought over on the boat, 
smells of Russian cart-horse.  
Myron doesn't know how to draw 
smell, or the way his stomach yellows 
during the long silences.

Eighth Nerve

Something is wrong with Myron's
ears.  It always sounds like it's
raining. Or the sound, sometimes,
of galloping horses.  Better 
not to mention this.
  He tries 
hitting his head against his bed-
post.  No change but a small 
bruise, safe under his hair.  

Far off, the front door bangs.  
Father, home from work, beats
his boots against the mud-room
sink.  And that is really 
 Myron thinks.


Myron is gone.  Become
flat as the others.  Grayfaced,
he eats his rations, and after, 
sings sailor songs with the men.

All day he drops depth charges
on submarines with no curdle
in his guts, the inside of his stomach
clean and rosy as a gentile's.

But this is a nightmare.  Myron 
wakes.  Still Myron, fresh as a wet
cut.  His bed sways sickly.

Waking comes hard as the lace
crust of ice on the sea, brittle 
and stinging.  Brittle and stinging,
thinks Myron.  He can hear his sister
in her room practicing Beethoven's 
seventh, the movement in A minor. 
Their favorite key.  The four beats, 
heavy as walking, as waking.
Myron does it.  Lifts his salt-caked
chest, breathes, and marches down 
the bright cold hall, to the sound.

Miller Oberman was the 2005 recipient of Poetry Magazine's Ruth Lilly Fellowship
 and has recently had poems in Bloom Magazine, the Minnesota Review,  and Lilith.  Miller lives in Brooklyn with Zero Oberman.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

James Cook

Night Shift At The Machine Shop

Out in the dark
past the grime-caked windows
I feel pain begin to stir
in the wombs of animals
while here under a smear
of ugly lights
the lathe scrapes out
its archaic rhythm constantly
until the raw mesh
of my nerves starts to hum.
Its an old song
of brass shavings and sweaty faces
and there is something
necessary to it
if we're ever to understand
why the dreams of our fathers
grew terrible
and left their hands
scarred like maps
to cities that are always
just a few miles off...

Memory Of September Light

September light
was falling through itself
like smoke
and you were wearing
the dress your aunt gave you,
the one the color
of the Icelandic word
for "moon"

You kept asking me
if I knew what it was
but I didn't.

We imagined it would be
the sound of a piano
tuned to falling rain
or snow dissolving
in the air before it reaches the ground,

and then you asked
if I remembered
the seedy seaside hotel
with its cracked flowerpots
its tinny music
piped in from the other world

where sailors took turns dancing
with the same beautiful whore
how, one time, at dusk
we saw thousands
of monarch butterflies

dying on the stones beside the water,
wings flickering
like flowers
about to burst into flame

and, terrified, returned
to our bed without saying a word
while the sailors
played cards all night
in one of the empty rooms

James Cook is the author of a chapbook, Kingfishers Catch Fire (Foothills, 2003) and is a machinist. His work has appeared in The Cortland Review. He lives in Upstate NY and is currently working on his first full length collection, Moments At Point Light.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Brenda Iijima


Where were you when we needed you subconscious field richness

Bubbly oily rich homology such gesticulating orchestrations

Wash us thick with substance

Because it can be done par excellence lasting opus

Little contrast great emphasis

There's sex to be had in the language shimmering large alluvial plains

That is why the study of soil covering prelinguistic sites is so interesting

Since the beginning of life on earth material corroborates

Glaciers are energized moving rivers of ice oozing moraine deposits like mind

Dirt and rocks at the edges

Time might be said to oscillate elsewhere prairies interspersed with woodlands

You can brace yourself against a cave wall for structure

Prehistoric men go out hunting

Women struggle with the roots

It is a great feat that we bred the aurochs

The height of the withers of a large domesticated cow is roughly 1.5 meters

Convert that to stomach fat couch tuber yam

In Jaktorów, Poland the last known live arouchs, a female died in 1627

Swedes stole her head in a battle waged with the Poles

Studying the dissected brain of the fetal pig we inspire a notion of ourselves

We can imagine creatures with mandibles like ours but evolutionarily birds

It's been nice knowing you eating everything that breathes

I miss you, tribes of the Würm glaciation roaming is a favorite past time of mine

Civilization pales in comparison with night

Brenda Iijima's chapbook, Subsistence Equipment is just out from Faux Press. Animate, Inanimate Aims was recently released by Litmus Press. Forthcoming publications include Rabbit Lesson (Fewer & Further) and If Not Metamorphic (Ahsahta Press). She teaches at Cooper Union and runs Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mike Young

Mindy the Famous Divebomber Visits the Thrift Store We All Care For

Mindy the famous divebomber
took her blazer to very sincere
dry cleaners. Then things began to
snow, of course, which made her
stalwart. She went to the thrift
store to buy a hooded blazer.
Shut up. I know they don't. It's
a poem. Mindy, the divebomber,
cavorts, digs among the Slim Jim
30th Anniversary t-shirts and
pleated trousers, wigs and old men
thumbing the gunslinger pulp.
Did you know Egyptians invented
paper? I am a public education system.
Did you know we are run mostly by
hospitals? Mindy digs past Mother of
Ketchup and Macaroni Salad who
dances a little in a swell dress.
See? We are fine, after all.
Her child is not quite convinced.
Where are all the lights? Why are you
apologizing? I want a hooded blazer.
Mindy, the famous divebomber, situation
mingle, high alert. Where is your chute
of rockabilly gumption? A soldier never
lies, famous Mindy. Who do you get to
die on? Yes, in an ill-fitted blazer. But
it's only fifty cents. The transaction
is witnessed by a tour group.
They are up in arms, giggles.
They are here to define us.

Don't Wake Up It's Just Me

If I know exactly what you mean,
will we both fit on the motorcycle?
If I say streetlight, will you say
half-in, half-out? If I say pumpkin stew
will you say ghost flesh? Writ large and
quivering on a blimp, beep beep, the
antithesis of confession. I want to
advertise. I want you to come in and
sip, sit, scorn with me. Do stillwater
strokes and will the knuckles to pop.
Wait, I know exactly what you mean.
Let's try out tender vessels: they're
on sale. Join to the point of collapse
into. Accordion honk flesh. Oh. Oh.
If I say streetlight, you say back in.
And if I say dumpster diving, you say
chocolate factory. If I know exactly
when to wake up, you know how to stay
nervous, somewhere else, breathing, mum-
bling. Is this a trick? What game do you win
with trust? The word okay is like skydiving.
If I say swingset, will you make it rain?

Mike Young co-edits NOÖ Journal, a literary/political magazine. His poetry, fiction and criticism have appeared in MiPOesias, elimae, CutBank, BlazeVOX, Juked, 3AM Magazine and many others. He likes to take three trains at a time and plenty of citrus drugs.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kristi Maxwell


How can she dilute the parade of spectators without our complaint and the pause of our supple horns.

Pander is the bear in the zoo of our most likely deceptions; the bear we wave to and feed.

Repentance duty does not obfuscate, doing that refuses duty, do fused to will flounders with the knife by which one is offered up through the off-ing.

With sorrow we waive.

She suffers through hallelujah.

On the backs of heat-slicked horses we shine like no thing or like it is no thing to do so.

An antique lapel holds court for blue ribbons as evidence of application, of applying oneself toward and the inevitable win.

And so a breeze is how we understand a compliment to the coming cool.

Itinerant broom stagnated by such flawless tile, her socks again, our socks against the august notion.

The violence of a bell.

What order would insist we suspend gazelles in our muscles' definitions.

An order we wad with our resistance and toss.

That good and not good are not mutually exclusive.

We share with her each guise of tea.

The collective mouth for serving.


Bright, we answer first and loudly when asked to describe; we have learned what illumination omits from character, we have learned what fools her needles best, and we use our learning as sea foam that hooks the shore for recruits.

She scatters fame over the graves.

A model car bolted to stone and a doll we carve a hand to dole out to eternal.

Sweet abacus hung like antlers amused with flies we count; we count, ridiculous we, we've found a job to account for our existing.

Mais oui a new job.

Interpreter bankrupt of omens.

I have photographed my birthmark from five angles to submit, and I watch to see my submission scrutinized with care.

She bathes in our interest that unplugs fountains.

It is like this daily, and when it is not, desire is finally conjured, and the world's ankle folds and snaps to secure its bed rest.

Wind packs into our flapping shirts.

We dedicate ourselves to each alarm, battle the braying with response.

Kristi Maxwell's poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in Forklift, Court Green, How2, the Modern Review, and La Petite Zine. Her book, Realm Sixty-four, is available from Ahsahta Press.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Jeff Downey

from Pasture

The litter rushes bind.   I too was plastered.   Assured that from your sight needs loosening.   Such unearths irrigation.   For early on the tiles there were days regardlessly overfill.   With rowen comes a lining.   Expanses that wouldn’t be much to ply.   Everyone spins topsoil through debt.   Astute campaigns in sentiment.   What matters settle.

You have a look about you that syncs.   Soon or the thick flies in the face.   Lots are now taken electrically.   Without noticing it came into a glad beholding.   The change some trammeled.   Tractor parts lay out in the sun.   Besides the sentence I can be fined.

We have ourselves jostled foray.   The aquifer made rules of fire irons.    To chase tail reminded of the bodies gathered around poles.   If at all points grain.   But when you are moving on you are an overtone.   Shot in capacity.   There’s no need for apologies but go ahead.   Missing is mostly calisthenics.   A staple took of paint.

          Suppose a ripple is the law
          One felt forgone and cottonmouth
          A neighbor vent arisen
          Was an emergency whatever pelts
          Tableaux of plastic whitening
          Let’s not any lasting names
          By use I mean make
          Your contours light out
          The garage said to be off its foundation
          The mildew, marsh sieving to meadow

I knew whistling the vacuum had caught on.   Channels of the see-through sort.   Out of place but nodded at.   A crane lifts from the silt.   Does this amplifying loop.   The same wind that sprained your articulation.   Tugs out a knot.   Aware while handling of reception.   Its shore socked in.

Why fear being chased.   Once science could see from here tethered.   Land for your feat.   Abandon comes and just deserts.   The patent to having blood.   Overhead is a version of dizzying thirst.   All the rage moving on an offer.

The ball drops séance.   What remains relates raising.   Many blank in the basement.   Those grounds to now commit the calendars.   It is a girth resounding.   Winter leaves.   You a dilating adolescence.   Nor was it going to spoil such irises.   I kept meaning to come down with mono.   For after all the grist was the same.   Each post held fast.

Jeff Downey currently works at the University of Nebraska on a grant to digitize historic newspapers. He was an editor for the university’s journal, Laurus, from 2006 to 2007. His poems have appeared or are coming out in Handsome and Octopus #10.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jim Bennett

Bob's insight.

Bob had an idea
He figured out that
The only time we had
As who we thought we are
was now
And when you died
you came back
as someone else
back at the start again
so in a while
you will have been everyone
Hitler and Churchill
A maid a butler
A king and a tramp
Everyone in the world
And because you didn't remember
From one life to the next
You got to learn about life
All over again
And you could be nasty
Or not depending on
who you ended up being

it was a grand idea

no God or spirit guiding everyone
no everyone just Bob
for all eternity
he figured that each life
that came into the world
had its fixed place and
when he had been someone
and died he went back
to be the consciousness
of the next one along
he went round telling everyone
of his big idea
it's like reincarnation
he said
but there is only me
and I take it in turn to be
no one listened

he may as well
have been talking
to himself

Jim Bennett lives near Liverpool in the UK and is the managing editor of His most recent publication is a poetry collection called The Man Who Tried To Hug Clouds by Bluechrome Publishing 2004 (2nd edition 2005). Jim teaches Creative Writing at the University of Liverpool and tours throughout the year giving readings and performances of his work.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mark Dow

Mondongo is Not a Soup

          On the D train to Coney Island, a little girl whose black patent leather shoes with heart-shaped buckles on them do not reach the floor sneezes on her green helium-filled balloon. She stares at it, shakes it, then finds the corner of the coat she's wearing and wipes the balloon. Then she wipes it again, with her hand. Then she rests her chin on it. Her father reads aloud to her mother from Your First Year in Network Marketing: "Here's a typical scenario," and reaches up to tap away the balloon, which is now touching his head. The girl is still holding the attached strand of green ribbon. He reads, "There are three kinds of apples -- the red, the green, and the rotten." He has a New York Lottery gym bag on his lap.
          At La Taza de Oro on 8th Avenue near 15th Street, there is a rotary pay phone near the entrance. The action in the dial is liquid, hydraulic, leisurely, and greasy to the touch. At the far end of the counter, a big man, in charge, stands near the kitchen entrance and uses an ordinary table knife to cut -- to push, really -- bite-size pieces of under-ripe avocado onto one bed of lettuce at a time. Then he slices a white onion and puts one slice, separating its concentric rings without breaking them apart, on top of each avocado mound, and puts each plate into the refrigerator case. Across the counter, a young waiter mutters to himself, then says aloud that he ordered "dos sopas de mondongo" and where are they? The older man corrects him: "Dos mondongo: mondongo no es una sopa."
          At Mooney's Bar on Flatbush, a black man asks if I'm from "the colonies." Then he asks if I smoke marijuana and adds, "I'm not a cop. I'm a construction worker." He offers to let me feel his hands. The pear blossoms in the spring sunshine glow, seemingly bursting with fat. A closer look and the bubbles are imperfect hemispheric constellations of 8-10 small flowers each. An even closer look and the tiny pistils are purple. On 7th Avenue in Park Slope, a woman walks with a yellow umbrella open. Three women from the colonies watch her.
          "Maybe she knows something we don't."
          "Maybe she forget. Maybe where she comin' from it's rainin'."
          At the 23rd Street station on the 1/9 line, downtown side, a young white woman with an English accent says to the man in the token booth: "You do have the power to do something about it," and repeatedly calls him "arsehole." After passing through the turnstile, she sits on a bench with her face in her hands and cries. At the 28th Street station on the N/R line, downtown side, a middle-aged brown-skinned man glares at the man in the token booth and yells, making a trilling sound in his throat, "You! BAAAAAA! Fucking goat!"
          Two men, one pushing, one pulling, move a jet-ski chassis down the sidewalk and around the corner of Carroll and 4th Avenue, leaving a white, chalk-like, curved, double line. An eighteen-wheeler flatbed takes a turn fast, bouncing its cargo of engine blocks secured atop a bed of tires. Two girls, one holding a folded slice of pizza, approach portable toilets, one of which is padlocked, in Prospect Park. Thirteen monosyllables:
          "I went in there once and they trapped me in there."
          "I won't."

Mark Dow's poems and prose have appeared in Mudlark, Nthposition, Fascicle, Boston Review, LIT, Conjunctions, Green Integer Review (translations from Buenos Aires). He also wrote a book called American Gulag: Inside US Immigration Prisons (California 2004).