Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aaron Kunin


Good spot to commit suicide.
Nothing "to" distract, interrupt
Or change your mind, little mess and
Someone "to" pick
It up tomorrow. "The" best place
Is a hotel

Room. (Bathtub.) Remember "the" poem
By Lisa Jarnot where she took
"The" paper that Jim Buckhouse wrote
For undergrad
Intro "to" philosophy class
About whether

He could be wrong "about" being
In pain "and" changed "it" "to" Paris?
I'm doing "the" opposite "of"
"That." This little
Body I uncover without

"Of" pleasure, intimate but not
Sexual, like handling someone's
Stomach, "or" has "that" been rezoned?
All professors
"Of" English should take "a" vow "of"

Do you even enjoy "the" things
"You" call "pleasure"? "I" was tempted
"To" whisper "do you" love me "or"
"Do you" merely
"Love" "your" work? Both varieties
Are restricted.

Anyone who "has" made "a" list
Knows how difficult "it" can "be"
"To" "do" "work." My job "is" finding
Curves, overlaps
"And" confused "by" "things" "that" used "to"
Turn "you" on, links

"On" "the" burning necklace, without
Activating "it" recedes, rough
"And" smooth interests "of the" flesh
Withdrawn from "you"
"I" resented "the things" "I" loved
"And" couldn't feel.

Only "the" cold recognizes
"The" appearance "of" "love." Gelid
"The" heart, wrapped "in" "a" plastic sheet
"The" power "and" extent "of love."
"You" "turn" "me" "on"

"But" "you" don't make "me" laugh. "You don't"
"Turn me on but you" "do" something
Better: "you" influence "me." "My"
"Turn" "is a" kind
"Of" uniqueness ("only"). "Only"
Criminals know

"How" "to" "enjoy" life. Change "it" back
"To" "pain." "Do" "not" restate "do not"
Resuscitate. Visualize
Myself "in" "a
Hotel room" when "the" door opens
"And" "pain" walks "in"!

Aaron Kunin is the author of Folding Ruler Star (2005) and The Mandarin (2008), both from Fence Books. A new chapbook, Cold Genius, is available from The Physiocrats. He lives in Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Scott Inguito


If you are the guide,
who am I? If I want

to lay in the sun like
a dog with a smooth belly

knowing well that my belly
is not smooth though it is

distended, you will be
unfortunately abandoned. And

if I want to be the new dog
on the roof—higher than perennial love

though I piss in the corner of
the lowest part of the roof—

you unfortunately will be
abandoned. If I say

'You are now in me,' but I
want to live on the roof

at night and during the day,
but with access to the stairs

so I can do my business when
I want, outside—but I am loyal,

I only want to be in the cool bushes
at night (this is not semantic)—

you will be unfortunately
abandoned. And If I say 'Here

is my obsession, scarves and
strangers, ' even though my dog

dandruff perfumes deep into
the strings, sand and salt, you

will be unfortunately abandoned.
Where am I? I am on the roof,

in the sun in the corner on my side,
in the dirt in shadow; under the

palm tree shitting; sleeping in
a swarm of scarves and strangers

watching with closed eyes
gummed with salt and spit the

welded together buses.


Dogs and strangers and glances
fill the riverbank, come to
abandon esthetic longings. Not the

dogs but the strangers. And the
glances. Fallow delusion takes
more scrubbing at the river,

barks until hoarse in the dog throats.
Strangers find strangeness in other
strangers, but the thing about

making money is. In the river tossing
away no one is waiting; its opposite.
Ruins sit back over there. They

are the were that makes the will be,
the dogs and glances for the still-
starved strangers in the what is left.

Scott Inguito lives in San Francisco and is the author of the chapbook Dear Jack, published by Momotombo Press.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Alli Warren


The wild west rings out choppers

Greeks the underside

Gasters are bulbous

Things coming in the night

Heavily and oiled and reeking out

In the trench with it

Gurgling and then bulleted

The outside and gurgling

That’s why they call it rogue

Confessing in dirt-face

Under pylon

Knocking haters on their asses

They come arresting all over town

Please approach the bench

How did this dove deflate?

There’s never enough milk

In the hay in love of verbs

I went not once but twice through

Code in hand

Waxing real hard

My tail-end grows out of whack

The nuts inside us are unreasonable

Pussywillows whip in the wind

Animal problems in the accounting

The area around the fault line

Bands around the infield

Blows cork

I need a new mole-skin

This one’s all sticky and full

Of pricking the in and out

Of the woodwork

In the saddle

I want that stuff that gives

My tooth aches activate that asset

Weevil release

Alli Warren
works in psychoacoustics on the Left Coast. Recent chapbooks include No Can Do, Bruised Dick (a collaboration with Michael Nicoloff), and Well-Meaning White Girl. She works in Berkeley, lives in Oakland, and co-curates The (New) Reading Series at 21 Grand.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Michael Sikkema


last night invented insects enough to own us


You said

I heard chicken

some day-shit-


We’re three musics
deep, Mr. Pulse,
in this hear this


Tired of why why not talk

“limping like a clock on her left leg”

Michael Sikkema is the author of Futuring which is available here. He believes that birds are simple magic. You can reach him at

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Allison Titus

[Department of the Lost and Found]

Whatever have you come here for, the basement
of a building near the turnpike.

Discards and burglaries pile
up by early afternoon, like always,

lord over this office of our winter’s machine: the wreckage
of the ship still wedged hull-deep

in the permanent glacier. The wreckage of the ship,
a bear suit, penknife and hunting knife and so on.

Statuette of a lion given over, who knows, put it with
the statuette of the penguin.

Poor drop-in with your grief-heavy
voice, take back your map of polar drift;

take back your mechanical leg.
Poor, dear drop-in with your grief-heavy

mouth, take back your McMurdo Station, and
the solitary southernmost ATM,

and the ice-breaker breaking the harbor, day in and day out,
this muscular opera of finders keepers.

Take back your overcast biding;

                      take back your weatherproof throat.

Allison Titus is the author of Sum of Every Lost Ship (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009) and the chapbook Instructions from the Narwhal (Bateau Press, 2007).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Matthew Henriksen


Only expectation makes sorry dwellings
However necessary destruction

I never tossed a brick out my third story window
I don’t want a stranger to expect

An apology from an open window
As I am unmanaged in this city

What needs naming needs mostly to remain unnamed
And stare blankly at a stranger staring blankly back

On ugly afternoons I fracture the light
That makes up this street and its bleak gloss

In the city’s empty frame I find the story of broken bottles
Unbroken and unnamed faces

In pieces of glass and in their eyes
Clouds pass

The city otherwise empty
An empty frame exactly what

Convinced me it is here
Before I am here

Before the river with filthy imaginings
Brought the city here with its belongings

Matthew Henriksen
publishes Cannibal Books with his wife Katy and co-edits Typo with Adam Clay. Recent poems appear online at Raleigh Quarterly, The Cultural Society and Front Porch. His chapbook Another Word is imminently forthcoming from DoubleCross Press Single Sheet Series.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nadia Herman Colburn


I don't know what made me do it. It was like getting up late at night and going out to find the moon, hung full, at the end of the block. Framed, between the low row of houses. As if it had been there, waiting, all the time.

When I came back inside, there was my life, enormous about me. It hung, as in a story, and then started to shrink. A girl with pigtails came into the room and reached up and grabbed the thing like the moon and started swaying with it back and forth, tossing it up and down.

I lay down, letting the page turn, for choice. Letting the light come up, as a decision. When I woke, you were there, at the head-end of the crib, still in your blankets. A small form. Your breath like someone escaping, then being caught.

As if this time it will be different. Up in the sky, intact. A small stranger opening her arms. Letting the thin silver slip through into the blank before the hands can clasp. Or, in the undergrowth, the little squirrels, or in the dark burrows, beneath the house.

Nadia Herman Colburn lives in Cambridge, MA where she teaches literature at MIT. Her poetry has appeared in many places including The New Yorker, Conjunctions, American Poetry Review and Slate. She is currently working on a meditative memoir about pregnancy, motherhood, social responsibility and art, pieces of which are forthcoming in the Southwest Review and Literary Imagination.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Noah Eli Gordon


                                 for (and after) Arda Collins

There is no ocean in your ear to it.
What there is is this muffin,
left a long time on the granite countertop.
It is a kind of decision. You decide
to write a new poem. Invent a better equipped kitchen.
Stainless steel appliances, a refrigerator
whose refusal to hum
is both frightening and reconciliatory.
It gets quieter.
It gets sort of orange. You think
of the word lavender. You have no choice but to.
There it is, just floating direly in front of your face.
How many types of ambiguity can a muffin conjure up?
Did you really ask yourself this? Between the questions,
as between two towering beachfront hotels, there are waves
upon waves upon waves passing through a tiny sliver of ocean.
What, exactly, do you think of the word lavender?
Do you think you can put your ear to it?
I’m trying to be completely unambiguous.
If I were to say, “The only thing inside
a muffin is muffin,” I would certainly mean it.

Noah Eli Gordon is the author of several collections, including Novel Pictorial Noise, which was selected by John Ashbery for the 2006 National Poetry Series, and subsequently chosen for the 2007 San Francisco State University Poetry Center Book Award. His essays, reviews, poetry, creative nonfiction and other itinerant writings can be found in recent and forthcoming issues of Bookforum, Boston Review, DenverQuarterly, Fence, The Massachusetts Review, Review of Contemporary Fiction, and elsewhere. He pens a quarterly column on chapbook culture for Rain Taxi: Review of Books, and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Jenny Drai



No light but morning the window’s
provision just blue cloak.

Rapture the optical that foliage persisting
stalwart some winter trees where I

tell you tales of human conditions and just blue
dawn fading into a white-blue grey sheet.

My life is not as it aught. Or is it?
You can, you can I think.

Just sit a few moments producing
unguent these spilling sky

drafts some drained colors and just
blighted leaves shaking wet cold oh

no fluttering like birds.


Stream in the reeds through the eyes and a light
step the meadow brings the braid to hair.

Strands in your voice speak over activity rippling
water to understand rain dripping hair in wet

bunches through trees. The human surface
struggles upward through a scattered float.

Shouts beside hair tendrils and the meek
light waiting. The drowning human

between me heard. Aloud a synthesis.
Aloud a larynx calls a stream

pushing orange sun below the reeds.
Paper boats burning water is tongues.

All day I’m close enough to catch
my your in mouthfuls.

Jenny Drai grew up near Chicago but has also lived in Hamburg and Munich before arriving in Oakland, California eight years ago. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Five Fingers Review, 580 Split, Spinning Jenny, Sorry for Snake, Court Green, and Monday Night as well as other journals.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Patrick Culliton


She wears summer, a bird
on her clavicle, and combs
the day thin with rowdy
arms. Triangular and sailing,
she unlocks the pages of distance.
Pipers mobile her solitary umbrella.
How she stays when a storm turns

over the bay. The slow knife,
the kiwi, and the rubber band wrist.
Lightning pings, clouds change gowns.
Warning pulls the plug and the sand drains
of goers. How she remains,
silent and right, her face
lit by the sun’s slow soap.

Patrick Culliton lives in Chicago. His poems have appeared, or will soon, in Coconut, Conduit, The Hat, The Journal, jubilat, Rabbit Light Movies, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a 2009 Individual Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. He teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago and has a chapbook forthcoming from Octopus Books in Spring 2010.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jennifer Nelson


summer answers with a chainsaw no a circle jerk
of slow and rusty chainsaws try
to be the opposite of birds the children sweet
droolbags stopped the village streets and lo

a lamb born in the castle with the head of a castle
the nursery full of squirmy towers no children
but quiet melters into drool
then the enclosed garden

the unicorn’ll tell you shaving horn’s like shaving teeth
your pretty shard path
totally worth it
like chewing totally worth it

like if you’re ready to be naked
insert your pretty brain, I’ll break it

Jennifer Nelson writes about Northern Renaissance art, and maintains a blog of speculative and parodic art history at She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Timothy Yu


Here we are
“east” of something

see orange
slow down
save lives

of grief and rage

ha ha girlfriend
in the show

How can I write

devoid of contempt

A smell of cars gone to ground
A platform elevated by human legs

You might truck in oil for sweetness
It’s a job—land for sale—here

I want to know what has happened to my vision
of a devastated bulb protected
by a cage of shadow

an oat stuck in my teeth

You have exactly 13 minutes to circle
the drain of a different culture
doors open on the left and right

awareness week

your dad’s house in Milwaukee
your step sister’s down south
no bids

I could just eat like crazy
a red mass pierced by cutlery
in the 24-hour hotel room
of my heart
                        and then I
am back in school like a half-hour special
riding a Vespa through the empty halls
of California

there is a what I cannot tell you
this warmed-up gazpacho of many doors closing

oh and then Nick said on email that he had a big car
an open 40 behind the angled screen

I still want to drive
I know it’s wrong
I have a little car

Timothy Yu is the author of the chapbook Journey to the West (Barrow Street) and the critical book Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford University Press). His poems and prose have appeared in SHAMPOO, Rabbit Light Movies, Boog City, and Chicago Review. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hazel McClure


These days won’t abide – my slung love,
my tutor, my boyfriend, my crush. Do you
resist reporting? Are you the detective, leave-
taker, the empty-eyed got? My simplest questions,
church bells threatening the air.


‘It’ never occurred. Play this jump. Preserve
your loneliness. It never occurred
to me—sing—in crooked time. Refuse
shelter for
little sparks at your wings. Every turn
along the trunk is possible
until tunes lose homing vision.
Mom is wiping flour from her hands,
her gold straining at the neck to be precious.
I never noticed the doorway
behind my shoulder until a stranger walked through.
Up in top nooks there’s a cliché looking down;
That’s also yearning, and only that from outside.

Hazel McClure
wrote Nothing Moving, a chapbook from Lame House press. Her work has been published in Mirage #4/ Period(ical), the tiny and Coconut. She lives and writes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she is a librarian.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

D. A. Powell

couplets unheroic

he had a girlfriend on the side. he had a boyfriend on the side
he had too many sides: back- front- and be-, the problem was: he’d hide

and in my mind, the darkest runnings: don’t think I didn’t suspect
the mysterious calls from portland. the hickey upon his pec

the cum towel he never laundered had become crusty and shrunk
he drank to function but didn’t function: instead he was a drunk

I pity the woman who marries this straight boy who likes to cheat
who’s a bomb in the sack for anyone—unless it’s not his mate

still, I pray he is safe, and not always dreaming of my casket
like a crappy hired mourner, carrying his own little wilting basket

for Donald Haines Eason, the last

D. A. Powell is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Chronic (Graywolf, 2009). He is co-author, with David Trinidad, of By Myself: An Autobiography (Turtle Point Press, 2009). Powell has published recent poems in New England Review, Barrow Street, Tin House and A Public Space. He teaches in the English Department at University of San Francisco.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catherine Meng


The island is a graph in which this exists:
you are sitting

                      are you sitting?

you are standing
                      are you standing?

you are reading
you must be reading

because you read
the island
as the poem does

without confidants

it wields a nasty frond

or has never known

this tender shoot it grows


Ocean begets its image in its own turns

how it circles out from the start & cuts off –
how it begins an ending like a wave would.

All the parts are in shadow
complete with unseen gears

that fall across the face

making acronyms
outside of compliance

always peeing where the others have peed.

We have a century! We have a history! Suddenly

even the present is revisable.


Subscription cards fall out of your mouth
like retold stories we snore through
but in this case they were never told

so this is a big fiction

with first fruit
breathing toward intent –

really letting the moment unfurl it
until the ripened object

takes the shape of something
there is no copy of


immediately the thing sounded


& I busied myself with my glasses.

Writing poems for the republican squid
I was nasty in a nice way

same as my enabling neighbors.

Here at last was the imagined but never realized place
leaping into real life


I lost my first fraction of sight in math class

2 years after I watched a load of dripping laundry get pulled
mid-cycle from the machine


William Blake: Do you still have my eyeglasses?
Nobody: No, I traded them. do you have any tobacco?
William Blake: No, I traded it.
Nobody: For what?
William Blake: I’m not telling.
Nobody: Liar.
William Blake: Thief.


The boy had gone missing but the dog remained
a nuisance

digging up relations we never saw die

until the only habit that remained was kunst –
perhaps it survived to revise past tendencies

always kunst in the dream
kunst in the dinner
kunst in the tent


when we arrived there were 74 cigarettes
& now there is one

but we still haven’t decided
on who will be chief

we soon discover voting
decides nothing at all

but the toy of voting can be just as pleasing
as a seashell


There was nothing wrong with anything, but you could not place yourself anywhere


The jungle minutely vibrated


with strains of destroyed music
under palms of a formal math

you are always in a car before me
turning to the left


In our liver perhaps we knew

we were being watched
by a world of terrified animals

but we often forgot that ache
& loved each other.


I think I see a polar bear. No. It’s a white rock.


Perhaps I knew in advance
that the dead thing would die

because I dreamed it died
before it did

& told the dead thing so.
He tried to act unaffected

but I saw his skin betray his theater.

Way after the fact I became pleased with my decision.

I didn’t mind falling behind

a Winnebago on the freeway.

I barfed silently as if on stilts –
as if it was not a good island.


The pilot said nothing to the contrary.
The pilot has the best manners
because, duh! He’s the pilot. Or he was.


When birds fly through the jungle

all at once the many ventricles

sputter out –


that we were stranded outside of the greater sadness

that we took up canteens

& masked, made a go at survival.
Unsure our legs weren’t broke

unsure our brains thumped right
unsure our brains registered anything

against the blue screen.

Catherine Meng lives in Berkeley, CA. Her first collection of poems,
Tonight's the Night, was published in 2007 by Apostrophe Books.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brett Fletcher Lauer


Let's not speak of ravens, keyholes at twilight, subjects

immediate to observation appearing partly as a doctrine

of chance. It is unlike me to dispute what is grand.

A cloud field can herald distress, command numbers

to fragment, but the rainfall lacked compulsion, how

birds listed as unclean were birds of prey, not a model

for conduct. Every day began with trust; segments

fitted together like small bodies of animals and plants.

Arriving home a touch positioned your face upright

regardless of industrious wind. Restore me to that

then, however streaked with gloom, however riddled

through with worm and sorrow. Part of the problem

was mandatory participation, the other your radiant

neck from certain sadness, half-feelings in August,

or the will to walk many-sided. Restore me to a prior

arena beyond where this letter fills a hand mildly. There

exists no such thing as three beginnings. Earlier gestures

were vague in declaring intention, and what the echo

from the cliff responds with is a general void, minor

modifications in mood like English weather. Restore

the song its bird, bird its egg, egg to concept. This world

mirrored a wonder formerly praised until we discovered

the structure of horror in all inventions. I anticipated

otherwise, the arrangement of light on a woodland stream

to dazzle; a red fox paused on a hilltop to restore

a condition decayed. What could determine the next

question? What answer could halt the mind and its written

description from an eternity grazing on itself? What answer

could relinquish such control or once more bury it

in a hole with anything else the animals might claim?


When I hang in the air

it will be by popular

demand. There is

a contingency of people

who think loving me

is wrong. I made this

for them. I care deeply

about our republic

but I’m unsure what

to do next. I’m lonely.

Duh. Even I can learn

to endure, but can

no longer speak

for us. Your anxiety

is noted. There is

something radically wrong

in the letter I left

or else Scandinavian.

I feel my apartment

getting dirty. I make

a cup of tea. It is

an accomplishment.

Later, I’m going

to haunt everything

in this room.

Brett Fletcher Lauer is the Managing Director of the Poetry Society of America and a Poetry Editor at A Public Space. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dorothea Lasky


I am not of this world

And when I tell you that
You do not believe me

And force me to do things
I don’t want to do

What do I want to do?
I want to become a poem

Poem poem you went tunneling out of me
Ectoplasmic material
The sound of z

No one believed the monstrosity
Of my birth
No one believed the monstrosity
Of my death

Instead they treated me
As the kind of human
We all esteem

Sun, sunshine
A demon mask, the moon
Bitter trees
And butter, a proposition
A proposition
And days
A proposition

All of me
A candle
Burning as bright as a bird

A demon wife to dark night
A demon wife
I was to the dark night

Dorothea Lasky is the author of AWE (Wave Books, 2007) and Black Life (Wave Books, 2010). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The Laurel Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Satellite Telephone, among other places. Currently, she researches creativity and education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Charles Bernstein



Charles Bernstein is author of All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, March 2010),  Blind Witness: Three American Operas (Factory School, 2008); and Girly Man (University of Chicago Press, 2006), and My Way: Speeches and Poems (Chicago, 1999). He is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. More info at

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lauren Levin


Remember the name of grandeur’s fortune,
Keenan. Your fortune one day.
Keenan, the name of grandeur’s fortune one day.
One day it feels like we do mock it.
It feels like you want to rub your thigh
    not even to mock it,
  not even to mock your sight.
      Option 8 is a bullet, F8, F9
A predator is one extreme end of a group of positions,
    he does not like having blind spots
    in his imagination,
  or horse eyes, or gem-like parents.
He had to hear 9 people’s counsel, from which
they had their birth. Persons of this type say,
and that type say, their candor.
The penalty for injustice is according to disposition,
I keep cutting this posture back
into a sinking knuckle, deep breathing,
bitch’s response, I don’t mind.
When you talk about belief
in the feeling of production, land a beat at the gate,
a whole excessive fear of failing my meaning,
there must be a knee hand ball joint
to respect. She was pleased, I believe,
with how death arrived
the telling of production, skating off
into a production place. Don’t worry,
your name won’t represent your actions:
in fact, I’m writing people’s names less
the more I know them. That’s to Keenan:
because I am distracted.

Lauren Levin is from New Orleans and lives in Oakland. She edits Mrs. Maybe with Jared Stanley and Catherine Meng. Her chapbook Flaming Telepaths just came out from H_NGM_N B_ _KS; another chapbook, Not Time, is forthcoming from Boxwood Editions. Some recent poems can be found in Try, Mirage #4/Period(ical), and Rabbit Light Movies.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Richard Meier

The story I knows about the snow on the roof said the airplanes came out of the
moon across it a full moon a little extended arm-shaped darkness it didn’t it did
but not from where I was sitting. Nana was the waitress next to a cup balanced
inside another, Sisley, Lamy, Mother Anthony, Pissarro, Tote, a knife, stack of
plates, an apple cut in half, white hat, a napkin between, two echoing hands,
graffiti music, dead soldier caricature, or guard duty, 200 workers behind the
glamorous below-lit architect Richard Meier. I don’t know about the list in the
middle, as in stones thrown musically into the sea are not thrown at other
people even if the thrower falls on his butt or misses the sea entirely or just
misses the tour boat didn’t see it heading for the cave in which the water and
light make us all blue all in that boat all in the sea between that chord of stones
the silent spaces between the tones that make the music visible. So you told me.
I want to talk to you about a present. It’s not for you, moneyfold, an old friend
he’d never seen out of uniform, old friend he’d never seen or known or been
friendly with out of uniform; you are part of the largest thing, indicating, to the
bees on the street, its smallness. All this lazing around is fuel for the fire, said
the cork, as it bobbed with a tentative will in the fastest current phalanx, a deer
or something licking its neck, so absorbed had he become by the process. Even
the angry mob had begun to cheer. Too late, he’d been identified, leaving the
crowd (the missing one, the one of us) milling about with stones hanging,
wondering when the secret legislation would at last be directed solely.

And another thing, he kept saying to her. And another thing. Was she listening?
The wind moves the trees, I see only their tops, I live in the sky apartment, the
clouds too are moving, everything seems shaken from the root, from the earth
(as when I brought the elaborate crystal tree down on a man and a child, in the
form of ice chunks and powdery snow, by just the method I am describing), but
the relations are exterior. The tree is pulled this way and that by something
inside it, namely the air, the same exteriority with which we speak, with which I
am speaking. The clouds move steadily. A cloud never snaps back towards its
fundamental reason for existing, or to whip you in the face who has held it aside
so the man and the child might pass. Instead it parts, envelopes, disappears,
reformulates, evolves, and continues. Just so the large cloud you and the man
and the child are inside of and the atmosphere, the outside. The threshold is
more at the mouth of a flute, which is to say the lips enter in action and
vibration a strange numbness and the taste of silver. The table of sums. I’m
going out, he says to her, though he’s still sitting on the couch, and she hears it,
still maneuvering with one hand on the cart, cell to the ear, around the oddly
laid out store, whose doors bear no relation to the interior, as if the whole
building refashioned a fog bank, in which the figure was once clearest and lost,
small central clarity we couldn’t escape thinking all of them together, and its
thinking, and so on.

Richard Meier is the author of Shelley Gave Jane a Guitar and Terrain
, both available from Wave Books. These poems are from a recently
completed manuscript, Little Prose in Poems. He is writer-in-residence at
Carthage College and lives in Chicago, IL and Madison, WI.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Nicole Wilson


Mother knows each day’s a face

halved like the planet of a weather report;

she can tell the operator “I like

your telephone voice, I like your dimes

and radios.” Her plane crash is a birth

or a building or stuck levers

or a chord composing to house

all those vertical bodies

unpeeling themselves, and the division

sign she etches on top of the table

is about hands missing

hands missing

a groom. Lungs breathe

the shape of flesh pins and whiskers

like a carousel coming loose.

Nicole Wilson's poems have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Emprise Review, Babel Fruit, Rabbit Light Movies, and Coconut, among others. She works and teaches at Columbia College Chicago where she received her MFA.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Andrew Kenower


paintings of ducks
mean another thing
to me

cone muzzle toy
cleanse the gun’s image
with a duck

with flannel and quack sound
one achieves idyll

decoys and budweiser
doing their job

wet dog has duck mouth

I am a humanist
I am part of the problem


the gallows
gone wireless

our ubiquitous public
ear permits

jeers and awe
imbued with lo-fi

cast broad
though changed

the lifted
veil reveals
a blindness

Andrew Kenower received his MFA from Saint Mary's College of California. He is co-founder of and designer for Trafficker Press. He photographs and records Bay area poetry readings for a blog, A Voice Box.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Norma Cole

from 14000 FACTS


Slow walking, play

of evening, the silver

ships measuring time

Venus, a sliver

of time

beyond words


The clearing, the light

no gate separates

day and night

more than ever

place of indivisibility

the wolf sees all


Like souls greeting each other

from the windows of eyes

form or harm

turn back any time

snowflakes on a blue



Floating sea ice

as if we’d

seen it just


not used to

hearing that

music again


Looked like rain

peremptory music

from the limbic


you’re not still

in prison



To imagine

a fortress

we’re given

a loop

a curveball

come in to play


The manner of their


aspects of vision “we’re

getting killed”

the burning zone

shifts, continuous

carmen, song


See what you

expect, a page

of flames, a cloud

the color of her

old heart, displayed

in a glass case


Fiction: bacon

and eggs in a

parallel universe

smells just as


he ran away

as if

the exigency of

is and is not


Potatoes, stones

their living eyes

atoms existing in

unparalleled worlds

as if to turn their

eyes from particular


Among Norma Cole’s books of poetry are Natural Light (Libellum) and Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988—2008 (City Lights). To Be At Music, a book of essays and talks, will appear June 2010. Cole has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Gerbode Foundation, Gertrude Stein Award and Fund for Poetry. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.