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.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ryan Murphy


I do not want to stay
Or say

The birds fog in
Like Tyvek flapping
From scaffolds.

The bare spring trees,
I peel the label off

Carefully, carefully

Take a tranquilizer
The landscape regains dimension.

The men in their demolished
Sheetrock rooms.


Autumn is for bells
And sagging ceiling plaster.

Oars plough wake:
Warn and victim we.

I am afraid to die
But RJ Reynolds whispers I’m not
And dying I believe him.

This is not the same as weeping for a cat’s mortality.

Dear ,

I would like to tell you that making people from words is not the act of a tubercular child in an attic with construction paper. Worth and companionship. Is not lonely. That they are more than parts of speech. My friends might say otherwise, but fuck them, what do they know. That it is, and has been, worth it I would like to tell you. I wrote and wrote and the words began to fall off.

Dear ,

The benches for the infirm and the insane. I watch for a flash of pink on Broadway, what you wore when you left, but the men on the bench zip their jackets to their chins, read paperbacks through stacked pairs of glasses. I thought you would pass on your way north. Or I chose the wrong route, the wrong time, the wrong day.

Blooms early this city
And we are like that.

Leaves black in the sun.

This is the hieroglyph of the sheets in my skin upon waking.
And thus I wrote this to you in the dark.


It’s true, the spokes of a wheel only appear that way when they're spinning. Commuter trains are terrible in every way. We name the stations for our friends, or our friends for the stations--I forget which, it doesn't matter now--it is better living on a real island now. Geographically speaking. Since it has always been this way anyway. Is it more important to be remembered right, or to see the flames lick the gunwales? Is it always the perspective of the mourning? I never said these things:

That boy is dead.
And who is left to write letters to?

The rain that makes your hair grow.

Ryan Murphy is the author of Down with the Ship from Otis Books / Seismicity Editions. His second book, The Redcoats, is forthcoming from Krupskaya. He has received awards from Chelsea Magazine and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art as well as a grant from The Fund for Poetry. He is an editor for Four Way Books and teaches at Pratt Institute. He lives in New York City.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sampson Starkweather

from LA LA LA

when in large groups
I often want to swing
Thor’s hammer
transforming irritability
into energy
should win a prize
for almost existing
like a superlove
say forbidden
how weird is
becoming a tunnel
more of a pastime
than an act of civil
engineering no gland
to regulate this emotion
life is another way to say
proportional to
the push-button moment
my fortune cookie
a drawing of a mountain
appearing to disappear
I am the goat
perched on anything
a branch of shame
the denial
that one is one’s own
it doesn’t have to be
whole to break
is an action
watch the poem
sail into

did you say river
without bend
or end
if it didn’t hurt
I’d have gone
a long time ago
good looking
out Pain
everything is a game
to my niece
only this
makes sense
the pesky not-world
hiding somewhere
I want poems
to be like 80s video games
land and sky
forever off
either side of the screen
New Zealand is like that
a promise held out
two horizons
that never come
are you wet yet
you love when I talk
landscape in overalls
scamper the flattened world
pick up
the occasional coin
or sledge hammer
I’ll mushroom-leap
those goddamn digital clouds
we lie
and cry

every poem should begin
I’m kinda of in a dunebuggy
it’s a fact
feelings of powelessness
lead to killing and shopping
sprees weeeeeeee
oh there’s more
where that came from
a growing demand
for designer vaginas
in other news
ghost slugs are real
people can be so quiet
they barely exist
images of earth
always make me
horny it sounds
like a soap opera
when it hums
all God’s children
are brats probably
Brazilian at that
products of
product placement
know when to say when
how dumb is that
just keep going
swallow sand
try to finalize
any love
like the games
people play
on the subway
get in
follow me

have you noticed pussy
foot is always singular
iron lung killjoy
sound like bad ass Indians
take the longest breath
any man’s
ever taken
and begin again
the poem is its own
scientists say the soul
has the consistency
of an expensive milkshake
bagpipes are bad
for the environment
Dear Mom
you don’t know shit
about poetry
if you were a think tank
we’d all be making
cartoon balloons
I love hitting
Undo poof
I made the rain
go away
chin music
is not a cliché
to say we’re all alone
your name is # 2
on my things to do list
Google Earth knows dick
about my birthmarks
let’s all change
color   what are people
who study traffic
called   a lot of love
has died technically
anything can be

Sampson Starkweather
's most recent chapbook, The Heart is Green from So Much Waiting is forthcoming from Immaculate Disciples Press. He is also the author of City of Moths from Rope-a-Dope Press and The Photograph from horse less press. He lives in the Qua.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Jack Lynch


Through the two mouths of the house
       the wind blew in, blew out. 

One by one with our two names we came:

        Maureen Harriet
        Barbara Marie
        Paul Thaddeus
        James Henry
        Margaret Mary
        Michael Kenneth
        Thomas Joseph
        Theresa Jean
        & me

Which birth marked the turn 
from few to many?  Whose 
departing left none?

Now from hospitals
two by two
we bring you, Mother.

through these doors,
waves of children.
This wind.

Jack Lynch received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the New School, and is a graduate of Hunter College’s MFA Creative Writing Program. His work has appeared in Ology, POZ Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, and Diva Complex: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them, edited by Michael Montlack and published by University of Wisconsin Press.