Sunday, May 28, 2006

Rebecca Loudon

it is thus that she finds her aria

what is she thinking
as she unbuttons her blouse
in the photo booth loosens her bra
rouges her nipples with lipstick
leans into the black window
left breast bared for the picture
as she quickly buttons
the last three flashes capturing
the top of her head
she smokes a cigarette waiting
for the photos to drop
wet and viscous down the metal chute

Things that are bound and not bound, A Quiz

Another darling dog has died.
Yesterday you combed its blonde curls,
carried it to tea in a pill box, restless

daughters belly-slamming down a hill
in the snow, unstrapped after a night
in which they became famous.

A drunk man on a motorcycle skidded
into a group of citizens standing on the seawall.
They were pointing at the sky, careless

with their betrayals, jumpers awash with blood,
ambulance lights, festive hospital greens and reds.

There is a fur dimension. You are caught there,
licking your wife's simpering teat.
The gauntlet is large and wet inside the rings.
Your unhappiness pleases me.

Rebecca Loudon lives and writes in Seattle. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Tarantella and the forthcoming Radish King (Ravenna Press), and a chapbook, Navigate — Amelia Earhart's Letters Home (No Tell Books.) She has work forthcoming in Birmingham Poetry Review, Terminus, TYPO, Cranky and Elixir.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bill Knott

(to RN)
Oh I know it must feel

To be the river—
Source of that force

Each field each flower
Each fountain seeks—

And then of course
I have to shiver

Remembering how—
How few of us ever

Make it down
These mountain peaks.

The candle's blue fingers trace
a window skyline.  Its ice
an archery of needles.  I seek
the sign, the making known
to me of now.  We live in a land
we can see to disappear.
The wither-gathered wind
rivering through a grove
of non-leaved nouns: these are
the months one must cling hard
to his habits, that mean horde.
Winter.  We must lean closer now
to see in each other's eyes
the cleft of witness
gape itself to give.
Closer.  Closer.  At times
we must even haven this
our place.


I heard the abide.

How low it was.
How loud it was.

How soon it ended.
And what it said.

I heard its words
poured, pouring
from the sky.

The clouds were frauds.

The froth lost its mind in an ear.

Bill Knott has posted most of his poems from the past 30 years on his
blog. He hopes to publish all of them there, eventually.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mike Topp


Iran and Iraq have still not reached an agreement today. Saudi Arabia is still undecided whether it's going to remain neutral or not. Another mosque was bombed today and now it's just a heap of rubble. One car ran into the back of another car and both exploded. Today it's fairly sunny. The weather outside is cloudy and bright. Armed peacekeepers today went into action… Peacekeepers charged with keeping peace with arms moved into the city today. Oil was volatile and the Chicago Bulls edged the Bears 108-101 in overtime. Over time the Chicago Bears edged the Bulls 108-101 today. One car ran into another and they both exploded. They blew up another mosque and now it's just a heap of rubble. Construction has begun on another mosque. Armed peacekeepers are still keeping the peace. Oil was volatile today. Saudi Arabia and Iraq have still not reached an agreement and Iran has remained neutral. Locally, another mosque was bombed today. Virtually demolished it. There's nothing left but a heap of rubble. Iran and Iraq have still not reached an agreement. Saudi Arabia has remained neutral. The peacekeepers arrived bearing arms. None of them are unarmed. Oil was volatile according to a bulletin from OPEC or whatever it is—the organization of eleven oil-producing nations. In Saudi Arabia today one car ran into another car and both of them exploded. They blew up another mosque—virtually demolished it. There's nothing left but a heap of rubble.

Waffle House

My friend from Waffle House says if you stacked all of the sausage patties they serve in one day, it would reach the top of the Empire State Building. I say, why bother?

Mike Topp was born in Washington, D.C., and is currently living in New York City unless he has died or moved. Some books, including Own Your Own and Happy Ending, are available from Future Tense Books. Mike has a bad blog:

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Matvei Yankelevich

[from Writing in the Margin]

A man born tired. Time moves slowly inside him. Outside a whirlwind spins leaving him breathless. People dressed neatly slap his weak skin and force him to breathe in their exhaled air, to live and want to live. He is none of them. He is tired. His life is a series of naps. Between naps there are painful subcutaneous shots administered. Later there is the presence of others, inside him. The man born tired wakes up as other men in the same predicament. Smoking a pipe. Napping again. Dead branches sway slowly in the corners. He wakes into darkness moving within the folds of some dark drape, a hood to keep the light out. He examines the tiniest things, vibrations. He stutters, or rather, the life around him stutters, stops and starts. This swaying movement, like a storm, uneven and nauseating, brings him comfort and fear on one platter. He is tired. He might close his eyes, again. But the knowledge that he will have to open them again and to what sight? prevents him from napping. The venom of sleep takes its time. He waits. He cannot wait. Slowly he withers. Softness becomes pale fragility. Skin turns to china. Eyes are targets. Brittle ground breaks under foot, ice crumpets. Flaky snowcakes.

Should I tell more or is it enough? He is tired. Let him rest.

Just try moving your hand.

Matvei Yankelevich is the editor of the Eastern European Poets Series at Ugly Duckling Presse, and co-edits 6x6, a poetry periodical. He is the co-translator, with Eugene Ostashevsky, of An Invitation For Me To Think, the selected poems of Alexander Vvedensky, forthcoming from Green Integer; and of OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism, an anthology forthcoming from Northwestern University Press. A chapbook of his long poem, The Present Work, is forthcoming from Palm Press in Fall 2006.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Elisa Gabbert

Blogpoem for April

You can’t invent a color, only name it,
like how I just named those contrails Benjamin
and then the sky behind them Benjamin II.
Now, retronymically, I refer to Ben as Ben I.
If he becomes famous, they’ll stop calling
clouds “clouds” and call them “nonlinear
clouds” or “pre-Benjamin” for clarity.
I can think about fame all day, and
compose apologies for my friends’ friends
who I’ve variously snubbed, write them
into emails with personalized P.S.’s:
P.S. My love for you extends forever
in all directions, or sometimes seems to.
P.S. I include a swatch of Yves Klein blue.
P.S. If the sky is a piano store and clouds
are baby grands, we just hang out in the back
and listen to a Casiotone’s preprogrammeds.
P.S. This P.S. is my email’s last will
and testament. It’s leaving everything
to you. P.S. Like my love for you,
like the infinite crystalline watchface of
God of the sky, my email will never die.


Don’t walk through the path of my blank stare:
it will lase a hole in you, incorporate your body
into blankness. Nothing can come between us,

me & the not-blackness—telephone wire
across the parking lot, a line against the sky’s
unclouded plane. Where are they hiding

their dimensions? They’ve gone Polaroid:
on empty window panes were slowly reified,
settling at half their real sharpness,

their real shades. Then a crow flew in
& landed, scratched the surface of the image
like a thumbnail. The bird mars it,

the wind that makes the pole drift &
quickens the wire. It starts to look alive,
poltergeisted. It’s taking something from me,

sapping through the wick of my locked
gaze. As I lose heart, I lose focus. Don’t
move. Don’t touch it. Look away.

Elisa Gabbert lives and works as an editor in the Boston area, where she is also a reader for Ploughshares. Her poems and prose have been published or are forthcoming in journals including LIT, Redivider, Shampoo, The G.W. Review, Illya's Honey, and Poetry Motel.