Sunday, January 28, 2007

Matt Mullins

Well Water

It was a wit's end type of situation. He showed
up at the end of August with his front-porch-

sweeping wife and a divining rod in a hard-
shell case. "Here today, up to Buckeye next

week. Goin' all over, been all over."
He was a last resort.


The train
exclaims on
throughout the house.
Pictures of smokestacks
brush their way
across the inland
prairie between the
front bedroom and
the office.
A house divided
against itself cannot
support the weight of
a multi-ton
locomotive hulk.
Bringing two houses
under one roof is a
lackluster task
better left to those with
a conciliatory nature
Above all, the black
clouds of mineral
exhaust sink back
to the earth
The sun sends
its luminary
emissaries through
slate cumulus,
steel-hammer drunk
and unable to navigate
such treacherous

Matt Mullins was born in Louisville, KY and is completing his graduate degree at North Carolina State University. His poems have been published in Asheville Poetry Review.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Clay Matthews


I never meant to start counting and never stop,
but if I never started I'd never have known
you to be that never girl who never wore lipstick
never even once. Happy birthday, blow out the light
again. Fold the covers again, go to the sink again,
write your name in bubble letters and ask the world
for another pair of sturdy brown shoes. Let's get this straight:
I never meant everything, but here I've said it
nevertheless. The whistle is blowing. The train is leaving.
I want to sit here by the window with you and think
about the hinges on that lonesome suitcase climbing aboard.

Clay Matthews' work is published (or will be) in Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, Court Green, LIT, Forklift, Ohio, No Tell Motel, H_NGM_N, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Muffler, is recently out from H_NGM_N B_ _KS.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Page Hill Starzinger

Cutting Board

I did not always recognize the pleasure
but it is unavoidable:
the slice. The way he bends into it.
Briefly. Then leaves.

I am full of wanting.

The sheer physicality of it
questions: you know what they are.

I shall not miss him is a lie.

Page Hill Starzinger lives in downtown Manhattan and is copy director at Aveda. She has poems forthcoming from Colorado Review and Kenyon Review.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Alana Joblin


Here's the prisoner's violin
see the fiddle made of matchsticks?

This, the amnesiac's self portrait.
There, the schizophrenic's sculpture.

And here, a robe embroidered
from sock threads.

Whirligig, giant windmill
spinning on the front lawn. Go on—
touch it.


Jerusalem: A Series Moving Backwards

I. Ribbons

Orange ribbons
fuchsia dipped in fire
unrelenting sun
tied to their wrists
tied to their waists
tied to the antennas
of their cars.
blue ribbons
robin's egg electrified
lapis dome of sky
clearest sea
tied to their necks
tied to their ankles
tied to their infants' arms.
Orange opposed,
Blue in favor.
Color fabric fastened
beliefs cannot be
tied tight

II. Winter 2000

This street like that
street but different.
East like west
but different gates
to the same city.
Zion. Damascus. Hebrew
letters on this bus
like Arabic letters
on that spice cart. The zatar
smelling the same. The rain
against the windows
sounding the same
until they shatter.

III. Sixteen, 1994

First summer away from home,
I will dance all night in Jerusalem,
fall asleep in a handsome soldier's bed

and vomit over his clean sheets.
I will drink tea with nana—
fresh mint he makes me
in the morning.

It will be the sweetest I have ever tasted.

         Never put this cup down.

When I do

Russ will be found dead in the basement.
Rabin will be murdered at a peace rally.

But I have to

have my first kiss
and learn how to drive

after the summer shatters–
disco ball knocked from the ceiling,

someone will need to
fetch glue, say kaddish, go on.



One landmark to another

I learned distance
in the snow, my golden-haired mom
pulling me in a red plastic sled

from the grey stone house
where she was born,
to the brown brick Tudor
where I was born.

How, as kids, they'd scream
from one side to the other–

Naming the valley between the large stones,

my young mother gestures her delicate arms
towards the train tracks.

Alana Joblin is completing her MFA at Hunter College in Manhattan, where she also teaches introductory creative writing to undergraduates.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Pines

Man and Wife, and Man

Elevate quiet to a hymn,

and so give royal to a bartering stem,
each molded to perform
at odds, and as compliments;

a mask that she wears—
a filthy honesty she closes in her hair,
lets us see in turn, by rights
a drinking torn

to joke of rape in the face,
the team of darts she sees on the floor.

She lays us out and charges quarters

for us to see the one she has become:
black by choice, by market demands.

The calm overgrows itself,
a king stuttering in the rambles,
dishes in the basin,
apples smarting with mites to the touch,
prints and pretends from the molding.

Man and Wife, and Man

Within the folded cloth
a single grape, and with all the prideful edge of it.

A trickle of wine made for the animus
and/or the leg. Adrenal sounds, multiple sets
swinging for coma, families in cozy corners of the field, taken to burn,

taken to talk, the slow settle of sediment
in the heart and the subsequent ballooning.

Man and Wife, and Man

The man stands large atop the hill.

The men are dead, encased in glass.

It must be something in the soil, funding the hill

into low, buck-lengths: cony and corpses,

tunnels that lead to other tunnels.

The man is holding forth

a pelt of bandages, a sauce-bottle of desiccated lake water

the town his      —fied       —ees.

The dead men are still clothed, dapper in their moldering.

It must be something in the yeast, for the bread

to taste so fresh.

In the hills,


cold kisses from the embalm-wrought doe,

flapping at the flames.

Man and Wife, and Man

Enemies. When will it be your turn?

To be the final thing to flash before the people’s eyes as they exhale.

The microphone.

In Maine, enemies exhale.

On the microphone. Popular rendition of Enemies,

of every relative we have ever asked to accompany us below decks.

And when the day comes, and everyone else knows,

someone is taking it away from you.

Off to Brazil.

In your house, at your farm, or in the mobile home by the creek.

Michael and Gail, separated and single, dance—

I need to build shelves for my kitchen.

The Pines have published work in POOL, BlazeVOX, Glitterpony, Cannibal, and elsewhere, as well as in the ongoing series The Pines (Volumes One, Two, and Three available; Volume Four forthcoming in 2007). More can be found at: