Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nate Pritts

Love Song from the Dawn of Time

Your most primal qualities turn my hands into fists,

shaggy orange hair, your sweet ape face.

A lever flips & I'm in my creature brain,

puffy red cheeks & green eyes. The real me

sits slumped in a chair & there's nothing he can do

to stop me. Lizards of the mind

breed in standing water. Every day I line up all the things

I love & give them names based on the dazzling

nature of their smiles. The mirror only shows the beast,

grunting about what he knows hurts most to hear.

Lost in the woods, there are two ways to save myself:

breathe the green of the trees & become more rooted

or scream my name & try to punch myself out.

Either way, I'm left alone

realizing that I wasn't what I wanted.

Nate Pritts is the author of Sensational Spectacular (forthcoming, BlazeVOX) as well as the chapbooks Winter Constellations (horse less) & Poems, Chiefly Descriptive of Various Birds & Flowers (forthcoming, Dusie). He is the editor of H_NGM_N, an online journal of poetry & poetics.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sue Nacey

Brighton Beach: After Learning, at 31, That Grandfather Was a Schizophrenic

Every flag is a wave.
Every wave rises blue to the blue sky.
Before breaking every blue wave is blue.
Inside every wave is another wave breaking.

From this perspective—
from down here on the ground—
the pigeons are the same height as the girls with green strings
wrapped around their necks.

Father, these are your daughters.
These are your daughters with green necks.
These are your daughters with their heads tied to their bodies.
Your daughters with no throats inside their green strings.

Suddenly, you make sense.
From one side, these pink houses with their gray dribbly faces.
This is our finishing school.
From the other side, only flags.
Frenzied flags
hungry flags
blue flags losing their blue
as they rise and descend over themselves overhead.

What difference does breaking make.
What difference to the sand in being covered—
by ocean or towel or bodies or closed in a small girl's fist—

but what of that gray gull—
that red-eyed gull
that is neither pink nor blue nor green—
that call falling from its clam-splitting beak
as it stretches its neck
and looks around.

From something left in the open it takes a bite.

What the Snow Says (2)

    Sometimes your voice falls into me like a protein
                      growing bigger than it ought to be

                              like a second more virulent sun—
this stretchy strand of you that twists and sticks to sleep
to waking and follows to
                            the far side of the city
                                            between us.

               Light passes through it.               People pass
   through it.
            Somewhere someone's chromosomes grow.

    Someone somewhere hears the grass as it grows
                                              beetles as they chew living
                into a new kind of protein

                          while the elms, still wildly waving
                                   call us closer
                      like a sea,
                                         like a party at the sea's
                           preparing to collapse.

Sue Nacey coordinates the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Hunter College in addition to teaching in the undergraduate English Department. The recipient of a Norma Friedman Fellowship, she has worked as a research assistant to Edward Hirsch. Her poetry has previously appeared in Conduit and Perspectives: A Journal of Critical & Creative Writing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Steven Karl

Your Panties


As he began to pick up around the room
there beneath the bed
lay a pair of panties

pink and chocolate
it’d be nice to say
that the sight drove him delirious
the mere appearance mysterious

but as he trilled his finger
along the frill he knew these intimately

the sight of the slight tendered cloth
delicately dividing the ass, the one he liked
the one she complained about

I wish it wasn’t so flat so many
of us have small flat asses!
Do I even have an ass?


Easy to remember avoiding people while
locked in here with smile flashed
fngers slipped between fingers
upper-body bare left foot forward
never mind the weather care to dance

That was in a place in
another state where the mint
grew wild where they drank mojitos
sat on the porch listening to the wind
slip through dogwood leaves

The floors stretched three-stories
his mid-century side-board with
whiskey and scotch decanters and
the silver tray all gone
the Eames desk replaced by
a miniature Ikea pulled from the trash

How did he end up here?
Did he fall asleep with his finger on the trigger?
Answers could not justify or quantify
the lyric simply went lame over a broken beat
the film went grainy from too much pause and play


He had bought those panties from a
young girl cleaved in tight pink cloth
her breast spilling into perfect semi-circles
they met eye to eye then the full pale of
her pinked lip— this is how it happened
lust spreading through the thighs

He was sorta cute easy-enough on the eyes
she much too relieved that he wasn’t
another of those Long Island creeps
that invaded her weekend shifts as if their mothers’
catalogues they had caressed their cocks to
had suddenly come to life

She bowed the pink box brown
the brand name cursived in black along the top


Later she turned round and round
braless in front of the mirror
eyes lit wet enthusing I love them
I love them I absolutely love them

When was the last time he
brought this little bow to his nose?

It occurred to him
he should return them to her
it occurred to him
as he entered the bathroom
he was alone
for the first time in
five years
Brooklyn empty
that day a leafless tree
beside his window
a bum asleep in front
of the bodega

Steven Karl is working on his MFA at The New School. His articles and reviews have been published in Teachers & Writers Magazine and on Steven is one of the curators behind the Teachers & Writers 2020 Visions Reading Series and he lives in Brooklyn.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Noah Eli Gordon

The Last Saxon and the Simmering Part

This ladder must lead somewhere. Half an hour ago, I was sworn to uphold whatever it is left me feeling so vigilantly afloat in the doorframe. You can’t buy the farm when its wholesale regret loads this location game down to the tiny icon of the boy I’ve been. Being’s all about lateness now that everything’s been conquered. Who wouldn’t reach into history to chisel an antiquated likeness of the face that mirror’s assembled. The store and back takes a conductor willing to overlook self-inflation. I can’t whip myself anyhow, a tarantula in hand at the science museum’s about as daring an afternoon as I’m broken by, culling my dirt animal from a sagging mattress. There’s a moon ‘round the frame of this rickety fortitude. Figure I’ll get to punch out any moment, taking the first rung with me.

Ed Ruscha Scripts the Last Saxon a Monologue

Hey Space Ace, noise won’t smash a radio, twist through more damn traffic a little of this historical dust, a little of that rodeo jelly, so why tune in the toxic broadcast when it’s keychain music revs up disgust avenue the speed lines around this cartoon volume crackup? If there’s some rust on our chain of events, a lame theme’s backdrop to adventure, then gimme that warm auditorium gate pass. I’m gasping for contact. Year after year, the future ruining everything. Here I was at last, spent royal, upset babycakes, another Hollywood dream bubble popped. This heart attack business is major surgery for the adios music of a surgical ash opera. Honey, I today am severely clear. Mind if I fuel a crying shame with the gauze it takes to turn body English into gush stuff: three sweets and me in the middle, cleanly hooked. Did anybody say “dreamboat”? Indeed I do wash, then dance. Well, fairly small torpedoes buzz a romantic move. I’m amazed, respect the great age of blank stardust. Pressure stains miniature nightmares. It’s curtains for the fragility zone.

Geppetto Also Made a Mother

There is nothing imaginary about a piece of wood.
It has its life, like you or I, and returns to the ocean.
Gravity won’t allow the wheel to roll up a hill.
Having no imagination, a piece of wood doesn’t care
if it becomes a fan blade, a coffee table, or a little wheel
on a wooden horse. Real marionettes have no strings.
Real horses, arriving at a hill, may or may not climb it.
This has nothing to do with freewill, an invention
of purely academic interest.
The Chinese invented stirrups, and their hills
have been covered with horses ever since.

On a clear day, the ocean goes on forever.
Like Oedipus alone on a hilltop, this is a literary device
used to demonstrate the value of beachfront property.
Italian literature has never had room for gravity.
Like you or I, it has its life, returning always to the ocean.
It doesn’t care if it becomes something to cover a coffee table.
Strings pull real wooden horses. This is an example
of the imposition of freewill on inanimate objects.
There is nothing imaginary about the historic
importance of the stirrup’s role. On a clear day,
it is possible to see wooden storks clouding the air.

Noah Eli Gordon's most recent books are A Fiddle Pulled from the Throat of a Sparrow and Inbox. Novel Pictorial Noise (selected by John Ashbery for the 2006 National Poetry Series) will be out in September, and Figures for a Darkroom Voice, a collaborative book (with poet Joshua Marie Wilkinson and artist Noah Saterstrom), will be out in October. He writes a chapbook review column for Rain Taxi and teaches at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cristiana Baik

                                               BLUEGRASS IN A BOTTLE

It was under a pale disc

                                                        A moonlight
                                               sailor -
                                                        pie oysters,
                                                        siesta. Rose
                                               ripples, a pail
                                                        rim-lip, old
                                               scar, o blue -
                                               Moonlight sailor
                                                        from an old
                                               sea, old sea.

Cristiana Baik is currently beginning an MFA program at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She's taking printing classes with the Book Arts program, and has recently launched a small press :::the press gang::: with letterpress chapbooks by Juliana Spahr and Karen Volkman in the works, and a chapbook by Kate Bernheimer just published. Cristiana's poems have been nominated for the Best New Poets 2007 anthology.