Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nellie Bridge


I was thinking about silence and integers, how always
the first questions on the math part of achievement tests
were about whole numbers, integers, and natural numbers.

How integers go across zero, into the negatives.
How silence can be more than silent, become absorptive
on the back end of sound.

I have a satellite dish
that absorbs noises, laughs, and people’s gestures.
I use it to hide,
and defeat the world.
It works when I remember it’s there.
It goes the length of my face,
or maybe my whole body,
because I feel something walking along with me.

I’m so silent that silence becomes something else,
and I feel very peaceful.
It is different than holding my breath.
The satellite dish is eating
the people. But it doesn’t hold them in.
The dish always breathes them out again.
Like a pillow. It holds many secrets
past zero, on the negative side of sound.

When I wake up, the pillow has its own scent
and I’m afraid to ask it where we’ve been.

At the zoo, the snow leopards sleep in the afternoon sun.
Their spots are indistinct. I can’t tell
which way they are lying.

The owls also sleep, in low cages at “Birds of Prey.”
They must know about silence
and strollers, cameras, and pizza.
The night must be so different here.

The paths appearing as paths
because they’re empty.

Nellie Bridge grew up in Sequim, Washington and now lives in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in KNOCK, Painted Bride Quarterly, New Delta Review, and RealPoetik! She was a finalist for the Pleiades book prize in 2008.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jeffrey Little

Maarifa Street

(For Jon Hassell)

At the edge of the world, on Maarifa Street, children dream of a new
god’s pointless S.O.S. & march throughout the town under a ten-foot
tall Rumi-On-A-Stick It is baseball season, & they play no baseball,
suicide is passé, the parlor game of another generation, & delinquency

has yet to slip into its spats & introduce itself as a viable pastime. So
they sit here in these shag trees & they wait. This is the sound of time
passing, the open secret of the hills. Dust & dirt & dry as a bone meal
aperitif. They are already older than the rain, than the idea of the rain,

mock clouds circling, dust in the brain stem, dust in the socket, empty
water buckets plotted about in long lines. Siroccos furnace, & a yard
bird sets to scratching an escape route into the chicken coop floor. In
the twilight when the temperatures bottom out to flatline at slow-burn

the village opens up its trap door & dangles a slide rule from a string.
Crones tell of a dervish that one day will begin to knuckleball & then
cross over, meanwhile they have the caves, when the bats clear there
are still the caves. The best two out of three builds a better machine.

Song for Johnny Dyani

From a swatch of African veldt: Johannesburg, risen, along with hundreds
of tin hats laid out as a lane. The witchdoctor’s son & beautiful obstinacy
of an Ark strolling in ostinato spirited after. Reckoning as the crow flies
it’s about 8000 miles from here to New York City, another 4000 to Berlin,

& the electrons shed by Dyani are everywhere in between, holding court,
a mighty foundation poured joyous despite. We cannot abide a philosophy
of silence. On a corrugated rooftop a little girl singing Mbizo! is throwing
diamonds at the sun, in lion-shadow, Johnny Dyani a river behind his bass.

Jeffrey Little is the author of Five & Dime, The Book of Arcana, & The Hotel Sterno. He also has two chapbooks on view at Mudlark. Along with artist Karoline Wileczek, he is the co-author of two children who have each elevated mayhem into a recombinant art form. Jeffrey is a Delaware Division of the Arts Poetry Fellow, and an all around swell egg.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Karyna McGlynn

The Room Folded in Gelid Light

there was a wrought iron hole in my body
from my bed the retractor looked far away

I fingered the grillwork, the cool hard
lips of the thing someone said had teeth

might bite my finger, somebody said
don’t touch now, germs, in any case

mea culpa, what was I doing trapped
in a storm drain in the first place

somebody said I must be patient now
patient as patio furniture

it was out of my hands
there were eggs stuck in my iron mouth

my head swayed, an airy addendum
the soft shells pulsed like shrapnel

they were lodged in my coal hole
somebody said say you are only a house

I am only a house, good, now breathe

Karyna McGlynn was born and raised in Austin, TX and received her MFA from the University of Michigan. Her first book, I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, won the 2008 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry from Sarabande Books. She’s the author of three chapbooks: Scorpionica, Alabama Steve, and, forthcoming, Small Shrines. Her poems have recently appeared in Fence, Denver Quarterly, Diode, Octopus, Typo, Caketrain and Anti-. Karyna teaches at Concordia University and will be the Claridge Writer-in-Residence at Illinois College this fall. She edits L4: The Journal of the New American Epigram with Adam Theriault.