Sunday, November 29, 2009

Allison Titus

[Department of the Lost and Found]

Whatever have you come here for, the basement
of a building near the turnpike.

Discards and burglaries pile
up by early afternoon, like always,

lord over this office of our winter’s machine: the wreckage
of the ship still wedged hull-deep

in the permanent glacier. The wreckage of the ship,
a bear suit, penknife and hunting knife and so on.

Statuette of a lion given over, who knows, put it with
the statuette of the penguin.

Poor drop-in with your grief-heavy
voice, take back your map of polar drift;

take back your mechanical leg.
Poor, dear drop-in with your grief-heavy

mouth, take back your McMurdo Station, and
the solitary southernmost ATM,

and the ice-breaker breaking the harbor, day in and day out,
this muscular opera of finders keepers.

Take back your overcast biding;

                      take back your weatherproof throat.

Allison Titus is the author of Sum of Every Lost Ship (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009) and the chapbook Instructions from the Narwhal (Bateau Press, 2007).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Matthew Henriksen


Only expectation makes sorry dwellings
However necessary destruction

I never tossed a brick out my third story window
I don’t want a stranger to expect

An apology from an open window
As I am unmanaged in this city

What needs naming needs mostly to remain unnamed
And stare blankly at a stranger staring blankly back

On ugly afternoons I fracture the light
That makes up this street and its bleak gloss

In the city’s empty frame I find the story of broken bottles
Unbroken and unnamed faces

In pieces of glass and in their eyes
Clouds pass

The city otherwise empty
An empty frame exactly what

Convinced me it is here
Before I am here

Before the river with filthy imaginings
Brought the city here with its belongings

Matthew Henriksen
publishes Cannibal Books with his wife Katy and co-edits Typo with Adam Clay. Recent poems appear online at Raleigh Quarterly, The Cultural Society and Front Porch. His chapbook Another Word is imminently forthcoming from DoubleCross Press Single Sheet Series.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nadia Herman Colburn


I don't know what made me do it. It was like getting up late at night and going out to find the moon, hung full, at the end of the block. Framed, between the low row of houses. As if it had been there, waiting, all the time.

When I came back inside, there was my life, enormous about me. It hung, as in a story, and then started to shrink. A girl with pigtails came into the room and reached up and grabbed the thing like the moon and started swaying with it back and forth, tossing it up and down.

I lay down, letting the page turn, for choice. Letting the light come up, as a decision. When I woke, you were there, at the head-end of the crib, still in your blankets. A small form. Your breath like someone escaping, then being caught.

As if this time it will be different. Up in the sky, intact. A small stranger opening her arms. Letting the thin silver slip through into the blank before the hands can clasp. Or, in the undergrowth, the little squirrels, or in the dark burrows, beneath the house.

Nadia Herman Colburn lives in Cambridge, MA where she teaches literature at MIT. Her poetry has appeared in many places including The New Yorker, Conjunctions, American Poetry Review and Slate. She is currently working on a meditative memoir about pregnancy, motherhood, social responsibility and art, pieces of which are forthcoming in the Southwest Review and Literary Imagination.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Noah Eli Gordon


                                 for (and after) Arda Collins

There is no ocean in your ear to it.
What there is is this muffin,
left a long time on the granite countertop.
It is a kind of decision. You decide
to write a new poem. Invent a better equipped kitchen.
Stainless steel appliances, a refrigerator
whose refusal to hum
is both frightening and reconciliatory.
It gets quieter.
It gets sort of orange. You think
of the word lavender. You have no choice but to.
There it is, just floating direly in front of your face.
How many types of ambiguity can a muffin conjure up?
Did you really ask yourself this? Between the questions,
as between two towering beachfront hotels, there are waves
upon waves upon waves passing through a tiny sliver of ocean.
What, exactly, do you think of the word lavender?
Do you think you can put your ear to it?
I’m trying to be completely unambiguous.
If I were to say, “The only thing inside
a muffin is muffin,” I would certainly mean it.

Noah Eli Gordon is the author of several collections, including Novel Pictorial Noise, which was selected by John Ashbery for the 2006 National Poetry Series, and subsequently chosen for the 2007 San Francisco State University Poetry Center Book Award. His essays, reviews, poetry, creative nonfiction and other itinerant writings can be found in recent and forthcoming issues of Bookforum, Boston Review, DenverQuarterly, Fence, The Massachusetts Review, Review of Contemporary Fiction, and elsewhere. He pens a quarterly column on chapbook culture for Rain Taxi: Review of Books, and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Jenny Drai



No light but morning the window’s
provision just blue cloak.

Rapture the optical that foliage persisting
stalwart some winter trees where I

tell you tales of human conditions and just blue
dawn fading into a white-blue grey sheet.

My life is not as it aught. Or is it?
You can, you can I think.

Just sit a few moments producing
unguent these spilling sky

drafts some drained colors and just
blighted leaves shaking wet cold oh

no fluttering like birds.


Stream in the reeds through the eyes and a light
step the meadow brings the braid to hair.

Strands in your voice speak over activity rippling
water to understand rain dripping hair in wet

bunches through trees. The human surface
struggles upward through a scattered float.

Shouts beside hair tendrils and the meek
light waiting. The drowning human

between me heard. Aloud a synthesis.
Aloud a larynx calls a stream

pushing orange sun below the reeds.
Paper boats burning water is tongues.

All day I’m close enough to catch
my your in mouthfuls.

Jenny Drai grew up near Chicago but has also lived in Hamburg and Munich before arriving in Oakland, California eight years ago. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Five Fingers Review, 580 Split, Spinning Jenny, Sorry for Snake, Court Green, and Monday Night as well as other journals.