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vol-i-poetry


POETRY

BOAAT VOL. I


JESSICA COMOLA

A Lucky Bonny Yawning

I Am Naked, I Need Some Specifics

Yet No, Not So

My Gut Is Blue Ash, I Finger It

Curtis Perdue

The Ship-Breakers

The Ship-Breakers

Laura Wetherington

Epilogue

My Excuse: I Had an Abortion. What's Yours?

Stephen Danos

Badge of Accomplishment

Birthright

Waterlogged

Passing through The Arches


Callista Buchen & Amy Ash

Building as Cradle

Flight as Conversation

Shape as Echo

Connor Grogan

I Begin to Look for Work

I Watch a Training Video or Be Careful, Accidental Explosions Could Occur

Everyone in a Dream Is Yourself

Nathan Kemp

from Gnomic Verse

I Found the Root of the Trees


EZEKIEL BLACK

Sweep Away

r_ive

John Ebersole

Moonblanched Waste

John Deere

Until My Stomach Is a Microchip I'm Not Impressed

Nate Logan

Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed

Punks in the Beerlight

The Plot Thickens

Smith & Jones Forever


William Walsh

A Set of Objects, a Situation, a Chain of Events Which Shall Be the Formula of a Particular Emotion; Such That When the External Facts, Which Must Terminate in Sensory Experience, Are Given, the Emotion Is Immediately Evoked

Boy Toat

As If

Joe Nicholas

The Light at the End

When I Came To

One Day

Where Eagles Have Been

 
 

Jessica Comola


Jessica Comola


JESSICA COMOLA

HOOKKKK.jpeg
 

A LUCKY BONNY YAWNING

 

A far piss scent of houses and their clovers.

A pecke in the crowne.

A pink body a sound sleeper.

 

Text faithfully to the original basically. A devil’s right

and left hands with their devil-dread.

 

I am drab. I breach chasms.

A girl is Sacke & Sugar.

 

Hup, Hypnolord: take thus your Bratty

Pretty Bunny.

 

Girls, and their frontispieces of five-fingers.

 

Item: the eating of Head Copy.

Item: the smoking of a dead man’s tooth.

Item: spit down the length of your own body.

 

Large sweet know-how, say nothing.

I make a tighter and tighter sound. 


I AM NAKED, I NEED SOME SPECIFICS

 

All my lovely—all my friends: above all you do not have a consciousness,

a description for this result is currently

led away by an animal

and the animal a god

and the animal leading

a vowed child

with a veil across its face

over steeply dipping rock.

The lollies I like are vowed children.

 

Our new blood vessels bud out from dilated

vascular beds, rendering the organism sensitive to a serum

by a series of injections, a signal containing thousands of bits.

 

We’re running but we run on

battery powder, a rabbit-apple with one thin red ear I have one thin red ear

(my bud-secret) telling real tiger’s milk.

I make a cheap sweet paste to eat out all my noise.

 

To make up the nutritional deficit

there was a foam god made to come out of his mouth

the foam was vaulting horses

in a color smear

in a filtration bath

in a bath of half-lita darling’s peep-loves

whose first act of devotion is always consecration of themselves.

A wreathed animal led our blind selves away.

 

We build and fall back. That is, we slide down the side of a mountain because a mountain is a force of motion. And I speak and I bless you and I say unto you this.

 

Someone locked the hellmouth behind us

and we went up by the seam of the hogback

the lolicon psalter opening before us and saying:

they pierce my hands and feet

that I may show my bones

on bent knees.

I'm born up in their hands.


YET NO, NOT SO

 

This is my Hi-Skin slung long over me. I can drink without spilling, I’m whatever age you’d like me to be.

Each copy should differ in one small way from its referent. I retain my lonely-girl. The face, the white of the eyes.

All I want is a little one in good used condition garlanded like a bride. To each of you who loves all the girls, the holes in the girl, the girl, we look forward to your application.

[The ability of a system to handle a growing amount of work or its ability to enlarge to accommodate that growth vs. endlessly small body]

Things begin to blow apart. The bells in my gut bunch, the lambskin. I can be a toy sister with tiny pink fists.

A wolf is lifting its electric drawl. There’s something horrible in my smell. Now this is a vision of what? I can be a life-sized girl and I can purchase sugar from a shop window.

Nothing but a mountain. I can carry a whole Holy Mountain on my back.


MY GUT IS BLUE ASH, I FINGER IT

 

This project provides instructions on how to possess a place wherein you are at the hexagram, dead center. I’ve drawn the hexagram. I can count and spell. Constantly new vessels are budding from their beds with uncovered faces.

Superdreadnought! Soon all my lollies shall be as Holy Mountain: they cannot remove but will abideth forever. You won’t want to come here. Don’t come here, go and tell your friends.

I lay the lips of their two graves together and pour the one into the other, while the other, being so light, floats and runs over.

The first thing I see is a red-topped tree. When I say now I mean now. My heart is a dipslope: my words shall enter my own heart and my sternum shall break. Little kink.

Hijacks, attacks, seizures. I’m a Holy Living Creature. I can put motion into matter. I’ve often crushed lumps of sugar in my mouth whereby my interior appears filled with electric sparks.


Jessica's work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Anti-, Everyday Genius, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Journal, Eccolinguistics, and Eratio. 

 

 

 

 

Curtis Perdue


Curtis Perdue


Curtis Perdue

 

The Ship-Breakers

 

they took us to the end, where the radios whined, the propellers rusted 
 
they showed us where to strangle the light 
 
they, of course, hoarded even the worst parts 
 
the hands they carried, like small corroded animals, twitched 
 
they warned us about cities of dead ships, beached and gutted 
 
they fought over magnificent anchors 
 
for weeks coral and oil were in their hair 
 
they played drums with the bones of the drowned 
 
at the end of each day, they hugged, for minutes at a time, the enormous hulls 
 
their voices thundered away 
 
they peeled off their masks and sank in the muddy tide 
 
they would looked down at their bodies, as though they had none 

 

The Ship-Breakers

 

sounds of gull 
air tangled 
 
in the clouds 
repeating 
 
repeating life 
gone tidal 
 
in the maritime 
skull growl 
 
harshness heard 
among the star 
 
in the sand’s 
skeleton slosh 
 
they can 
pretend to knot 
 
the knowing 
into worship 
 
the world into 
wordlessness 


Curtis Perdue is the author of two chapbooks: We're Happy Our Original Dance (forthcoming from Zoo Cake Press) and You Will Island (H_NGM_N, 2012). He teaches and edits inter|rupture.

Laura Wetherington


Laura Wetherington


LAURA WETHERINGTON

 

Epilogue

after Paul Verlaine 
 
 
The sky all around 
her kisser has sisters 
who quit. All splendor left in irony. 
 
Her pollen made poison, 
or every girl 
descending the stamen while the air becomes acrid. 
 
One minute she’s pushing 
a basket, one hand 
in her coat: in that minute her chest becomes music. 
 
The horizontal 
plane of unused song 
becomes the drowned out gardens don’t listen. 
 
She’s singing still but 
the wind dignifies her eternal results 
by denuding the birds of their feathers and, oh, it delivers. 
 
The sunless arbor 
makes clear how 
dense the balance is for the wind, inclined to cadence.


My excuse: I had an abortion. What’s yours? 

after Paul Verlaine 

 
One can’t begin to assume how much room there is in a room. 
The joy which overtook you, 
my friend, had roots in my abdomen. 
The desire I thought 
 
the desire brimming dream broke down 
when I tried to draw it out. 
None of my best enemies 
had even the appetite 
for vocal violence—their horror 
at the living lacerations 
and the local nightmare! 
Little limbs overrode the afterbath. 
My robes felt ablebodied. 
I matured. 
 
I could grow back the legs I never knew I'd lost. 
My palms felt softer and the training 
overcame all ways to water. 
But disquiet is a problem of dialect 
and sex is an unusual number. 
In my torso, the open mouths of all kinds of 
dead informants. I’ll pardon your 
please, roll back your torment, torch 
all the long confessional letters, only, 
stop leaving me messages.


Laura Wetherington’s recent work appears in inter𝖨rupture, VOLT, FENCE, Denver Quarterly, The Colorado Review, Mrs. Maybe, and Drunken Boat, among others. Her first book, A Map Predetermined and Chance (Fence Books 2011), was selected by C.S. Giscombe for the National Poetry Series. She teaches creative writing at Sierra Nevada College.

Stephen Danos


Stephen Danos


STEPHEN DANOS

 
fish fillet.jpeg
 
 

Badge of Accomplishment

for P.D. & H.D.

 

 

Demise is linked to either the provision

or renouncement of offspring.

 

I built a statue of loathing out

of cornmeal, so let’s eat it to death.

 

When scientists splice new species

my imagination shrinks and expands

 

like metal heated and cooled simultaneously.

I blast adult contemporary at your citadel.

 

The soothsayer murmured I should

with his leaflet tongue, after dismantling

 

a praying mantis, then putting it together

piece by piece like a pistol

 

and that’s the moment I knew

I would own a franchise                  or be

a seahorse without a pouch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stretch rough out of mythology | into a green denim mindset | I pierce my nose with a beetle | I need to be your erotica | infidelity is a forming clay | in a fitting room I try on honesty | the best way to read poems | is over tea kettle screech | or boiling lobsters alive | the best time to fuck | is after a self-entitled interlude | after you escape | from the bramble of argument | step into the crock pot and scream for a day 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d pat you on the back if it weren’t wet cement

You smell like a church | where prayers give birth

to incense and incensement

 

Say you have a territory              I have a territory    

            and together we                            fortify

 

The scent of your swivet

swivels a heart transplant       Stitch up your chest—

your privates are showing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Replacement theory rules my family crest

Morning crunches the numbers into brittle paste

 

Existence can be canker sores or

a low moon swaddled in a sunset’s aura

 

It is true that newborns

are corpses in the making        please don’t feel bad

 

The stars are dilated eyes appraising

your abdication              your barren throne

 

Bluntness through sharpened war     

A knot of flesh and skeleton

you brood over falling

upon your sword      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The issue becomes why and pity from parents

The pity becomes a lounge full of corpses

The corpses become impetus

 

[nothing happens] [nothing happens]

 

Our family’s infectious condolences

 

I take notes on foraging          

You fill in moats with soil

for months          until you confide

trying is a hide and seek

Too many ghosts in the graveyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Des Moines with     Natalie      Kyle     Melissa

we painted carrier pigeons gold-ingot

and talked about extinction

with a museum curator

enthusiastic about his acuity

about unspeakable human conquests

 

 

 

 

I’ve never felt less deserving

Uninvited guest       there’s just not enough

to go around   

 

 I cannot imagine the stress

                                                           

         of your infidelity | asphyxiation

 

Older computers incompatible

with the latest software | systemic operation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luna moths strafe the field at night

One lands on your netted palm      presents

its wound-like eyespots     You panic

 

You peel lime-green wings

to flavor your gin and tonic

 

Strident need for creation       

Migraines at the core of routine

 

I feel your pain      or I’m unaffected

as if you are pouring hot water

over my hypothermic hands

 

I find myself championing

immaculate conception     despite

logic bashing its head

against a wall for attention

           

If we are accumulations

of choices and chance

I want to parent a rarity

 

with progress | without progress


BIRTHRIGHT 

 

third born | where do you get your ideas | the idea | that somehow you | little piggy | are deep-rooted in the dirt of dominance | or better than | the rail of ants you want as your immediate family | brothers costumed as an elderly pair for Halloween | sagging masks | nightmarish potential | I’m allergic to silver and mercury | fast-forward | to snorting bumps of needle-nosed speed | admired your breakneck | banged your head into the wall | theatrics | closed mouth until your breath was purple | theatrics | have you ever grown accustomed to a lifestyle | no one can provide | my brothers follow your hearts into war games | grill your sorrows on the stones | under argumentative sunshine | sometimes I am the play that cannot be named | or else | consequences | I went from Mortal Kombat | button mashing fatality | to a sedentary lifetime | please don’t get up | unsex me here | ambiguous as whiplash 


WATERLOGGED 


for the last time I breathe scales | I weight balance opposite havoc | as a series of dainty chromosomes | no control | rain floods pores | I tend to the houseplants | but they wilt as if by flame | no control | how much komodo dragon do you think you are | shaky eyes shank me please | I use your musical tastes | cassette taped our communication | I think maybe | Pink Floyd Morphine Living Colour Wu-Tang | auditioning for my right ear | would covalent-bond | no control | you told us you were Batman Jesus walking the straight white line | them dumb kids sneaking out of Sunday school | broken axles | no control | you’re freaking me out | like I won an award for giving the best performance | of permanence | no control | no changing the channel | I tend to the pools | of brown water under the houseplants | the paper towels are not | as absorbent as advertised | like tossing water off a capsizing boat with a bucket | sinking in ocean


PASSING THROUGH THE ARCHES 

 
Violet sunset means we have no right 
to our annoyances or the vehemence of 
professionalism. Ten thousand volts 
                           of domestic power, cleaning 
 
dustbunnies off the busted hardwood. The life 
we choose despite everyone else’s advice means 
it belongs. Never felt more alive 
 
than these porcinis. The average person 
pees two cups worth per toilet visit. I don’t know how 
to sweat. I don’t know sweeteners. To be presented 
a horse head and say 
                        This is the life. Some days are worth 
 
saving. Some days are conjunctions 
eating our most common speak. 
 
A cat moaning its dull ambulance moan. 
A weekend spent indoors marathoning. 
A word that once meant more than receiving 
 
the gospel. I was given a drive 
from Portland. Passing through the arches 
of eight rainbows on I-5, through 
                                                 their ends. 
The cleavage of ROYGBIV:         Bon voyage. 
 
                                                 The only color 
after I cracked                            the frozen 
creek            with my child-weight      was violet- 
lipped. If you reference every dream 
dictionary, every astrology coupling 
                        blows kisses to itself. 
 
This re-enactment is (was) the (a) life. 
           A see-through parable of violet 
deception and cholesterol.                      All this time 
spent well          perfecting 
                                                   collateral damage 


Stephen Danos is author of the poetry chapbooks Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming 2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Barn Owl Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Forklift Ohio, Laurel Review, Sixth Finch, Southeast Review, Transom, and various other places. He is Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the online poetry journal Pinwheel.

 

Callista Buchen & Amy Ash


Callista Buchen & Amy Ash


CALLISTA BUCHEN

&

AMY ASH

 
 
 

Building as Cradle

               support, frame, structure, framework, 
               underpinning, foundation, crib, hold 

At the base, knees and shins, what isn't bruised 
or wounded, the slightest movement of sling or swing 
carves breath, breath, breath. What contains 
this small frame, spindle and spine 
long like spirals of pulled glass, the distance 
splayed before you, and reaching. Embrace 
each sharp point, walls sweated into elbows, embers 
burrowed into floorboards, ambered into ash. 
Suspended between root and lift, you and heat 
this shadow, this shelter, this drift. Only after 
do you realize the shadows are pilgrims, the columns 
rows of ghosts. Hollow ribcage, welcome them 
with buffered pulse, crowd out the echo 
that sounds, then splinters against bone 
fragments of ritual, journey. What protects 
this home, what breaks, what we build and build again.


Flight as Conversation

         trip, journey, voyage, hop, 
         tour, talk, exchange, natter 
 
“I wanted to ask you about flight or fracture,” 
 
what the wing articulates with its dip and lift.” 
“I imagine thermals as crowds, fluxes followed 
 
and ignored, the rutted path to height.” 
“These crest clouds below, gristled cartilage, they stretch 
 
and connect. The compacted vertebrae of the mountains.” 
“Everywhere, body.” “What of the hollow bones?” 
 
“And the dark shape that glides over the backs of clouds?” 
“The bones, narrow, not marrowless, infused with air, 
 
that dark bird circling. It hovers, hungry.” 
"Even static, I lilt, absorbing the swoops and dives, 
 
at sparrows dodging between branches, hungry, too." 
“What are we to do, then, open-mouthed and grounded?” 
 
“Let’s unravel our voices like kites.” “Wingless, we walk 
still connected to sky.” 

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Shape as Echo  

         form, figure, silhouette, contour 
         resonance, repeat, boom, ricochet 

We could be a cave, caverns and limestone, the steady pulse of minerals into shapes, rivers of stone. What grows around us, or inside, what shapes this formlessness, our breath crystallized, cast into pattern. Rustle and swerve, these shadows exhaled in dancing figures, flickers that bend the walls just beyond our eyes. What we almost see. Like fingers, shapes divining water, metal. Reflections, shifting and misshapen, call to us, splice themselves into fissures, into absence. Can you hear it, this gap, the fall of droplets, the way cells twist and split, grow and divide, shape the invisible into monument. Arc and angle, curve and line, contour and bone, this shape we will learn by feel, by form, by movement. We yell into the darkness and wait for the voice to find its way back, multiplied and choral, screams pushed back into our mouths. 


Callista Buchen is the poetry editor for Beecher's and the winner of DIAGRAM's essay contest and the Langston Hughes award. Her work has appeared in Gigantic, Gargoyle, Bellevue Review, Arsenic Lobster, and The Literary Review. 

Amy Ash is a Pushcart nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American poets prize, and her poems have been published in various journals, including Mid-American Review, Salamander, Harpur Palate, and Prick of the Spindle. Her book The Open Mouth of the Vase (winner of the 2013 Cider Press Review Book Award) will be published in January 2015.

Connor Grogan


Connor Grogan


 

CONNOR GROGAN

 
 

I BEGIN TO LOOK FOR WORK


In the grove of trees each with someone's name

I can forget what it is to work, to wrench

my worth from someone else's hands.


Looking for work my brain

begins to melt. Molded

to match the other faces. I


cleanup nice. I put on slacks. I trim

& shave & bring my best can-do

attitude. I fix it to my face. Facet


my ears, facet my eyes, faucet

me delighted to the sink. Sink

me back into well-worn behaviors:


         I spend too much time

         picking out a movie

         with my parents, something

         about maps & Georgia

         & a weathervane.

         I begin to understand

         the seasons in terms 

         of the chores they bring,

         in the order of how much

         I hate them: Raking, mowing,

         weeding, shoveling—


Best to bust the faucet out

& take my faucet to the field.


I turn the tap in an attempt

to unfasten my eyes & ears


after the dinner shift. It is

probably nothing like being


in a boat. Back in the car, eyes

closed, ears ringing. The field.


I WATCH A TRAINING VIDEO OR BE CAREFUL,

ACCIDENTAL EXPLOSIONS COULD OCCUR

 

In the small room for orientation

I retreat into a novel & rip this message

from beyond the rim: Be careful,

accidental explosions could occur.

 

I lock my starry helmet into place.

In my suit's circuitry, small shocks

; sparks; heating; burning, electrical

 

smells. I can't be always the moon

man making my own million year

footprints in the dust free of the wind

& the rain & I could go on & on & on.


EVERYONE IN A DREAM IS YOUR SELF

 

In a dream I'm in

the field & someone

reaches out their hand

 

& opens up my chest.

In the dream I have

a see-through plastic heart.

 

Someone takes it out

& reroutes one arterial

tube. This way the heart

 

will dump its juices into

only its own self. Endlessly clear,

thick liquid. Engine powering

 

only its own self. My own narrow self-

absorbed experience. How can I know

anything else? The architectures of my

 

atrium will atrophy if this

aortic feedback loop doesn't

find itself interrupted. I'm

 

a vain man

& I don't

reciprocate.

 

I'm just an asshole with

lots of opinions. It's easy

to be self-deprecating. Easier

 

than moving purposefully

through the field or through

the grove. I died & I shed

 

my skin but it

wasn't my

skin.


Connor lives in Amherst, Massachusetts where he attends Hampshire College and studies words. He spends way too much time indoors & has been writing the same poem since the Halloween of 2010. He hopes to one day stop owing so much money. Connor's work has appeared at The Legendary & is forthcoming from Willard & Maple.

Bonnie Roy & Megan Kaminski


Bonnie Roy & Megan Kaminski


Bonnie Roy

&

Megan Kaminski

 
 
 

FOUR POEMS from CODA


like clouds on the back 
of the car like the phone 
every night 
patterns we’ve been through 
in dollhouse lives 
   tint silver tint crystal 
chrysanthemum one way 
alyssum astrantia cedar berry 
over smoke in the secret garage 
in the long lung swell 
   memories stretched 
behind distinct flowers 
snap back    walkways 
rose cracked    scent dragged 
none of these policemen 
are policemen promised 
every unmarked lonely 
sunglasses 
    stratiform for fifty miles  


stranglehold of debt and 
dishpan   sun dimmed 
leather cracked hands 
into dirt 
into mulch 
into nitrogen-rich matter 
   morning song sweet 
honeyed lisp sweat-soaked 
grass grown thick greeting 
   garbled mouths 
   marbled tongue 
mother ghosting prairie 
plain veil     passes revoked 
season extended 
this light no shadow 
this call no chirp 
whale carcass on the shore 
worm bodies on the sidewalk 
the day churns without 
  without  


signed in clocked in 
to nautical tote bags 
   each monogrammed 
   not yet splashed 
   in hurry back 
all neutrals 
stitch the pastime 
   real times scrape 
plants out the driveway 
these leaves no left 
this luck no lift 
no really    now step light 
   touch soft 
little knee drop 
fourth floor heels talk 
whisper and echo 
wander and anchor 
         what wider 
         what ardor 
a lovely less 
hoped for  


more dredged than drunk 
anchored off shore 
downwind downstream 
tighten wrenches stack 
        box on box 
millennial wander off-center 
plain-ward sod-begotten 
night terror and tremor 
kitty warble out windows 
hair matted beneath hat 
another round another turn 
five to win twelve to place 
nine to show     jackets 
lined in silk lined in lace 
show cold call 
show cord drag 
mold dough into stones 
press ash onto face 


Megan Kaminski is the author of Desiring Map (Coconut Books, 2012) and seven chapbooks of poetry. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Kansas and curates the Taproom Poetry Series in downtown Lawrence, KS. 

Bonnie Roy teaches and studies literature in Davis, California. Her poetry has appeared in Diagram, Caketrain, and other journals. She recently collaborated with Joshua Clover on his translation of Jean-Marie Gleize's Tarnac: A Preparatory Act.

Nathan Kemp


Nathan Kemp


NATHAN KEMP

fish4 (1).png
 

from

GNOMIC VERSE 


I circle 
& snap 
 
the last 
sassafras 
 
root is 
not here 
 
if I am 
a strong boy 
 
will I get 
a new name? 
 
that’s my dream 
to be working 
 
with a name 
held out 
 
in front of me 
like a carrot 
 
for a horse 
I saddle up 
 
& wait 
for a stranger 
 
to tell me 
where to go 
 
the forest 
ranger 
 
the jackrabbit 
the deer 
 
who sleeps 
on my back 
 
porch covered 
from the sun 


I Found the Root of the Trees 

 

I guess my question is, where do they come from? Now I am looking for the black bear, alfalfa fields. This does not seem normal to me, especially here in the usual place. I ride in an abandoned tree, then build a mature black bear. Bear sitting on my right hand suddenly stops. This is how I check my pulse. I refuse, I look forward to spoiling death. Again, without endangering the dried dirt for me. Lack of hands, they cannot raise themselves. I hear. Do not do anything more for me again. 


Nathan Kemp lives in Akron, Ohio. His recent work appears or is forthcoming in Cream City Review, H_NGM_N, & Columbia Poetry Review. He’s an associate editor for Whiskey Island & a poetry editor for Barn Owl Review.

Ezekiel Black


Ezekiel Black


EZEKIEL BLACK

 

Sweep Away 

 
to 
end the era 
dominated by 
 
tables—a bold, 
even radical depar- 
ture from 
 
formality and statis 
—would 
reduce 
 
the rich 
to 
lint 
 
They 
 
use the middle-class 
like 
s_o 
 
much 
ice 
 
Mr. police[man] 
is 
already 
eating 

l_E_g 


r_ive 


will 
 
red ink 
 
bubble 
 
in a 
quagmire 
 
swollen 
 
as a 
rat? ink 
 
reflected 
 
on 
the 
remains? 

rat 
 
this 
 
d_e_a_d 
 
tells us 
more 
 
lurk over that horizon: sooner or 
later we’re going to have to 
 
find 




 
. There’s only 
ink 
in the midst 
, for now. 


Ezekiel Black is a Lecturer of English at The University of North Georgia. Before this position, he attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received an MFA in Creative Writing. His poetry and reviews have appeared in Verse, Sonora Review, Tarpaulin Sky, InDigest, Drunken Boat, CutBank, iO, Umbrella Factory Magazine, Barrelhouse Magazine, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and elsewhere. Lastly, he edits the audio poetry journal Pismire.

Candice Wuehle


Candice Wuehle


CANDICE WUEHLE

 

EARTH 


X 1 
 
There are only a few lives I think 
you really could have done justice: deposed 
dictator, abused queen. The night 
our cat’s body is cremated, he informs me 
your response to the death reflected exactly 
your mother’s response to the death of 
her husband. She lost all 
composure. No, 
No, no, no, no. 
 
X 2 
 
I never told you this. 
It is Take Your Daughter to Work Day and I am reading 
a Sweet Valley Twins book when he taps my knee and smiles, 
points to the mouth 
of the telephone to the coast 
he is speaking to. Lifts a finger, 
and lets it drop. 
Then he rages. I laugh. He just flipped a 
Switch. 
 
X 3 
 
My hands are my slaves. I protect and care for them 
and in return they articulate my 
will for me. What does Life mean 
to you who with your hands do not even brush your own hair? 
My slaves work past exhaustion. Shake and weaken. Send strong distress 
to the bicep, to the cervical centers and still I 
won’t let them down. I once lived under a bar called Ground X: 
so much slapping. 
 
X 4 
 
In your last texts 
you finally revel 
in apology: CAND, LOVEU LUVON5 I MESSED UP. You are the last one left who 
knows how to make me open 
my mouth to slavver nothing, who knows how to hang. 
 
X 5 
 
You said I was the only woman you ever knew well 2 
 
who was certain of her life 
and I wondered if you meant to invent your own monster 
just to meet me. I implore 
myself to imagine myself 
as you were in the aisle of St. Mary’s 
the afternoon of your mother’s funeral, 
a sibling upholding you on either side. 
If I knew you well I would tell you at the axis of my life, there 
is nothing. No hinge to come 
unhinged, from. Instead 
I imagine my first beautiful acting master 
repeating these words: 
Your feet are on the floor 
Your feet are on the floor 
Your feet are on the floor 
and you in the impossible audience 
a pile of unblown ash, odd 
Last Ember.


Candice Wuehle is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in Iowa City, Iowa where she has taught rhetoric and creative writing at The University of Iowa. She additionally holds a Masters in Literature from the University of Minnesota. Her work can be found in “The Volta”, “Fairy Tale Review”, “BlazeVOX”, “SOFTBLOW”, “Smoking Glue Gun”, “Quarter After Eight”, “Similar:Peaks::” and “The Sonora Review”. Candice’s first chapbook, “cursewords”, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press this spring.

John Ebersole


John Ebersole


JOHN EBERSOLE

 

Moonblanched Waste


Once in blackgrass I hollered at 

what I believed to be the moon falling

but it was a flashlight nearing my face.


Meg Allen is shooting butch females

in the Bay Area & those women have faces 

dusted with it’s about fucking time. Currently

the Jiffy Lube in Flourtown is serving AA meeting grade coffee. 


The waiting area provides a view of Planet Fitness 

where all the heads rhyme on treadmills

& the flock of whitebellied birds above the gym 

are like nicks in blue cement. Someone l love 


has never had their face blownoff. I’ll just be 

standing there & suddenly smell or taste 

elementary school pizza. Although I hate little boys 

I cannot deny the fact I was one. All boys 


grin like demons at their mothers. When I was born 

a poisonous gas was released from a glasstube 

& it’s why today I love something as crucial 

as professional sports. If I am caught claiming 


I am going to explore the possibility

between memory & the present

beat me mercilessly with a curtainrod 

& throw us together in a dumpster in Orlando.


John Deere

 

John Deere kills his tractor’s motor.

John Deere is hot.

John Deere is cleanshaven.

John Deere climbs off his tractor.

John Deere books a flight.

John Deere once chewed the head right off a hawk.

John Deere could take the flight attendant.

John Deere is standing on Lorimer in Brooklyn & waiting.

John Deere is hot.

John Deere sees his hat on the head of Millennial Beard.

There is no more Brooklyn.

John Deere has taken his hat & put it on his head.

John Deere returns home.

John Deere rides his tractor with Brooklyn atop his head.

Millennial Beard’s manual incompetence used to be precious.

Millennial Beard offers chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth.

Millennial Beard once soaked pickles in brine but got bored.

Millennial Beard picks up a new hat at a boutique called Guillotine.

John Deere hangs Brooklyn on a peg in the mudroom.

John Deere is quiet & easy.

John Deere fixes a lightswitch because it’s broke.

John Deere flips the lightswitch.

John Deere is autonomous as the room lights up.

John Deere has an impoverished fantasy life. 


Until My Stomach is a Microchip I'm Not Impressed

 

That academics now publish papers

on the cognitive value of playing outdoors

is sort of sad & fucked up.

If toilets flushed forwards

 

there’d be more poets. I can listen to

Berryman read his Dreams all day long.

If you've experienced trauma chances are

the things that wake most people up from dreams

 

dont wake you up.

I once had to watch an infant’s throat sliced open over & over again

while gold leaves flew out of its neck.

I yearn for anonymity & fame at the same time.

 

A couple in bed reading their books: ahhh.

A couple in bed watching two screens:

human nature has fundamentally changed!

An Albert Goldbarth poem is a child's mouth

 

vandalized by food.

So much poetry today is a bored guillotine.

Is microchip a pizza topping?

I walked away from the selfcheckout machine

 

as she was in midsentence. Punch me

if I begin a sentence There's a study that shows...

When I step into a CVS or Walgreens

I expect to die there. That martial arts studio

 

In the stripmall

next to Radio Shack

& Best Nails

Has closed. 


John Ebersole is the poetry editor for The Philadelphia Review of Books and his work has either appeared and disappeared or is soon to appear in Octopus, HTML GIANT, Bateau, Southern Humanities Review, storySouth, The Battersea Review, Coldfront, and died elsewhere. He also hosts, along with Jen Fitzgerald, New Books in Poetry.

Nate Logan


Nate Logan


NATE LOGAN

man fishing1.jpeg
 

Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed 

 

Dear Nathan— 
Caribbean wasn’t the same 
without you. Every day lounging 
in candy cane beach chairs. 
Through complimentary telescopes 
we watched Monster Island 
which seemed so far away and north. 
A bartender told us a joke: What kind 
of animal needs to smoke a cigarette? 
We didn’t know and he never delivered 
the punch line, but he made a mean zombie, 
for which we tipped well. 
                                Best, Dave 
 
Dave— 
You wouldn’t believe the shit 
people say at the optometrist’s. 
Every magazine is Southern Living
which seems antithetical to eye care. 
Not sure what “Monster Island” means— 
are you trying to be funny with that line? 
I think this year is going to skip spring 
altogether. I find myself spending 
more and more time in the backyard, 
just feeling grass blades in my feet. 
I think the bartender was attempting 
to be philosophical with you, that’s all. 
It’s easy to wax poetic at a resort— 
happens to me all the time. 
                               Talk soon, Nate 


Punks in the Beerlight 

 
Dear Nate, 
I loathe avocado, so how 
can anyone expect me 
to give guacamole the college 
try. I’ve never understood 
that phrase. I also never got 
alt-country—is that genre 
something like muttering 
I love you to the max, instead 
of I’d flip my car over 
a million times for you? 
Dave told me you didn’t go 
to the Caribbean. He said 
he was floored by the number 
of salsa jars. What a thing 
to take the top clean off of 
his balding skull. Not the dialect 
of crabs. Not the translucent 
sea. Not the booty of rum. 
I’m sure you would’ve seen 
a bird with an eye-patch. 
That’s number one on my 
bucket list. Did I ever tell you 
that my grandfather liked 
to call Old Country Buffet 
the Old Bucket of Blood? 
I don’t think he was ever 
in a punk band, but that’s 
the most punk thing I’ve ever 
heard anyone say. 
                                All my love, Fran 


The Plot Thickens 

 
Clementine’s car is dead in North Dakota. An albino buffalo looks on, munching grass. 
And there I am, riding my bike to Grandma’s house. 
 
Shane takes an important phone call after eating a bag of chips. 
I am a monkey in a lab cage that Shane has injected with a virus. I like eating nuts. 
 
Two friends are sitting in a coffee shop. One looks up from his black hole latte to the other and reaches
           for his mustache. 
I don’t think you know how long it took me to grow this mustache and how attached I’ve become to it.
           That’s what I should say. 
 
Ben has adopted an interest in Canadian citizenship. 
Nathan Logan lies on a beach in France. “No one plays hockey here,” he says to himself. 
 
Franny attaches a leash to her cat. They are going for a walk. 
Royce attaches a leash to his daughter. I ask him why he is doing this. He says they are going for a
          walk. 
 
A bottle of A1 is opened and inhaled before class starts. 
In the spices aisle at Whole Foods, a panic attack creeps up on me. Was it the nutmeg I needed. Was it 
          cinnamon. 
 
A whole day passes and no one enters the hair salon. 
I’m staring at my phone. No Google searches make me smile. 
 
James gets angry when people say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” James gets more than angry—he wants to kill. 
          When he got shot with a dart from a blowgun, people said “hindsight is 20/20” and this made
          him really fucking angry. 
After hearing James’s story, I invent the term “fishshit nuts.” 
 
The child jumps in the lake, a cannonball. 
I squeeze my wife’s hand. Tiny waves struggle to meet our feet. 


Smith & Jones Forever 

 
The fist bump went horribly wrong. 
Now it’s a .gif that lives in the hearts 
 
and file folders of twenty-somethings 
everywhere. Yeah, I saw it too. No, 
 
it’ll never get old. The tour guide said 
there was no evidence that cowboys 
 
communicated this way when moseying. 
You said it would’ve been cool if they had, 
 
but the tour guide said no. The coolest thing 
was sleeping outside without a tent. 
 
Now that’s fucking stupid, you said, 
and we were promptly escorted out. 
 
There was nothing in the brochure 
about how many songs were composed 
 
on the dead plains, the number of lone stars 
embroidered on buckles. Things are different 
 
now, but it’s still more dangerous to travel among 
best friends. New plan: we'll hitchhike our way 
 
from Odessa to Houston. I’ll count blown-out tires 
up to 47, then I’m going to wake you up. 


Nate Logan‘s recent reviews and work can be found in Diagram, Forklift, Ohio, and Ninth Letter. He’s the editor of Spooky Girlfriend Press and a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at the University of North Texas. 

William Walsh


William Walsh


WILLIAM WALSH

 

A SET OF OBJECTS, A SITUATION, A CHAIN OF EVENTS WHICH SHALL BE THE FORMULA OF A PARTICULAR EMOTION; SUCH THAT WHEN THE EXTERNAL FACTS, WHICH MUST TERMINATE IN SENSORY EXPERIENCE, ARE GIVEN, THE EMOTION IS IMMEDIATELY EVOKED

 

1st RULE: You do not talk about OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE.

2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE.

3rd RULE: If someone says "stop" or goes limp, taps out, the OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE is over.

4th RULE: Only two guys to an OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE.

5th RULE: One OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE at a time.

6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.

7th RULE: OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVES will go on as long as they have to.

8th RULE: If this is your first night at OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE, you HAVE to OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE.


BOY TOAT

 

Toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy…

Toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy…

Toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat boat toy boat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy…

Toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat toy boat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy…

Toy boat toy boat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy…

Toy boat toy boat boy toat boy toat boy…

Boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat boy toat. Boy toat.


AS IF

from The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson


When morning comes, it is as if a hundred drums did round my pillow roll, as if my brain had split, with specimens of song, as if for you to choose, as if a chirping brook upon a toilsome way set bleeding feet to minuets without the knowing why, as if a bobolink, carolled and mused and carolled, then bubbled slow away, as if no sail the solstice passed that maketh all things new.

I feel as if the grass were pleased to have it intermit, it sounded as if the streets were running, and then the streets stood still, as if some caravan of sound on deserts, in the sky, had broken rank, as if a duchess pass!

There came one drop of giant rain, as if the hands that held the dams had parted hold, as if it held but the might of a child, as if the resurrection were nothing very odd!

At morning in a truffled hut it stops upon a spot as if it tarried always—as if the house were his, as if it were his own! As if some little Arctic flower, upon the polar hem, went wandering down the latitudes, as if this little flower to Eden wandered in, so gay a flower bereaved the mind as if it were a woe, as if the cloud that instant slit and let the fire through, as numb to revelation as if my trade were bone.

I’m different from before, as if I breathed superior air, as if my life were shaven and fitted to a frame, as if the chart were given, as if a kingdom cared!


William's work has appeared in Lit, Caketrain, The Morning News, Kenyon Review, Quarterly West, Annalemma, and elsewhere. His books include Unknown Arts, Questionstruck, Pathologies, Ampersand, Mass., and Without Wax. William's day job is at the Museum of Science in Boston, where he resides with his wife and kids.

Joe Nicholas


Joe Nicholas


JOE NICHOLAS

 
 
 

THE LIGHT AT THE END


of the tunnel is the birth canal,

or a star,

or the birth canal of a star, or a tooth,

or the bowels of an ice snake, or an eye,

or transcendent passage, or hallucination,

almost definitely hallucination, but so isn't

everything.


WHEN I CAME TO

 

I was drowning in leaves,

a vine noose ripping 'round my neck. I broke open

onto the grass. I broke open

again and again,

'til my shell was pudding, and my yolk was dry.


ONE DAY

 

a week I'm lost,

floating spirals through gray planes, an existence of corroding

matter against matter against light against unlight, a carcass of held back

tears and hunger, claws to the wall, scraping

over and over to find

it's only skin.


WHERE EAGLES HAVE BEEN

 

The golden eagle is the most silent of the prey-birds,

and perhaps that's why it's my favorite,

but maybe it's the gold as well, maybe it's all gold

and all eagles, and all the spaces between their feathers

where the wind sneaks through.


Joe Nicholas is an experimenter and experiencer with work published or forthcoming in The Legendary, Phantom Kangaroo, Star*Line, and other fine magazines. They enjoy wine, felines, puns, perpetual evolution, and all things bizarre. Joe's blogfolio can be found at 8rainCh1ld.tk.