A Lucky Bonny Yawning
I Am Naked, I Need Some Specifics
Yet No, Not So
My Gut Is Blue Ash, I Finger It
I Begin to Look for Work
I Watch a Training Video or Be Careful, Accidental Explosions Could Occur
Everyone in a Dream Is Yourself
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
sounds of gull
in the clouds
in the maritime
among the star
in the sand’s
pretend to knot
the world into
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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.
like clouds on the back
of the car like the phone
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
behind distinct flowers
snap back walkways
rose cracked scent dragged
none of these policemen
are policemen promised
every unmarked lonely
stratiform for fifty miles
stranglehold of debt and
dishpan sun dimmed
leather cracked hands
into nitrogen-rich matter
morning song sweet
honeyed lisp sweat-soaked
grass grown thick greeting
mother ghosting prairie
plain veil passes revoked
this light no shadow
this call no chirp
whale carcass on the shore
worm bodies on the sidewalk
the day churns without
signed in clocked in
to nautical tote bags
not yet splashed
in hurry back
stitch the pastime
real times scrape
plants out the driveway
these leaves no left
this luck no lift
no really now step light
little knee drop
fourth floor heels talk
whisper and echo
wander and anchor
a lovely less
more dredged than drunk
anchored off shore
tighten wrenches stack
box on box
millennial wander off-center
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.
if I am
a strong boy
will I get
a new name?
that’s my dream
to be working
with a name
in front of me
like a carrot
for a horse
I saddle up
for a stranger
to tell me
where to go
on my back
from the sun
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.
end the era
even radical depar-
formality and statis
use the middle-class
lurk over that horizon: sooner or
later we’re going to have to
. There’s only
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.
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
No, no, no, no.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.